So, what’s with the dog, lads?


A remarkable image. For starters, four tough looking lads with a distinctly not-tough looking dog. Why were these lads photographed for a card, and is this in fact Brownhills? From a car for sale on eBay by seller ‘Interestingpostcards’. Click for a larger version.

Here’s another in the occasional series of interesting local postcards for sale on eBay that raise more questions than they answer – the above image is described as ‘SUPER-1916-EDWARDIAN-MEN-IN-CAPS-BROWNHILLS-RP-PHOTO-VINTAGE-POSTCARD’ – which seems at least to be accurate.

I’m intrigued as I’d love to know if the picture really is local, and if so where was it taken and who’s in it – and considering the no-nonsense appearance of the gentlemen in the image, that seems like a bit of a weedy dog. What’s that about, then?

Notice also the two ‘ghosts’ – someone is at the window behind, and to the right someone seems to be disappearing into the doorway.

I have a theory, but won’t share it yet. I want to see what you guys think…

If you like this, you can buy it from dseller ‘Interestingpostcards’ here.


The flip side of the above card. Usual help translating appreciated, please. Click for a larger version.

Also, it’s not new images, but they are in good quality on a card whose design I’ve not seen before – the following card from seller ‘mica’ here. In particular, I’ve not seen the canal image in such clarity before.

Anything to add? Please feel free. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!


A relatively late postcard of Brownhills – while I’ve seen the individual images before, I’ve not seen this montage. Card for sale on eBay from seller ‘mycab’. Click for a larger version.

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22 Responses to So, what’s with the dog, lads?

  1. Victoria Owens says:

    Here is a partial reading, Bob, though a number of words are so faint they defeat me – others may manage better. It is a sad-sounding message. Here is the note. My typed version follows the line spacing of the original:-
    How is the dog
    the cat is all
    right I will
    send the not[e]
    later on, mar
    about the length
    of a [illeg] — off [to] bed now
    ————————————good night [about half way down]
    Dear mar and all
    ————just a few
    lines to let you know we
    are going on in the pink
    Lily hasant been to work
    today Tuesday and Eva
    is bad in bed so I have
    sent Lily to the
    [illeg] so I am alone

    The name/address side reads: Mrs Paxon [?], no 1 Lawrence Street, Stoke-on-Trent

    I’ll be interested to hear your theory about the picture.

  2. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    the building is interesting…….a beer barrel……and an odd entry, possibly whitewashed…..and step with criss cross block flooring
    Does not look like the sort of brewhouse entrance that my grandma’s house and another house I knew had..Walsall Wood..and unlike one In knew in Hednesford Rd Brownhills…this Brownhills, that is.!
    What breed of dog is it, by the way?Jack Russells, Staffies, and whippets were the norm hereabouts, werent they?
    kind regards

  3. John Anslow says:

    Hello Bob,

    Just been consulting two good friends who are very knowledgeable about canine matters. They reckon the dog is a pale cream Pomeranian.

    They tell me that Poms had become very popular, with the Pomeranian Club being founded in 1895 and Queen Victoria’s Pom ‘Marco’ appearing on the cover of Our Dogs Magazine shortly afterwards.

    Ordinary working men of that time often took pride in showing small animals such as dogs, cage-birds, poultry, pigeons and rabbits. (We have to think about what would have been practical to keep in a small house or perhaps just a rented room.)

    A prize-winning animal would bring a certain kudos to its owner, and perhaps a little money, so it’s not so surprising that we find such a little dog with these hefty fellows. I wonder if this dog is indeed a champion, and that prompted the photograph to be taken.


    John Anslow

  4. Andy Dennis says:

    Thanks, Bob, interesting.

    1911 Census index – S Poxon, 1 Lawrence Street, Stoke.

    1911 Census – Samuel Poxon, 31, miner coal, born Brownhills. Wife Sarah Ann (married 5 years), 2 children born Attleborough, Warks and 1 born Stoke, Arthur Edward – coincidence? But 3 Lawrence St.

