Burntwood Family History Group
   Home      Journal 2016 01-03 Volume 24 Number 1
Extracts from Burntwood Family History Group Journal
 
 
 
 
 
January - March 2016
 
 
 
 
Vol 24.1
 
Contents of this issue.
 

From the Chair 1
Ol’ Time Religion – USA Style 2
Stuck – a Case Study 3
My Thanks to Everyone 4
Bletchley Park 5
Reviews of Guest Speakers’ Talks
 You can’t abdicate and eat it 6
 Jabez Cliff and Co., Walsall Saddlers and Loriners 10
Life as a Career Soldier 14
A Day Out to Chesterton 16
Bad Advice from Victorian Women’s Magazines 18
This issue's cover photograph 19
Useful Addresses 20
Transcriptions on CD Available for Sale 21

From the Chair
 
 
A warm welcome from the ‘Big Chair’ – the first one this year. Firstly. some good news: the group’s finances are still in a healthy state at present, so there is no increase in subscriptions for 2016. Your subscriptions for 2016 were due in January and are still £8 for single membership and £12 for couples. Thank you to everyone who paid their subscriptions so promptly – you’ve made our Treasurer, Chris Graddon, a very happy man! This year, we are planning several trips to different events so look out for these. One is a trip to the ‘Who Do You Think You Are Live’ Show at the NEC Birmingham. This year, it is being held over three days: Thursday 7th, Friday 8th and Saturday 9th April. Should you wish to go, please state your preferred day. The cost of the trip will be determined by the size of the coach and the number of people wanting to go. Last year, a group of 12 of us went on a minibus and thoroughly enjoyed our day out.
 
We are also hoping to run a trip to The National Archives at Kew, maybe in conjunction with Cannock Wood Gardening Guild as we have in previous years, with their trip to Kew Gardens. Again, this will depend on numbers interested. Entrance to The National Archives is free, so the cost will be for coach travel only. In the past, people have used the trip to go into London itself, so if you want to do that, it’s fine, as long as you make it back to Kew before the coach leaves for home.
 
Should there be any suggestions for other places to visit, please ask, and if there is enough interest from other members to make it financially viable, we will organise it. The format of our Thursday evening research nights is going to change in an attempt to boost attendances. Instead of an informal meeting, we are planning to introduce some talks on how to improve research techniques, etc. If there is a subject you would like to be covered, please let one of the committee know and will attempt to do it. I wish you all a successful year in tracking down your ancestors, however elusive they are. Steve Bailey, Chairman BFHG 2015–2016

Ol’ Time Religion – USA Style

In these pages, we have often featured humorous errors, typos or double-entendres from church newsletters – but they all pale by comparison to these quite genuine signs erected outside churches in the United States. No-one does accidental irony like our American cousins!
 
Forgiveness is swallowing when you want to spit – New Song Community Church.
Surely I come quickly. Amen! – New Bern Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Rev Wesley Bourdette. He touched me! –First Baptist Church.
You don’t enter Heaven until Jesus enters you – Bethany Baptist Church.
A 4-inch tongue can bring a 6-foot man to his knees – Word of Life Church of God in Christ.
Bored? Try a missionary position – First Lutheran Church.
In your right hand there are pleasures forever – Forest Hills Evangelical Free Church.
Don’t dishonor your father by sleeping with your mother – unnamed US church.
 
Stuck – a case study by Keith Stanley

I enjoy watching ‘Who do you think you are?’ on the BBC. I do have a small gripe, though. The celebrity (or, more accurately, the small army of unseen researchers) never seems to hit a dead end. No one ever follows a trail, only to find that it is the wrong one. The parish registers always exist. There always seems to be a straightforward way of determining which John Smith is the right one. It makes me wonder if they should produce an outtakes programme. A few examples of blind alleys, undecipherable records and unresolvable ambiguities would reflect the reality of family history research far more accurately. Let’s face it: we all find ourselves ‘stuck’ at some point. There is a lot of knowledge and experience within the membership of BFHG. There are a number of ways to make use of this collective wisdom. One option is to come along to one of the Thursday evening sessions. Emailing selected people to ask for help is another possibility. I would like to suggest a third option: write a short summary of the problem for publication in this magazine. You never know who might be able to help.
 
The case study: known information

Patrick Stanley (my Grandfather) was born in March 1883 in Roscommon, Ireland. His parents were John Stanley and Bridget Scott (source: birth
certificate). No record of the marriage has surfaced; nor have records of any other offspring from this marriage. John had been married at least twice before. Some children from the earlier marriages moved to Dewsbury, Yorkshire. At the time of Patrick’s birth, John was in his early 60s. I am pretty certain that John died, in Roscommon, in 1898 (source: a civil record, in the right place, right age, with the informant being Bridget Stanley). The 1891 census for Ireland does not exist, having been burnt in a fire. Patrick does not appear on the 1901 Irish census, nor on the British one. Patrick next appears when he joins the Yorks & Lancs Militia, at Pontefract, in August 1902. The papers state that he had been living in Dewsbury for the ‘last twelvemonth’ (source: Militia Attestation).
 
