Monday 8 April 2024

Still here and monitoring this blog

 Morning, just a short note to say I am still here and monitor this blog frequently. Although I haven't got round to adding more content this year. Life just gets in the way. 

So here is a photograph to go on with..

Hart family holiday

This is an old 1960s photograph. I must have been about 10 years old. It pictures my dad, brother and grandfather. How I wish I had talked to my grandfather and dad about their family history. They did tell me stories but as a child you tend not to ask questions. Both have now passed away. So these photographs are precious to me.

Monday 18 September 2023

Black Country Antique photographs - Can you identify them?

 Three old antique photographs from Walsall & Dudley in England.

Last week I picked up 3 antique photographs from a car boot. Interesting groups of people. A wedding, working men and , Can you identify any of the people, places or events? 

Edwardian wedding party from Walsall

Chidley photographers Leicester Square Walsall
This one above was taken by Chidley photographers based in Leicester Square, Walsall, England. The clothing looks to be from the Edwardian period and this photographer's Thomas Chidley was in the 1912 and 1928 Kelly's directories - however at two different addresses in Lichfield Street and not this one on the back of the photograph.
The photograph seems to show a wedding party with family surrounding. The couple look older and so this may be a second marriage. There are few men with only two others present along with the groom, then 9 women and 2 children plus a dog. This may indicate the marriage took place during the war years of WW1. Although the day looks to be dry, the weather did not look very warm. Who were they and what is the date.

Photograph of R Wilkes Cross glass works employees

R wilkes dudley glass works employers

Although faded this photographs shows the work force of Richard Wilkes glass manufacturer, based in 1912 at 27 Cambell Street, Dudley, England. The men all wore overalls and the picture includes 2 young boys seated at the front. Difficult to date accurately this photograph. A few of the men are wearing a bowler or derby hat with the rest wearing flat peak caps including the two young boys. A rare photograph of a firm in Dudley that made glass wear. 

A wealthy family photograph outside a large house 

wealthy family outside large house

There is no indication on where this picture was taken. But as I brought it from the same dealer at a car boot. I have added it to the Black Country blog. It is an unusual one as it is hard to decide what the occasion is? The very young girl in the front has her hand on a ribbon surrounding a floral display and two candle sticks. There is a floral basket on the table with a long ribbon sash and another floral display on the floor. There are 2 girls wearing a similar checked dress. So probably sisters. Has the young girl won a floral display competition? No idea who they are or where they are.  

Tuesday 12 September 2023

World War One Memorial at St Giles Church Sheldon Birmingham

 Men who died and are commemorated on the WW1 plaque in St Giles, Sheldon Birmingham.

A few days ago, we visited the church in Sheldon Birmingham, St Giles for the Heritage week event. We were able to tour around the church, climb the steep stairs to the belfry and actually rang the church bells. We have visited before but the WW1 memorial on the wall had a stand in front and so I was unable to take a photo. But I managed to take a photograph and when I went online could not find any information on the memorial. So I did a bit of digging and research over the rest of the weekend and today. It was not easy to find the men who died and are commemorated but I think I have it right. If I do not and you know differently please send a message via this blog and I can amend the details.

St Giles church sheldon ww1 memorial plaque

The marble plaque has 1914 and 1918 with "To the glory of God and in memory of those who gave their lives for their country" And below "Sons of this place let this of you be said. That you who live are worthy of your dead. These gave their lives that you who live may reap. A rich harvest ere you fall asleep" "It is better for us to die in battle than to behold the calamities of our people and our sanctuary" 1 Macc iii 59.

The names on the plaque are as following:

Ernest Bray

Robert W Bray

George Caldicott

Herbert Farrow

Horace Hawkes

James Hollins

Frederick Neate

Robert Neate

Leslie Reeve

Fred Symonds

George Townsend

William Townsend

Each of these brave men, I have taken a short biography on their family and where they lived prior to the war. 

Ernest Bray

Ernest is listed on the war graves site as Ernest James Bray from Birmingham who enlisted in Worcester. He died on the 2nd April 1916, KIA. A private in the Worcestershire Regiment. 1st/8th BN. No 2927. His mother, Fanny Bray is listed in his pension ledger. 

