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Hopkins, Sydney Houseman, 1886-1939.

Sydney Houseman Hopkins photograph album.

Great Britain, ca. 1900-1922.
Physical Description:
1 volume (approximately 800 photographs, on 58 leaves) ; 27 x 23 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
World War I Collection / Albums / Hopkins
Yale Center for British Art, Friends of British Art Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Bound in black half roan and black cloth.
The subject of the present album is probably the Sydney Houseman Hopkins born in 1886, the son of Joseph William and Mary Jane Hopkins. The 1911 census records Sydney (single, aged 25) living with his parents and sister in the Catford district of southeast London. His father is listed as a "Parliamentary Clerk" and he a "Rating Surveyors Clerk." The National Probate Calendar lists Hopkins' death on March 4, 1939. He left £357 to his wife, Dorothy Ellen Hopkins. A number of children are depicted throughout the album. It's unclear if any of the children are Hopkins' own. The album is signed at front: "S.H. Hopkins, 83 Muirkirk Road, Catford, SE6."
The album begins with a selection of family photographs from before 1904, a small number of which depict Sydney Houseman Hopkins. Subject matter includes holiday snapshots of Weymouth, family and friends, the family suburban garden, and seaside boat excursions. All are neatly mounted onto the leaves of the album, almost all captioned in ink with dates and places, and occasionally with names.
Approximately 150 of the 800 photographs pertain to the First World War. Hopkins was stationed at Richmond Park for some time after joining up in the reserves of the 3/15th Battalion London Regiment. Two photographs dated August 1916 show an upbeat looking Hopkins in "Somewhere in France"; he's depicted with a bicycle, rifle, and a trophy German helmet. His war was to be short, as within weeks he was wounded. A photograph dated September 1, 1916, depicts Hopkins in a hospital bed next to a fellow casualty and attended by Nurse Mary Brown.
It would appear that Hopkins then kept his camera with him and started to record his life in Ward 3 of St. Luke's War Hospital in Halifax, where Hopkins' photographs depict fellow casualties. Photographs depicting Hopkins suggest that he sustained a serious leg wound, if not an actual amputation. In some images, he seems unable to bend his leg at the knee; in others, he sits or stands in rather awkward poses, often with a walking stick for support. Hopkins was transferred at the end of 1916 to the Appleyard Ward of Royal Halifax Infirmary, where he remained for about one year. Photographs in this section depict groups, fancy dress parties, or portraits of fellow patients and nurses. Later in the album Hopkins is shown in two photographs of an Armistice dinner he attended on November 21, 1918, at City Road, London (with "before" and "after" shots).
The latter portion of the album includes photographs dated up until 1922. It includes additional family photographs, with Hopkins' old army uniform pressed into use as a fancy dress outfit, and three photographs of the Royal Infirmary at Halifax during Christmas 1921, evidence that Hopkins kept contacts with the nursing staff there. The album concludes with photographs of weddings, children, and conventional civilian life.
Subject Terms:
Great Britain. Army.
Hopkins, Sydney Houseman, 1886-1939.
Military nursing -- Great Britain.
Nurses -- Great Britain.
Royal Halifax Infirmary (Halifax, England)
St. Luke's Military Hospital (Halifax, England)
World War, 1914-1918 -- Hospitals -- Great Britain.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Medical care -- Great Britain.
World War, 1914-1918.
Photograph albums.
Gelatin silver prints.

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