Treasures: Newly Discovered Photos of Aunt Alys

Be still my heart!

I received the following email in late June via my blog:

Good afternoon, I came across your web page as I was researching Windsor water woollies of Poulton-le-Flyde near Blackpool as I have recently managed to purchase a large number of photographs depicting the companies swimwear products from the 20’s and 30’s. The photographs I have are the actual original copies the company had taken in order to select for their advertising and obviously your Aunt Alys features in quite a few of them and I was wondering if you would like copies forwarded to you? I look forward to your reply. Regards Jeff

Jeff Riddle

I felt giddy as I promptly replied with a resounding “yes!”

Of course, it pays to tag your blog posts, which is how he found my previous Aunt Alys’ posts.

I wrote:

Hello Jeff,

My goodness, you’ve just made my day. I would love copies of any photos you have of our Aunt Alys. If there are several, you can add to a shared Google drive. If there are just a few, email attachments work as well.

I would love to hear more about your collection in general and your interests in the Windsor Water Woollies.


Mr. Riddle forwarded these photos of Aunt Alys (Alys Milner Lancaster) and gave me permission to share his story.

Hi Alys

Thank you for your reply. I am sharing with you copies of the pictures I have of your Aunt Alys. Sorry, there aren’t more.

Long story short: I used to own an antique shop and also ran Flea Markets throughout the northwest of England. During one of these markets, I met a couple who had purchased the old Windsors factory in Poulton-le Flyde near Blackpool. The couple were selling items they had found in the building, and after a conversation, they invited me to the factory to try and assist them in selling items they had found. To my amazement, when I arrived, the factory was like a time capsule, having been locked up and left untouched following a burst water pipe inside. It was a treasure trove of items ranging from vintage automobiles to little tin whistles, which were part of a children’s sailor outfit the company used to produce. One of the highlights was the bathroom in the office area, which was original art deco in design and beautiful for an office washroom. Anyway, I was able to advise them on the best way forward selling the items, and they gave me the collection of photographs.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. She truly was a beautiful lady.

Regards, Jeff

Jeff Riddle

Isn’t that a great story? Mr. Riddle describes the factory in fascinating detail. What a lucky break to run into the factory’s new owners and to further receive an invitation for a walk-through. I would have never known of the photo’s existence if he hadn’t reached out and graciously shared these images of my father’s only sister and my namesake aunt.

29 thoughts on “Treasures: Newly Discovered Photos of Aunt Alys

    • Ralph, I like your message in a bottle analogy. It’s still a thrill when I think about Jeff finding these treasures in a closed factory, then connecting and following through with the images. As Cindy said, goosebumps!


  1. Oh my goodness me, what a wonderful treasure trove, and hurrah for once, for the power of the internet. I loved seeing these, and your Aunt was quite the looker.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. HOW WONDERFUL!! What a gift and what a great story from Jeff about the factory. I hope the items and the factory all went to people who appreciate the history. Your aunt was a beautiful lady. You look a lot like her. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alys, I am giddy with delight that the magic of the internet made this connection for you. Your namesake was quite a stunning looking woman and they named you just right. Did you not do some modeling early on? You have the same physic you aunt had. Tall, slender and you carry yourself like a model. I’ve seen all those photos of you and Mike all dressed to the nines. That is a real treasure you have been gifted. Glad I finally got the laptop opened today. It’s been a rough week.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a story Alys! So many things had to line up for these to come to be know and then to you. I’m always stunned when an abandoned building remains intact this way. Sadly, it’d probably be vandalized and looted here. I’m so happy for you! Do you see a resemblance to your dad? I wonder, were the swimsuits made of wool and then called Woollies? I can’t wear wool, it makes me itch, but I like the old stylings. They look like they were very well made. 💗xK

    Liked by 1 person

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