    1901 Census. Have not found Samuel jnr, but family at 1 Lawrence St, Shelton, Stoke.

    1891 Census. Samuel, 11, with father also Samuel, 39, coal hewer, born Brownhills. Mother Elizabeth Jane, 32, born Hanley.

    1881 Census – Samuel, 1, with parents Samuel and Elizabeth, at Ironmongers Building, Watling Street, Hammerwich; I think that was between Howdles Lane and Castle Street.

    Many miners left Brownhills in the 1880s. Some went to the Chesterfield area, but it seems Samuel went to Attleborough, Warks (Nuneaton) and then Stoke.

    The letter refers to Lily and Eva. In the 1911 Census, Lily Poxon, 6, is with parents at St James place, Brownhills. No Eva, but she might have been younger. Mother was Annie Poxon, 34.

    Mrs Poxon (“Mar”) in Stoke was Elizabeth Jane formerly Roberts. in 1911 at Brownhills there was a John Norman Roberts, son. I think it is safe to assume that Annie was formerly Roberts and was writing to her mother. The addressee, I suggest, is Mr S Roberts.


    • Good heavens, that’s incredible. Thank you. Blows my theory out of the water.

      I was idly speculating that this might be Brownhills near Longport, Stoke, as the pattern of the house didn’t seem local.

      But then, St. James Place was I think, quite dense housing.

      Thanks so much,


      • Andy Dennis says:

        I wondered about that, too, and you had me worried for a moment there, but the clincher is the 1881 Census, which gives Elizabeth’s birthplace as Hanley.

        • No, I’d say you are definitely right.

          With that, Victoria’s great transcription and the info on Pomeranians from John, it’s really lit the whole thing up!

          thanks folks

  5. The canal one I can date to post 1954, the photo being taken between 54 and 61 as the company existed for those years and the decoration was in good nick so I would suggest its late 50’s. The boat nearest camera looks to be named TERN and in recent years has been restored back to stunning condition. Some photos of her now here

  6. Clive says:

    Hi Bob, as anyone noticed there is somone looking out from behind the curtains!

  7. Andy Dennis says:

    Is it reasonable to suppose that the people pictured would mean something to the recipient? The young men look a bit like Peaky Blinders!

    • I think so. There’s no other reason I can think for them to be on a postcard.

      Wan’t it one of those things photographers did – offer postcards for family photos?


      • freeboprich says:

        That leaves me wondering which one’s Samuel, assuming he’s pictured? Guessing he’s the guy on the right if he’s 37 at this point, as the census would suggest, seeing as how the others are all a bit youthful…

    • Pedro says:

      Peaky Blinders from Brownhills! Somebody once told me “…the dialect is indeed unique to Brownhills (and Staffordshire – and definitely not Brummie!)…”

      Nearly got my ears boxed!

  8. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Love this blog, I really do! Cheers to all the sleuths, bless ’em
    kind regards

  9. I have a photo of just the canal scene. “Published by A.W. Bourne, 32 Babingley Drive, Leicester.” But no date. I think it came from Downes in the High Street but can’t for the life of me remember when.

    One boat is “TERN” as mentioned and I think I can make out “Willow Wren Canal Company Ltd.” (and like many boaters has a bicycle on-board).

    The boat to the right of it is “Shoveller” and may be “Registered at Birmingham No. 1522”?

  10. Andy Dennis says:

    There is something odd here. There were five sons in all: Joseph H (born 1877), Samuel (1880), John (1882), Edward (1884) and Raymond (1889). In 1901 both John and Edeard were “soldier in the army”. As far as I can work out none of the five served in WWI.

    At the time the post card was sent (the picture could be earlier) Joseph would have been 39, Samuel 26, John 24, Edward 22 and Raymond 17. I suggest those pictured are all brothers given similar features, such as nose and chin.

  11. aerreg says:

    just a point has it already been been spotted and old news but isnt the name onthat postcard POXSON not POXON another comment has brownhills stoke on trent appeared again in days gone by photgraphers would rent a front room for a day just to take family photos god bless

  12. Ruth lane says:


    I think these maybe my ancestors. Check out this link. I think somethings match. Lilian was my great grandmother.

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