Less than six weeks later (2/10/1902), Patrick signed up for the Manchester Regiment, also in Pontefract. He served eight years (to October 1910) in the 1st Battalion, with four more on the Reserve list (source: Patrick’s Army record). At the time of the 1911 census, he was back in Dewsbury. He was staying with his ‘sister’, now a widow (Mary Muldoon). Actually, she was his half-sister. Two months before his time on the Reserve List expired, the First World War started. Patrick was recalled. He was 31. He was first wounded in October 1914.
 
Unknown information

My father says that Patrick left home at 9 years old (about 1892), and roamed around Ireland with his brothers. He then went to sea at age 13 (about 1896) (source: family folklore passed on via his mother). This might explain why he was missing from the 1901 census. Where can I find any evidence to substantiate this story? He is supposed to have met one or more brothers while in the Army, but only he
survived. There are over 300 soldiers with the Stanley surname on the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. About half can be eliminated (e.g. son of George and Doris, etc.). How can I narrow the search down further? (I suspect that offspring from his half-brothers’ own marriages may enter the equation). Patrick’s mother also disappears from view. There is a woman called Bridget Stanley on the UK 1901 census in Manchester. She is recorded as age 40, single, and is living as a boarder (the householder would know that there was no husband, and hence recording her as single makes sense). She would have been in her early 20s at the time of Patrick’s birth. If this is the right person, it might explain why he joined the Manchester Regiment, when all of the family connections were in Yorkshire. However she seems to disappear. I can’t find a death or a marriage. She doesn’t seem to reappear in Ireland either. Any ideas?
 
I have filled a lever arch file with search information. I have lots of information on the names and dates regarding the ‘known’ side. What I lack is fresh inspiration. Can you help?
 
My Thanks to Everyone by Pam Woodburn

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those of you who have been so kind to me since Neil died. The flowers that I received from the members of the Group were really beautiful and lasted a very long time. It was lovely to see so many of you at the funeral. It was very kind of you to come. Finally, thank you for all the cards. I can’t believe how many I have received and still they are coming! The messages that they contain have really moved me.  I imagine that I shall be back at meetings before too long and look forward to seeing you all then. Best wishes, Pam
 
Bletchley Park by Pam Turner
 
Recently, on a short stay in Bedfordshirewhile visiting our son, my husband and I paid a visit to Bletchley Park, home of the WWII code breakers. Initially, the day didn’t start too well, after our SatNav decided to send us on a tour around the town of Bletchley, culminating at a dead end and disused gate (so much for modern technology!). However, after asking a passer-by, we eventually found the main entrance and parked the car.The entrance into the Park is quite unassuming; to be honest, it doesn’t look much like a tourist attraction from the outside. But once inside the main reception, area things are very different. The cost to go in did appear rather high (£14.75 for Concessions), but this price entitles you to an annual season ticket, which is valid for as many visits as you would like in the 12 months following your first visit, and makes it a more realistic proposition. The first part of the attraction consists of a visitors centre, where there are many exhibitions detailing the story of Bletchley, including films and sounds, giving you an insight into what wartime Britain was like. From here, you then proceed outside into the Park grounds and can explore the mansion house and some of the iconic WWII code-breaking huts and blocks, again with highly atmospheric soundscapes conjuring up how it would have sounded during wartime. All these buildings are sited in very pleasant grounds, including a small lake.
 
Also in the grounds was the National Radio Centre, operated by the Radio Society of Great Britain in conjunction with Bletchley Park Trust. After viewing the historical story of radio communications, we spent a fascinating 45 minutes talking to two volunteer radio enthusiasts, who gave us an insight into what is happening in today’s world of radio, including satellite tracking, and how they are involving schools into their projects. All in all we stayed over four and half hours, and only got to see about half of what was there, so the annual ticket is definitely a bonus, as we shall need at least one more visit to be able to see everything that is on display. I would definitely recommend this worthwhile attraction to anyone thinking of visiting. Even though it is depicting a time in fairly recent history, it is a fascinating story and, for me, it brought to life the wartime era in a very realistic way.

Reviews of Guest Speakers’ Talks. Reviewer: Sheila Clarke

 NOTE: The reviewer aims to give those members who were unable to be present a flavour of the talk; it is not a verbatim account. While making every endeavour to be as accurate as possible, there are occasions where dates or names are misheard and, while facts in the public domain can be verified, other information cannot. We apologise for any shortcomings.
 
