Monday, 30 September 2013

So Many Different Kinds of History ... but let's all pull together!

I expect it's a bit naïve of me to expect that all the different types of historian in Barnsley are:
a) interested in each other's work
b) keen to co-operate and prevent duplication of effort
c) want to attract new members/listeners/readers or whatever

But in the last week or so I've feel as if I've been assaulted on all sides by lots and lots of different viewpoints on history (or should that be HISTORY) in Barnsley.  As I'm quite keen myself I'm not about to give up on my own hobby, but sometimes I do want to crawl into a handy hole (preferably still with internet access and somewhere in the vicinity of Barnsley Archives) and shut everyone else out - at least until there is some kind of general consensus.

Last week the Cudworth History and Heritage Group, which I attend twice a week, took a stand at the Thurnscoe History Day.  I understand it was a quieter day than some in the past, however the usual several parties of school children visited which surely makes it all worthwhile?  One visitor spent ages talking to one of the Cudworth members about his family history - if we helped just one person in their hobby, that's a good thing isn't it?  And yet one member of the CLHG, who shall remain nameless, suggested that they should not  bother to attend the event in future years because it had been so quiet.  Oh, dear.
Experience Barnsley Logo - blue image of Barnsley Town Hall tower and wording

Experience Barnsley in the process of hosting various Roman related activities, which again attracted dozens of children ... next year they are planning an exhibition on the Miners' Strike.  This is surely wonderful, we should all be supportive of their work to bring a greater awareness of the history of Barnsley.  And yet I have heard people who haven't even visited the museum complaining about the displays and the money (Lottery money by the way, not rate payers' money) that was spent.  Oh, please, just be happy that we have a brilliant new museum that is attracting thousands of visitors every week.  Some of them will shop in Barnsley, eat in Barnsley and buy a coffee/beer in Barnsley!  The displays will be changing every three to six months, so even those of us who have been will have to keep going to see what is on display next time around.
Oral History Society Logo, white writing on red background

On Saturday I attended an event organised by the Oral History Society and facilitated by Michelle Winslow, an oral historian and research fellow at the University of Sheffield.  Again apart from the speakers, some inspiring volunteers associated with various hospices and one lady from the NUM it was very sparsely attended.  However for those of us who did attend it was very, very interesting.

John Tanner outlined how Experience Barnsley use oral history in their displays; the audio tracks in the listening stations are stored on memory cards so can be easily changed and the voices refreshed with the rest of the displays.  Richard King from the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership explained how they will be working to preserve and interpret the landscape that we take for granted by involving the communities in the Dearne Valley.

Kate Burland, from the University of Sheffield, gave a short version of her recent talk about the unique dialect in Royston, Barnsley.  It's all due to the influx of miners from the Black Country and Staffordshire in the late 19th century.  By 1901 over 50% of the heads of household of Royston were from that area - it's no wonder there was a effect on the way the next generation of residents spoke that has been carried down to the present day.

David Clayton from the Shaw Lane Peoples Sport Project spoke with great enthusiasm about the venue and their future aims.  Did you know it was an Olympic training area for Archery?  Wow!!  The Project has received some Lottery Funding to conduct a project on the history of the site - How did it get there?  Who used it?  He asked particularly for memories from people who, as school children, attended the School Sports Day events at Shaw Lane.  Over 40,000 children took part in these events down the years - there must be so many happy memories out there.
University of Sheffield Logo - coat of arms and text.

After lunch Dr Charles West from the University of Sheffield shared some lessons on setting up an oral history project.  He works with student volunteers, who in their own time conduct oral history interviews with people in Sheffield.  The recordings are keyworded and will shortly be available on a website for anyone to search.  As he put it, "Twenty students a year each carrying out two interviews, that's over fifty interviews already, and it will grow and grow to be an important resource on the history of Sheffield".  Topics covered so far have been 1980s Sheffield and the Sheffield Blitz.

Macmillan Cancer Support organise volunteers to work in hospices and with cancer sufferers in palliative care to record their memories for their families - some of this is not nationally important history, but to the individuals and their children and grandchildren it is a wonderful way to commemorate their lives.

And yet ... and yet ... towards the end of the meeting we started to discuss how all these different groups make recordings of the memories of our local history and we realised that there is no central 'hub' for accessing them.  The projects are all disparate.  You might know about one but unless you attend events like this you wouldn't know about them all.  I mentioned the Imperial War Museum's audio archive, which I've found contains some wonderful recordings made by Barnsley folk by Jon Cooksey when he was preparing his Barnsley Pals book.  Follow my link and listen to the stories of men who fought for us nearly 100 years ago!
A screenshot of the Old Pictures of Barnsley Facebook page header, a pit head wheel, cooling tower and smoking chimneys
The Old Pictures of Barnsley Facebook Page

Today I was upset to find that Old Pictures of Barnsley, a well meaning Facebook page with thousands of uploaded pictures donated by local people, had miscopied some information from one of my own blog posts along with two images that I had properly credited, but without mentioning the source of the information or the images.  The administrator did apologise as soon as I pointed this out - but the volunteers on there don't fully understand copyright - I know I'm skating a bit close to the edge myself in some of my blogs, but at least I provide links and references to the original sources of my information and pictures.  Hopefully they now understand that crediting the brilliant Yococo website (which belongs to Barnsley Council) is a positive thing to do as it opens out the thousands of images on there to all their viewers too.
The Barnsley Council logo, coat of arms and text, photoshopped with the National Mining Museum logo, the Engaging the Communities logo and the Archives and Local Studies logo - all meant to represent the institutions behind Yococo
Just some of the organisations behind the Yococo website
Finally I began asking a few weeks ago about information on War Memorials in Barnsley.  I would like to pull together a bit of a talk for the Friends of the Archives about not one memorial in particular, but rather about the whole topic of commemoration in Barnsley in the period towards the end and just after the First World War.  Already I have discovered along with another enthusiastic volunteer that there is no central "Roll of Honour" in existence for Barnsley.  We know that thousands of men were killed and injured ... but we aren't sure who they all were.  
Dodworth War Memorial (from Barnsley War Memorials)

Each community in Barnsley commemorated the war in its own way, some decided to dedicate parks or village halls or cottage homes rather than erect the now familiar war memorials.  As a consequence of these many separate projects the names of many of the lost were not recorded centrally as they were in, say, Sheffield.  However finding out who has recorded or researched what seems to be constantly in danger of 'treading on toes' as people who have understandably spent much of their own time on projects are a bit careful about who they share them with.

