Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I've been rather busy - but I haven't forgotten about genealogy

In Bunhill Fields
Joseph Phipson's grave

Over the last few weeks various matters have meant that I have not been able to spend much time on the newsletter or the web site - but when I have a moment I haven't forgotten about local history research.

On Sunday I attended the reunion of the Leo Computer Society in London and caught an early train so I could also have a look at Bunhill Fields - which is a very interesting cemetery in central London. It was used as a burial ground between 1665 and 1854 and it is estimated about 123,000 people were buried there - including many well known people such as John Bunyon, Daniel Defoe and William Blake.

One of the reason for my visit is that one of the few accessible and readable graves is one of my wife's ancestors and I wanted to make sure I had a good digital image of it.

Hopefully I will be able to continue working on the web site and this newsletter later in the month.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Thrashed for Profane Language in Hitchin Market Place in 1884 ???

James Francis Tooley, miller, of Whitwell, was charged with assaulting Samuel Izzard, o[ Luton, and the latter was summoned by Mr. Tooley, for using obscene and profane language.
This case, arose in Hitchin market. The version of the complainant and his witnesses was that he (complainant). was calling out "muffins and crumpets" in Hitchiu market, and on passing Mr. Tooley, complainant called out "I sell crumpets four a penny, and if Mr.Tooley will pay use the sixpence he owes me I will sell five a penny," upon which Mr. 'l'ooley, with an ash stick, gave him (Izzard) a most unmerciful thrashing, causing the market people to cry shame of him, and the complainant was obliged to go to Dr. Foster, at Hitchin, and to a doctor when he got to Luton.
The defendant's (Mr. Tooley's) version was, that he had found it necessary to put Izzard in the County Court for a sack of flour sometime ago, and to commit him to prison in default of paying the installments ordered by the Court, and ever since then Izzard had taken every opportunity of insulting him in public places, and on this afternoon he was haranguing the crowd and swearing about him in front of the Hitchin Corn Exchange. He put up with this until he repeated it before two hundred people when he could stand it no longer and did thrash Izzard.
Witnesses were called as to Izzard's profane language.
The Bench inflicted a fine of .£2 and costs upon the defendant for the assault uponIzzard, and ordered Izzard to pay 20s . including costs for profane language.
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow, 28 March, 1884

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Old Newspapers and Private Schools - The Bourne Hall Academy Example

Over the last few years the digitization of old newspapers on the British Newspaper Archive has made it far easier to investigate at least some of the private schools whose records do not exist.

In 2012 I was asked about Bourne Hall Academy, at Bushey and came up with an outline history based mainly on trade directories and census returns. About a week ago Cynthia contacted me to say that her relative Henry Hunt Sirkett had been at the school and he was recorded as having passed exams in the Herts Advertiser.

I decided that it would be interesting to use this school as a case study to assess how much extra information was available - particularly in the Herts Mercury (for the early years), the Herts Advertiser from 1855 and later from the Watford Observer. In fact I found so many references that there was no way I could find time to view them all, much less record all the names and events.

I decided to concentrate on the ownership and naming of the school as told in adverts. I discovered that H L Biggs took over Grove House boarding school in January 1844 and moved to Bourne Hall Academy by 1850. From then on there were regular reports in the papers of events such as prize-giving days and cricket matches, and details of students who passed external examinations. (Because to their number I selected three or four such items to examine in detail.) Things seem to have gone well until 1882 when H L Biggs handed over the school to his son H B Biggs, and it would seem that the new headmaster was not a success and in 1884 it appears that some boys who had prepared for some external examinations were not entered.Definitely the number of boys listed as passing external exams in 1888 was lower than one would have expected some ten years earlier. In addition it seems thatsome of the school buildings may have been used teach girls foreign languages.

The exact date that the school closed is uncertain but the furniture was sold off early in 1889, and the landlord put the property on the market a few months later. The bankruptcy hearings were revealling and demonstrate than the young headmaster had failed to learn good bookkeeping while a pupil at the school ...

For full details see Bourne Hall Academy

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Formation of the Volunteer Rifle Corps in 1860

Poem on the Volunteer Rifle Corps Meeting at Berkhamsted

 In January 1860 there were  meetings at Ashridge, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring to form a combined Rifle Corps. For details (and the full poem) click on the poem.
For the historic background see Wikipedia

Friday, September 22, 2017

Early Post Card images of Old Hertfordshire

The Congregational Church. Barley, circa 1950
Now a private house
Quite a lot of my recent requests for information are for larger images of some of the early prints and post cards - the last being a view of Barley for a poster for a Harvest Supper to be help at Barley Parish Church on 30th September. As a result it might be appropriate to explain the current position relating to images on the site.

  1. There is no fee for using this web site but if you use material from the site please consider making a donation to support the mentally ill in Hertfordshire.
  2. You are free use any pictures of old post cards and prints shown on this web site where I own an original copy (This includes all post card images where there is no reference to a source book, etc.)
  3. If the picture has a blue border clicking on the image will produce a larger image - typically 1024 pixels wide. In preparation for archiving this web site the number of such images is being increased - so that it can continue to be used as a picture library with several thousand images of the county over 100 years ago..
  4. Larger images may be available - contact me if you are interested.

Wagon & Horse Pub  - possibly 1920
Now renamed the Fox & Hounds
Because of the size of the site it will take several years to upgrade all the post card images, and priority will be given to villages or selected aspects of the larger towns if people contact me. Because the last request was about Barley I have added three new post cards - and upgraded over a dozen existing views with 1024 pixel wide images.
St Margaret's House (former Rectory), Barley

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Railway comes to Tring on Wednesday 20th September

Ian Petticrew is a local historian and joint author, with Wendy Austin, of several books, including one on this subject. On Wednesday, 20th September, he will be giving a talk to the Tring Local History Society at the High Street Methodist Church, Tring.