October 2015: Mary Bodfish on ‘You can’t abdicate and eat it’

As a small girl, Mary Bodfish was interested in the lives of kings and queens. Her interest was reignited when she saw the series Edward and Mrs Simpson on TV. She set out to find out as much as possible about the events which caused consternation in the Establishment, and the two people whose romance led to Britain having a Queen as head of state. Much has been written about Edward VIII and his love affair with Mrs. Wallis Simpson, which led him to renounce the throne. There have also been several plays and films purporting to tell the ‘real’ story. However, Mary found that there have been distortions, suppositions and even downright lies, particularly about Mrs Simpson; that she was really a man, was a lesbian, and that she had an abortion when living in China. Mary feels that by looking at the lives of the two protagonists before they met, we can see how their upbringing formed their characters and the way they led their lives. First, Edward. He was born on 23rd June, 1894, the eldest son of the future George V and Mary of Teck. His father was gruff and strict, and his mother rather inhibited in expressing affection to her six children. His family called him David, the last of his seven Christian names. Edward had a scrappy education, and never read for pleasure. During WWI, Edward joined the Grenadier Guards, where he served with keenness and enthusiasm, but was disappointed to be unable to serve at the front. After the war, he visited Canada, Australia, India, and Africa. His visits went down well and he developed good public relations. He was concerned that many of the ex-servicemen were unable to find employment after WWI, and took an interest in workers’ housing. However, out of the public eye he showed signs of immaturity. From the age of 22, he was ‘always in love’, and had a string of affairs and fleeting liaisons. He seemed to have a particular penchant for married women. While in the army, a liaison with a French prostitute led to her trying to blackmail him. He had a 15-year affair with Freda Dudley-Ward, a ‘thoroughly nice, decent woman’, but married. From 1930, he had a relationship with Thelma, Lady Furness, also married. At her house, Edward was introduced to her friends, Mr and Mrs Ernest Simpson. Edward took to visiting the Simpsons in London, and would stay chatting to Wallis until the early hours. A heavy smoker and drinker, and not attuned to the feelings of others, he was ill-informed and ignored the views and advice of his father and courtiers.
 
In January 1934, Thelma went to see her sister in America, and asked Wallis to look after the Prince while she was away. When she returned in March, she found that she had been replaced in his affections. Wallis and the Prince were seen together at social events, and she was a frequent visitor at Fort Belvedere, the Prince’s country house, later acting as hostess there. The couple holidayed together abroad, which was reported in the foreign press, but newspapers in Britain maintained a veil of silence. His behaviour alarmed his parents and the establishment. On 23rd January 1936, George V died. At the news, Edward was said to have sobbed. However, he maintained that he wanted Wallis to be his wife, and set out ways in which he could achieve this. He was not lazy, but showed himself to lack self-discipline, and had no long-lasting civic duty. He hated pomp and regalia, and craved privacy. He was inconsiderate to his staff and avoided matters which he did not want to deal with. In short, he behaved like a perpetual adolescent. Wallis was born Bessiewallis Warfield on 19th June 1896, in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. Her father, Teackle Warfield, died of tuberculosis when Wallis was a few months old. Throughout her youth, Wallis and her mother were poor relations, having to rely on the charity of richer Warfield family members in Baltimore. This insecure existence must have affected her ambition. A rich uncle paid for her to attend the most expensive school in Maryland, where she became known for her vitality, neatness and quick wit. She had already dropped the ‘Bessie’ from her name. Though not beautiful, she grew into an attractive young woman who could exploit masculine
weakness to her advantage and was able to make friends with those who could elevate her social status. While staying with friends in Florida in 1916, she met and fell in love with a dashing US Navy aviator, Earl Winfield Spencer Jr. Six months later, they married. Earl turned out to be moody, alcoholic and violent. The couple separated for months at a time. They moved from San Diego to Washington, DC, and then Winfield was posted to China. Wallis lived ‘alone’ for many years. They divorced in 1927. Wallis came to England and stayed with an old school friend. She met Ernest Simpson, an Anglo-American shipping broker who was married at the time, though estranged from his wife. After his divorce, Ernest and Wallis, then 32 year old, married. Ernest was kindly and sensible, if a little dull. He indulged his wife, and was flattered when they were included in the Prince’s circle. They were initially both amused when the Prince took to calling in at their home at any time, and staying until all hours.
 
What was, in the beginning, viewed by Wallis as a mild flirtation that would soon fizzle out, developed into an obsession on Edward’s part. When he became King Edward VIII on the death of his father, she often derided him on his lack of commitment to his duties, and told him that he should be his best and do his best. The more she castigated him, perhaps in an effort to make the relationship come to a speedy end, the more he became infatuated, showering her with presents and jewellery. Wallis possibly wanted to keep her easy-going husband, but Edward made it clear that he intended to secure her by marriage. On 27th October 1936, Wallis obtained a Decree Nisi, and it was then that the British press broke their silence. The King summoned the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, and told him he intended to marry Wallis and abdicate. He
also informed the Royal Family of his intentions. Queen Mary was aghast, and the Duke of York (later George VI) was horrified because of the implications for his daughter, Elizabeth. Previous meetings between the Royal Family and Wallis had not gone well, and she was openly disliked by some, including the George’s wife, Elizabeth. The proposed marriage of the King to Mrs Simpson was opposed on religious, legal, political and moral grounds. Wallis was considered an unsuitable wife for the monarch, not solely because she was twice married, but because both spouses were still living. At that time, the Church of England did not allow divorced people to remarry if the ex-spouse was still alive, and the King, as titular Head of the Church, was expected to follow the rules. The Archbishop of Canterbury felt that the King should go. The marriage was also opposed not only by the British government, but also by the governments of the dominions of what was then still the British Empire. Edward had suggested a morganatic marriage, but Baldwin said that that, too, would be unacceptable. By now, Wallis had fled to the south of France to stay
with friends. She even telephoned Edward to say that she would give him up so that he could remain King. However, Edward had already decided to abdicate. On 10th December 1936, he broadcast his decision to the British people, saying that he would be unable to carry out his responsibilities as King without the support of ‘the woman I love’. He had been helped to compose his speech by Winston Churchill. The Instrument of Abdication was signed by Edward’s brothers, including Albert (later George VI). To date, Edward is the only monarch to have abdicated the British throne voluntarily.
 