Ernest was the son of George and Fanny Bray that originally came from Hereford. In 1901, George Bray a wagoner on a farm lived in Hereford with his wife Fanny and children. Alice 14, Charles 12, George 10, Ernest 6, Edwin 4 and Arthur 1. By 1911 they had moved to Earls Lodge in Worcester. Now a cowman on a farm, George lived with his wife Fanny, Edwin 14, Arthur 11, Victor 5 and a granddaughter Emily aged 4.  Ernest appears to be living in Dewsall Court Hereford, a groom servant aged 16, living with a farmer called James Edwards.

In 1921, George Bray is a widow living in Tile Cross, Marston Green, Birmingham. Tile Cross comes under St Giles parish at that time. He has sons Arthur 21, Victor aged 15 and his daughter Alice now Alice Wier and her husband and family. George was a farm labourer aged 63. 

Robert W Bray

Robert William Bray was Ernest Brother. I can not find him in any of the census records living with his family. But his birth certificate states that he was born on 10th December 1884 at Grendon Bishop, Herefordshire. Father George Bray a labourer. Mother Fanny Bray formerly Pilliner. They lived at Westington Cottages, Grendon Bishop.  

Robert William Bray born 1884

In the war grave records, Robert William Bray born Brindon, Bishop Hereford enlisted in Worcester. He died on the 15th November 1916 aged 33 years, KIA. He was in the Worcestershire Regiment 1st BN number 23620. In 1912, Robert married Christina Emily Tyler and they had one daughter Christine Doris Bray. Robert's wife remarried in 1923 to an Alfred G Taylor, a baker and had another family. She died in 1969. His daughter Christine Bray married Arthur Price and had children. She passed away in 1978. 

George Caldicott

Although there are a few George Caldicott's in Birmingham. It was quite hard to find the George linked to St Giles. However found him at last and like many of the men on this memorial. The simple name inscription does not really give justice to them. 

George Caldicott DCM, MM was a sergeant and acting company sergeant major for the Prince Of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Reg) number 7995. He was born in Marston Green on the 17t July 1889. He was the only son of George a Yardley Corporation engine driver and Jane Caldicott nee Millard. In 1901 the family lived in the Mackadown area. George (his father) was then a sewage farm labourer. He had sisters Dora aged 17, Adelaide aged 13 who unfortunately passed away in 1905. George was just 11 and Nellie aged 9. George was educated at Yardley and joined the army in the 1905. Serving 3 years in England and 6 in India, he was discharged and become a rubber worker in Birmingham. Joining the reserves on the 7th March 1914, he married on the 14th March Maud Winifred Cross the daughter of the late Edward Cross a herbalist from Hampton in Arden. 

George took part in the retreat from Mons and later wounded. Returning to the front in March 1915. However on the 15th June 1917, he died from wounds received in action at Messines Ridge. He is buried 1000 yards East of Messines and is commemorated on Ypres(Menin Gate) memorial. Awarded the DCM September 1916 and MM June 1917. His life is recorded in the UK, De Mivigny's roll of honour 1914 - 1919 V3. See below

George Caldicott
I think he is also the G Caldicott inscribed on St Edburgha's Church memorial in Yardley, Birmingham. 

Maud remarried in 1919 to Ernest Tye a works fireman and had a son with Ernest called Arthur Tye. George Caldicott senior died in 1919 and his mother Jane in 1930. The family is buried at St Giles's cemetery.

Herbert Farrow.

Albert Herbert Farrow was born on the 25th August 1885 in Alymorton Norfolk. His parents were Jonathan Farrow, a gamekeeper and his wife Sarah Ann Farrow nee Mason, daughter of Thomas Mason. Herbert enlisted on the 10th January 1905. He was a private in the Coldstream Guards 3rd BTN, number 5335. Serving 5 years with the colours then 2 years in Egypt before joining the reserves. In 1911 he is living in Bickenhill and employed as an under game keeper. Marrying Amy Upton in 1912 on the 8th July. Amy was born in Sheldon and lived by the Chapel, High House Tile Cross, Marston Green in 1891 with her grandfather Henry Upton a farm labourer and worked as an assistant laundress. 

Herbert re-joined the army at the start of the war but died of his wounds in a field ambulance on the 3rd October 1915. He is buried at Mazingarbe, Bethune, France. 

