Tuesday 1 November 2022

Merry Movember!

Movember is an annual event, founded in 2003, to raise awareness of men’s health issues. It encourages men (known as ‘Mo Bros’) to grow moustaches during the month of November to raise money for male cancers and mental health.

Here at Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, we often come across photographs of gentlemen from bygone days who had impressive facial hair. So, in honour of Movember, here are some of our favourites: our Top Ten Mo Bros of the past!

At number 10, our countdown starts with a portrait from a Victorian photo album (ref: 231320). Taken around 1868, we think the moustache is an excellent finishing touch to this man’s smart uniform! 

In at number 9 is a group of businessmen photographed in Wilmslow in the 1910s (Cheshire Image Bank ref: c10067).  Apart from just one clean-shaven gentleman in the centre, it's a
n impressive range of moustaches - particularly in the back row!

Number 8 is an example of an early police ‘mug shot’. It is taken from police records of criminals charged and convicted in Chester in the 1860s and 70s (ref: ZDPO 2/15) and shows John Williams. He was sentenced to 14 days hard labour in 1870 for stealing an umbrella.

Number 7 is a portrait is of an unknown group, perhaps a family, from the 1890s (Cheshire Image Bank ref: c08811). It’s from our ‘Mystery Images Unresolved’ collection – can anyone help us identify the Mo Bro in the centre?

The image below is from document ZCR 86A/481, a folder containing portraits of staff and students at the University of Chester from 1857 to 1890. We aren’t sure who this man was, but his moustache has made it to number 6 of our countdown!

Number 5 is taken from a photograph album of the Second Cheshire Royal Engineers, also known as the Crewe Railway Volunteers, c.1895 (ref: 230725). Those without facial hair look younger – it may be coincidence, or could a moustache have indicated a more senior rank?

Number 4 is another police mug shot (ref: ZDPO 2/27). It shows Thomas Cross who was sentenced to two months in prison in December 1871 for stealing leather. Read more about him in our blog from April this year, The Thomas Cross Affair: Hard Times in the Chester Leather Industry.

Into the top 3, this is an unknown group of men photographed in Ellesmere Port during the 1910s. An impressive selection of Mo Bros – can anyone shed any light on who they were?

At 2, we love this image of a soldier, taken from the same Victorian photograph album as our friend at number 10 (ref: 231320). Do you think he grew the moustache to match his bearskin hat, or did he choose a profession where the uniform matched his ‘tache?!

Finally, in first place is an image from our Cheshire Fire Brigades collection: it is a formal photograph of Winsford Fire Department (ref: D7474/59) from the early 20th century - a fine group of Mo Bros, we hope you’ll agree!

We hope you like this small selection. Do let us know if you have a favourite - and we wish you a Merry Movember!

All of these images and more are available to view at Cheshire Record Office in Chester.

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