My family

52 Ancestors: Week 41 – Changes

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. I should by now be writing week 52, but study, work and life got in the way. I’m rapidly catch up over the 12 days of Christmas.

When I mentioned to Tony that today’s prompt is “changes” he immediately started singing David Bowie’s “Changes”. I was hoping for something more helpful to write a blog about, but there you go. Instead here are some of the changes that occurred during my Great Grandmother Clara Orme’s lifetime. My family history software, Legacy, helpfully provides some chronologies which I find very useful in setting my ancestors lives into context.

Clara Orme was born on 01 April 1880 in West Bromwich.[1] Queen Victoria was on the throne, Benjamin Disraeli was the Prime Minister, though he was about to be replaced by William Gladstone, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance was about to debut at the Strand in London.

When Clara died aged 92 on 29 December 1972[2] the world was a very different place. She had moved to Belper, Derbyshire in when she was less than year old[3], and married Charles Hunt in 1902.[4]


Photography had been invented before Clara was born, and there had been a studio in Derby from 1844.[5] By 1881 the family could have had pictures taken in near by Ripley by Abraham Booth. These would have been the thick card, credit card sized Carte-de-visite style pictures. In 1900 the Kodak Brownie went on sale, bringing photography to the masses for the first time. By 1972 a folding Polaroid camera was available.

News Reporting

When Clara was 2 years old one of the most deadly and destructive volcanic events in recorded history took place when Krakatoa began erupting on 20 May 1883. The news did not reach Britain for 4 days[6] and all the news reports are short unillustrated statements.

Just a few years after Clara died, Mount St Helens erupted in what has been called the most disastrous volcanic eruption in U. S. History.[7] It took 2 days for illustrations and dramatic headlines to appear in the British papers.[8]
In 2021 we would have had 24 hour news coverage across television, Twitter and much more.


When Clara was born hot air balloons had been gliding through the skies for about 100 years. But Clara and Charles had been married a year by the time the Wright Brothers achieved powered flight. I find it amazing to think that on 20 July 1969 she would have sat down with her son and daughter -in-law to watch the first moon landings.

Rights of Women

Clara’s mother, Martha Orme, was not allowed to own property. It was not until The Married Women’s Property Act 1882[9] that a married woman had control over her property. This law meant that unlike her mother Clara could earn money for herself, she could inherit and rent property.

The 1880s saw the first woman receive degrees in Britain and the beginning of the suffrage movement and finally in 1918 women voted in a general election. [10]

Clara did not live to see a female Prime Minister or free contraception, but much had changed for women in her lifetime. Not just women, the world was a very different place in 1972 to one in which Clara was born in 1880.

Other posts about this family

  1. Births. England. RD West Bromwich, Staffordshire. 01 April 1880. ORME, Clara. Vol 6b. p. 864.
  2. Testamentary records. England. 21 February 1973. HUNT, Clara. Will and grant of probate.
  3. Census Records. England. RD: Belper, Derbyshire. 03 April 181. ORME, Clara (Daur). RG11/3414. FL. 45. p. 34 SH. 20.
  4. Marriages (NCR) England. Belper, Salem Methodiist. 27 September 1902. ORME, Clara and HUNT, Charles. [Transcription]. BRO/11/008. Collection: Derbyshire Registrars Marriage Index. : accessed 02 July 2010.
  5. Payne, Brett . Photographers Photographic Studios in Derbyshire, England. : accessed 31 December 2021
  6. London Evening Standard. (1883) General Intelligence. London Evening Standard. 24 May. p. 2f : accessed 31 December 2021
  7. Wikipedia contributors. (2021) ‘1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens’ In: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.. : accessed 31 December 2021
  8. Connew, Paul. (1980) Two Shadows over America today The Power and the Fury. Daily Mirror. 20 May. p. 5 : accessed 31 December 2021
  9. Married Women’s Property Act 1882 (c. 75) United Kingdom. London: HMSO. : accessed 31 December 2021
  10. Twile. Timeline of The history of Women’s Rights in Britain. : accessed 31 December 2021.

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