Amy Farrow never remarried and in 1939, she is a daily help to her mother Harriet E Kelsey and her husband Charles Kelsey at 80 Park Hill, Harborne, Birmingham.

Albert Herbert Farrow

Luckily he is pictured on this synopsis of his life in this role of honour.

Horace Hawkes.

Horace Alfred Hawkes of Lyndon Green, Sheldon, Birmingham. He was in the 4th Worcester's number 40601. Born in 1895 in Leek, Wooten Warwick, son of Thomas, a gardener and Emily Hawkes of Lyndon Green, Sheldon. He died on the 23rd December 1918 - just 23 years of age.

1901, Horace aged 5, lived in Lyndon Green with his parents, Siblings Louisa E Hawkes aged 17, Charles T Hawkes aged 15, Edith Hawkes 12, Winifred A Hawkes 9 and Mabel H Hawkes aged 2.  

In 1911 at 15 he was employed as a domestic gardener. Living with his parents and two sisters Winifred Ada Hawkes aged 19 and Mabel Hilda Hawkes aged 12 years. He died in the UK in Leamington and is buried in St Giles Churchyard. However I did not take a photograph of the Commonwealth War Grave. 

Horace is also commemorated on the memorial at St Margaret's Church in Olton. 

James Hollins

James Piggott Hollins is the oldest soldier on this memorial. He was the hotel manager of the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Sheldon in 1911.

Wheatsheaf Hotel, Sheldon Birmingham

 As the temporary Quartermaster & Honorary Lieutenant 13th Service Battalion Liverpool Reg. He succumbed to valvular disease in France on the 3rd February 1916 aged 47 years old. He is buried at the Reninghelst New Military Cemetery in Belgium. 

James Hollins was the son of James and Elizabeth Hollins of Stoke On Trent. As a young man he worked for the postal service as a telegraph operator. Joining the old 8th Kings Own, Liverpool Reg. James spent 22 years with the army and retired 7 years ago in 1909. When the war broke out he volunteered but contracted rheumatism during the winter months. 

He was an all round sportsman and a fine swimmer & shot. He had connections with both Birmingham gymnastic club and Sheldon gun club. Married in 1891 in Stoke On Trent to Sarah Graham Hollins nee Williamson for 25 years. Their two children had died in infancy. 

 A sister in law Mrs Williamson was one of the passengers saved from the ill fated liner HMS Hesperian that was torpedoed in 1915 travelling from Liverpool to Canada.

 Frederick Neate

Frederick Neate was a private in the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry 1st BN number 10811. He died on the 24th September 1918 aged 25 years. He is buried at Trefron British Cemetery, Caulaincourt France. 

Born in 1893, son of Charles and Sarah Neate of Castle Lane, Olton Birmingham. From a large family of 12 children by 1911 with 10 children still alive. Frederick was a domestic gardener in 1911 living at Hatchford Hill, Coventry Rd, Birmingham. 

Robert Neate

The family also lost Robert Neate. of the 16th BTN of the Royal Warwickshire Reg. Number 22220. Born in 1885 and died KIA aged 33 on the 28th June 1917. Son of Charles and Sarah Neate of Castle Lane, Olton. Husband of Mary Neate nee Robert who he married in 1913 of 121 Warnen Road, Washwood Heath. 

In 1911 Robert 26 was on milk delivery living at 261 Washwood Heath Rd, Birmingham. A servant to Charles Robert, Dairyman. 

In 1921, their mother and father lived at Olton End Cottage, Dovehouse Lane, Solihull with 2 daughters and a son. Charles was a farm labourer at Olton Farm. 

Robert's wife Mary Neate lived at Warren Rd Washwood Heath with 3 other women who were boarders. She passed away in 1963 and did not remarry.

Leslie Reeve

Leslie Richard Reeve of Birmingham died on the 23rd April 1917. A private in the Royal Tank Corps number 206154 formerly Machine Gun Corps number 32101. He died of wounds in the Western European Theatre. Buried in Warlingt Court Halte British Cemetery, France

In 1901, Leslie lived with his parents Arthur Reeve a publican and his mother Alice and brother Arthur Stanley Reeve. He lived in a pub that looks to be the old Clock public House on the Coventry Rd, Bickenhill, though it is not named in the census.

