This is one of the pictures that first made me want to become a wedding photographer, years and years ago. It’s my great-grandparents, Elizabeth Kate “Kit” Swan and Thomas Dixon Butterfield. Kit and Tom were married in the summer of 1919, in North Ockendon, Essex. Kit was an Essex girl like me, but Tom had moved down from up north, Levens, Westmoreland — near Kendal.
At some point, Tom had started going by his grandparents’ name, Dixon, rather than Butterfield, his surname at birth. (No one really knows why, but my nan had theorised it was something to do with joining the army underage.) Decades after this wedding photograph was taken, the bride found out that her husband’s surname was not originally Dixon at all. My mum recounted the story as she’d heard it:
“My nan was distraught when she discovered he should have been Butterfield. She thought she wasn’t married because he didn’t have the correct name on the register! She had to pay five shillings to get an amended marriage certificate and have it altered in the church records. She had been married for about 40 years at the time.”