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Clara Smith

Photo-gallery: Clara Smith (nee Stanbridge)

Clara Stanbridge was one of my maternal great-grandmothers.  She was born in East Grinstead, Sussex in 1869, and went on to work 'in service'  for much of her working life (e.g. as a parlour maid and later a housekeeper).  Clara seems to have enjoyed appearing in front of a camera and has left a small photographic legacy, spanning 1883-1940, that encompasses the style of clothing worn by her and other family members, and some of the major family events (weddings and a christening) during that period.  She married a hairdresser, William John Smith, on 1st April 1891; the couple had three children of whom only two survived to adulthood. Clara died in October 1942. 

Most of the photographs shown below can be attributed with reasonable precision to a specific year, although some of the C20th photographs are less easy to date as precisely.  I am no expert on women's fashion in the Victorian and Edwardian periods but there are several websites that can provide such commentary if you require it. The original photos were scanned in at high resolution, 'warts and all'. A brief description of each photo should appear when you place the cursor on the photo.  If you click on each photo a larger version will appear.

I hope that you find the photographs of interest.  If you wish to download any to use in  talks, publications etc.  please acknowledge the source of the photographs that you use i.e. "courtesy of Chris Payne (".  If you have any questions, comments, or need further information, please contact me at

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