Oh boy, is this a good one! I’ve been saving this for a wet weekend and I think, regrettably, we’ve now got one. My apologies to John and Paul Anslow for holding this splendid work back, but this is so special it deserves thorough attention from the local history crew, and particularly the Walsall Wood diaspora.
John Anslow has been a terrific help with Walsall Wood material in the last 12 months or so; his work on the Street Family and Streets Corner remain exemplary, and his contribution to the Dairy Farm topic was wonderful.
I present today a series of three photos, and a wonderful article with some remarkable detail. I’d like readers – not just the Walsall Wood Massive – to help here, please. Names, please, and recollections if you have any. Any suggestions as to the location of the back garden photo would be most welcome. Dates would be great for any image, particularly in relation to that fabulous bicycle.
Mr. F. Bradbury could pass for a Hipster in any modern city…
My huge thanks to John and Paul – I’m seeing some really high quality stuff coming through at the moment and this is stunning. Cheers so much. Material like this is what keeps the blog rolling and I’m forever grateful – and to David Evans, of course, who took time to visit John and chat.
Comment here, please, or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.
Hello again, Bob.
My brother, Paul, and I have been going through boxes of family photographs and scanning the best ones into my computer; if we find anything that might be of interest to you we’ll send it along. We shan’t be in the least offended if you don’t use it: you know best what is likely to appeal to your readers and whether or not it might trigger a discussion.
Some of the pictures date from as far back as the 1870s, and, as you know, many have strong connections with Walsall Wood (for example, Streets Corner, The Royal Exchange and Dairy Farm).
One album, containing some of the earliest photographs, belonged to out great-grandmother, Hannah Eliza Jackson (née Street, 1852-1935) who lived at the Thatched Cottage on Streets Corner. (See ‘Under The Thatch’, 23rd February 2014).
David Evans inspected some of the photographs when he visited Paul a few months ago and we don’t want to encroach on anything he might be preparing for you. That particularly applies to the set of images I’m sending today, which are to do with The Walsall Wood Colliery Band, about which David is obviously very knowledgeable.
The first is a group photograph of the Band, taken outside what was then the School attached to the Ebenezer Primitive Methodist Chapel on Lichfield Road. The date on the building is 1908, and the flat hats with their overhanging eaves, the bowlers, the straw boaters and the collars of the young men on the right suggest around 1914 to me. David might be able to offer a more precise date.
The second shows two bandsmen, Bill Tams and Jack Marigold, though we don’t know which is which; neither do we know where the photograph was taken. There appears to be a structure going diagonally up from the wooden outbuilding that could help with identification, though it might just be a trellis. You can spot Bill and Jack in the group photograph: they are on the front row, on either side of the bandmaster and the august gentleman in the centre.
Our grandfather, Harry Newbould (see Cattle Class, 30th April 2014) is the trombonist in the second row, fourth from the left, standing below and slightly right of the funereal gentlemen with bowler, moustache and winged collar.
Harry’s elder daughter, our Aunt Doris, was born in 1910 and told us that one of her early memories was of her father playing with the band; so that would seem to confirm a date of around 1914. The only puzzle is that for a building erected as recently as 1908, the facade of the school seems very grimy; the brickyards, however, were less than a mile to the South West and the smoke carried by the prevailing winds could have blackened the structure within a few years.
Also on the photograph is David Stickland, who Paul thinks might have been a cornet player, possibly the fellow next-but-one to the minister on the back row. Paul was at school with David Stickland’s grandson, also a David, who sadly passed away a few years back.
Our grandmother, Mary Jane Newbould (née Jackson), did point out the Colliery Manager, Mr. Bradbury, in the photograph, but neither Paul nor I can recall which he is. I have included a photograph from our great-grandmother’s album of Mr. Bradbury as a young man but, although we have studied both pictures, we still can’t identify him in the band; perhaps one of your readers might help.
I had always thought that the young Bradbury was showing off his new bicycle (quite a status symbol in those days) but Paul suggested that, as this was obviously a studio picture, the bicycle might simply have been a prop just as people pose with Harley-Davidsons today.
We should like to put a date to this photograph; someone knowledgeable in the history of bicycles or costume of the late Victorian era might be able to help us. I know from reading ‘The Diary Of A Nobody‘ that cycling was popular with what were then described as ‘the lower-middle classes’ around 1889, and the illustrations in the 1892 edition show men dressed similarly to Mr. Bradbury here.
This table lists F. Bradbury as under-manager of Walsall Wood Colliery in 1896. (We assume this was the pit known locally as ‘Dry Bread’, which was somewhere behind where Barons Court stands now.)
We don’t know why Mr. Bradbury’s photograph appears in the album or if there was a connection between the Bradbury and the Jackson families, but the album also includes pictures other folk who appear to be local dignitaries. Mr. Bradbury was clearly someone of local standing, though our grandmother was not impressed and dismissed him as ‘a bit of a monstink.’
I hope this will be of interest, Bob; we’ll send you anything else we think looks suitable in a few weeks’ time.