Monday, April 30, 2012

Who has been stealing from my bird feeder (off topic)

Goldfinches
I regularly feed the birds in my garden, with hanging feeders, fat balls, ground feed and apples for the blackbirds. (The apples were a great bargain - our Tesco overstocked on a special offer and I got 20 bags at a greatly reduced price.) The sunflower hearts prove very popular from the hanging feeders - with regular visitors such as goldfinches, greenfinches, blue tits and great tits, robins and even the occasional chaffinch - which is normally a ground feeder. However they are very fussy and all tended to avoid the green topped feeder, despite the fact that it contains the same food.. That is until a few days ago when the level of the seed dropped suddenly.  A thief had been at work ...

A Garden Party at Panshanger - 7 July

Joint event 
Garden Party Panshanger Saturday 7 July 2012, 10.45 am to 2.30 pm
We are the guests of Lafarge for a guided tour around the grounds of Panshanger House, which were redesigned by Humphry Repton in 1799/180.0. This is to coincide with the recent re-publication by Herts Record Society of Repton's Red Books of Panshanger and Tewin Water.
The walk (about I hour) will be on level ground but is unsuitable for people with mobility problems or who are wheelchair users. Please wear footwear appropriate for a woodland walk.
Afterwards we shall proceed (by car) to the Tewin Pavilion on Upper Green, Tewin for sandwiches, tea and cakes at 12.30 followed by two talks about the Repton landscape and the Desborough family who used to live at Panshanger House (demolished 1952)
This event will be followed by the AGM for the Herts Record Society.
Tickets are £6 - Booking Form in Herts Past & Present 19

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thoughts from a Country Churchyard

A typical late 18th century gravestone
When this you see remember me
And think now I am gone,
You may walk out and seek about
And not find such a one.
Memorial Inscription from the Churchyard at Ardeley
Recorded in Cream of Curiosity

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Eliza Jane Deards is tracked down at St Pauls Walden

In 2003 Brian wrote asking about Eliza Jane Deards of St Pauls Walden and I gave what help I could with the records available at the time. Two years later David contacted me with some more information about the family. And now Michael has definitely tracked her down - using resources which were not available to me nearly 10 years earlier. I was interested to note the marriages at St Pancras as quite a few Hertfordshire people took a train up to London to marry at St Pancras, rather than marry in their local parish church.

I always appreciate messages like this. If I have helped you in the past let me know how the search continued, If not, but you can still update the story tell me about it - so that others can benefit from your experiences

What every country cottage near Tring needed in 1872

In 1872 the Herts Advertiser carried a report of the Tring Agricultural Show which included details of a useful piece of equipment every county cottage should have.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Another Post Card solves the Mystery with a Kiss!

5th Howitzer Battery in Action, Lydd Camp, 1909
Last November I reported on a very faded post card of of guns at a military camp, sent to a Miss M Rowe by "J" and suggested the likely identities of  Miss "M" and "J". 

Now another card has turned up, showing guns at Lydd Camp, also sent from Watford to Berkhamsted. This shows that the "M" I suggested was Miss Margaret Rowe was called "Madge", while the "J" I provisionally identified as James Humphries was called "Jim." In addition Jim attended a "drill" which supports the idea that he was in the Territorial Force. For more details see Mystery Military Photo

However I also discovered I had missed a clue with the original card - by not wondering why the stamp had not been stuck on straight. When the second card turned up with the same configuration I started to investigate and it turns out that in the "Language of Stamps" a stamp stuck on in this way can mean the equivalent of "love and kisses."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More about Thundridge Old Church, near Ware

Murray saw my post What did your parish church own in 1552 and asked what it said about the old parish church at Thundridge - which was demolished in 1853. I have added a page giving details of the 1552 holdings and also updated the page on the church, which is well worth a visit because it is a demonstration page  A Comparison of Early Printed Sources illustrating where you can find information on the older Hertfordshire Churches.

I also looked for any new online materials to link to and found some old memories and the following video which shows the churchyard and the outside and inside of the tower :
You will see that the blocked doorway has had a large hole cut through the wall and there are other signs of vandalism. It is all very sad.

B.T.W. I do not have time to monitor sites like YouTube for amateur video of tours of interesting Hertfordshire historic buildings.  If you know of any which I should mention in this newsletter, or link to on the main web site, please let me know - perhaps as a comment below including the relevant URL.

Some Latchmore Postcards


I have already posted details of some CDV produced by Thomas Benwell Latchmore, of Hitchin,  and have now acquired a postcard showing three soldiers - and added details to the same page. It would seem was produced before 1908, when Thomas died. I was hoping it might be able to identify them by enlarging detail - and it may be that the buttons shows a lion and unicorn holding a shield surmounted by a crown - but perhaps my imagination has run riot!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What did your parish church own in 1552?

While Henry VIII confiscated much church property some items of value still remained in the parish churches and in 1552 a commission was arranged to make a list of the remaining items. John Cussans transcribed the original records in Church Goods in Hertfordshire. I have copied the entry for Tring - which still had 5 bells in the steeple, a sanctus bell, two chalices, and various vestments for the priests to wear. 

If you would like to know what your ancestor's church held in 1552 simply add a comment naming the parish of interest to you and I will post details.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Watford News that reached New Zealand ...

