Mabel’s Wedding Photograph

For those of you who have been following Mabel on her adventures in Ceylon, I have an exciting development. I visited my Great Auntie Ruth yesterday and, while having a cup of tea, took a closer look at the Victoria photograph that has hung for many years on her wall. I never realised it was of Mabel and George’s wedding.

Now, to explain a bit, George Gillespy was Auntie Ruth’s father. But Mabel Gibson wasn’t her mother. (More of that in time…) It was odd that Auntie Ruth chose to put this wedding photograph on her sitting room wall, and not the one of her mother’s wedding to George many years later which is stored in a drawer upstairs in the guest bedroom. Auntie Ruth said she hung this photograph because she loved the costumes. And they are quite something.

Mabel and George's wedding, Colombo, Ceylon, 1899
Mabel and George’s wedding, Colombo, Ceylon, 1899

At first glance it is hard to work out who the bride and groom are. George is more centre stage, the man without the moustache. Mabel has the finest hat but she is sitting down. The other lady is Maggie Bois, George’s sister (with a Gillespy face) who is married to Percy Bois, the man with the moustache. They lived in Colombo with their four children, all in the photograph, including the oldest daughter, Maud Gillespy Bois, who is standing next to her Uncle George. (The other daughters are Dorothy and Gwynneth and the boy is Dudley.)

This photo was taken, I believe, in the grounds of the Bois’ house from where Mabel married George three days after her arrival in Colombo from England.

I am so thrilled to be able to put faces to names, to look back into the past and catch a glimpse of what it was like to be married in 1899. An English wedding so far away from home.

I made many other discoveries yesterday which I will be able to post in time as Mabel’s life unfolds. I am thankful that this side of my family had unusual names or spellings of names as it is so much easier to track them down online. For instance, why is George’s surname spelled with a ‘y’ instead of the usual ‘ie’? A-ha! I now know but more research is required to back up the family legend…


5 thoughts on “Mabel’s Wedding Photograph

  1. Such an amazing photograph Sophie. Your are so lucky to have this family information especially Mabel’s extensive collection of letters. As someone who would love to be able to find out more about my own family background I feel quite privileged to be able to share yours through this medium. xx

  2. What a treat to now put a face to Mabel’s ‘voice’. Not how I imagined her at all. But intrigued to learn that George married again and had children. Now I’m fretting over what eventually happened to dear Mab …

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