Genealogy History

One Of The Top Six… In The World!

Lillie and Leslie, 1926, Bridlington

I learned one thing this week. Never take your old family photos for granted!

I’ve always had this photo in a box, somewhere.  It is my grandma, Lillie and my dad and we always called it ‘The Grumpy dad Photo’.

I’d assumed it was taken by my grandad, Billie, and thought nothing more about it – just a typical seaside shot.  Dad was born in February 1926, so this image was almost definitely taken in 1926.

Go back 18 months or so from this, for a minute, though.

My grandad, Billie, came home from World War One a few years before, and was one of the only men of his generation for streets around.  He could have his pick of the women.  And dad used to tell me, Grandad said he chose the girl known then as the most beautiful woman in Leeds.

This is my grandparents when they got engaged:

Lillie and Billie Get Engaged, 1925

Imagine my surprise when my dad’s cousin,  who emigrated to Canada in the 1960s and returned here to Yorkshire this year, to clear out his late mum’s house found her copy of this in a drawer and sent it to me, with a link to this website:

East Riding Museums – People

So the photo comes from a photographer, William Foster Brigham,  considered to be one of the top six photographers … in the world, as Clarkson would say.

And there was I, assuming it was just a snapshot taken by my grandad.

Of course, chances are it was by one of Foster Brigham’s employees not the man himself.  But still. From now on I’m determined to think of it as a photo by one of the top six photographers… in the world.


3 replies on “One Of The Top Six… In The World!”

Saw your posting. Sadly Foster-Brigham didn’t take the snap. As you guessed he employed several roving photographers (usually for the summer season) who scoured the beach and prom at Bridlington, taking photos – often of people strolling around. You got given a ticket and could collect the print after 4 o’clock the same day. He opened this business in 1919, but also had a posh studio elsewhere in the town for the high class work! I’ve been researching the trade for an exhibition and book, you can find a bit more at my website.


Well, your grandmother might have been the most beautiful girl in Leeds, but your granddad was no slouch. Wonderful photos, whether the photographer was universally ranked or not.


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