After Mrs Simpson’s Decree Absolute, she and the newly titled Duke of Windsor were married on 3rd June 1937 at the Chateau de Condé in France. There was no family present, and Wallis was never given the title ‘Her Royal Highness’. The Duke at first thought that, in time, they would be able to return to England to live. He pleaded poverty, but his finances improved when George VI bought the leases of the Sandringham and Balmoral estates. He was given an income of £25,000 per annum. Looking at their life together, they seemed to live a trivial, shallow existence. They had no interest in arts, or science, and had no hobbies. The books in the libraries of the houses they rented and borrowed were there for show only. Their time was spent between Paris, the south of France, and the USA. They partied and socialised; the Duchess ensured that she always looked wonderful in haute couture, with gorgeous jewellery to match, and she ensured that their houses were stylishly decorated. Like many in the British establishment at the time, the Duke admired German industry. Against Government advice, they visited Germany and met Adolf Hitler. When war broke out, Churchill, who had stood by him earlier, thought that the Duke could be targeted and used as a German pawn so, at his instigation, the Duke and Duchess were sent to the Bahamas, where the Duke was to take up the post of Governor. Wallis called it a pathetic little job in a ghastly backwater, and felt that it was their ‘St. Helena’. However, she worked in the Red Cross while she was there. After the war, a house was leased to them at a peppercorn rent in the Bois de Boulogne, by the city of Paris. In 1952, George VI died, and the Duke of Winsor attended the funeral. He, together with the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent, followed the gun carriage. For the next 20 years, the Duke and Duchess continued their life of shopping, socializing and partying, dividing their time between three homes. In May 1972, the Duke died of throat cancer, probably caused by smoking. The funeral, held
at St. George’s Chapel Windsor, was attended by the Duchess of Windsor, the Queen, and other members of the Royal Family. The Duchess stayed at Buckingham Palace. The Duke was buried in the Royal burial ground at Frogmore.
 
Wallis lived on at her home in Paris for another 14 years, becoming increasingly frail, blind and, eventually, paralysed, bedridden and unable to speak. Her lawyer Suzanne Blum controversially assumed power of attorney, and dealt with all her affairs. Wallis died in April 1986 and was buried beside her husband at Frogmore as Wallis, Duchess of Windsor. Her will was never published, but Maître Blum had her jewels auctioned by Sotheby’s Geneva, raising £31 million. The proceeds went to the Pasteur Institute in France, instrumental in discovering anti-retrovirus drugs, which have done so much in counteracting the Aids virus. Mary Bodfish’s account of the events leading to the Abdication in 1936, and the
lives and characters of the two people involved, give us an insight into the fundamental values which existed at that time. Society’s values have changed so much since then that we have difficulty understanding how people felt at that time. We can see that once a course of action is begun, it is often difficult to stop. As the Duchess of Windsor herself said, ‘You have no idea how hard it is to live out a Great Romance’.

 November 2015: Cliff Kirby-Tibbits on ‘Jabez Cliff and Co., Walsall
Saddlers and Loriners’


