The splendid photo below contains a great deal of detail, the most remarkable of course being a stern John James Britton's futile attempts to hold the baby's head in the long exposure. It's very unlikely that a professional photographer would have allowed this error to see the light of day, so we can only speculate about the identity of the person behind the camera.
More certain, though, are the names of the characters in the photo, and I leave Robert Hughes – who, along with Sandie Coomber, I thank for making possible the publication of this picture – to give the details:
'The house was almost certainly 2 Drayton Terrace, Melton Rd, Belgrave, [Leicester]; or alternatively 12 Melton Rd (according to the 1891 census).
I have found that street numbering sometimes followed small groups of properties such as terraces, and sometimes followed a larger scheme such as a whole street, but there is no reason to suppose that these addresses were anything other than one and the same.
On the left is Herbert Eyres Britton (1883–1940), later a published writer and poet.
Seated is Maud May Britton, formerly Coward (c.1858–1946), said to be the daughter of James Eyres Coward, ship's surgeon. She was John James Britton's second wife.
On her lap is Elizabeth Hilda Dorothy Britton (1889–1966), later Dorothy Viner or Dension-Viner or some variation of this spelling.
The child with the spinning head has to be Reginald Ernest James Britton (1887–1981), later to be a canon in Canada after service in the Navy.
Below right is Ruth Elise May Britton (1885–1925), who became a health visitor in Birmingham.
Right is Ethel Alice Britton (1860–1936), the elder daughter from John James Britton's first marriage (to Catherine Erskine Smith). She married Thomas Perkins (1893–1907), vicar of Turnworth, Dorset, and friend of Thomas Hardy.
To the rear, of course, is the man himself: John James Britton (c. 1832–1913), Solicitor of the Supreme Court and self-proclaimed "literary man" (1891 census).
John James was the father of Richard Britton, who died tragically young, and the (paternal) grandfather of Lionel Britton the playwright and novelist, whom family tradition held to have spoken 22 languages.
The date of this photograph is almost undoubtedly 1890.'
The photo below was taken in July 2009, showing the facade of 12 Melton Road, Leicester.