Sunday, July 9, 2017

William Cooper of Berkhamsted and Sheep Dips

This post card sized visiting card, for John Cullwick, sales representative for William Cooper of Berkhamsted, has been added to my page on the company, together with a long press account of a demonstration John gave to the "colonial sheep dip" in Ireland in 1896.

The back of the card has an appropriate picture of a shepherd with a flock of sheep.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

WW! War Memorial at Tring - Information wanted

Ian Pettigrew asks "Whether any of your readers has any information about any of the individuals listed in the WW1 section of Tring Memorial.

He has put the developing piece of work online so you can see what he has already done. If you have any information, including relevant family photos and memorabilia, please let him know at 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Comic Postcard with a link to St Albans

When I am doing research relating to Hertfordshire I frequently create offline pages to my web site to make it easier to transfer online so that it can be shared. Some years ago I discovered that an artist using the name "Karaktus" had published some unusual comic cards in association with a company Crown Publishing Ltd. More recently I discovered that his fellow artist was "F S" and I started to research this artist as well.  Last year I decided I needed to find a more relaxing area of historical research - and what more relaxing than looking for evidence among literally millions of comic post cards.

While there are Hertfordshire connections the research has taken me deep into the problems of publishing postcards in the early 20th century - where there was a massive boom in communication (in some way paralleling the boom in digital phones). Everyone tried to get onto the bandwagon - and while some companies were spectacularly successful far more went bankrupt.

While the research is undoubtedly of more relavant to the post card historian, I have decided to put it online - as even if you are not so interested in the history you might enjoy seeing a large collection of comic post cards from the 1905-1913 period.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Herts at War - A Digital Legacy

Tunes from Tring Schoolboy's Music Book (1866) being performed

Aylesbury March
It us just over a year since Beth Atkinson kindly donated William Henry Ewer's music exercise book, which records the music he was taught at Prospect House School, Tring, in 1866. The whole book can now be viewed online. While most of the pieces are well know. I have so far been unable to find out anything about one local piece called the "Aylesbury March" reproduced above.
A number of the pieces, including the "Aylesbury March" have been adapted to be played on handbells by the Tringers - a small local group of amateur handbell ringers - who will be playing it, and several other pieces from the book, as part of the Family Fun Day at  Tring Parish Church, organised by FOTCH (Friends of Tring Church Heritage) on Saturday, May 6th. A number of different music groups, including several primary school choirs, will be in the church, and the Tringers are scheduled to play at 11.00 am.
The Tringers performing in Tring Church for the FOTCH Family Fun Day in 2016

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Cricketers Public Houses of Hertfordshire

Noeleen has written to say I found your site via Google after I could not read an address in a census. It turned out to be ‘The Cricketers’ in Bennington. In 1851 and 1861 census  Frederick  Parkins was the Victualler and a Shoemaker with his wife Sarah. He was just a Shoemaker in 1841 census. In 1861 it is listed as Cricketers Public House, Bennington Road. By 1871 and 1881 census he is Publican and Shoemaker at the Green Dragon in Waltham which his wife Sarah was head of as a Widow in 1891 census. I hope this is of interest to you and I loved the addition of a shoemakers occupation plus I enjoyed reading about Cricketers Pubs on your site, something unknown to me in NZ.

I have added her comment to the page on the Cricketers pubs I first posted in 2006, together with some relevant news items from the British Newspaper Archive.

In addition I have added an advert relating to the Cricketers public house in Hitchin from 1836 which records that the associated cricket ground was well established at that date. I have also added a Licencing Day report for St Albans for 1884 which mentions The Cricketers in that city (which unfortunately no longer trades under that name).

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Aviation in the First World War - Talk "Air War over Arras"

The next Herts at war talk is on Wednesday 19th April and will be given by historian and author Peter Hart on 'Air War over Arras'. Peter is very well known in history as one of the UK's leading military authors, having written numerous books on the subject and also interviewed hundreds veterans of the Great War in his role as the Imperial War Museum's Oral Historian. With his incredible passion and unique delivery style, Peter is always a popular feature to any speaking event and will no doubt prove so once more!

The venue is The Large Lecture Theatre, De Havilland Campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield,  Herts, AL10 9EU, doors will be open from 7pm with the talk due to start at 7.30pm and lasting for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

The talk is free but it is important that you reserve your ticket ahead of time to avoid disappointment, you can do so via our eventbrite link here:

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Issue of Herts Past and Present

The Spring 2017 issue of Herts Past and Present has just been published by the Hertfordshire Association for Local History.