Cliff Kirby-Tibbits was the sixth generation of his family to be involved in the Walsall saddlery business. Jabez Cliff and Co. is well known as one of the most successful and longest surviving saddle makers in the area; a family business spanning two hundred years, from1793 until 1993. In 1750, George, a boot maker, left his home town of Stafford to seek his fortune in Walsall. He and his wife Elizabeth had five children but only his son, also named George survived. George junior became an apprentice bridle maker in 1793.Cliff reminded us that the life of an apprentice could be very hard. The young men could be severely beaten and mistreated. He pointed out one advantage, that an apprentice could not be press-ganged into the army or navy; a possibility at this time of the Napoleonic wars. George, too, had several children, but again only one, Jabez, survived infancy. Jabez carried on the family tradition. Horses were still the main form of transport, so equipment connected with this was of prime importance. In 1873, Jabez set up his own saddlery business, Jabez Cliff and Co., in Portland Street, Walsall. At first, he employed five men and occupied only the ground floor. Jabez had a good business brain and became increasing successful. He required more space, so rented more floors, and was finally able to buy the whole building. In 1881, Jabez and his two sons died during the typhoid epidemic which raged that year. Surviving were his wife and daughter, both called Mary. At that time the company employed 11 men. Mary, in her early twenties at the time, was determined to keep the company in the family, so dealt with the bank and kept the business going until she married skilled bridle maker Frederick Tibbits in the following year. They are the great-great grandparents of Cliff Kirby-Tibbits. At this time, Walsall companies supplied the majority of saddles, harness and tackle to the British army. The companies had become rather blasé, bidding only for contracts which would give them the most profit or a long run. In 1881, it was realised that orders were going to companies in other parts of the country, leaving local firms supplying only 30% of the army’s requirements. A meeting was arranged between local manufacturers in the area, where they looked at recent military requirements. It was realised that some enquiries generated no bids at all from Walsall manufacturers. To halt the decline in orders, the firms decided that there would be a Walsall company bidding on every enquiry from the military, and companies would help each other out if spare capacity was needed to complete a large order. This strategy was successful, and the quality of the Walsall workmanship ensured a return of orders to the area.
 
In 1890, Frederick began importing sewing machines from Scotland, as and when he needed them and had the space. He had leather luggage and belts designed, and sent samples to customers on a sale or return basis. They were an immediate success, as were the golf bags, which needed special and large sewing machines, two of which Frederick invested in. The company’s half-set bag was still being made into the 1990s. In 1902, their only son, Jabez Cliff-Tibbits, joined the company. The firm received a letter from the naval department in 1903, which rather intrigued them at first. It transpired that a golfing naval officer felt that the company could supply them with bags to hold torpedoes when they were being loaded into the hold of a submarine. At that time, torpedoes were supplied in wooden boxes, surrounded with wood shavings, which made a mess and were constantly having to be swept up. The company was able to supply what was needed using leather and wood, with beryllium copper fastenings to avoid sparking. Nearby, at the Globe factory in Lower Forster Street were the highly regarded saddle makers, J.A. Barnsby and Sons. Jabez Cliff-Tibbits put in a bid for the company, which was accepted, and the two firms merged. Saddles retained the prestigious Barnsby label, while the high-quantity bridles were manufactured under the Cliff name, creating the saddlery brand Cliff-Barnsby. The company expanded into Germany and Russia, using the services of Sydney Stone, a man who had been brought up in Austria, where his father had been the head coachman of the Crown Prince. Jabez Cliff-Tibbits had met him on the Orient Express, when Sydney Stone was at a low ebb because his young Russian born wife had recently died. Jabez mentioned the company’s expansion plans and Sydney Stone asked to be considered for the post, as he was a fluent Russian speaker. The company successfully exported into Russia, including supplying the Russian Royal family, bringing in the equivalent of £4½ million.
 
In the run up to World War I and the Russian Revolution, Jabez realised that the firm needed to diversify and find other markets and products. He saw that any company that could produce a reliable football which kept its shape and did not tear would become the major supplier. He looked at how footballs were being produced at that time, and noted that football manufacturers did not allow for the differing amounts of stretch possible along the width of a hide, compared with along the length. Sections of leather were being cut and then jumbled together before they are sewn. The company decided to stretch the hides after every process to ensure an even finish, and then to keep the sections for each ball together and on the same plane. All this was undertaken in secret, so that the footballs could reach the market before competitors knew about their process. This strategy was successful and the Globe non-tear football became very successful and was patented in the 1920s. The company supplied footballs for Cup Finals, the World Cup and the Olympics. Cliff told the story about how Jabez went to Russia just before the revolution to aid Sydney Stone in selling as much of the stock remaining there at any price they could get, because ‘cash is king’. They were successful in disposing of most of the stock, but found a long queue outside the bank. When they finally stepped inside the bank, the doors were hastily closed; and as they reached the counter banging could be heard outside. A cry came up for all foreigners to leave from the back door, as the Bolsheviks were outside. Back at their hotel with bags packed, there seemed to be chaos and there was no one at the desk. They hastily left without paying their bill. The perilous journey home involved a train journey to Murmansk followed by three changes of ship. Cliff commented that there was probably money belonging to the company in a bank in Moscow; unfortunately, they do not know which bank! During the war, vehicles using internal combustion engines were used, but in comparatively small numbers. Most methods of transportation still relied on horse power. Many thousands of horses were conscripted for the cavalry and for drawing gun carriages. Many horses died in battle, while others suffered from debilitating injuries. In the later stages of the war, local supplies of horses dwindled, so horses had to be imported from the Americas. The large number of horses involved needed a constant supply of leather saddles and harnesses, and iron bits, spurs, stirrups, Walsall hooks, and mountings supplied by the loriners. Jabez-Cliff and Co. were major suppliers, although they, along with other companies, suffered from a depleted workforce as the men volunteered or were called up. Women were called upon to take the menfolk’s places.
 
