Penrose with Miss Ad and her family as they set off on a cruise

Paula Sheridan, the author of Finding Penrose, shares this memory of family aboard the R.M.S. Windsor Castle.


Pictured from left: Penrose, Adeline Boyder (Miss Ad), her mother, Walter Boyder seated, Victor Boyder (Adeline's son) standing behind him, Qwen Boyder with Diane and Les Nielsen as children and to the far right is their mother, June Nielsen.

As I poured over old family photos, searching for glimpses into Penrose and Miss Ad's extraordinary bond, this particular image stopped me in my tracks. At first glance, it appears an ordinary snapshot - Miss Ad sitting comfortably while Penrose stands protectively beside her. But look closer, and you'll see so much more.

This picture was taken on the day Miss Ad and her mother were setting off on a cruise aboard the R.M.S. Windsor Castle, with loved ones gathered to see them off. In that crowd, embraced as family, stands Penrose - a man who, by unjust laws of the time, had no legal identity or rights. And yet, there he is, included and valued without question. I can only imagine Miss Ad insisting, "Well of course Penrose is coming to wave us off, don't be daft!"

In that simple gesture of unity amidst division, I saw the profound grace and resilience at the heart of their relationship. Despite the cruelties of apartheid surrounding them, Miss Ad's kindness created a sanctuary where Penrose's humanity could shine. Her warmth and acceptance were the threads that bound their found family together, often through sheer stubborn force.

As I imagined the hugs, well-wishes, and pride exchanged in those final moments before departure, I couldn't help but chuckle. Knowing my gran (Miss Ad), there were likely more than a few witty remarks and rolled eyes amidst the tearful goodbyes.

Yet, it was a scene that encapsulated their entire journey. Penrose's quiet courage. Miss Ad's unbending compassion coupled with her trademark irreverence. The unshakable bonds that tethered their spirits together through tumultuous times.

This is why their story demanded to be told. It's a poignant reminder that circumstances can never define who we truly are. Our identities live in the mark we leave through love.

From the tender smiles captured in faded sepia, I drew enduring inspiration. This image showed me that Penrose and Miss Ad's legacy extends far beyond their era - it's a timeless celebration of our shared capacity to forge belonging, even in a world determined to deny it.

Polaroid Restored

Using photo editing software to restore old Polaroid images, it restored the image of Penrose and Miss Ad, Paula's granny and her family.


Penrose and family on Windsor Castle restored to colour


Here is Penrose and Miss Ad cropped.

Penrose and Adeline in colour restore.