William Gerry

This is another exploration of the life of a man commemorated on the cenotaph in the churchyard of St James, Ogley Hay.  I chose this name simply because it seemed unusual for the area, but his story did turn out to be unusual.

Ogley Hay Cenotaph (south face)

William Gerry was a career soldier, but there are things missing from the records.  This is what I have found out so far. Continue reading “William Gerry”

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George Dorsett (in memoriam)

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St James, Ogley Hay, south side, 2016.

In just one month’s time we will be remembering the dead from two world wars and other conflicts.  Here is another of my humble efforts to find out about those commemorated on the war memorial that stands in the churchyard to St James, Ogley Hay, in my home town of Brownhills in the West Midlands. Continue reading “George Dorsett (in memoriam)”

Sinking feeling

I was sure I had posted this before, perhaps via Brownhhills Bob, but, try as I might, I can’t find it.

This is about the demise of George Carter (1859-1906), who was my grandmother Florence’s uncle and was a coal miner.  He died of injuries sustained in an “accident” at Brownhills No.3 pit, known as The Sinking, operated by William Harrison Ltd. I believe this pit was at Slackey Lane (now Hazel Lane), Great Wyrley, where the industrial buildings are today.

Continue reading “Sinking feeling”

X marks the spot

Prime Minister from Liverpool to May

I have featured this coin before. These pictures were the first I took with a new lens that acts as a short range telephoto (90 mm) and macro, or close-up. But what was going on when it was minted two centuries ago?

As mentioned in my blog about the year without a summer, 1816, the country was suffering. Wages were in decline, harvests failing, the price of grain rising and with it the cost of daily bread. There remained a surplus of labour following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. Continue reading “X marks the spot”

Publicans & Beer Sellers

Revised to inlclude download link.

This is a bit of hard core local history research, but it might be the sort of project that appeals to other family historians with heritage to do with pubs and beer houses.

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Prince of Wales, Watling Street, Brownhills.

For several years I have been building a dataset of public houses, inns and beerhouses, with particular focus on their proprietors, managers and keepers.  I have focused on the areas inhabited by those ancestors who lived near to my home, that is mainly Brownhills and Chasetown.  I have been in many of them at one time or another, those that were still open in my adult life.  Some were run at one time by Andrew’s Kindred – the “Pub Dennises“, some were, doubtless, frequented by others, and some grew up there.

You are welcome to download, share and add more information.

Continue reading “Publicans & Beer Sellers”

1939 and all that

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Rear view of 43 Chapel Street, Brownhills, by Joan Jackson.

A while back I looked at my father’s family as war approached – also 1939 and all that.  Now I visit my mother’s family, name of Brown, who lived at 41 Chapel Street.  Number 41 is the house beyond the hedge on the right of the painting.  The artist was Joan Jackson, who lived later at 43 with her husband Les.  Number 41 was where I spent the first year of my life and where my mother grew up.

I pointed out that searching the 1939 Register, online via Findmypast, can be a frustrating exercise, as the records of many people who are long dead remain locked because they have not been updated to anything like the present.  This time it would be more difficult.  I would have to break in by the back door.

Continue reading “1939 and all that”

Esme and the Nasty Twisty Bridge

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Burntwood Road Bridge. Ordnance Survey 1938 survey. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Esme Cynthia Dennis was a cousin I didn’t know I had. She was my second cousin once removed, one of the Pub Dennises – her father and his father ran the Royal Oak, Chasetown, which is why I had no idea of her existence.  Anyway, Esme was a posh name, to be encountered in plays or books about posh people, such as those lampooned by P G Wodehouse (Jeeves and Wooster).

Burntwood Road Bridge, to use the proper name, was dubbed the “Nasty Twisty Bridge” by my uncle Frank. It was a hazardous S-bend, where an important local commuter road, connecting Brownhills to Burntwood, crossed the canal. It was always a marvel that so few accidents occurred there.  Buses would knock chunks out of the brick parapets and there are still fallen bricks on the bottom of the canal. The high parapets obscured any forward vision for car drivers, who approached the bridge blind.

Continue reading “Esme and the Nasty Twisty Bridge”