In 1911, Leslie lived in Knowle with his uncle and worked in motor spares.

The family had lived in Elmdon and Sheldon for many years. Leslie's grandfather was a farmer in Elmdon. And his father Charles, a commercial traveller for a brewery died in 1929. 

Fred Symonds

Frederick George Symonds was born in Worcester in 1892. He was living in Marston Green at the outbreak of WW1. Joining the Royal Warwickshire Regiment 16 BTN, number 18200 as a Private. He died of wounds in France on the 19th of September 1916.  

 Son of William a cow man on a farm and Harriet. By 1911 the couple had had 7 children with 5 surviving. Fred at 19 years old was a farm labourer living with his parents. On the 25th December 1913, Fred was a witness at his older brother's wedding at St Giles. His brother Herbert Charles Symonds married Florence Parker. On the 10th May 1919, his younger brother also married at St Giles. Albert Henry Symonds married May Alice Smith. It must have been a bitter sweet occasion for the family to have their brother missing from this joyous celebration. 

George Townsend

Another family to suffer the loss of more than one son to this horrible war. Lance Corporal George Townsend joined the Kings(Liverpool Reg) 12 BN number 25397. George joined the army in 1915. He endure being wounded twice and 3 winters in France before his death. He died on the 26th of January 1918 in France aged 25 years. He is buried in the Villers Station Cemetery, Villers-Au-Bois, France. 

William Townsend

William John Townsend enlisted in Birmingham and lived in Sheldon. He also joined the Kings (Liverpool Reg) 18 BN number 25398. William was killed in action in France on the 18th October 1918. He was 23 years old. Just 2 years younger than his older brother. William is buried at Le Cateau Military Cemetery in France. 

George and William's parents were John and Harriet Symonds who lived in Tile Cross in 1901. John a wagoner on a farm had Ada 11, Annie 10, George 8 and William 6. In 1911 William is 16 a farm labourer living with his parents along Sheldon Lane, Sheldon. By 1921, the family were living at 6 Oak Cottages, Lyndon End, Sheldon. In 1939, John has retired and had had another son Wilfred in 1910.  

George worked as a servant in 1911 in the Briy Bells, Church Road, public house in Yardley. Living with the manager Walter Bagley and his family. This pub was later known as The Ring O Bells public house demolished in 2015.

I have researched many different memorials on here. However I have found this was one of the most touching memorials I have researched. Maybe because such a simple plaque did not convey the lives of the men listed. Or that the beautiful church has so much history of the Sheldon area and does not seem to have a lot of information on the internet. 

Any further info is very welcome. Please send via this blogs message link. I also post the churchyard grave stones inscriptions on Find My Grave website. A free resource for finding burial places across the world.

Monday 28 August 2023

Past postcards from Sheldon Birmingham and Birmingham

 Collecting old postcards from areas around Sheldon and Birmingham central

Brought a few more postcards yesterday from the car boot. There is just a blank diversion on the back of each with no information on who printed them. I add them to my family history information. So that I can actually see the areas my ancestors lived in and worked. 

The post office Coventry road Sheldon Birmingham
A view of The Post Office, Coventry Road, Sheldon, Birmingham, England. I can remember visiting a gift shop that was housed in something similar along the Coventry Road in the 60s. It was just passed the park now opposite the Tesco building. 
The three Horseshoes Hotel, Sheldon, Birmingham.
Now long gone and replaced by the Aldi supermarket building. The Three Horseshoes Hotel, Sheldon. Yes I have been in this building in the late 1970s and 1980s. Found out also that one of my ancestor's family was the landlord at one point.  
The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Sheldon, Birmingham
The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Birmingham, Sheldon. Still standing today and although the building can still be recognised. The road outside has changed beyond recognition. 
The Town Hall, Birmingham, England
The Town Hall, Birmingham, England opposite the Council House in the city centre. The area is now pedestrianised but I can remember when the cars were still allowed to go around it. Been to a few concerts in this beautiful building.
The Lynch gate
Amongst the postcards was The Lynch Gate. I am assuming it is in Birmingham, but there are no other details on the postcard. It is not in Sheldon as the Lynch gate there does not have the plaque above.
The Lynch gate enlarged inscription
Here is an enlarged version but still unable to read it. 
St Giles Church interior, Sheldon, Birmingham
This postcard is of the St Giles Church interior in Sheldon, Birmingham. Another link to my family tree on the Johnson side.
St Giles Church, Sheldon, Birmingham, England
This is the outside of St Giles Church in Sheldon. Planning to go to the open day in September. So will be taking photographs to see how it has changed if at all.
Postcards are a valuable asset to researching family history. Not only showing you places, but you may be lucky and find one sent by an ancestor. 