After the war, times were hard, but the diversification kept the firm going. Cliff’s father, also called Jabez Cliff Tibbits, joined the company in the late 1920s. His grandfather was twice Mayor of Walsall, and in 1947 he was knighted for his services to the town. One morning in 1982, Cliff was in the factory at about 8.30 in the morning, before anyone else. The telephone rang; it was someone from the War Office. They asked if Jabez Cliff and Co. could supply saddles and allied equipment at short notice. The terrain in the Falklands was unsuitable for motor transport, so the army had to rely on mules. Cliff rang around to order the raw materials and organised the workforce, so they were able to fulfil the requirements quickly. Jabez Cliff and Co. has supplied ceremonial and equestrian products to the British Royal Family from the time of Queen Victoria, but did not have the Royal Warrant. They found that this was because they had supplied everything free of charge. All they needed to do was to present a bill, which they did in 1989, and they were then issued with the Warrant as saddlers and loriners to the Queen. The firm have also supplied the armed forces and various police forces; ceremonial products for the funeral of Princess Diana, and the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and they have exported their goods all over the world. After moving to new premises in Aldridge Road, the listed factory in Forster Street was earmarked to be converted into a medical centre. There were problems with vandals, and on 15th August 2011 the old Jabez Cliff factory was destroyed in a fire. Cliff told us many amusing anecdotes during his talk. They had a fine craftsman who, at exhibitions and country fairs, worked on his handmade saddles at the front of their stand, paying no attention to the general public. He was so absorbed in his task that he had a long talk to a member of the Royal Family without raising his eyes and without realising who he was talking to. At an exhibition in Sweden, two beautiful young women came onto the stand and asked if they could try on the jodhpurs that were on sale. Instead of using the changing room provided, they stayed where they were. They began to take off their jeans, but they were wearing nothing underneath. The saddler paid no attention to the young women. He continued working, in spite of all the other people on the stand telling him to look up. In the end he did so, and afterwards said that he thought he had died and gone to heaven!
 
An episode of Dalziel and Pascoe was recorded at the old Globe works, which changed Cliff’s sceptical view on ghosts, compounded when, during a visit from ‘Most Haunted’, some of the equipment was damaged by a catastrophic electrical surge. Cliff Kirby-Tibbits brought along examples from his own collection of the goods for which Jabez Cliff and Co. were renowned in the past. We could see what fine workmanship was involved. He mentioned that the leather available today is inferior, because most cattle are slaughtered before reaching full maturity, at around three years old.

Life as a Career Soldier  by Chris Graddon
 
Charles William Graddon 24 Jun 1863 – 14 Jul 1942

For most of his life, my grandfather, Charles William Graddon, served his country as a career soldier, steadily working his way up through the ranks from the time he joined the Commissariat and Transport Corps as a Private on 12 January 1882 at the age of 18. He was 5 feet 9 inches tall, had a 36¼ inch chest, a fair complexion and dark hair, and his trade when he joined up was as a saddler. After eight months training, his first posting abroad was to Egypt, where he served from 16 August 1882 to 27 April 1883, which earned him the award of the Egyptian Campaign Medal and the Khedive’s Bronze Star. The next 16 years of Charles’ military career were served ‘at home’, a description that included Ireland, as that was then subject to rule from London. In one of those periods in Ireland, Charles married Rosetta Colegate on 25 January 1887 at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Kingsland Park in Dublin. During this 16-year period, Charles’s good conduct, efficiency and reliability saw him promoted to lance-corporal in March 1884 and to full corporal in February 1885, as (horse) collar maker. Good conduct pay earned him an extra penny per day from January 1884 and two pence per day from January 1885; on 14 October 1885, Charles was promoted to staff sergeant. Charles continued in this rank and extended his military service through to 25 October 1889 when, at his own request, he reverted to the rank of sergeant. Having completed ten years in the army, he re-engaged for the Army Service Corps on 17 June 1892, ‘for such term as shall complete 21 years of service’. Promotion to company quartermaster sergeant came on 1 April 1893, and was followed by further promotions to company sergeant major on 1 August 1896 and staff sergeant major on 16 July 1899. From 21 October 1899 to 13 August 1900, Charles served in the Boer War, for which he received the Queen’s South Africa medal with four clasps, for Orange Free State, Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith and Cape Colony. He also received the Long Service and Good Conduct Medals. Following his return to England, Charles spent the next two and a half years serving at home, including at the Curragh Army Camp in Ireland, before being posted to Malta on 31 March 1903. Charles took his wife Rosetta and their young family with him, and photographs show them living at Sliema in Malta, where their youngest son, Wilfred Walter James Graddon, was born on 30 July 1905. They stayed in Malta until 9 March 1908, when Charles was posted home; he then served a further two years, first at Shoeburyness and then at Chatham.
 