Tring Station is at the summit of the London to Birmingham Railway (the world's first mainline route) and his talk will cover the engineers, selection of the route, the Act of Parliament, construction contracts, illustrations of the line under construction, stations, locomotives and early timetables.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Harpenden News from 1891 - A fire and a funeral

Old News
 Following an email from Colin relating to the Anscombe family of Harpenden I decided to update the Anscombe page with a link to Mrs Pamela Anscombe's funeral, which lists relatives who were still living. The page also included details of a fire at the Anscombe's shop and other local news which I have copied below.

Messrs. Anscombe wish to thank all those who rendered each useful assistance at the recent fire on their premises.

St. George's School. — On Sunday evening at evensong a special sermon was preached in the chapel of this school by the Rev. B. W. Harris, in aid of the Home Missions in East London. The offertory was also devoted to the same object.

Young Women’s Guild. — The members of the above guild held their quarterly tea and meeting at the rectory Monday. Various games were indulged in ; the members afterwards attending a service in the parish church, when address was given by the Rector.

Accident to little Girl.— On Friday afternoon a little girl named Puter, of Luton, met with a somewhat serious accident whilst playing on the large roller near the cricket ground. She was running down the shaft, and falling on to some ironwork gashed her knee. Dr. Wilson dressed and stitched np the wound.

Wesleyan Chapel. — This chapel was well filled on Sunday evening, when a sermon was preached by Mr. M. White, a coloured student of Richmond College. Mr. White also gave an address to the scholars in the afternoon. He is now training to go back as missionary among his own people.

Congregational Chapel. — The anniversary services of this chapel were held Wednesday. A public tea was provided at which good company assembled. Two excellent sermons were preached afternoon and evening by the Rev. J. Brown, D.D., of Bedford (Chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales), at which there were large congregations.

Outbreak of Fire.—On Saturday night, about 12.30, an outbreak of fire in some sheds on the premises at Messrs. Anscombe and Son's was simultaneously discovered by several persons. Mr. W. H. Anscombe, who is captain of the Fire Brigade, was quickly on the spot, and was shortly afterwards followed by the other members of the Brigade. It was then found that a shed, utilised as a storehouse for empties, with some chairs and fixtures, was in full flames. It was impossible to save this building, and the efforts of the Brigade were then directed to preventing the fire spreading to adjoining stables and premises. The structure was composed of wooden walls, and was about 30 feet long by 12 feet wide and 16 feet high, with galvanised iron roof. Messrs. Anscombe are insured in the Union Office, and the damage is estimated at about £30.

Death of Mrs. Anscombe, Jun. — The death of Mrs. Allen Anscombe. jun., occurred on Thursday in last week. The deceased lady, who was the daughter of Mr. Rothwell, had been married about eight years, and leaves three sons. She had been suffering for about eleven months from a cancer of the tongue and throat, for which she was attended by Dr. Blake. At that time an operation was performed upon her at King's College by Mr. Heath. It was hoped that this would prove effectual, but although it afforded temporary relief, it was necessary that other minor operations should be undergone. Notwithstanding the treatment and the supreme efforts used the cancer gradually increased, and eventually terminated fatally. Mrs. Anscombe bore the trouble with great fortitude and courage. For some time prior to her marriage the deceased lady took an active interest in the Congregational Chapel at Harpenden. The funeral took place onTuesday afternoon at Harpenden Church, a large number of the inhabitants of the village, and personal friends, together with relatives, being present. The service was conducted by the Rev. E. T. Vaughan, rector. The mourners were — Mr. Allen Anscombe, jun., and Mr. W. B. Bothwell, Mr. and Mrs. Mr. W. H. Anscombe and Mrs. Mallett, Mr. and Mrs. Anscombe. Mr. B. Anscombe and Miss Anscombe. Mr. A. E. Ansoombe and Miss 8. F. Anscombe, Rev. W. R. Price and Miss Ashworth. The employes of Messrs. Anscombe also followed. The funeral arrangements were carried oat by Mr. Irons, the coffin being of oak with burnished brass plates. The inscription was: Pamela Ansoombe, died 25th June, 1831, aged 36 years.” A large number of beautiful wreaths sent by relatives and friends completely covered the coffin. Among them were the following : from W.H. Ansoombe: “From brothers and sisters,” A.E.A., E.A., E.M.A., and S.F.A.; from W. E. Rothwell; “With loving sympathy.” from E. M. Rothwell; With deepest sympathy. ’ Mr. and Mrs. Frear, sen., and the Misses Frear; "With respects,” from Lizzie and Emily: With deepest sympathy,” from Mr. and Mrs. Winter: from Mrs. Claridge ; “With deepest sympathy.” from Mr. and Mrs. Willmott; "With sympathy,” from Mr. and Mrs. Simons and all at Cell Park-farm: "In token of our esteem and sympathy” from the assistants; “With sincere respect and sympathy,” from the workroom; “In loving memory," from Eliza and Harriett Walsh.

Herts Advertiser, 4 July, 1891
From British Newspaper Archive

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Steabbens - Butcher of St Albans and Hatfield

Alfred Wren, with the butcher's van owned by Steabbens of St Albans and Hatfield
Hillary has kindly provided the above picture of Alfred Wren, who was born i 1899 and moved to London in 1923 - almost certainly taken after the war - where he had joined the army despite being under age. I have added it to the existing Steabben page

If you have any similar early photos which could be added to an existing page on my web site I would love to hear from you.