Postcards from the edge

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Watling Street, opposite the Rising Sun on a hand-tinted postcard postally used in 1912. Click for a larger version.


Who was Elsie Arnold? And what of Flo? Why was Flo away from home here? Click for a larger version.

Local historian Clive Roberts – documenter of the history of the Shire Oak Inn – has recently acquired these two postcards, sent from Brownhills in 1912 and 1914. Both are from ‘Flo’ to a Miss Elsie Arnorld, of 92 Station Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham.

Clive has been good enough to scan them an mail images for use here on the blog.

Both cards show local scenes – one of Brownhills West looking down the A5 Watling Street towards the Crown and Rehoboth Chapel; the other an initially dull shot of Norton Pool – Chasewater. It’s worth noting that the stillwater in the centre of the image is above the outflow culvert as revealed when Chasewater was drained.

The first card speaks of being ‘home tomorrow’, which suggests Flo was working here, or staying with a relative for some reason. Is perhaps Flo Arnold a name anyone remembers hereabouts?

I can’t decipher most of the text on the second card, which seems to talk of a chap named Alf being ‘sent for’ – I assume that’s conscripted. War had not long started. The dour picture on the card matches the written content. Any help reading that appreciated.

Thanks to Clive for donating such a lovely pair of cards. Anything we can find out about these would be wonderful.


Norton Pool – that’s of course, Chasewater – postally used in August, 1914. Worth clicking to enlarge for what’s on the skyline. I think this was taken from the dam, just near the spillway.

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I need help with this, please. Flo is again writing to Elsie, this time with a complete address. The card is dated August, 1914 – this is a missive in a country stood on the threshold of the Great War. Alf has been sent for – I assume that means conscripted, and few are talking about anything else – one supposes that means the war. I can’t read the stuff around the edges. Anyone good at reading old script? Click for a larger version.

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12 Responses to Postcards from the edge

  1. Pedro says:

    The address is given as 92 Station Road.

    In June of 1900 there is an advert for the sale of No’s 126/128 Station Road, and described as…

    Pair of small semi detached villas, pleasantly set back from the road, with dwarf stone wall in front.

    3 bedrooms, through hall, 2 reception rooms, kitchen, scullery, usual out buildings. Together with small paddock of land in rear. Area in all 1,957 square yards, producing £45 per annum. Ground rent £7. Lease about 97 years

  2. I have found 14 year old Elsie May Arnold on the 1911 census, living with her family at number 92, and employed as a domestic nurse – which would mean that she was a servant caring for young children. Alfred George Arnold is her older brother who works as a milk man on a farm. It seems that he survived the war, as an Alfred G Arnold gets married to Beatrice Bloore in Kings Norton in 1921.

    • A 14 year old Florence Arnold, who was born in Hednesford, was in service in Kings Norton in 1911….. It’s guesswork, but Flo could be Elsie’s cousin ( therefore knew and cared about Alf’s enlistment) and could have been visiting other family in Staffordshire when she sent the cards,,……….there are small nests of Arnolds in Clayhanger and Walsall Wood in 1911….

      • Thanks, Susan, that’s brilliant stuff, and exactly the kind of thing I was hoping someone could do.
        I’m glad that Alf appeared to survive the war. That phrase ‘sent for’ put a real lump in my throat. Although the story has no tragedy in itself, it feels tragic for some reason.

        Thanks to both of you for your contributions

  3. Pedro says:

    Beatrice Bloore is an unusual name??

    On the 14 July 1932 there is an entry in the Derby Daily Telegraph, which could have nothing to do with this, but shows the attitude to women at the time…

    Two jurors, one of whom was a woman, failed to answer their names at the Derby’s Quarter Sessions…Subject to explanation both were fined £2.

    The women, Beatrice Bloor of Church Gresley, was called again during the afternoon, and in an almost inaudible voice said she was a widow and had been to Derby only twice previously.

    Mr St. John Raikes, presiding, said “Some people regard it as a privilege to be jurors. Women were very anxious to get that privilege, and they must not abuse it. I shall not fine you this time, but you must attend the next time you are called.”

  4. David Oakley says:

    If Beatrice Bloor of Church Gresley had been a married lady, she would probably not have been in that position, as there was a property qualification, usually vested in the husband,
    She was therefore a widow with property. Had she lived in a Council house, or rented a house with less than fifteen windows, she would also have been safe from jury service, Archaic laws ?
    Not a bit of it ! This law was valid up to 1974.
    As women did not receive full voting rights until 1928, due largely to the Suffragette Movement, there may have been a tiny bit of rancour in the remarks of Mr. St.John Raikes.

  5. Andy Dennis says:

    It would be convenient and there are connections between Brownhills and Church Gresley folk and, indeed, there was a Beatrice Bloor in 1911 servant age 17 at Hartshorne, Derbyshire, which is but a stone’s throw from Gresley.

    However, there was at the same time a Beatrice May Bloor, age 13, with grandparents in Arsenal Street, Small Heath. She was born in Southsea.

  6. Andy Dennis says:

    For completeness the writing on the Chasewater postcard:
    Just a P.C. [postcard] hoping you
    are feeling better also your
    Ma’s Neuralgia. I hear Alf
    has been sent for. Isn’t it
    awful. You don’t hear people
    talking about anything else now.
    It makes one shudder. There
    doesn’t seem much rest for anyone.
    Give my love to your Ma and Dad
    kindest remembrances to Jen [? was there a Jennifer in the family?]
    fondest love to yourself, Flo.

    I am having a good time in
    spite of the weather. I have been
    well watered this time rain all [?] day.

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