The Thompson Family of Chasetown: What do you know?

William Thompson, Overman, the bearded gent in the bowler, and his brother Charles with the folded arms to the right. What a remarkable image.

It’s always nice to know the blog has helped a reader in some small way and today I can share with readers a fine email I’ve had thanking me for scanning and posting the booklet ‘Old Chasetown’ on the blog I back in 2016 for readers to download.

The real thanks are of course due to Stuart, who donated the booklet, and David Evans who scanned it for us!

Alan Thompson found the work, originally published in 1980 as a schools research project marshalled by Staffordshire County Council, invaluable in his pursuit of information about his family history. Alan’s Great Grandfather was Overman at Chasetown Colliery, and the book not only details this, but carries a photo of William and his Brother Charles, which has clearly been quite a find.

Alan wrote:

Hello Bob

I have recently been seeking information on my family history and was told that I should read the remarkable work on Chasetown, ‘Old Chasetown’ published by Staffordshire County Council as a local schools project in 1980 and posted on your blog several years ago for download.

On page 8 there is mention of my Great Grandfather William Thompson and his brother Charles. You can imagine my delight at finding not only this information but also the photograph.

The passing of respected overman William Thompson, as reported in the Lichfield Mercury of Friday 23 November 1923. Image kindly supplied by Alan Thompson.

I have recently found a rather good obituary piece on William would you have any knowledge on where he lived and if the church is still there?

Once the current restrictions are over I would like to visit the area. I have enclosed the obituary piece.

Thank you for posting the pdf file and for any information you can share.

Alan Thompson

Well, St Annes – purportedly the first church in Britain to be lit by electric light – is still there (well, it was last week…) and still an under-appreciated architectural gem: The cemetery is still opposite and will soon be full of gorgeous crocuses as it usually is in Springtime (if not already).

St Annes, Chasetown, is a remarkable piece of ecclesiastical architecture. Image from my 365days journal.

If you can help Alan with any details of his Great Grandfather or the Thompson family in general, please do get in touch: I’m sure many family historians currently confined to barracks will be only too happy to have a scout around the resources on Alan’s behalf.

St. Annes in springtime: Always a delight. From my 365days journal.

You can comment on this post, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my shirt on social media.

Thanks to Alan for his kind words and letting us know how useful he’d found the upload on the blog. It really makes doing this worthwhile. Thank you.

Here’s the original post, where you can read about ‘Old Chasetown’, and download your own copy free.


‘Old Chasetown’ includes some amazing images like this one, of workers in a local colliery.

Thanks to the immense generosity of reader and old pal of the blog Stuart, and the tireless work of the young David Evans, I can share with you something rather special today: a book on Chasetown history entitle ‘Old Chasetown’2, published in a very limited run – very probably  1980.

The book – very reminiscent of the slightly later Brownhills History one featured here a couple of years ago – was created mainly by school kids from three local schools with adult help. It’s over 100 pages long, with loads of good quality images – many of which I’ve certainly never seen before – and lots of interesting, engaging prose.

The introduction notes the following:

During 1979, three of the local Chasetown schools were involved in a project to “mine” historical records, documents and photographs of the area, which undoubtedly lay under the depths of “overburden” in drawers, trunks or in attics. Children of the St. Joseph’s, Chasetown Primary and Oakdene Schools acted as mining “agents”, and many “seams” of interesting material were discovered, unearthed and finally”mined”. As editors we would like to thank the children, parents and friends concerned for the interest shown. This little pamphlet is an example of child/adult co-operation which is the basis and substance of the educational style of today. The young learn from those experienced in life who have a story to tell. The enthusiasm of the young and the archives of those older have provided us with the material from which this selection has been made.

Reader Stuart found the book in his loft, and kindly shared it with the young David Evans, who has scanned it beautifully. David emailed me the scans, and I’ve combined them into a text-searchable PDF file. You can download your copy at the link below.

Old Chasetown (PDF file, 44.3 megabytes)

You can also peruse the first 20 pages in the gallery at the foot of this post; click any page to see a legible version.

This is now the complete version with the missing pages restored! If you downloaded a copy of the original, please download this one instead.

Like the Brownhills book, this is a remarkable work, completed long before the internet. That said, some of the material is open to debate, and I welcome views on some aspects – so if you see anything that makes you think, please do shout up.

Maybe you remember the book, or were involved in some way. I’d love to hear your story.

You can comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

This is an incredible piece of work, and I salute all involved – it’s great to be able to share it with the community. Thanks to Stuart for his immense generosity and patience, too. A real gentleman.

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2 Responses to The Thompson Family of Chasetown: What do you know?

  1. Stuart Cowley says:

    Glad the ook and article was of use. I still find it a fascinating read even now.

  2. Sarah says:

    I can help with this. My ancestors are Chasetown Thompsons.

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