Can I just appeal to anyone who reads this? ... History is for everyone ... it can be personal and private, and we should never ignore all the work other people put into their research ... but our lives are enriched by sharing.  

Just think about that when someone next asks you for your help or invites you to participate in a project in your community. 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Week 5 - Book of Me - Your Childhood Home(s)

The Book of Me, Written by You Image - text as stated above a picture of an open book.
This week's prompt for the Book of Me (an online writing project promoted by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog) is 'Your Childhood Home'. 

This was a lot easier for me than last week's rather difficult to pin down suggestion that we write about our favourite season. By the time I was eighteen I had lived in four different houses - admittedly one for only a month or so.  I can remember them all quite clearly and have on occasions gone back to visit them, one obviously when we visited my grandparents and the others just to look to see how the area had changed in the intervening years.  

When my parents married my grandfather allowed them to rent a bungalow that he had bought for his retirement.  As he'd been a colliery manager he'd always lived in the company houses so buying this bungalow was planning ahead for when he had to leave work.
A greyscale photo of a small semi detached bungalow.  The front door is glazed in squares, with matching panels of squares of glass on either side.  There are two windows, one a large square bay.  The small front garden is separated from the pavement by a low wall and gate.  The bungalow looks a little low set, there may be steps or a ramp down from the gate to the door.
House 1 - West Rainton, Durham
This is the house I lived in from my earliest years until I was about seven years old.  It was in a small village called West Rainton a few miles from Durham City.  There was an attic room, reached by pulling down a set of steps from a hatch in the ceiling with a long pole with a hook on the end.  I remember sitting up there reading my dad's Eagle comics.  So that must have been not long before we left in 1968.  

The large bay window in the photo is the front room, it had a tiled fireplace and there was room for a dining table as well as a suite.  My parents had a record player, the kind where you could put 45rpm records on in a stack and the mechanism played them one after another, dropping the next one down on the turntable as each one finished.  We didn't have a television straight away, but I remember one later, black and white of course.  I think, though I'm not sure, that I remember BBC2 starting, but as that was in 1964 (according to Wikipedia) I'd only be three years old.

The kitchen was behind the living room, there was a coal fire with a back boiler for hot water.  I remember a larder with a sliding door - my parents kept my asthma inhaler on the top shelf so I couldn't reach it.  In those days inhalers were new and dangerous - I was told that if I took too many 'puffs' I would die from a heart attack.  I can tell you that when I had an asthma attack the chance of some relief far outweighed the possible danger of dying ... but that's a whole 'nother story.   I remember my mum had a zig zag washing line and it was my job to pair up the socks which had been hung on the lower rungs when they were dry.  I used to sit on the hearth rug (a proddy rug my mum had made from fabric scraps) in front of the fire to do this.  There was smaller formica topped table in the kitchen and I can remember eating fish fingers with tomato ketchup sat at this table. 

There were two bedrooms.  The one at the front was my parents' - they had a Stagg bedroom set, light oak veneered wood, a bedhead, chest of drawers, and two wardrobes.  I think my son took the last remaining piece of this set when he set up home by himself nearly ten years ago now, so it lasted well.  The back bedroom was mine and later shared with my brother who came along in 1964.  We had the 'yellow' beds, huge old fashioned beds that my mum and her sister had slept in as children.  My mum still tells me that when family came to visit the children would be put to sleep with so many heads at one end and so many at the other, feet together in the middle.  There was a matching dressing table and I still have the stool from this set in my house now.  

The garden at the back was huge, or at least it looked so to a small child.  My mum has always gardened.  I remember her growing strawberries.  My dad always wanted a garage and we had a big foundation hole dug which gradually filled with stones from the garden.  It came in handy on Bonfire Night - 5th November - as a safe place for letting off firecrackers and other more dangerous fireworks.

The house backed onto fields where we used to go to pick rosehips for syrup.  Looking on Google maps there's a big house there now although the fields still start just one house further on.  There are also houses across the road from the bungalow now, where I remember them building a bypass for the village not long before we left.  We have some pictures in the album of mum, dad my brother and myself walking along the empty new road before it was opened.  Fast, modern living coming to a sleepy village!

A large 1930's semi detached baywindowed house.  With a wall and hedge in front.  The shadows of trees are being cast across the front of the house, the picture was taken when the sun was very low
House 2 - Whitley Bay, Northumberland
My dad got a job in the Midlands so we had to move in with my grandparents while he looked for a house for us near his new place of work.  My grandparents lived in Whitley Bay in Northumberland by then and were retired.  Dad wrote letters to mum all the time and enclosed notes with little cartoons on them for us.  I don't think we were there very long, but I did have to go to school there for a while.  Whitley Bay is a seaside place, but it was at the beginning of the year and I don't remember going to the beach very much - it was quite a long walk from the house.

The house was huge - or so I thought.  I suppose it was compared to the bungalow.  There were four bedrooms, two very large and two small ones.  All the furniture was large and old fashioned.  My parent's furniture had to go into storage during this period - it must have been difficult for my mum to have to live with her parents again, especially with two little children to keep occupied and out of the way of her father who was one of those 'children should be seen and not heard' types.  His domain was the front sitting room, he would stay in there all day reading - as I was capable of being quiet and I did like reading I would sometimes sit in there with him.  There was an upright piano and some bookshelves in that room and a china cabinet with some very fancy old china tea sets that we never used. The suite was very heavy and covered in floral loose covers.  The curtains in the bay were silver with a kind of leafy fern pattern, they went from floor to ceiling.  

In the dining room there was a large table, with leaves that could be pulled out to make it longer when more of the family came for Sunday lunch.  There was a black bordered white screen painted on the end wall so that my granddad could show his holiday slides to us.  I remember dark wood furniture, my granddad sat in a dining chair with arms at one of the table.  There was an Ercol suite in that room too, it later came with my grandma to her bungalow after my granddad died so I remember it from later years.  

