Trying to date a photo

When I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (it was an absolute highlight of my trip there)  I was determined to look through the fashion exhibition, and take my time.  This was not really appreciate by my wonderful husband, but he was very patient.  It confirmed my belief that there is really nothing new in tailoring or dressmaking, and fashion, it is all just recycled.  Don't believe me?  Check out the colour of this 18th century dress - in the very latest 21st century fashionable yellow!

So I have set out to see if I can use some of the resources on the web to identify when the picture below was taken, and see if I can identify the people in it.  I know it is part of the Heard/Laffare/Leach family, but who?

STEP 1 - Identify the photographer, and when and where he took photos.  A google search of historical photographers of England found a site with an alphabetical list of photographers.  I found Cumming, John Thomas that could be the one, in a list of English photographers.  I could not find any information about the photographer on the net, other than he was a photographer somewhere between 1840 & 1940 so struck out a bit there.

STEP 2 - identify the clothing timeline.  By assuming that the young girl in the middle row on the right may have the most 'up to date' clothing, I decided to concentrate on that first.

First step, Metropolitan Museum of Art - - search the collections.

I found these pictures of an 1888 Doll, Designer Pierre Balmain (French, St. Jean de Maurienne 1914–1982 Paris).  The inspiration for this dress was a design created by Worth for the Empress Elizabeth of Austria. Empress Elisabeth of Austria (1837-1898) was the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph (1830-1916). She was known for her keen fashion sense as well as strict health and beauty regimen.

Second step - search pinterest site and look through the board for A.1.9. 1901-1911 Edwardian.  This wonderful pinner has lots of photos, and they are often of more every day clothing. 
I found this group from 1905, and notice the hair is quite similar, and dress similar as well.
New Zealand circa 1905.

Looking through the photos, it appears that around 1910, the fashion for high necklines in England changed.

I had a look at the V & A collection,  you have a few more options to search the collections. so I narrowed down by years and womens daywear.  See below:

Looking through the designs I did not find exactly what I was looking for, but It is clear there was a change around 1900 to a more tailored type of outfit, and before that fashion looked like this:

So through this deduction, I think the photo was taken somewhere in the very early 1900's, at Aldershot.


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