Having started work on the Kersting Photographic Archive as a Digitisation Volunteer in August this year, I decided to try to find out more about his life. As part of this I used an online genealogy service and amongst various records that I discovered was a passenger list for a ship called “Venus” showing an entry for Anthony F Kersting, Photographer, aged 36, of 37 Frewin Road SW18. This sailed from Southampton to Madeira in March 1953 and when I checked in his ledger there were entries for photographs he had taken there at this time.
Looking through the relevant boxes I was surprised to find in one that there were photographs he had taken of the ship itself and some of its passengers. One particular photograph intrigued me. It was of a young girl who looked to be about ten years old, standing at the ship’s wheel, with an excited expression, pretending to steer. This prompted me to go back to the passenger list to see if I could identify her.
It helped that the passengers were put into age categories, one of which was ‘Children between 1 and 12’, and under the column for females there were two possible candidates, both called Mary. They each appeared to be travelling with their parents:
Mary M Gilmour (Schoolgirl, aged 11) with Walter Gilmour (Produce Merchant, aged 54) and Dorothy M Gilmour (Housewife, aged 49)
Mary F Musgrave (Schoolgirl, aged 10) with James P Musgrave (Carpet Manufacturer, aged 53) and Margaret Musgrave (Housewife, aged 53)
The Gilmour’s address was shown as being in Bridge of Weir, which is in Renfrewshire, Scotland and the Musgrave’s in Halifax, Yorkshire.
Armed with this information I started to search further to try to find which Mary it was in the photograph and whether she might still be alive. If so, my idea was to make contact and arrange to invite her to come and see her photograph at The Courtauld.
Unfortunately, I have so far been unable to follow the trail much further with enough certainty, but am continuing the search…
Courtauld Digitisation Volunteer
5 Oct 2022