The kitchen had another table and more chairs. The window looked out sideways onto the neighbouring house - there wasn't much of a view when you were using the sink.  The door to the cupboard under the stairs was opposite the kitchen door - I remember making poppies from orange tissue paper and wire, we kept the makings in that cupboard.  It must have been one of the things mum came up with to keep us busy and out of granddad's way.  In the downstairs passage there was a shelf over the radiator - and on the end was a little brass bell.  Very tempting for a child - I remember wanting to ring it - I expect I did - probably once too often!   The stairs turned on back on themselves to get to the first floor, and on the first little landing, just a couple of stairs up there was a small bookcase - with a set of books by Charles Dickens - a bit too hard for me at age seven, but I read some of them in later years.

Semi-detached, with very large windows.  An open lawn and a drive to the right hand side.  Half hung with tiles to the upper storey, there is a chimney.  Net curtains in all the windows.
House 3 - Cannock, Staffordshire
Eventually Dad wrote to say he'd found a house and we travelled down by train to meet him.  It was dark when we arrived and it had been a long journey so I don't remember arriving at the new house.

This house was a standard three bedroomed semi-detached on a large 1960s estate.  The street it was on only had houses on one side, numbered one to ten, and we faced the sides of a small street of bungalows separated from us by two big patches of grass - perfect for children to play on. I think nearly every house on that street had children all around the same age.  There could be groups of ten or more of us 'playing out' in the summer.

There were two larger bedrooms and a small one over the front door, that was my brother's.  He was only about four when we moved in there, by the time we left my parents joked that they had to move house as he was getting too big for the room!  I still had one of the 'yellow' beds and it was far too big for the smaller rooms in a modern house.  There was central heating, but I don't remember it being very warm, though that might have been during the 3-day week in the 1970s ... I even remember my mum having to boil an egg over the coal fire in the sitting room as the electricity was off.  We had to go to bed with candles and even bath by candle light.  Not as nice as it sounds, the bath water might have been warm but the rest of the house was freezing.

Lucie Mabel Atwell poem with cartoon pictures "Please remember don't forget never leave the bathroom wet, Nor leave the soap still in the water, That's a thing we never ought'er ..." and so on
Lucie Mabel Attwell picture - Please Remember
On the landing between my bedroom and the bathroom was an airing cupboard - there was a hot water tank and shelves above where mum put the clothes after they'd been out on the washing line, but before she put them away in the drawers and cupboards.  In that cupboard lived the "Please remember" picture.  It's a kind of family tradition now, I have one of these in my bathroom and so does my daughter.  Mum has a newer version still hung on her bathroom wall, the one I remember as a child flaked and crumbled years ago.  

The toilet was a separate room at the top of the stairs - dad tiled it and the bathroom with yellow 'Crystal' tiles.  I always thought they looked like a sketch drawing of chickens ...

A close up of a tile, white with marbled brown lines.  There is a distinctive chick shape running top left to bottom right.
Crystal Tile - very 1970s

Can you see it yet?

Whenever I see tiles like these now it always brings back memories of that house.

The living room had an exposed brickwork chimney breast - mum and dad hung brass plates that they brought back from holidays abroad on it and one of my jobs was to polish them with Brasso.  My mum still has the plates - although she hasn't asked me to clean them for her recently!  The furniture as the new 'in thing', Ladderax,  sectional furniture that you built up in whatever way you wanted with metal or wooden ladders supporting shelves, drawers, cupboards or even small wardrobes.  Mum still has all this too!

The dining room was separated from the living room with double doors, so you could open the rooms out to make one big space.  With the huge floor to ceiling windows at either end it made for a large airy feeling space.  My brother and I used to make 'camps' under the dining table and pretend we were in a space ship.  My dad would draw us maps of the solar system with all the planets so we could sail off somewhere mysterious where there were green men and monsters!

House 4 - Cannock, Staffordshire
When I was fourteen we moved to a larger house about a mile away.  It was a big wrench leaving the street where we had grown up.  However we both had bicycles so it wasn't too difficult to go back to meet up with people in the holidays and at weekends.  The picture is from Google Maps - I can't find a picture of the house whilst we lived there, but that is probably because I've only scanned my parents' photograph albums up to the early 1970s so far.  

It was a four bedroom house and the garden was much bigger.  My mum grew all kinds of fruit and vegetables and it was a wrench for her to leave it after only a few years.  I have some bad memories of this house - well those were my teenage years.  I will write about some of them in my private blog post - but not on here.

The big move was when I was eighteen - my dad got a job in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.  But as I was 'of age' by then I think that might be another story!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A Chartist Connection in a Barnsley Pub - Intrigue in the Freedom Inn

Yesterday I was transcribing some more pub inventories.  Each of the small notebooks that make up this collection of Inventories and Valuations [A/94/B/LI/ ] in Barnsley Archives contain a number of entries.  Although I have ordered up ten notebooks which date from 1829 to 1855 by individual entry where a pub's name was listed in the catalogue, I am discovering that there can be more than one inventory of interest to me in each notebook.

The first notebook I examined [A/94/B/LI/20] contained the inventories for the Coach & Horses and the Turf Tavern that I wrote about last week, plus yesterday I found a entry for the Freedom Inn further on in the book.  At this rate the ten notebooks I have ordered will take me four months to examine if I only transcribe two inventories each week.  That's taking us into the New Year - scary thought!
A large scale map showing densley packed streets.  Wilson Street, Thomas Street, Burleigh Street amongst them.
Location of the Freedom Inn from an 1852 map (from Old Maps)

The inventory for the Freedom Inn was another of those which was taken as the pub changed hands, again in 1844.  This names given were Matthew Sykes and Richard Hattersley. The address of the pub was not given in the notebook so I Googled it in an attempt to locate it.
An extract from Chase, M (2007) Chartism: A New History (found on Google Books)
Mysteriously the above extract relating events in 1837 refers to the Freedom Inn as belonging to Joseph Crabtree, a "key local leader" in the Chartist Movement.  It also refers to Dog Lane, Barnsley - but that is not where I found the pub.  In a trade directory in the Archives I found a reference to the Freedom Inn being on Wilson Street, a fact confirmed by another Google hit, this time from Howse, G (2007) Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in and Around Barnsley, which mentions an attack on a police constable in the pub in 1864.  The men accused were called William Flowers and William Hill.  What an odd coincidence that both mentions of the pub include a man called William Hill - presumably a very common name in Barnsley!  

