Sweet home, The Cape

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Dulce Domum, in Occupation Road, near the corner with  Cape

Walsall Wood readers may well know of a house in Occupation Road in (or near) the area described as The Cape in a several articles here. The house is a pleasant cottage called Dulce Domum (Sweet Home), and has a fascinating family history that David Evans is exploring with the generosity of the family who lived there.

A good starting point on the subject is the post here last week regarding the Cape by Janet Davies Warallo.

I first noticed Dulce Domum a few years ago when it came up for sale, and I was fascinated by the ornate nature of the woodwork and exterior decoration. I’m so glad that pictures of that have survived – and it seems also that there’s an interesting family history housed within, too.

In what is the first of a series of articles, Dorothy Ruddock and Julie Whitehouse generously share with David Evans some family pictures and a plan of The Cape drawn by Dorothy from memory.

My thanks to all involved – if you have anything to add, please do: comment here or mail me, please – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

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A plan, detailing who lived where on The Cape, kindly written and provided by  Mrs Dorothy Stroud. Click for a larger version.

Hi Bob

I was delighted to see the comment of Julie Whitehouse on the  blog article ‘The Real Cape Crusader’.

Please find attached the details and names that her mom, Dorothy Ruddock has prepared for the blog, together with a few of her family album photos which may be of interest to readers.

There is an image which shows the Cape and its houses

My immense thanks go to Dorothy for allowing these images to be appreciated by readers and for allowing another part of our local history to be brought to light.

David Evans
September 2016

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Charles Ruddock with Granddaughter Dorothy. The rear garden of Dulce Domum in 1941… .and a certain corner bungalow

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Dorothy and William Ruddock, and in the background, the Cape and its houses. An amazing photo.

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Another view of Dulce Domum, minus  its famous geese

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‘1940, the Well’ at Dulce Domum

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16 Responses to Sweet home, The Cape

  1. I find this map very, very interesting. I remember the Ruddocks and lots of the families listed. My grandparents were Rosa and David Rowley, who lived next door to Mr. Mathias in Brownhills Road. Dolly Kingston and then Mr. & Mrs. Kingston and Harry, lived the other side and the other side but one.I remember Maretta she used to go to my grandma’s with someone who I think was probably her mother, selling pegs. I also remember the Teece family, with Hazel Teece, I think they may have lived in Occupation Road. Happy memories.!!

  2. Colleen Rose says:

    Hi Mrs Riddell. I am Hazel Rose (Teece) Daughter. Yes The Teece Family did live in Occupation Road. My Nan (Teece) lived at No 25. Nan’s house is no longer there. My Mum (Hazel Teece) & Dad (Rose) Brought No 19 Occupation Road. I do not know who lives there now though. Happy Family Memories growing up in Occupation Road…..

  3. Clive says:

    What lovely photos, big thank you to all involved in suppling the photos and sharing there history with us all.

  4. John Anslow says:

    An astonishing feat of memory by Mrs Stroud; thank you all for a most interesting post.

    I assume the plan refers to the immediate post-war years: the thatched cottage at Street’s Corner has been demolished, but Les Jackson has not yet built his bungalow. Looking into the 1939 Register, I searched for “The Cape”, “Brownhills” and found 21 households: many of the families are still there on Mrs Stroud’s drawing.

    Two things on her plan particularly caught my attention: the first was the word “Happy” written beneath the name Davis. I know it’s a long shot, but this wouldn’t refer to “Happy” Davis, the schoolmaster who taught my Dad in the early 1930s, would it? His wife taught me at Pelsall “Wesley School” in the 1950s.

    Secondly, the reference to a Romany Gypsy caravan being burnt following the death of its occupant. A similar event happened during the late 60s or early 70s when an extremely old Romany lady who lived in a caravan at Fishley died. Some readers may recall the event reported in the local press.

    • Julie Whitehouse says:

      Hi
      The lady on the well is my late auntie Jee , or Jean Wilson nee Ruddock, she was Robert & Beatrice’s eldest daughter . My mom Dorothy was the youngest, with Robert and Margaret in between . She actually had her wedding reception on the lawns behind Dulce Domum . The Dorothy in the picture with Will Ruddock was my mom’s auntie who she was named after . I will give my mom a ring later John and ask her about “Happy Davis” . When mom left Occupation Road in 2014 we estimated that the Ruddock’s had lived in the road for over 150 years give or take , mom was born there although i’m not sure if it was 33 or 35 I’m sure she will put me right ! only moving away for a few months after she married my dad , they then they moved to the bungalow on the corner where they stayed for 52 years .

  5. Hello Hazel nice to hear from you. I think your nan would remember my sister Heather Marlow better than she would remember me. I think she would also remember my nan and grandad Mr. and Mrs. Rowley.

    • Colleen Rose says:

      Sorry this is Hazels Daughter Colleen. Sadly my Mum Hazel passed away last April 2015. She did use to tell us stories about her growing up when she lived in Brownhills Road & Occupation Road. Its nice knowing that people still remember the days of the past. Best Wishes Colleen

  6. Sorry to hear that Colleen but nice of you to reply. I love seeing all this history it really takes me back to my childhood. The thing is it only seems like yesterday. I know everybody says that but it really does. Take care. Ann.

  7. Clive says:

    I was looking at the photo of Charles Ruddock and Gran Daughter, and was wondering were did he get all those rocks from as there is only sand stone round here, anyone notice the Staffordshire knot in the rockery garden?

  8. Julie Whitehouse says:

    Hi Clive
    It was always a family story that the rocks came from around the Chedder Gorge area , and that Charles had them shipped by train to Brownhills , then by pony and cart to his house ..but this could be an urban myth …The Staffordshire knot was a big deal in the family as Charles Ruddock served in the South Staffs regiment x

  9. Clive says:

    Thanks for the info Julie, now I know, it did make me wonder were all those rocks came from.

  10. aerreg says:

    re the the rocks i dont think it would be a myth i can recall when the bungalows were built i was about 16 years old and was working for the chase town electrity board who put the supply on in those days we used a rawlplug tool to fix the meter board and to this day i remember we thumpt and thumpt away to find the walls were not brick they were concrete blocks thanks for the memory the wise man built his house upon a rock god bless

  11. Dorothy Stroud says:

    The bungalows were made from concrete and re enforced blue brick . If you think putting a plug in was hard Reg , imagine what the poor men putting the patio door went through ! It took a whole week and four men to put it in .

  12. Carole ford says:

    My Dad Derek Casserley worked with Bob Ruddock at Aldridge Brickyard.Bob was married to Dorreen Harding. I found this story very interesting.

    • Julie says:

      Rob Ruddock was my granddad , Bob Ruddock , who your dad worked with was my uncle , and Robert Ruddock is my cousin , so the name came down three generations . Strangely my granddad wasn’t the first Robert born to Charles , his first born son was also called Robert but he died in infancy . I believe it was common practice in the day to re-use names due to high infant mortality .

  13. David veasey says:

    My great great grandmother lived at 22 cemetery road in 1914 her name was Sarah sagar I have my great grandfathers war records from the ww1 his name was Thomas sagar If anyone could find any info on them I would be extremely thankful I was hoping there is a headstone somewhere in Walsall wood village

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