If you thought that the Awkward Family Photos phenomenon was a recent invention, think again.

For as our slideshow below proves, the ritual of gathering a family together and uniting it in its awkwardness has been around for an awfully long time.

So sit back in your rocking chair, hold on to your bonnet, and prepare to smile-slash-cringe at some of the loveliest, funniest, WTF-est vintage family photos we could lay our silk-gloved hands on...

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  • Everything was so perfect, Arnold hadn't even noticed that his hat had fallen off.

  • Sadly, there was always one who had to wear 'the stupid hat'. No, wait - two!

  • A rare shot of the young Bucks Fizz in rehearsal.

  • Frozen to their chairs in fear, the family hadn't even realised that the house had burned down around them.

  • Four children on an ostrich. Not odd. Not odd at all.

  • Proof that even ye olde tyme photographers sometimes caught people with their eyes shut.

  • Fun fact: Camels originally come from Minneapolis, and were only later sent to Africa!

  • There's always one person who's not looking at the camera, isn't there?

  • It could have been worse. He could have been wearing socks.

  • An early shot of the Waltons. Or is it the Osmonds?

  • Family days out were a blast in the Petrov family.

  • Now we can't be sure, but we <em>think </em>this photograph might have been staged. (Clue: the waves are clearly created by a wind blowing in the opposite direction to that which is demonstrated by the flag. Also: the dog is wearing a hat.)

All images: Alamy