Monday 7 August 2023

Identifying my parents wedding photograph - Putting names to faces 1959

 Putting names to faces in my parents 1959 wedding photograph should be easy right?

No, wrong, Even with my one parent's help it has proven difficult. I wanted to have faces to add to my family tree on Ancestry. But some of the people who attended the wedding are not in any of the photographs and some are friends and neighbours that attended that unfortunately were on my dad's side and mom can not remember who they were. 

Here is the wedding photograph of all the guests 

Here is the guest list from the front of the album

Unfortunately not all the named people appear on the photograph and there are a few that are not on the guest list that just came to the church that are on the photographs.

section of 1959 wedding photograph,

From left to right: Morris's wife (dad's friend that lived in Shirley) With her 3 children below. Two girls and a boy. Top - Francis Michael Hart (1928 - 2007) with Mavis Bourne (1932 - 1962) beside him. In front of him is Mavis's mother Elsie Bourne nee Hayton (1896 - 1968) Below dressed in the pretty dresses are her grandchildren. Daughter's of her son Henry Mitchell Bourne, Harry (1916 - 1996) The lady just seen above the shoulder of Mavis Borne is Dorothy Rose Stokes (1930 - ?) who became Dorothy Horrocks after marrying briefly Raymond Horrocks (1921 - 1958) She went on to marry his best friend William Lee (1930 - ?) The pretty bridesmaid that doesn't look too happy was Margaret Miller nee Hart (1943 - 2018) She was 15 at the time. Just seen was Daniel Ward (1915 - 2004) at the top next to Mickey Tombs and his then girlfriend Barbara. The cheeky grinning boy in between is David Ward. The larger man was my grandfather Michael Arthur Hart (1898 - 1964) with the smaller bridesmaid in front who was Sheila Hunt (1954 - 2017) My grandmother Edith Hart nee Feege (1904 - 1989) is stood next to Michael A Hart. Behind them is Trevor Tombs and Edward Ward. To the side of Edith Hart is Maurice Tombs below him are Sheila Egan and Mrs Faulkner wife of Eric Faulkner. Both these ladies with their families emigrated to Australia in the 1960s. 

In this section of the main photograph is my father Brian Hart (1932 - 1995) Jennifer Hart nee Ward. Behind them is Dennis Horrocks my dad's best man. The lady in front of him we are not sure of but may be Florence Hands nee Inman (1889 - 1964) Next to Jennifer Hart is an unidentified man who can just be seen by her head. Then Cyril James Hunt (1922 - 2001) The lady holding the baby was Beatrice Tombs nee Ward (1910 - 1976) The baby is my cousin John Ward who became John James later in life. My grandmother Doris Ward nee Horrocks nee Hands (1901 - 1984) Behind her is possibly Ken garlic (dad's friend) and Percy Dearson who apparently allowed them to use his address so they could get married in the St Mary's church, Acocks Green Birmingham as they wanted. In front of them is Arthur Hart. Next to him is my beloved grandfather Joseph Richard Ward (1907 - 1990) In front of him is the other little bridesmaid Pauline Ward. Behind my grandfather was Scott William Dunkley ( 1897 - 1962) with his partner Ellen Ward (1912 - 1969) The older bridesmaid was Dorothy James nee Ward (1939 - 2008)

Onto the next but one section. Besides Dorothy James is Patricia Ruth Mary Hunt nee Hart (1926 - 2011) Below her is Elsie Ward nee Rayner  (1923 - recently) The 4 boys below who look to be enjoying themselves are Stephen, Michael and Andrew Patrick with Peter Hunt. Behind the boys are Mick Egan (dad's friend) Joyce Evelyn Patrick nee Horrocks (1928 - 2015) stands next to Mick Egan. Her husband Benjamin James Patrick (1920 - 1980) is next to his wife. 

