Lisa Downes, great friend of the Brownhills Blog, got in touch with her family information soon after I posted her remarkable restoration of Daryl Preston’s wonderful Royal Oak 1915 photograph. There was a wealth of interest in Lisa’s handiwork, and I can honestly say that few posts on The Brownhills Blog have been so enthusiastically received. On the day of posting, the blog achieved over 1,000 hits which is a remarkable achievement.
Lisa is after some information here, and it would be nice if readers could return the favour and see what can be found. I know there are plenty of folks here from Walsall Wood, and also a few who like a bit of a challenge, so lets see what we can come up with.
It’s worth pointing out that Lisa has also restored these photos, which seem almost to call down the years. The original versions of the Miriam and William Holden Senior pictures are linked beneath, for comparison. If you’d like to ask Lisa about photo restoration, please mail me at brownhillsbob at googlemail dot com, and I’ll forward you her details.
See the original of Miriam’s portrait here.
The attached photos are of my great grandfather, William Holden, his daughter Miriam and his son (my grandad) William… Most of the older people in Walsall Wood may remember my grandad William Holden, Cag to his mates, who used to be the local window cleaner, his wife Ruth used to work in the Cafe in Walsall Wood and also the Red Lion.
My great grandfather, according to family oral history, came to England from Ireland in the mid to late 1800’s as part of a larger Holden family. Soon after arriving in England, some of the family decided to go on to America and some wanted to travel to Australia, so the family split up. My great grandfathers part of the family decided to stay in England. They were proper Romany Gypsies and they travelled in a caravan pulled by a piebald pony. The family travelled through Walsall and my great grandfather got off the caravan in Clayhanger and said he wasn’t going any further.
Soon after he met and married a woman called Louisa Johnson and according to the 1901 census they lived in Friezland Lane. After a year William and Louisa had a daughter called Harriet who died in infancy. Some time before 1910, Louisa left home (there is a story behind this split, but out of consideration to Louisa’s family who are still in the area, it’s best not to say anything). In the 1911 census William is listed as living in High Heath with his house keeper, Jane Boundford (nee Baggott) and their child Miriam. In 1912, Jane and William had another child, my grandad William. Sadly, Jane died 2 weeks later. Jane’s death was registered by Harriet Beddow who was her aunt.
Jane’s parents were Alice Carpenter and John Baggott. John died in 1889 and within a couple of years, Alice married Albert Beddow, who lived on the Canal Side in Walsall Wood and is listed as a canal boatman in the 1901 census. Albert’s brother Joseph was married to a lady called Hannah, who I believe is the person who registered Jane’s death.
Do any of your readers know of any of the Beddow family still living in the area? I am particularly interested in descendants of Joseph and Hannah or Albert Beddow as they may have access to photographs of my great grandparents. I know so little about my Holden roots, that any information, no matter how small, will be gratefully received.