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I have two photos of man and women. Guessing sweethearts. I’m thinking 1800s, there is writing on the back but I can’t read it.

  • Any ideas of the country of origin?
    – Steve Bird
    Mar 1, 2022 at 21:45
  • 3
    I added picture of the back . Thinking British I can’t make out the writing. Many thanks
    – Alex
    Mar 1, 2022 at 21:48
  • ghostsigns.co.uk/2020/12/… dates the photo studio to the 1880's or later. Mar 2, 2022 at 12:01

1 Answer 1


The writing on the backside reads in my eyes as:

Sir Walter Olivey KCB, 51 Blessingdon Road

Note that I read a 'd' in "Blessingdon", not a 't' as in Blessington below:

This gives us a direct hint at:

Sir Walter Rice Olivey, KCB
Birthdate: 1832
Birthplace: Falmouth, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom
Death: 1922 (89-90)
Immediate Family:
Son of Hugh Oliver Olivey and Peggy Olivey
Husband of Elizabeth Olivey
Brother of Hugh Pengilly Olivey; William Olivey; Henry Olivey; Margaret Olivey; James Olivey and 2 others

Walter Rice Olivey Collection: 1911 England & Wales Census Birth: Circa 1831 - Mylor, Cornwall Residence: Apr 2 1911 - 51. Blessington Road, Lee, London, England Wife: Elizabeth Olivey

Managed by: Peter John Olivey Last Updated: January 8, 2020

Brief Family Details

Olivey - Researches so far show that the family has been in settled in Cornwall, England since the 16th century, certainly since the commencement of parish registers. The earliest reference being to one Richard Henry Olyvye who married Anne (?) in St Keverne in 1583. Variants of the name are Oliveh, Olivie, Olivee and variouse phonetic variants which include substitution of the vowels such as "y" for "i". The surname Oliver is not a variant as far as I can determine at present. On the other hand Olive is a variant, certainly in Cornwall and the west of Devon but not universally throughout the UK.

The name probably has French origins, as currently there are Olivi and Olivie families in France but these lines have not been pursued.

Family groups have departed the UK for the USA and Australia mainly with odd ones in Canada.

Notable Individuals

One member of the family has been knighted. Colonel Sir Walter Rice Olivey (1831-1922) was a Paymaster in the Army. His son also a Walter Rice (1860-1880), was killed during the last stand of the 66th Foot (Wiltshire Regiment) at the battle of Maiwand, Afganistan in July 1880.

My Olivey card index currently holds details of 553 males, 473 females and 509 spouses.

If the next picture was indeed his son Walter, certain family traits seem present:
enter image description here (src)

The cap badge insignia inquired seems to look like depicting a castle, the Castle of Gibraltar, (which can be read directly in the picture in question, but lacking the Latin motto) also matching the Suffolk Regiment, with a version of that badge on Wikipedia looking like this:

enter image description here

More to the point of the forage cap's insignia:

enter image description here

Uniformology: Peaked Forage Caps and Badges in the British Army 1881–1902.

For the Jacket:

enter image description here

Uniforms of the British Army by P.W. Reynolds, Uniforms of the Suffolk Regiment 1795–1913.

A picture of Walter Rice Olivey as paymaster of the 12th regiment in 1866 showing a similar uniform style for the tunic:

enter image description here (src)

The name of the photographer on the backside is given as

Arthur J Langton, Electric Light Studio, Buckingham Road

For which we find the entry:

Langton, Arthur James

35 Buckingham Palace Road S.W.


— Michael Pritchard: "Directory of London Photographers 1841-1908"

This photographer

Arthur James Langton (1855-active 1919), Photographer

seems to have cared much for visuals and advertising, but perhaps didn't care that much for correct spelling in general, as evidenced by this ad:

enter image description here

Which would explain the address "Blessingdon Rd" instead of 'Blessington Road'?

From the "Forces" Service Records it is currently unclear when the addressee Walter Olivey received his CB/KCB honurs (link1, link2), but as per Wikipedia he seems to have received it in 1887.

Wikipedia: 1887 Golden Jubilee Honours

Order of the Bath, Knight Commander (KCB), Additional Members (Civil)

Colonel Walter Rice Olivey CB, Chief Paymaster, Army Pay Department.

  • 3
    Thank you so much for all the information
    – Alex
    Mar 2, 2022 at 0:03
  • It certainly looks like "Blessingdon Road, Lee SE". The road is called Blessington Road now; it could have changed its name or simply be the result of a mishearing when it was written. Mar 2, 2022 at 11:45
  • 1
    @AndrewLeach It didn't change names, I conclude, after seeing that photographer Mr Langton might have been a bit on the dyslexic side? Mar 2, 2022 at 12:42
  • I assume it must be (meant to be) "51 Blessington Road, Ln SE", though I note number 51 no longer exists, and there are several blocks of flats on the road instead. Interestingly he seems to have corrected the spelling of costliness at some point!
    – Showsni
    Mar 2, 2022 at 13:00

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