Reading with Mother

Recap from last time. This is a transcript, with analysis, of handwritten notes by my mother, Barbara Dennis, in about 1972.  Again, mother’s words in italics.

Grandad also made a lot of wine: potato, parsnip, elderberry, dandelion, coltsfoot. I remember helping him gathering bags and bags of flowers and also yarrow growing on the pit mounds and on the common.

I like to make wine, though I stick mainly to blackberry with a bramley apple and a few home-grown black currants thrown in for a mellower flavour. Sometimes I use kits like Wilkinson’s cabernet sauvignon. I wonder if there is some genetic link or whether just knowing of the possibility led me to try. I remember from childhood that mother, as well as her mother’s recipe book – she was a cook at a large house in her days of service – had Daniel’s wine recipe book, but I have no idea where either went after she died back in 1982. I reckon publication of a genuine Edwardian recipe book would be quite lucrative if released in the run up to Christmas.

Oenology corner at Common or Garden Wines

Part 2

In 1937 he married Louisa Mycock on February 11 at Walsall Wood Church age 72 years. He went to live at 27 Brooklands Road. Mrs Mycock already owned this house, a double fronted house. One downstairs room was used as a fish and chip shop. He still carried on digging the allotment at Stonnall in Cartersfield Lane [and] also dug and planted at rear of home; kept pigs and fowl. Later he was a gravedigger at the cemetery which was nearly opposite 27 Brooklands Road.

The entry of marriage confirms. I remember mother telling me that she was put to work peeling potatoes for the chip shop and was rewarded with a portion of chips. David Oakley recalls the chip shop.   Thanks for your comment, David.

Lived at Brook Cottage, Hilton?

Yes. He was there in the 1911 Census.

Gertrude Carter was 11 years old when they went to live at Leigh Cottage, Stonnall. Mrs Mycock lived at the school house which was at the other end of the road.



A mental map showing Leigh Cottage in Stonnall. The road top right (heading north) is Wall Heath Lane. Also the Ordnance Survey mapping, surveyed 1921, for comparison; reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Daniel Carter was also a newsagent besides digging his large garden and allotment and full time job and papers had to be delivered to quite a large area – from the top of Castle Hill to the top of Shire Oak, down Sandhills to Barracks Lane, including Lynn Lane and Upper Stonnall. Gertrude Carter did deliver quite a lot of these for her father. This was during the war when there was a shortage of younger men.

This was during the First World War. Gertrude would have been 11 years old in 1913-14, when they moved to Leigh Cottage; they were still there in 1926 when Daniel’s mother died. When Gertrude was married in 1928 she was living at Watling Street, Brownhills: this could have been 123 or 47 Watling Street, where Gertie and Bill were living in 1939 and 1944. Later they lived at 45 Chapel Street, where I remember visiting as a child on the way home from school.

Daniel Carter and his wife Sarah Elizabeth (Greatrex) outside Leigh Cottage, Stonnall, Staffordshire.

He left Walsall Wood when his wife died and went to live at 45 Chapel Street. 27 Brooklands Road was sold and the money divided Mrs Mycock’s nine children (see will). He lived at 45 Chapel Street for 5 years. He died there in August 1950.

He did indeed die at 45 Chapel Street in 1950. I have a copy of the will – Daniel did not benefit and I recall mother saying this caused a certain amount of ill-feeling.

Mrs Joan Jackson remembers that he always used to say ‘[if] I can hear Brownhills clock striking it is going to rain; the wind is in the right direction’.

This is nonsense. I don’t say Daniel never said this, but I have studied meteorology, and the prevailing winds that bring rain blow in from the Atlantic Ocean, generally from the south west or west, which would carry the sound of the bell away. Southerly winds, that would carry the sound of the bell, cross western Europe and sometimes north Africa, and tend to bring dry weather.

Daniel was evidently an interesting man, someone I would like to invite to that imaginary dinner party, along with other long dead people like John Harrison (Longitude), Harold Lloyd, Dorothy Paterson (pioneering nurse), and Queen Boudica, with Professor Michael Wood to translate.  Would they get on?  Imagine Boudica trying to get her head around Harold on that high rise building site!  Hmmm …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s