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Samuel James Ellis (1875-1941)

A dulcimer, case and photograph were donated to the Norfolk Museums Service in 1974 by a Mrs Mann of Bayford Hotel, Asplands Road, Norwich. The photographs were part of a set of four of her grandparents and uncles James and George Ellis. Since that time, the items themselves seem to have been dispersed around the county museums and there has not been sufficient evidence to positively identify the player in the picture.

However we can now confidently say this is Samuel James Ellis from the Thorpe Hamlet area of Norwich. He was known as James, had a brother called George, and the key piece of evidence is the 1939 register which shows him living with his sister, Ethel Bayford at Asplands Road. Their father, James senior was licensee of the William IV pub in Thorpe Hamlet, whilst James himself worked as a tram car driver, then as a barman in Cromer, was invalided out of the army during the First World War on account of a heart murmur and then worked for the railways in engineering maintenance and repair. He served in the Army Veterinary Corps, but the uniform in the picture seems very different; the most similar style we have found is for a Citadel Army Band from 1905.



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Photo descriptions & sources

Main photo courtesy of Stranger's Hall Museum, Norwich



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