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History Vintage

Something Wonderful from my Family Archives

April 25, 2014

If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen me sharing a few family photos from the 1940s. They are part of a huge suitcase full of photos and documents that I was given by my Grandma. The pictures date from the 1910s to the 1990s and tell an amazing story.

Before I go on I’d recommend reading this post as I go into quite a lot of detail about the life of my Great Grandmother and her love of antique clothes. It also has some pretty amazing images.

At the beginning of her adult life she was a stage actress who went by the name of Betty Lambert, her real name was Gertrude Lee. When she fell on hard times in the 1920s she began selling antiques from her house at Caledonian Market in London, and this slowly grew into a business. She went on to open 3 shops in central London in the 1950s mainly selling antique clothing bric a brac and linen.

She sold Victorian garments with the idea of them being worn then and also built up an impressive collection of clothing from as early as the Georgian period. So now we know where I get my passion for vintage from!

I had a few photos of her already, but discovered some new ones in the suitcase as well as another newspaper article on her and her shop so I thought I’d share them with you on here. The newspaper article is amazing! Definitely something that us vintage lovers of today can relate to.

An early picture from her days on the stage. I’m sure had she not been an actress we wouldn’t have these amazing pictures of her today.

Another early picture of her and other chorus girls.

I love her outfit in this one.

Another amazing outfit.

Selling antiques I think she’s the one in the white hat on the second stall along.

The Queen driving past her shop in the 1950s

I absolutely love this! It was published in 1950 and is basically about selling vintage before the concept of vintage existed.

Wearing a rather interesting outfit later in life, can you see the picture of her in her younger days on the wall?

Still selling antiques, she carried on working until she was very old.

It was amazing looking through these pictures and learning a little bit more about her. I would have loved to have met her and talked to her. I think she was quite hard work but I have so much in common with her and I love that she made her own way in a time when many women weren’t able to. She also did most of this as a single mother so I respect her hugely for that. I bet she would have loved eBay!

Be sure to check out my previous post on her as it has some more wonderful images.

I have put my web address on these photos as I would rather they weren’t reproduced without my consent. If you would like to reference them or use them please get in touch with me first. You can of course share the actual blog post if you would like.

  • Reply
    Jessica Cangiano
    April 25, 2014 at 9:27 am

    How incredibly special! Both the vintage lover and the passionate family genealogist in me adored reading this post and getting to know your beautiful great-grandmother even better. Thank you deeply for sharing so much about her with us.

    ♥ Jessica

  • Reply
    May 4, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    What wonderful memories to have and cherish:)

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