Joseph Crabtree was one of the men who signed the Barnsley Manifesto in June 1838.  He was imprisoned in Wakefield for attending an unlawful assembly at Barnsley in 1840.  In a statement made to the inspector of prisons he says he was a radical before he was a Chartist, and that he was the local correspondent for the North Star (O'Connor's Chartist newspaper mentioned in the clipping above) for one year for which he received £10.  He stated that he, "thought there was a power in the people to right themselves without interfering in the rights of others".  His occupation in the prison records is Linen Weaver, although it also states that he had been supporting himself by keeping a shop selling clothes - this doesn't sound like a landlord of a pub.

From 1830, when the Beerhouse Act was enacted, restrictions on the sale of beer and brewing were reduced and anyone could buy a licence for just two guineas.  A weaver could earn £1 a week in Barnsley in those days, so this wasn't an outrageous amount.  Hundreds of small beerhouses opened all over the country often in very small premises.

The 1841 census shows a Matthew Sykes living on Wilson Street.  He is not listed as a publican, rather as a Linen Bleacher. This is fairly normal for small public houses, the man would have another job and his wife would run the pub and do the brewing.  Despite the transfer in 1844 to a Richard Hattersley by 1851 the pub is occupied by Joseph Mitchell who gives his occupation as Innkeeper.  This is also the gentleman I saw referred to in the trade directories.  Maybe Richard Hattersley bought the pub as an investment and let it to Mitchell.  We'll have to see if another inventory of transfer turns up.

Wilson Street was in Wilson Piece - an old crowded part of Barnsley where the houses date back to the late 18th century and the heyday of the Linen trade in Barnsley.  I have written more about it in previous blog post.  By the 1840s the area had become dirty and overcrowded as the weavers' incomes declined and their living conditions followed suit.
Houses on Thomas Street, which crosses Wilson Street (from Yococo)
I have found no pictures of the Freedom Inn, but I imagine it was a stone built pub, similar to the houses around about.  The picture above shows a corner shop with a Thomas Street sign above the window and is captioned 77-87 Thomas Street on the Yococo website.  The Freedom Inn was a relatively large building, suitable for meetings.  In the two map snips I have included you can see it is easily twice or three times the size of the houses near by.

Some later terraces of houses on the edges of Wilson's Piece are named after political personages and can be seen clearly on the large scale 1889 map of the area; Cobden Terrace and Bright Terrace for example, after the Anti-Corn Law Activists of the 1830s.  It sounds like political activism had a popular following in Barnsley throughout the early 19th century and Wilson's Piece, despite or maybe because of its poverty, was a hotbed of radicals!

Another map snip showing a similar area.  The Freedom Inn is not labelled, but the building remains
Wilson's Piece in 1889 - note the names of the terraces to the left
and the Freedom Inn is still there, just not labelled a pub (from Old Maps)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Week 4 - Book of Me - Favourite Season(s)

This post is part of an ongoing project, the Book of Me, Written by You, started by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog supported by Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers.

This week's prompt for the Book of Me is 'Your Favourite Season(s)'.  There's not much difference between this week's post and the longer version in my private blog, I couldn't think of a lot to say that was personal or needed keeping private.  The prompt didn't really speak to me or evoke particular memories, just general vague feelings.

I must be a 'glass half empty' sort of person as I can think of lots of reasons for NOT liking particular seasons.  Winter is cold and I am usually ill.  When it snows the buses stop and you can't go anywhere. Winter has Christmas in it and that's NOT a good thing, just too complicated. 

Spring is better, but still cold and wet - and I've got the worry of planting stuff now in my new(ish) big garden.  Plus it's the busiest time for CAMRA meetings so we hardly have any free weekends.  I am allergic to grass pollen and that always seems bad early on in the year - although anti-histamines are good these days. 

Autumn is OK, but that's the new term for school, which wouldn't have been a favourite for many years.  There are new programmes on the TV in the autumn, but that feels like a relatively new thing and certainly not a good enough reason to like the season. I don't like fallen leaves (not in my garden anyway, though walking through them before they go mushy is nice), you just have to sweep them up, and tidying up the garden is damp and scratchy.  There's the work of picking and preparing, drying, freezing, and so on.  It's nice to have free food, but there's a lot of work in the autumn with it.  You have to put the heating on and worry about how much that is going to cost this year.  You worry about having enough jumpers and are your boots still waterproof?  And then you get back to Winter.

So my least not favourite is summer.  Shall we say from May to August?  I know that's four months, but I seem to come alive in May and by beginning of September I'm worn out and worried about the winter to come.
Hot days at school, escaping out of and back into (probably illegally) the back of our classroom (4th and 5th form) at break and lunchtime by the window onto the grass of the playing field, 'cos the door is a block and a corridor away (one of those schools with blocks 'hanging off' a longitudinal corridor that stretched for (what felt like) miles.  Lounging on the grass at home, 'playing out' for hours and hours because it didn't get dark until after 9pm.  Yes, long days, I like them. 

Not having to go to school was always a plus - summer holidays, the seaside.  Time with my parents and my brother without other people getting in the way.  We used to live on the edge of an estate, near fields and a large wooded area - Cannock Chase.  We (the local kids) spent hours in those fields and that wood, making camps, running about, playing the make believe games that are important when you are little.  I expect people don't let their children play unsupervised in those woods anymore *sad*.

Being able to go for long walks (when I still could), sitting in the pub beer gardens on a Sunday with the children (they weren't allowed IN pubs in those days) and my Sheffield real ale drinking friends.  Being warm.  Being able to hang the washing out, not having it draped all over the house damp all week, even though I used to have to watch it all the time as I lived in a really dire place in those days - I don't have to worry about that now, I live in a much nicer neck of the woods now.
A garden from an upstairs window.  A rotary washing line with sheets and trousers drying.  Vegetable beds to right and left of a grass patch.  The wall of a garage or shed at the end of the garden.
My back garden
For the last twenty one years the summer has meant my pilgrimage to the Great British Beer Festival in London for two weeks, by myself initially, then with my children, with my beloved OH in recent years.  Meeting up with good friends, better friends maybe for only seeing them once or twice a year and now via Facebook.  This year was the last time for me, as it's a volunteer thing I can't risk committing to go and then letting people down by being ill.  But I had a nice send off this summer.  It's been a good twenty-one years down there every August.
In the summer the garden, my garden at least, just coasts.  You have to water and weed, but the rest is as it is and it's too late to change now.  Winter is the time for big moves and lots of digging.  I am a lazy gardener I'm afraid - I would like to just sit out and read a book in the sun and stare at the produce growing thinking about the free food to come.  I enjoy seeing the first strawberry, the multitude of pods on the bean wigwams, the leeks getting fat.  Butterflies and bees, the cat trying to find the best place to sunbathe and then getting too hot and looking for a cool patch of earth to roll in. 

