|Detail from Green Hill Battery, Woolwich circa 1900|
Two of their most popular series were of the Arsenal and the area around the barracks.
But they have remained stubbornly in the shadows and even yesterday’s discovery that the firm is still trading has not revealed much more.*
|The Davison family, Ireland 1915|
And not for the first time it confirms my belief that history is messy and can take you in all sorts of directions.
It begins with George Davison who served with the Royal Artillery from 1914 till his death on the Western Front in the June of 1918.
He was briefly stationed in Woolwich where he bought a series of picture postcards and which he sent home to his wife and young son in Manchester.
Almost all of them were by the Molyneux Brothers one of whom lived at William Street and the other at Thomas Street with business addresses at both places.
|Unknown woman, Manchester 1874|
A little later at the beginning of the 20th century T & A Molyneux were trading as printers on Great Jackson Street in Hulme.
Of course they may not be related but I think there is a connection.
James Molyneux had been born in Liverpool in 1845 before moving across to Manchester and the father of our two Woolwich brothers was a John Molyneux also from Liverpool who by 1891 was living in Woolwich with his wife Ellen and five children the eldest of whom was called Mary Ann.
The connections between the families is too close to ignore and while there are the occasional miss spellings of Molineux for Molyneux in some of the Manchester records I don’t think this is crucial after all even printers can make mistakes.
All of which brings us back to the firm still trading under the name in Dartford.
I had Colin to thank for the information which arrived too early this morning to call the company.
|Reverse of unknown women|
Alas in the course of a century the firm had been bought and sold a number of times and no old postcards or details have survived.
Still a very helpful member of the company who had made the move with the firm twenty or so years ago suggested I try a chap who ran the cafe opposite the ferry who like me was interested in the original Molyneux Brothers.
And that opens up a shedload of opportunities.
So if there is anyone out there who remembers the cafe owner and knows how I can get in touch with him I shall be very grateful.
Additional research supplied by Photographers of Great Britain & Ireland 1840-1940, www.cartedevisite.co.uk
Pictures; Woolwich on Green Hill and the Davison family from the collection of David Harrop and unknown Victorian woman and card from the Ducie Street studio courtesy of Ron Cosens, Photographers of Great Britain & Ireland 1840-1940, www.cartedevisite.co.uk
*Molyneux Press, http://www.molyneuxpress.co.uk/about-us/