As always it contains an interesting collection of articles

Hertfordshire men at Passchendale, 1917, by John Cox
In search of "My Lord" Salisbury, by Nicky Webster (about researching and publishing the life of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 2nd Marquis of Salisbury)
William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Salisbury - The Education of a nobleman, by Alan Thomson
'Plenty of Punch and Good Company' - Bringing local history to life about a theatrical production dramatizing the life of John Carrington, farmer of Bramfield
The Enclosure of the Manor of Barnet, 1818, by Susan Flood
Local History Essay Competition - with details of essays on Knebworth, Lemsford and Croxley Green
Report of the 2016 HALH Symposium on Hertfordshire at war through the centuries.
Book Reviews: Watford : A History, by Mary Forsyth; St Albans: Life on the Home Front, 1914-18, edited by Jonathan Mein, Anne Wares and Sue Mann; On Hertford and its Environs: A Portrait in verse of Hertford and the Surrounding Countryside, by Thomas Green (1719-91), edited by Jean Purkis and Philip Sheail.
Dates for the Diary
13 May  - HALH Spring Meeting and AGM, Ware
24 June - Summer Visit, Benington Lordship, Benington
11 November - Symposium: Women of Hertfordshire, Hitchin

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Agricultural Wages and the Sandridge Agricultural Workers Strike of 1873

Anthony recently contacted me about his ancestor Jonathan Cox (1821-1881) of Hill End Sandridge - which means that we share William Cox (1760-1802) as an ancestor. When I have more time I will update the earlier ancestor pages but in the meantime I had a look to see if there was anything new about Jonathan on the British Newspaper Archive.

Jonathan Cox is mentioned several times in my account of the Sandridge Agricultural Strike of 1873 and in particular he told a parliamentary commission that “Men work 11 hours a day, and women nine. … Able-bodied labourers have from 11s to 14s a week; boys from 3s 6d to 5s. … boys rarely go to work before they are from 10 to 12 years of age. … Girls are not employed in farm labour, they are engaged in straw plaiting from a very early age. Women, too, are chiefly engaged in plaiting. A few are employed on farms in weeding in summer.” 

I therefore decided to look for news item which related to the people he employed.

In 1861 one of the young men that he employed on an annual basis, almost certainly through a hiring fair absconded:
Leaving Employment. - Henry Peters, a lad in the employ of Mr Jonathan Cox, of Hill-end Farm, Sandridge, was charged with leaving his service. - Mr. Cox informed the Bench that the boy had left his employment on a former occasion, which he overlooked, he being a yearly servant. - Defendant pleaded guilty, and was ordered to pay 17s 6d costs, and return to his work. - His master paid the money which was to be deducted from his yearly wages. 
In 1871 one of the young men he employed stole some money from another and the court case included details of what he was paid:
Joseph Mardell  (16) was brought up in custody on remand, charged with stealing 6s. 6d, the property of Isaac Matthews, a ploughboy in the employment of Mr Jonathan CoxHill End FarmSandridge ... Mr Cox stated that the prisoner was employed at 4s 6d a week and £2. 10s. annually ... ... 
In 1875 William Chapman was not paid enough for his work at harvest time . Jonathan Cox took him to court for reach of contract but iam has legal support and it would seem that Jonathan Cox dropped the charge when he realised that his foreman would be required to give evidence. I am sure this would not have happened before the strike.

For more information see Jonathon Cox, Hill Farm, Sandridge, 1821-1881 and The Agricultural Workers Strike, Sandridge 1873

Saturday, February 18, 2017

More about Hertfordshire Wrench Cards

Allen Warren has written from Canada to say that he is compiling a catalogue of all the post cards by Wrench from the early years of the last century He has provided a list of all the Hertfordshire cards and I have used this to update my Wrench page. He has also provided a copy of this view of the Gates on Cassiobury Park, in Watford.

There are a number of Hertfordshire cards which he has not identified:

Bishops Stortford Nos 6289 and 6291
St Albans 6300 and 6306
Barnet 7757
Hitchin 8835 and 8836

If you can identify any of these cards please let me know (ideally with a digital copy) and I will forward the information to Allan.