Yes, I like the summer best.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Researching Barnsley War Memorials

That sounds easy doesn't it ... but so far this morning I've found at least four different websites with links to pictures and information on Barnsley related war memorials.  There's the Barnsley section of the Public Art Research project, there's a site which lists information about Second World War Memorials of Barnsley which of course includes pictures of WW1 memorials more often than not as the WW2 names were often just added to the existing memorial.  There's War Memorials Online, which includes a few Barnsley memorials, you can search a map to see what's been added for the area.  Unfortunately someone had put a memorial at Wentworth in the middle of Barnsley ... so I've moved it to the correct location.  Finally I found a whole page dedicated to Hoyland War Memorial, very complete, with information on each name listed.

The Roll of Honour website, Yorkshire section, does not contain any listings for South Yorkshire, other than the Boer War memorial at Wombwell.

Here are some of the pictures that I've found so far displayed on a Pinterest board.

There are a couple of folders in Barnsley Archives with detailed information about three war memorials, including Hoyland.  I also spoke to a lady who has researched the memorial at Jump, near Hemingfield.  I've started going through the digitised Barnsley Chronicle to get an overview of the early 1920s when most war memorials were planned and erected to see how popular a movement it was.  So far there seem to have been some conflicting views in the Barnsley area, some people wanted to build community halls, or dedicate a cottage hospital for example rather than building a stone monument.

I would dearly love to pull all this together, as Sheffield has done, with one source of reference for all Barnsley War Memorials ...

This could take some time.

Updated 25 September 2013
As I have been reminded, there is also the Imperial War Museum's War Memorial Archive.  This can be searched by place, but of course in Barnsley there are lots of little villages, many of which are listed on this site by their own name rather than by the collective, Barnsley.  This makes it very hard to make sure you haven't missed one that has been submitted!

Plus many churches contain individual memorials to men lost in war.  For example in Cudworth there is a cross or crucifix dedicated to a man lost in WW1 and several windows dedicated to men lost in WW2.  Only sustained legwork will track all of this kind of small memorial down.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Coach & Horses and the Turf Tavern, Barnsley from 1840s Inventories

What Thursday already! - and Thursday evening at that!  Where has the week gone?  I've been to the Archives twice and the Cudworth Group twice, a CAMRA meeting and a talk in Sheffield ... anyone would think I'm able bodied ... although I did have to leave the Monday meeting after about half an hour 'cos it was far too flipping cold in the library.  At least the Archives is nice and temperature controlled, think of all the gas money I'm saving sitting in there two days a week!

Tomorrow is a day off, I'm waiting in for the postman to bring my new glossy flyers.  You can download a copy here.  Please note I need to do at least two talks now this year to pay for the flyers!  So if you live anywhere near Barnsley and are looking for an entertaining speaker please read all about what I can offer - the same words, more or less, can be found on my History Talks tab at the top of this page. 

On Tuesday's visit to Barnsley Archives I tackled the Barnsley Publicans' Inventories I'd ordered up from the storeroom for the first time.  I'd initially discovered these existed when doing a spot of indexing for the Archive staff when they were shut during the move from the Library to the Town Hall.   Since the Archives reopened the staff have shown me whole catalogues full of interesting documents, amongst them many more of these inventories.  I want to try and find out what running a pub in Barnsley was like in the 19th and early 20th centuries, could you make a good living out of it?  Could you make a lot of money?  One of my previous blog posts talks about a landlord who must have done well, but was he unusual?
To the left a grayscale photo of street scene, a large baywindowed pub in the foreground with a couple of low older stone buildings in the distance.  A gas lampstandard on the pavement and a large tree in the distance.  On the right a map snip showing the Coach & Horses and the Victoria - the bay windowed pub
The Coach & Horses (behind the lamppost) and a location map from 1889
(picture from Barnsley Streets)

I began with an inventory taken of the contents of the Coach & Horses, Sheffield Road, Barnsley made in 1843 on the death of the landlord, William King - that's not the fake Tudor building that's there now (which is currently being turned, very slowly, into a restaurant), but an earlier low stone built building.  You can see it in the middle distance in the photo above left.  Remember that if you click on the images they open up much larger in a pop up window.

The detail of these documents is such that you can imagine walking into the pub and making your way around the building.  In the front room there was seating around the room, a backed form and three chairs with wooden seats plus thirteen(!) iron spittoons.  Then you go through into the bar where there are another three chairs, a black deal form, a stove with pipe and lots of glasses (tumblers, tots, wine), pint pots (which I guess were actually pot!) and some pitchers - maybe for fetching the beer and spirits from the cellar.  The house (I know people who still call their back room or living room the house) contained two long backed settles, a backed seat, an oak table with deal forms around it, a clock in an oak case, a brass hearth grate, fender and fire irons.  Sounds like the best room doesn't it?

In the kitchen there was a cheaper deal table, some more chairs and another form, pails and cans, a kettle, milk can, potato crusher (mashed potato 1843 style!), a paste board (for rolling pastry I guess) and then some beer related items, a malt mill, three casks and fourteen brass taps.  The cellar contained the beer (780 gallons) and the spirits including whiskey, gin, rum, brandy and peppermint.  Alcoholic peppermint?  OK, I've not heard of that before ... but they've only got a gallon of that, maybe it's a cordial similar to Crème de Menthe?

There are items in the outbuildings which confirm the pub did its own brewing, and finally the livestock is enumerated, a cow and a sow ... the cow provides milk and the pig is being fattened up I suppose.  In 1843 there wasn't anything much around the pub, judging by the map from 1852 (which was a bit boring so I've given you an 1889 snip in the picture above).  Two houses immediately adjacent, absolutely nothing where the Victoria is now and nothing on the other side of Sheffield Road either, just a small house diagonally opposite, which has been replaced by a larger one by 1889.  Plenty of room for the cow and the pig!

