Photographs of the wedding of Herbert Francis Brunker and Sylvia Mary Wiggett at Clapton in London 1959
The wedding of Herbert Francis Brunker and Sylvia Mary Wiggett took place in June 1959 at Clapton Park Congregational Chapel. In this photograph she is arriving at the church accompanied by her father, Charles Wiggett. In the background is Lower Clapton Road. The women gathered at the bus stop, which is still there in the 21st century, are looking across at the bride arriving at the church. Charles Wiggett was fairly old-school and a fair bit older than his daughter. Born in the mid-Edwardian period, he himself had married at Stepney in December 1929 to Florence Emma Whiting. Sylvia was born in April 1937. During World War 2 the family were living at Hamilton Square at Bermondsey.
Sylvia Wiggett could have done with her bridesmaids to hold up her dress as she climbs the steps to Clapton Park Congregational Chapel. Her father is doing his best to help her negotiate the steps without tripping up. Designed by Henry Fuller in a Romanesque style, the Congregational Chapel was erected between 1869-71 and is widely regarded as one of the finest non-conformist buildings in London. Featuring a distinctive Round Chapel, the church stands on the corner of Lower Clapton Road and Powerscroft Road. The railings were returned to the site and the trees have matured, perhaps hiding the beautiful round chapel. In the 21st century the building is designated the Clapton Park United Reformed Church. In the background the camera and photographic shop of R. A. Gibson can be seen. To the right was the premises of H. Harold Oliver, a menswear retailer. This shop was number 99. In 2022 the premises was occupied by the Eggfree Cake Box whilst the former camera shop next door was an outlet for Clapton Craft, a retailer of Craft Beer, Natural Wine, Cider and Local Spirits.
This is the last time that Sylvia Wiggett would sign her maiden name. Well, at least for a while, assuming the couple stuck at their marriage. I think Herbert Brunker had previously married Barbara Singfield in 1955. Herbert Francis Brunker was born in Islington on May 5th 1932. In later years the couple would live in Kent. It was through this photograph that I was able to see the names of the family. Although not totally pin-sharp, I could zoom in and read the details of the register.
The service is over and the wedding party, led by Herbert and Sylvia Brunker, makes its way to down the steps of Clapton Park Congregational Chapel where the photographer will order everybody about in order to capture the spirit of the event. The bridesmaids, looking like they have lost a shilling and found a penny, are determined not to pick up the trailing wedding gown of the bride.
The families of Herbert and Sylvia Brunker huddle around whilst the traditional confetti shower takes place, some looking more enthusiastic than others. The church officials have quickly closed the doors so they did not have to get the hoover out to collect up any wayward bits of paper. In the old days, of course, rice was used for the shower. You can blame Enrico Mangili, the Italian who come up with idea of using paper in the 1870s.
For this image the photographer has grouped together Herbert and Sylvia Brunker with the Best Man, Bridesmaids and Father of the Bride. The photograph affords a better view of the remarkable building. This is the rounded west end of the chapel that faces the main road. The round arched windows is a key factor in the building being described as Romanesque.
For this image the photographer has instructed the Best Man to congratulate Herbert and Sylvia Brunker immediately following their marriage.
All the guests have been shuffled out of the way so that a photograph of the newly-married couple can be taken outside Clapton Park Congregational Chapel. C. J. says : "the bride is wearing a dress of heavily-patterned brocade with a slash-style neckline and long sleeves which finish off to a point at the wrist. She is wearing head"dress and short veil."
Sylvia Wiggett had two bridesmaids for her wedding to Herbert Brunker. When looking at wedding photographs I often wonder if the bridesmaids are happy about the outfits that have been chosen for them by the bride. C. J. says : "the bridesmaids are wearing dresses in a soft pastel chiffon, with rouched off-the-shoulder neckline, and full-skirted hemlines caught up with pretty flower-buds. The have beaded head-dresses and are each carrying bouquets."
Herbert and Sylvia Brunker pose for the camera before stepping into their wedding car to transport them to the reception.
The photographer grabs a quick photograph of Herbert and Sylvia Brunker inside their limousine before they head off to their reception. Note, as spotted by C. J., that the bridegroom is sporting Bridegroom a button-hole in the shape of a lucky horse shoe!
Herbert and Sylvia Brunker photographed for the wedding toast at their reception. The location is not known but is possibly the function room of a public-house. It would seem that there were only a few guests - a big bash would have required a triple-decker wedding cake. By the look of the plates it was either a cold meat platter or fish for the main course.