Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Wedding of Jane Thompson Middlebrook and Henry Whitnall Smith


I love this wedding photo. The fashions are glorious and the bride beautiful and the groom handsome.

This Jane Thompson Middlebrook is not to be confused with her aunt of the same name.  She was the second daughter of John and Mary Ann Middlebrook, who,  at the time of this wedding were living in Ponsonby in Auckland but later moved to Te Awamutu.


Henry Whitnall Smith was the son of Henry James Smith. According to a newspaper article I have regarding his Diamond Wedding Anniversary, he was born in Auckland around 1870 and was the first baby baptized by Bishop Cowie in Old St Pauls Church.  Henry was a well known Auckland Photographer, with studios in Queen Street for many years.  Quite a few of the family photographs I have are Whitnall SMith photos.

There was a lovely description of the wedding in the Social Sphere  column of the New Zealand Observer

The New Zealand Observer was one of a number of illustrated weekly newspapers popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was first published in Auckland in 1880 and continued, with name changes, until November 1954.

The column read

A pretty wedding was celebrated on Wednesday afternoon, March 26th, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Khyber Pass. The contracting couple were Mr H. Whitnall Smith, of Auckland, and Miss Middlebrook, second daughter of Mr -J. Middlebrook, of St. Mary's Road, Ponsonby The Rev. G. Carver, officiated. The bride was given away by her father, and looked very pretty in a handsome trained dress of white brocaded silk, made with transparent yoke and sleeves, and trimmed with chiffon and orange blossoms she also wore a coronet of orange blossoms, tulle veil, and carried a beautiful shower bouquet presented by the bridegroom, who also gave her a dainty gold watch.
The bridesmaids were Miss Wood, Miss Wild, and Misses Edith and Ettie Middlebrook, two little sisters of the bride. The first couple wore charming dresses of fine white muslin elaborately tucked and inserted with lace, and trimmed with cream silk, white chiffon picture hats, and each carried a beautiful shower bouquet and wore a gold twin-dove brooch, presented by the bridegroom. The little girls wore dainty creme cashmere frocks, tucked, and the yokes and sashes of silk, and white leghorn hats trimmed with chiffon They carried baskets of flowers and wore gold brooches, the gifts of the bridegroom. Mr Kinnear, dentist, acted as best man, and Mr J. Middlebrook, Jr. as groomsman. Mrs Middlebrook, mother of the bride, wore a handsome black silk gown, trimmed with lace, turquoise blue and jet bonnet Mrs F. Stonex, sister of the bride, wore a pretty grey voile dress trimmed with creme guipure insertion threaded with black ribbon velvet, and the bodice trimmed with chiffon, black toque Mrs Whitnall- Smith, mother of the bridegroom, wore black Mrs Armiger, black silk tucked blouse, black skirt, and black hat. The bridal party drove to the residence of the bride's parents, where they were entertained at afternoon tea, and in the evening a party was given in the Ponsonby Hall, which was most enjoyable and successful.

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