A grayscale picture of a crowd of people stood outside a decorated three story building with the name Wm Ellison written across it - lots of flat caps and one straw boater.  The map snip on the right shows how the pub goes a long way back from the street.
The Turf Tavern, Church Street, Barnsley (from Barnsley Streets)
and a location map from 1889
The second inventory I looked at was a lot more upmarket.  The Turf Tavern site doesn't exist at all today - looking at the location map you can see that it was opposite the Royal Hotel, that's still there.  I would guess it's just about under the new Barnsley Pals Centenary Square or rather the road in front of it, because of course it's much wider now than it was back then.

Let's go in ... the windows at the front have painted blinds with the words 'Spirit Vault' lettered on them.  There is a gas pendant with a tin shade (wow! gas lighting in 1844, I hadn't realised).  There is a bar counter in this pub with sliding doors and drawers and some glass shelves too.  It sounds very like a pub you might still see today.  A fender and fire irons, so there is an open fire, a square table, eight wooden seated chairs and a sofa!  On the shelves (I guess) are tumbler glasses, wine glasses, a punch bowl and ladles, some 'plated' pints - not sure what that means but I'm mentioning it so you know there was beer too.  A tea-tray contains a sugar basin and tongs, some pewter spirit measures and a on the bar back are three spirit casks.  There's a second front room too, even more comfortable, it contains a mahogany dining table which is 11 ft long accompanied by six single and two arm chairs.  There's a brass fender and two bell pulls, for summoning the staff we presume?  This sounds like a dining room - I wonder if I can find some advertising for it in the Barnsley Chronicle to confirm this.

I think if you want a nice simple pint of beer, away from the spirits, you have to move further back in the building.  The middle room contains deal forms attached to the walls, two long settles and one high backed one 9ft long which forms a passage - so you can pass through this room without disturbing the customers.  There is an oak table and five wooden seated chairs, curtains to the windows (it must look out into the courtyard at the side) and ale pitchers, quart pitchers and twenty five pint pots.  I imagine the beer has to be fetched from the bar back to this room.  In the cellar I noted that there were 'Two pull beer machines with lead piping and union joints", so they were using hand pulls to get at least some of the beer upstairs, just like a modern pub!  This room has a gas pendant too, although four brass and two iron candlesticks are also listed along with 2 pairs of snuffers - those will be for putting out the candles in a decorous manner, no messy blowing in this posh establishment!

The next room listed is the 'Glass-room', now this is intriguing ... if you look again at the map snip there's a little square of hatching (denoting a glass roof) to the right of the courtyard, like a conservatory!  This room contains six wooden seated chairs and a round oak table, a large deal settle, a tin fender (not as posh as the brass one at the front then) and a drugget.  I had to look that up, it's a kind of rough material used as a rug ... I wonder why there's a rug mentioned in here and not in the other rooms?  Maybe the floor is cold!

The kitchen contains everything you might expect, and some you might find surprising.  How about an Ale-warmer or two jappaned cheese tins? There are cooking tins, dripping pans, a coffee mill and a frying pan, and (why don't we still have these?) a boot jack!

This pub brews on a much larger scale than the Coach & Horses, there's a dedicated brew-house containing a copper, mash tubs, a ginger beer tub (yes, ginger beer was definitely alcoholic in those days), buckets, shovels, a barrel-washer-tub and a barm trough (that's for the yeast).  There's less stock in trade in the Turf, but that's probably because this inventory was taken, not when the landlord had died, but on the transfer of the pub from one man to another.  William Hall is handing over to Joseph Overend who remains in the pub until 1863 according to the information in Barnsley Streets vol 1

There's so much more I could do with this information, I need to find the pubs on the census and find out if the landlords had families or live in staff.  How old were they, did they have second jobs?  I'm really getting a picture of what pubs in Barnsley were like 170 years ago.

This really is a lot of fun ... well it is for me, I'm combining my two favourite hobbies, history and beer.  Wonderful!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Maritime Monday - The Sunderland Hutton Family - a Seafaring Dynasty

I haven't visited my Sunderland Hutton Mariner ancestors for a while, but today while trying to work out how Pinterest works (it won't pin a page where it can't find an image) I 'followed' Geneablogger's Maritime Monday board.  I think it might be fairly new, as there are only twelve posts pinned to it as of today, so I thought I might help out!

Back in January I posted an edited family tree snip that showed the sailors in my Sunderland Hutton family, all descendants of Robert Hutton (1772-1840) the ropemaker and my 4x great grandfather, and his wife Ann (maiden name Elstob).  He had a total of his seventeen grandsons, two die in infancy and of the eight sailor grandsons shown on the diagram below, five die at sea.  Since posting this diagram I have found out more about some of the men featured.
The ancestors highlighted in blue became sailors

I've written about Robert Elstob Hutton (1804-1858), Robert the ropemaker's eldest son, he moved to Hartlepool and after twenty years at sea retired to the shore as a ship owner.  Two of his sons go to sea, and thanks to Billion Graves I now know that Robert (1829-1857) his eldest son, died in Havana, Cuba.  Thomas Wilson Hutton (1844-1916) his sixth son, appears to lead a fairly uneventful life as a sailor dying in South Shields unmarried leaving just £200 in in his will and although £200 in 1916 would have been worth about £8,500 in today's money that's barely enough to buy a small car so it doesn't suggest he became a ship owner like his father.  One of Robert Elstob's sons runs off with the money from the Insurance Company he worked for, and the other four (yes he had seven(!) sons) appear to take admin jobs keeping well away from the sea.

Robert Elstob Hutton's grave in Hartlepool, also
commemorating his eldest son who died in Havana aged 27

Frederick Elstob Hutton (1808-1882) is my bigamist ancestor, he apparently abandons his Sunderland family for the 'other woman' and his boys all go to sea from a very early age to earn their living.  One lad, Thomas Mordey Hutton, is particularly unlucky, he is shipwrecked twice.  Another dies at sea aged only fourteen years old.  My own great great grandfather, William Satchell Hutton has been the subject of at least three blog posts, his early years, his homes and his later life.  His sons do not go to sea, my own great grandfather is apprenticed to the Co-op as a Grocer.  I could actually now add another man to the diagram above, Fred's youngest son Charles Reuben Hutton whom I have now confirmed was also a mariner for a while.  Fred has two further sons by his 'second' wife - one dies young and the other becomes a Painter and Plumber. 

