Houseproud: People and houses in old photographs

When paying for photographs became more affordable in the early 1900s, it seems that the first thing many people wanted a picture of was their own house. And they wanted to be seen standing outside it too. Some of the better off even managed to buy their own cameras, and took similar photos of their families outside the house.
On the Internet, there are literally thousands of such photos, and I have selected just a few, all taken in Britain, from 1899-1902. I think these are a fascinating part of social history, and I hope you will think so too.

I lived in a house just like this one, from 1978-1985. It was built in 1901

This couple lived in a rather sloping house, which seems to have been built on a steep hill. They were sure to get their little dog included in the photo.

The family members outside this house appear to have worn their best clothes for the occasion of the photograph.
Or perhaps they were just back from Church?

The two women look uncomfortable, posing for the photograph. But the baby doesn’t mind too much.

The man appears to be more proud of his bicycle, than his wife and children. He has ensured that the bicycle is prominent in the photo.

A large family, standing proudly outside their house. At that time, many women had a child every year!

In the countryside, we see two ladies outside a substantial country house. No doubt they were proud of the topiary that had been done on the hedges.

Another country home, with the man of the house wearing his Navy uniform for the occasion.

Perhaps we should revitalise this tradition? All have a family photo taken outside our houses.
In another 120 years, someone somewhere will be fascinated by the images, just as I was.

58 thoughts on “Houseproud: People and houses in old photographs

  1. Great pics Pete, I found myself trying to work out where they might be. Sloping house reminded me of Yorkshire, lots of sloping terranes like that made with sandstone blocks, followed by one that looks very much like a house in Manchester that my Aunty lived in. I’m wondering if bicycle man might be the post master, or even station master as thats quite a big house (and detached) The bike was surely provided with such a job of importance πŸ™‚
    The last pic could well be in the ’70s, the styling of the house is very different, must be down south πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The last house has wooden weatherboarding. That’s typical of some coastal towns in Kent, so you could be right about it being in the South. Unfortunately, the photos come with no location information, just a general time period.
      Glad you liked them. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Second one down is insanely spooky! Especially as you slowly scroll! Arggggh
    I love stuff like this. I had a little phase of taking photos of shop fronts as they are always changing. Unfortunately I got bored but you’re right we should take photos like this as they are proper time capsules and wonderful to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also love this social history, despite the occasional spookiness. πŸ™‚ These days, people are camera-friendly, and modern photos taken in the same situations might appear to be very different. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I prefer the very first photo. Of course, by 1900, photography had been around for over half a century. I particularly enjoy seeing photos of the Wild West, the Civil War, and U.S. presidents. The first U.S. president to be photographed was President William Henry Harrison (“Tippecanoe”). His photo was taken on March 4, 1841, the day of his Inauguration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, photography had already been around a long time. But in England then it was relatively expensive for most people to pay for photos. It became a lot cheaper by 1914, when most soldiers had photos taken before leaving for the war.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bicycle man is funny–and a bit alarming. Imagine what it was like to be married to this guy…Anyway, cool post. Reminds me of the great song by Madness. “Our mum she’s so house-proud. Nothing ever slows her down and a mess is not allowed.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. These are fantastic photos. I love them all. Having your picture taken in front of your house was very popular in the first half of the 20th Century here in Canada too. Our family has many of them. None with a bicycle though! (maybe a horse)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love these. Interesting to see all of the iron railings … I know they were out to good use, but it’s a shame so many have not been replaced over the years. I guess it’s expensive too. I love seeing what they were all wearing – no throwing on a tee-shirt and pair of shorts for them. I wonder what they’d think if they could see us all now. They might be horrified!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Haha, bicycle man is definitely my favorite as well. Just way too funny, even though the picture might not have intended to be funny😊
    Seriously though, where do you keep finding all these amazing pictures. So cool 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I get them ‘suggested’ to me, by Pinterest, based on the fact that I keep looking for similar ones! πŸ™‚
      Glad you liked bicycle man, Michel. I just had to have him in this post! πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just read a whole post on Pininterest by Irina ( I honestly and red faced have to admit I never quite knew what that was) But well her post pretty much cleared some things up (and of course is quite the coincidence 😊).
        Haha…yeah, the bicycle man was awesome 😊😊

        Liked by 1 person

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