His original 21-year period of service, which should have ended in 1903, was first extended to 6 November 1905, then to 11 January 1907 and 16 July 1909, and finally to 15 July 1910, by which time he had spent a total of 28 years and 185 days on military duty. Charles’s discharge from the army did not last long. On 8 October 1914, he accepted a temporary commission as an honorary lieutenant (quartermaster) with the 13th
Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and this was followed swiftly by promotion to captain (quartermaster). He served with the 13th Battalion in France until he was invalided home from Calais on 20 October 1916, on the hospital ship Newhaven. Following his medical discharge, Charles was then deployed at the School of Instruction for Non-Commissioned Officers at Hertford, where he worked until he was demobilised on 25 March 1919, having been awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Charles spent the later years of his life, until his death on 14 July 1942, at ‘Sliema’, the home in Westerham, Kent, that he shared with his beloved wife Rosetta. During his periods of service in the Boer War and the Great War, Charles kept a personal day-by-day account of his experiences of those conflicts. The account of the early days of the First World War describes how the horrors of war could erupt at almost any time during the long, humdrum and repetitive days of army life on the Western Front. Extracts from these war diaries will be presented in the next two issues of the
Journal.

A Day Out to Chesterton by Barbara Williams

On a beautiful day in late summer of 2013, my husband Ron and I decided to take a drive out to find Chesterton Mill in Warwickshire. Ron was
particularly keen to see the Mill again, because in 1969, while working as a heavy 70-ton mobile crane driver, he had been sent by his employer to install a replacement shaft and wind sails on the mill; plus, he had also discovered that, at the time of the 1891 census, his great-grandparents Thomas and Elizabeth Overton, née Mullis, were living in Harbury (about a mile away from Chesterton). After we had been driving around the countryside, up and down narrow country lanes, the mill suddenly seemed to appear above the high hedgerows, sitting high on a hill in the centre of a deep sloping field. However, our excitement soon turned to disappointment when we realised we were unable to access the field, due to a locked field gate. On returning home, we searched on the internet for information about the mill, and discovered that it was maintained by Warwickshire County Council. It was open two days each year in early September. Chesterton Windmill is one of Warwickshire’s most famous landmarks, overlooking the village of Chesterton for nearly 350 years, near the Roman Fosse Way, and about five miles south-east of Warwick. It was built in 1632–1633, probably by Sir Edward Peyto, who was Lord of the Chesterton Manor House. It seems the mill has undergone three major reconstructions – one in 1776, the date carved in the tail of the shaft, when the mill shaft was modified, and one in 1860, when the old curb and cap framing was altered. By 1910 it had ceased to function as a mill, because the winding gear failed to operate, so the last miller, William Haynes, was no longer able to turn the mill’s cap round to make the sails face the wind. He abandoned the mill and moved to Harbury tower mill, one mile to the east. In the 1930s, the mill was sometimes used for milling at prosperous winds. Minor repairs to the sails and the wind vane took place. In the early 1950s one sail broke off and was restored years later. It was not until 1969 that a larger reconstruction of Chesterton Mill began again, under the control of Warwickshire County Council, now responsible for its upkeep and the reconstruction of the machinery. The windmill repairs were completed in 1971, and the mill reopened for a few days to the public each year in summertime (volunteers from nearby villages help run the open days and provide stewards for the event).
 
On September 14th, 2014, we set off again after first contacting one of the named stewards, who was delighted to hear of Ron’s involvement in the mill’s restoration and was looking forward to meeting him. We were treated like celebrities, shown all around the mill, outside and the workings inside. There was a large marquee where we enjoyed refreshments, bought locally milled flour and viewed displays of local flora and fauna. The weather couldn’t have been better, and the view of the surrounding countryside was stunning, so we were alarmed to hear from the local people how they were fiercely opposing the proposed development of some of the surrounding countryside. We said our goodbyes and decided to visit Harbury. We parked the car outside the church and immediately recognised two surnames – S. Mullis and G. Overton – on the war memorial, casualties of the 1914–1918 war. We then walked around the village, identifying places where Ron’s ancestors had lived. It had been a wonderful day out, so we returned home to do our research. The 1891 census revealed the family living in Binswood End, Harbury: Thomas William Overton, aged 33, a labourer born in Harbury, and Elizabeth, aged 34, born in Oxford, Swateley, S.W. Mullis, illegitimate, aged 13, a ploughboy born in Harbury, T.H. Overton, aged 10, Douglas E. Overton, aged 8, Walter J. Overton, aged 5, A.F. Overton (Ron’s grandfather), aged 3, Bertha Overton, aged 18 months, and Gabriel G. Overton, aged 5 months. So, the two unfortunate casualties of WWI were half-brothers or, possibly, full brothers, as Sidney was born in 1878, the year Thomas and Elizabeth married. The 1911 census shows Thomas (spelled Tomas and recorded as James), Elizabeth, Gabriel, single, aged 20, and Ernest (spelled Hurnest) Tredgold, aged 3 months, a nurse child. It also shows that Thomas and Elizabeth had had twelve children and lost four. During the June quarter of 1914, Gabriel George married Emily Batten, and on 4th August 1914 he enlisted at Leamington and joined the 1st. Battalion Coldstream Guards. He was quickly despatched to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force and engaged in various actions on the Western Front. He was killed in action on 15th September 1916 and is buried at Serre Road Cemetery No. 2 Beaumont-Hamel and Hebuterne. He left a Legacy of £6.10s.0d to Emily, his sole legatee.
 