I have not yet touched upon the descendants of Robert the ropemaker's middle son, John Reuben Hutton.  In a complete change of direction he became a solicitor in Sunderland. He has three sons, one dies young but the other two both go to sea.  I find it odd that the sons of a respectable middle class professional like John Reuben Hutton leave home at an early age and go to sea ... did they not get on with their father?  Were they bored with school work and studies and wanted the more exciting life of a sailor?  It's an interesting question.

Thomas Nesbitt Hutton's Seaman's Ticket recording his death at sea (from Find My Past)

Thomas Nesbitt Hutton dies aged sixteen according to his Merchant Seaman's ticket. Further details in the Maritime Deaths records confirm that he died of a 'Fever at Sea' along with at least six other men on the same ship.  Was this a common occurrence at the time, or might it have made a newspaper report?  John Reuben's surviving son, Robert Nesbitt Hutton makes Master Mariner in 1869 aged twenty nine years old.  He marries and has two children; he does not die until 1910 but never seems to be at home for the census!  His son becomes a Master Grocer - so the seafaring urge died out in that branch just like it did in my own.

There may be much more to find out about this last sailor cousin, therefore reviewing my progress on the Maritime Huttons has been a useful exercise.  I can see the gaps in my research and know what to put on my 'to do' list.  It has also provided a useful post full of links to my previous stories about the same family, which will save a lot of hunting about for anyone interested in the Huttons.

Now I'm off to play on Pinterest a bit more ...

Military Monday – Regular Army Certificate of Service for Edward Lawrence Hall

I started this post a couple of Monday's ago but as I didn't finish it then I left it for a while as I was determined it was going to be a Military Monday post, so finishing it on another day didn't seem right.

The post was prompted by my aunt sending me my grandfather's Army Service book.  I am currently hoping to apply for his full service record, but as I need her permission as his next of kin, so that's still ongoing.

A man in army uniform leaning on a five barred gate, on this side separated from him by the gate is a woman wearing a head scarf and long over coat holding a small child
My grandad and grandmother, the
small child is my aunt

E L Hall was my paternal grandfather – he died what feels like a long time ago in the late 1970s. I barely knew him as we had lived over a hundred miles from him for many years. He and my father were not close – but when the news came of his death Dad drove up to Durham to sort everything out as one does.

My mum recently gave me a bundle papers that Dad brought back from that trip and I sorted through them and scanned them entering the information I could glean into my family tree.  I wrote a post about funeral expenses prompted by some of these papers.  I still didn't know very much more about my grandad himself.  I also have a few photos of him and my grandmother who died before I was born.  The picture on the left is my favourite, it was taken in Ardersier in Scotland in about 1940.

As you can see from this photo my grandad was in the army as an older man.  That was because he was called up during the Second World War having previously been a regular soldier.  The service book my aunt has just sent me gives the dates and places for both his periods of service.  I have never seen a book like this before and it's a wonderful family document.  I have very carefully scanned it and once more added the information it provides to my family tree.
The cover of Grandad's Regular Army
Certificate of Service

The book is about 4" wide and 6" tall and has a hard red cover and four leaves (making eight pages) within.  The black print on the front includes a warning that, "If this certificate is lost or mislaid no duplicate can be obtained.  Any alteration of the particulars given in this certificate may render the holder liable to prosecution under the Seaman's and Soldier's False Characters Act 1906.  Any person finding this certificate is requested to hand it into any Barracks, Post Office or Police Station for transmission (post free) to the Under Secretary of State, the War Office, London, SW1."

The book notes that my grandad first enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders in 1925.  I do have a picture or two of him in a traditional kilt and one of him in a kind of linen kilt, probably taken while he was in India.

The book records that he first enlisted in November 1925, he would have been 21 years old.  His trade on enlistment was Miner and when he was transferred to the Reserve in 1933 he had served eight years and nineteen days.  He had served in India for nearly six years and Palestine for another year.

Two youngish soldiers in full highland army uniform, glengarry caps with chequered bands, khaki tunics, tartan kilts, large sporrans, long socks with chequered tops and white spats.
My grandad on the right

His character in 1933 was described as Good, and "a very good Storeman, sober, intelligent, clean, self reliant and handy."

According to the book he was recalled to the Army on 2nd September 1939, which is the day before England declared war on Germany.  He served overseas between September 1939 and June 1940 which is when our troops were evacuated from France.

He then served out the remainder of the war in this country.  My father remembered living in Ardersier for some time while his dad worked in nearby Fort George.  As his character from his first service states he was a Storeman in the Quartermaster's Stores in 1932 to 1933 that may have been what he mainly did at Fort George between 1940 and 1944.

His Service book states that for his last year and a bit of service he was in the Military Police. 

He served for a total of six years and thirty-five days this time, leaving the Army again in October 1945. 

That's about it - I can't glean much else from this little book, interesting as it is.  I do hope my aunt agrees to let me apply for his full army record - I discovered on enquiring that without her permission I will only get a partial record even though he has been dead for over twenty five years, which isn't made completely clear on the website.

Week 3 - Book of Me - Physical Self

This post is part of an ongoing project, the Book of Me, Written by You, started by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog supported by Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers.

As a historian I spend a lot of time looking into the background of my ancestors and other family members but, as has already become apparent during the first couple of weeks of this project, hardly anytime on myself.  This week's prompt for the Book of Me is 'Describe your physical self'.  I have written a longer private piece but the following are the edited highlights that I am happy to share with the world!  You can easily access my other Book of Me posts by using the link in the Labels sorter in the left hand margin of my posts.
I thought it would be an interesting idea, especially as we were spending the weekend with family and friends, to see what impression I'd actually made on people the first time they met me.  However my plan for asking the other people at the birthday party we were attending what it was about my physical appearance struck them when we first met was mostly a failure. Everyone mentioned character aspects instead of physical ones, matronly or motherly, bubbly, organised, and so on. It was all very complementary but not very useful for this blog post.  Even with a starter for ten of 'short' they couldn't get much further ... one person said cuddly and another commented on my long hair (in her experience all grownup women had short hair). 
The OH was a bit more helpful and remembered a bit from our first proper meeting: "You were short, not old, with big glasses and bushy hair.  You were busy and stressed, and although you told me off you weren't nasty to me".  I'd reprimanded him for taking a session off from volunteering at a Sheffield Beer Festival because he had been called to go and do an unexpected presentation on behalf of CAMRA in Barnsley.  This was about fifteen or sixteen years ago now so I really shouldn't be surprised he can't remember any more details.
My own thoughts: I'm small, but loud!  I suppose I should be described as middle aged but I still feel 17 years old inside.  Looking at myself in a mirror as Julie suggests is always a mixture of relief it's not worse and resignation at the new signs of age.
My hair is greying in a distinguished - I think - wing like formation on the left hand side of my head, but not so much on the right - does that say something about the varying activity of the hemispheres of my brain?  It is quite long, but usually I wear it twisted up and fastened with a silver coloured hair slide.  As I mentioned in the last Book of Me post my eye colour is variable - green, blue or grey - it seems to depend on the weather or how I feel.