Last section is showing Peggy Naomi Ward nee Oxley (1931 - 1997) with her oldest son Trevor Ward. Right at the end is Jimmy Ford (Dennis Horrocks best friend) 

On the guest list and missing are Dianne Powell who married George Tomlinson. Dianne was my mom's friend from work. Mrs F Chick, Dorothy Womble who married Ken garlic my dad's friend. Mrs P Hazlehurst was Janet and Pete who lived on Weatherfield Rd, Tysley, Birmingham. Neighbours of my mom. Also Joan Hands a cousin of my mom. 

I felt quite sad posting this photograph as many of my family have now died. But I remember many memories that I hope to preserve for my family and others. Looking at my own wedding photograph album, we have people on there that Neither of us recognise; and it hasn't been that many years..... Including the little girl my mother in law pushed forward to me as our photographs were being taken. Proclaiming she should have been a bridesmaid. I was annoyed to say the least. As I had to force my other half to have any bridesmaid's from his side of his family. He had initially said he didn't want anyone. He didn't know her but yet my endearing mother in law was jealous that I had more bridesmaids on my side than his!! 

Sunday 19 February 2023

Birmingham's unidentified photographs from the 1920s to today

 Birmingham/Manchester unidentified photographs from the 1930s and 1940s.

Wondering around the car boot and other second hand sales. I find many photographs that are do not have a name on the back or front and so remain unidentified. In this blog I will add the ones that I find with details of the photographer. Obviously if you know who they are - please contact me using the blog's form. There is an earlier blog dedicated to antique photos from the Victorian and Edwardian era - again taken in Birmingham, Manchester and other places in the UK.

Unidentified lady in photographs taken in the 1930s.

Both of these vintage photographs were brought at a car boot. They seem to have been taken at different times. But they look to be the same woman. The back of the top picture with the lady wearing a fur style coat is a post card. It has the date stamped across it as 17 January 1931. It is by Jerome who apparently had branches everywhere! The card wasn't posted. 
The lower photograph is showing this lady wearing an evening style dress with a crystal necklace. To me she looks a little older than the first one. She also has shorter more pin styled crimped hair. On the reverse it has Navana, Dale End, Birmingham and 8 Tib street, Manchester. There is also a number BE5644-3 Now this may just be the photographic studios identification number or the BE being this woman's initials and date taken of 5th June 1944, then 3rd picture in set???

I think the photographs were sold at a car boot sale near Manchester if that helps anyone? 

Sunday 8 January 2023

Birmingham Victorian and Edwardian people in photographs

 Our collection of Birmingham Victorian and Edwardian people in photographs

Although I buy primary named photographs and ephemera. I occasionally pick up unnamed photographs - just because they came from Birmingham or other areas local to where I was bought up. So I have decided to add these unnamed pictures to this blog post. Maybe someone will recognise him or her. Or just for general interest. Faces not lost in time but on display. 

This is the first gentleman of Birmingham.

Victorian gentleman from Birmingham England

T Pope photographer from Birmingham Victorian

A young man probably in his twenties or early thirties with generous whiskers that end in a short beard. With his Sunday, coat, tie and shirt. Displaying a watch chain. 

The photographer was T Pope of 86 New Street in Birmingham. T Pope was an artist and photographer. Haven't found much information yet on this photographer, but I wonder if he is related to Henry Martin Pope, Birmingham artist who married Phoebe Hands - one of my ancestors? 

Fuzzy haired Victorian lady Moseley Birmingham

Photograph by W Baker 110 Moseley Road Birmingham
Another unnamed photograph taken in Moseley, Birmingham during the Victorian times. It shows a young lady who has quite frizzy hair and is probably in her late teens. It was taken by W Baker of Highgate Studios 110 Moseley Road in Birmingham, England. Number 913A 
Victorian man brother look a like photograph

A Letale photographer Victorian Birmingham England
This portly gentleman photograph, I actually brought from eBay. He looked so like my late brother and as the photograph was taken in Birmingham. I think it may be an ancestor. Taken by A Letalle (from Paris) who too photographs from 58 and 59 New Street, Birmingham, England. Someone has added to the top, died 18 April 1880. Still working out who he may be!!

Just pop back soon for any updates added.