It was on a lovely, sunny summer Monday in August 1916 that Elizabeth Barbara Ball married William Huxley at St Michael’s Church.
The photograph shows them posing outside their new home in Volunteer Street – a house that would be home to generations of the family for almost 100 years.
Elizabeth was the daughter of Arthur and Elizabeth Ball from Pitt Street. Her father died when she was a young child and her mother started up a confectionery business in their terraced house, later renting out a stall in Chester Market.
After her marriage Elizabeth Barbara took on the stall, renaming it E B Huxley’s – a sign that still shows on the family- run stall today. William was a mill hand at the flour-mill.
The photograph shows that although this is a working class family in the middle of wartime, efforts have been made to make the occasion special.
The bouquets are lavish, with plentiful flowers used and the two bridesmaid’s outfits – although homemade - have been carefully designed and made up to match.
The guests were probably family members, although there are some young women there who could have been friends of the bride, there are no young men - their absence explained by the War itself. William Huxley was exempt due to hearing difficulties.
The wedding breakfast would have been held in the front room of Volunteer Street and could have included potted meats, pickles, cold cuts of ham and brawn, egg sandwiches, tinned fruits, jellies and of course a wedding cake.
There would be many cups of tea served and perhaps a few bottles of beer for the male guests – although this had become scarce as the War went on. Entertainment could have been provided by a piano or even perhaps a borrowed wind-up gramophone.
Gifts would have mainly been items that were useful and practical for a newly married couple – household linens and towels, cutlery, crockery and simple cooking utensils. There may have been a cruet, glass serving bowls, pretty ornaments and lace table doilies.
Their eldest child, Marjorie, was born in the summer of 1917. Two more children followed – Betty in 1919 and Norman in 1926.
First World War re-enactment group, Cheshire Pals, will be re-enacting this wedding on August 16. Read more about it here: 1916 wedding reenactment