I don't like wearing short or even knee-length skirts, I'm happier in trousers/jeans in which I take a size 14.  I do have some long skirts, but mostly only wear them indoors.  My top half is quite large (for which my daughter has never forgiven me) and thus I take size 18-20 in shirts, although since I lost some weight this year I can fit comfortably in a size L t-shirt again.

I wear glasses, small squashed dark brown oval metal framed ones these days, the ones the OH remembers were 1990s huge plastic framed ones. 
I like to wear black, I have drawer full of black jeans and a wardrobe half full of black polo shirts, mostly beer related ones that I have been given for working at various beer festivals.  When I'm at the Archives or the Local History Group meetings I wear a 'proper' shirt - but due to my large 'attributes' I tend to buy men's shirts in Primark or Marks and Spencer's ladies shirts I've picked up in charity shops.  I don't do flowers or pink!

I wear boots - I have wobbly ankles and went though a stage of falling down and breaking them a lot before I worked out that shoes and sandals aren't for me.  This is another reason I don't do skirts.  Even when I got married I wore a pair of slightly heeled lace up boots under my dress.

A colour photo of my tattoo, a celtic knot surmounted by a little dragon's head and on either side an interlocking swirling pattern.
My tattoo
I have a tattoo on my left arm, the armlet sized kind, high up so even a short sleeved shirt or t-shirt covers it and makes me look respectable. My mother said it looked Maori (just before she told me my arm was going to drop off as a consequence of having it done), but I think it's Celtic(ish). 
I usually wear dangly silver earrings, with purple stones or just plain silver Celtic knots.  I don't like gold - even our wedding rings are white gold so they don't look gold.  I wear mine on the third finger of my left hand (as is traditional) along with an eternity ring (more purple stones) the OH bought me to mark our anniversary.
I would normally wear an analogue watch, large men's style, with a black strap, but the strap broke before GBBF (Great British Beer Festival) so it's been travelling around in my pocket for the last three months.
I have a scar on my right eyebrow, outer end.  It's from falling off a bicycle whilst on a Sunday ride out with the Cycling Club in the late 1970s. 
My complexion is ruddy - that's a polite word for saying I'm a bit red faced.  I have a lot of broken capillaries and I don't wear make up - ever. 

My favourite hat is a maroon walker's hat bought in Scotland a few years ago - I call it my Downton Abbey hat - I usually wear it when it rains as it's much easier than juggling a brolly and a bag and so on when getting on and off buses and in the local shops.  That's it in my profile picture at the top right of my blog. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Barnsley Archives in the News - Oldest document and a Royal Visit

On my regular visit to the Archives this week I was privileged to be amongst the first people to see their latest acquisition, documents from the very earliest written history of Barnsley and area.  The parcel of documents was delivered from Sheffield Archives to Barnsley, which, with the completion of the new secure, climate controlled storage, is now able to give these old documents a proper home in their place of origin.

An old document, brown and irregular, with eight lines of dark old fashioned writing, it is attached by the tab for the seal to another document which is turned face down
Officially the oldest document held by Barnsley Archives (photo from Facebook)

This is the oldest document of all, a small piece of vellum, about 2 x 6 inches in size, which dates back to 1150.  It records the grant of a piece of land from a man to his god-son; all he asks in rent is one red rose each year.  Sounds insignificant, but then just think about it ... 1150 was only 84 years after the Norman Conquest and the ruler at the time was Stephen, the grandson of William the Conqueror.  If you remember your history (or you watched "She Wolves, England's Early Queens" recently), that's the time when there were constant wars between King Stephen and his cousin Empress Matilda, who as a woman was not the most popular candidate for the English throne.  A transaction of land for a mere token seems strangely sentimental in a time we associate more with knights and swords and sieges.

I'm no Latin scholar (my grade B 'O level' was over 30 years ago) but even I could make out the name Adam and a place, Wath, mentioned in the document.  The writing is neat and crisp and stands out clearly from the brown speckled background.  The thought that I was looking at something written 863 years old was stunning. 

Paul Stebbing, the Archives and Local Studies Manager, explained he was hoping to get a proper display case set up so that the document and others like it could be available for visitors to see easily.  I look forward to reading the full translation of the text and reading the history of this and the other documents in the bundle that arrived from Sheffield when they go on display

Then on Friday the Archives was visited by Royalty, so Paul had to put his suit on again, the second time in a week, the first being for the launch of the digitised Barnsley Chronicle on Tuesday.  Sorry, Paul, but I've got used to seeing you in the corporate polo shirt mingling with the rest of your staff, so when you put the suit on now we know there's something up!

The Earl of Wessex being greeted by Paul Stebbing at the door to the Archives watched by the Mayor
Paul Stebbing greets Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex (from the Star)
The Prince was on a flying visit to Experience Barnsley to unveil a plaque in the new square adjacent to the entrance to the museum.  The square has been named the Barnsley Pals Centenary Square and with the seating and fountains is proving a popular stopping off point for Barnsley people out and about in the town.
Paul Stebbing shows Prince Edward a huge document placed on the map table, erected by my OH, in the Archives
Paul showing the Prince a much bigger old document (from the Star)

I see from the video on the Star newspaper's website that the Prince chatted to some of the people using the Archives yesterday and had time to look at some of Paul's new acquisitions.  Is that the oldest document at the bottom left of the picture above?  I think it could be - I saw that before the Prince!

Well done Barnsley Archives!  And well done Experience Barnsley and the team behind it, over 40,000 people have now visited the museum and with the launch of the 'Romans are Coming' exhibition I'm sure thousands more will be visiting in coming weeks.