Family snapshot

I am humbled, yet again, by another great contribution from the readership. The wonderful photograph below was scanned and sent to me by reader Caz, longstanding reader and contributor to the Brownhills Blog. I haven’t got anything to add, Caz has written this up beautifully, but I’d just like to say that I think the girl seated second right has a really cheeky smile.

The Cole family, circa 1903. There are few more children in this image than you originally think. Thanks to reader Caz for the photo.

Hello Bob,

I hope you don’t mind me sending you this picture, but I think it’s a wonderful photo of a typical Brownhills family taken about 1903. I don’t know whereabouts in Brownhills it was taken but all of the children lived and died in Brownhills and I know some of their children still live in Brownhills – I’m hoping they won’t mind me sharing the photograph with you. I’m sure there are many grandchildren, great grandchildren and probably great great granchildren who live in the area but who know nothing of the existence of this picture. If you decide to post it, and any of them see it, I hope they will enjoy it and love it as much as I do. I don’t know where or who it came from, but I was extremely grateful to be given a copy in 2006 by a cousin who was researching our family tree.

The picture is of Elizabeth Cole (nee Davis), my great grandmother, who lived in The Avenues, and some of her children.

From left to right, I believe they are Jane (known as Gin) who married ‘Teddy’ Edward Turner and they lived in Chase Road, near Ogley Corner.

Next is Gert Cole who is a bit of a mystery as she isn’t listed on the 1901 census but I recall my Gran talking about her and one of my Aunts was also nicknamed ‘Gert’ – Possibly after her Aunt?

The youngest child on the horse is Arthur Cole who lived in Bricklin Street.

The older boy is Edward ‘Ted’ Cole who lived in Great Charles Street.

Next is my Grandmother Florence Isabella, who was known as ‘Bella’ and she married John Carpenter. they lived in various homes around Brownhills, including Chase Road, Lichfield Road, Castle Street and last but not least is Ethel May who lived in the Avenues with her husband William ‘Bill’ Pickering.

There were other younger children including Percy and Harold, who both died young, Alfred and Charles Victor, known as ‘Vic’ who many ‘Brownhillians’ will remember from Poxons butchers as the white haired man who worked there well after retirement age and the baby of the family was Francis John, known as Jack.

Best wishes


Please be assured that I use all such contributions here on the blog – if you take time to send me material, I will use it. Photos like this are part of our collective history, and getting them out there to as many folk as possible is why I do this. If you have anything to add, please comment here, or send your contribution to brownhillsbob at googlemail dot com. It’s all valuable, however insignificant it may seem.

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6 Responses to Family snapshot

  1. oakparkrunner says:

    Regarding the photograph of the Cole family. When I was in the Fire service at Brownhills, one of the retain Firemen was Frederick W Cole, but was known as Tommy Cole. He lived at No 1 Chase Road, on the corner of Lichfield Road. He worked full time as a brick layer for Brownhills Council, and part time as a retained fireman. I wonder if he is a relative?

  2. clive says:

    Lovely photo Caz, I was a Brownhills Import back in the 50s, so I don`t have any local family photos of this area, so its lovely to see contribution from the readers. keep em coming.
    Best wishes Clive.

  3. Caz says:

    Thanks Bob and Clive , for your lovely comments and Bob,my Gran cheeky? perish the thought. I thought she looked quite shy. lol
    She always had a lovely smile and lived to a grand old age of 90, loved and very much respected by her whole family.

    Hello Oakparkrunner,I’ve never heard anyone talk of a Tommy Cole, but it’s quite possible that he is related.Jack never married, but Ted, Vic and Arthur had children and apart from Arthur [Junior] I don’t know their names.Percy died of T.B [I think] aged 24? Harold was only 16 when he died so no children there and Alf had four sons from what I can remember,but none called Tommy or Frederick.
    His one son died tragically, aged 3?, after being hit by a lorry and is buried in a grave along with his grandmother Elzabeth [the mother in the photo] and my grandmother ‘Bella’. My own Gran had 11 children and there are now so many decendants, over 5 generations, that I could probably pass them in Brownhills and not know we’re related. lol

    I forgot to mention the horse’s name was Toby.Don’t know who it belonged to, but their Dad was a miner,so not a wealthy man.I thought that they lived in Lichfield Road, Brownhills based on the 1901 census but on checking, the children are listed as being born Walsall Wood. I do know that they moved into the Avenues though so whether this was when the houses were built 1920ish is anyones guess.

    Best wishes Caz

  4. Lisa Cole says:

    Thanks for posting this photo Caz, I’m a granddaughter of Alfred and have very fond memories of him and my Great Uncle Jack, is fascinating to see the picture and family resemblances this far back, and read the comments. I’ll try and get a print made of this for my Gran ( Alfred’s wife Helen), who is still living in Brownhills, where the rest of the family remain. Any more info would be much appreciated! Best wishes

  5. Caz says:

    Hello Lisa, so glad you like the Photo. I was a little bit sceptical about sending it to Bob, because [1] I don’t own the original, and [2] I was unsure if living relatives of the family may not like the idea of it being on the web. But I thought it was such a wonderful old photo and I know that there must be literally hundreds of descendants out there who like me would love to have a copy. It’s nice to know that it will now spread to another branch of our family. It’s the only photo I have of my Gran ‘Bella’ as a child so I treasure it.
    The photo came to light after Aunt Edie died and we [Bella’s grandchildren] got talking about how we seem to meet up more now for funerals than celebrations. One of my cousin’s decided to try and compile our family tree, for which I will be eternally grateful for, as he also unearthed a photo of my Mom’s little sister Yvonne who’d died aged 4. Mom was terminally ill at the time and died just 8 weeks after Edie, but it made her day to see that photo…it brought many tears and memories with it.
    I too have some lovely memories of Great Uncle Jack, he was a true Gent.Your family keep his grave lovely.
    Yes, I know where your Gran lives, I’ve visited my Great Aunt ‘Nell’ in the past and I used to see Sandra to speak to regularly, as my Mom lived nearby.I hope your Gran and the rest of the family are well. Does your Gran know anything about ‘Gert’ as she’s a bit of a mystery…not listed on the 1901 census, but there’s a child listed, a bit younger than my Gran called ‘Job’? I’t’s difficult to read and we have wondered if it should read Ted, but his name was actually Edward, so not sure?
    I have my Moms photo’s and have been trying to scan and eventually copy them all. I’ve seen some which include Great Uncle Jack and a wedding photo with possibly Alf’s children on….maybe your Dad? I don’t know if we’re allowed to pass our Email adresses on via the site but if Bob doesn’t mind and we can, I’ll try to send you copies.
    Best wishes Caz

  6. Lisa Cole says:

    Hi Caz, asked about Gert but no-one seems to know anything sorry, good luck with tracing the family tree, lisa

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