In April 1912, Sidney aged 34, set sail for Canada, his occupation a baker. Corporal and acting Lance Sergeant Sidney Mullis of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Service No. 6227, was killed in action on or since 25th April 1915. His name is engraved on panel 8 of the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. He left a legacy of £9.16s.7d to his wife Ada Louise Mullis and children residing at 126 Woolfrey Avenue, Toronto, Canada.
 
Bad Advice from Victorian Women’s Magazines by Carly Silver – found on the website ‘History Buff’

1. How to lose your reputation in ten days: Write poetry or fall for the cute shop-boy
 
The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine prided itself on giving good advice to young ladies, especially those looking for husbands. As a writer enthused in an 1866 issue: “a bevy of fair damsels, all tremulous with excitement, are waiting for advice on the most important of topics – love, courtship, and matrimony.” So what did EDM advise?  For one, don’t become a writer. The EDM advised, “Write as often as you please to your female acquaintances, but do not – please don’t – write poetry for publication.” Also, don’t give up your aristocratic fiancé for the hot boy-next-door type. You shouldn’t “dawdle over the counter because the ‘assistant’ has a dawning beard, a melodious voice, and an irresistible way of tying his neckcloth.” Who knew a well-tied cravat could be so sexy?
 
2. Got a rebellious son? Dress him in girl’s clothes
 
The Lady’s Own Paper served up all kinds of wisdom – but whether or not its words were always wise is up for debate. Citing a piece of advice in the EDM, one parent says that following the example below would help a boy who didn’t listen:  “After innumerable whippings had failed, the governess took it into her head to dress him in his sister’s clothes ... and he tells us that whenever he transgressed or failed in his lessons, if his governess rang the bell, and desired the housemaid to bring some petticoats ... he either begged pardon for his offences or set diligently to learn his lesson.” Perhaps most telling of Victorian sensibilities is the postscript to this letter, which states: “It is all very well to talk of reasoning with untoward boys, but in many cases nothing short of a good whipping or what I have recommended will answer.”
 
3. Learn how to properly ride a tricycle.
 
Women’s advice columns didn’t only apply to love, marriage, and childrearing. An 1882 issue of The Ladies’ Treasury published a query from one reader who wasn’t sure how to properly ride a tricycle: “My father has purchased a tricycle for me, and when I come to a high hill, I have to get out and push it up the hill. No pleasure this to one who can’t abide hills. What is the remedy?” Rather than telling the writer to go somewhere flat, or ask why he or she bothered writing in with such a weird question, the magazine editor simply replied, “Go to the maker and ask him.” What the tricycle maker could tell this hill-hater that common sense couldn’t, one will never know.
 
4. Got two men fighting over you? Choose the rich one.
 
A woman calling herself Laura B. wrote in to EDM’s love letters section, ‘Cupid’s Letter-Bag’, in 1853, complaining, “I have two lovers and know not which to choose.” One of them was wealthy and gave her gifts; the other lacked funds, “but so attentive and kind,” and she thought the poor one would be the best husband of the two. Laura confessed, “I have been brought up in every comfort, and dread poverty,” so she didn’t know what to do. The good old editor advised Laura to ditch the poor one, “who really may be silly enough to value affection,” and marry the rich guy.
 
5. Flaunt your latest skunk-skin coat.
 
The magazine Myra’s Journal loved to gossip about all things fashion-related, including different types of fur coats to wear. Needless to say, PETA wouldn’t be subscribing to them. Myra noted that “the most fashionable furs this season” included the pelts of skunk and bear. No mention of whether the skunk smell was removed before sale. How did you wear a bearskin coat? “The bear skin is taped to lessen the extreme weight of the fur.” Whew! God forbid you didn’t have tape and weren’t able to properly drape your bearskin coat this season.
 
This Issue’s Cover Photograph - St. James’s Church, Brownhills, War Memorial. Photograph: Alan Betts

St James’s Church was built in 1850/51 at a cost of £3,670. It was originally known as the Parish of Ogley Hay, but was changed to reflect the growth of the town. It is a parish of 13,000 people, set at the heart of a triangle bounded by Walsall, Lichfield and Cannock. The church was designed to represent a cross, in the early decorated style, with a chancel and nave, without aisles, terminated at the west end by a handsome bell turret, crowned by a small spire.  The War Memorial is inscribed with the words ‘To the glory of God and in memory of the men of Brownhills who fell in the Great War 1914 –1918’. It commemorates the dead of three conflicts: the first and second world wars and the Falklands War.
 
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