On the 4th October 1909 Canon David Reith, vicar of St Andrew's, Watford, collapsed and died while preaching a sermon at Greenwich. Of course there was an obituary in The Times, but to find out what actually happened I did a search on Google - and found that it was mentioned in several New Zealand papers, one of which gave quite a long account.

If you are looking for a press account of a newsworthy incident it could be worth looking at the PapersPast web site which contains the text of some 2 million pages from New Zealand newspapers.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Relaxing in Tavistock Square (off topic)

Gandhi contemplates the joys of spring [Larger image]
I try to get out everyday - preferably in the form of a rural walk in the wonderful countryside near Tring - and I sometimes post rural views of Hertfordshire on this newsletter. Today  was different. I went to London to attend a reunion of the LEO Computer Society. This involved walking in an area close to University College London, where I was a student 1956-1959.  I decided to take my camera to see if I could find a picture which represented the essence of London at its best in spring - and the above picture is the result.

We want to register our children's births (1829)

When we are researching our ancestors we can come up against a problem for children born to non-conformist parents before July 1837. At least some of the people affected were very much concerned at the time and news item Registration of the Children of Dissenters from 1829 shows that some were writing to their Member of Parliament urging that something should be done about it.
A Non-conformist Birth Certificate.
So if you are struggling to get back beyond the 1837 "barrier" this news item will help you to understand how the problem was seen at the time.
But there some deeper questions. Why was a petition from a small chapel in Aylesbury given such prominence in a London daily such as The Times. One of the factors was the importance of politics - but it might also be that one of the people who attended the meeting in the chapel was John Gibbs, who may have been the Aylesbury correspondent for the paper, and also a strong supporter of Lord Nugent, the local M.P.. See the full account for more details, which also gives an example of a non-conformist birth certificate from Dr William's Library.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Markyate - On the County Boundary with Bedfordshire

Until 1877 the village of Market Street, or Markyate, was in three separate ecclesiastical parishes - Studham, Caddington and Flamstead and later became a civil parish in 1897. This causes difficulties as to knowing what the records mean, and where the records are held. For instance someone living in the house they were born in at the time of the 1901 census may be living in Markyate but Markyate (as a parish) did not exist when they were born - so what will they record as their place of birth. In addition civil registration records might be in Hemel Hempstead, Herts, or Luton, Beds.

This post has arisen because the help messaging facility has been broken and as a result I have been feeling somewhat deprived as I have had fewer help requests than usual . I saw a request linked to Markyate on Rootsweb relating to the birth of a Mary Vass (possibly in the Markyate area) circa 1780 and her death as Mrs Mary Cain circa 1861. You may see the original request, and my reply, on Rootsweb - but I have also posted them as VASS/CAIN. Markyate, late 18th & 19th centuries on this site - with added links.

We are only here for the Beer ...

One of the advantages of public houses is that many of them have kept the same name for centuries, and as such provide fixed spots when discussing where in a village our ancestors lived. And of course our ancestors would have used them, and in some cases worked in them. I often use the "dead pub" site which contains details of pubs in Hertfordshire and elsewhere from old street directories and other sources. A few days ago I stumbled across the Brewery Historical Society web site, which currently includes information on Benskins Brewery in Watford, and a number of Hertfordshire pubs and feel it needs more publicity. Both links are available through the subject index for this site.

Friday, April 20, 2012

This Crazy Looking House became a School (Aldenham/Bushey)

As a student, over 50 years ago, I went to see Flanders and Swan in "At a Drop of a Hat" and looking at Caldecote Towers very much reminds me of their song "Design for Living". In this song they describe how "We're terribly House and Garden At Number Seven B" by being ever so contemporary:
We planned an uninhibited interior decor, 
Curtains made of straw, 
We've wall-papered the floor! 
We don't know if we like it, but at least we can be sure 
There's no place like home sweet home.
Ending with the killer verse
Oh, we're terribly House and Garden 
As I think we said before, 
But though Seven B is madly gay -
It wouldn't do for every day -
We actually live in Seven A, 
In the house next door!
Captain William John Marjoribanks Loftus-Otway built  Caldecote Towers  in the 1870s but then seems to have abandoned it for his house in Grosvenor Square. Perhaps he found his jumbled pile unsuitable for everyday living!

The House became a girls boarding school in 1892 - then after 1926 it was a Roman Catholic convent - and most recently a Jewish co-educational school.

Leo III Computers in Hertfordshire in the 1960s

Perhaps a bit off topic but if you are reading this blog you are presumably interested in Hertfordshire - and use a computer ....

In 1965 I started work in the computer industry, working with Shell Mex & B.P. at Hemel Hempstead. (For those of you who knew the town at the it I worked in the office building that bridged the road at the Moor End Roundabout.) I have just posted details of working there "Working with the Leo III computers at SMBP, 1965-67" on my other blog Trapped by the Box.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Lodge, Walsworth Road, Hitchin

Ernest Bedwell, of Bedford, published a large number of view post cards in the early 20th century. While most of them are of Befordshire, quite a few were of Hertfordshire, including this view looking along Walsworth Road, Hitchin, posted in 1904.  
The Lodge, Walsworth Road
It would seem that over a short period he published about 1000 different views, but then stopped completely. There is increasing evidence that similar things happened with other early local post card publishers who started well. The problem could well have been competition from the many national post card publishers who rapidly moved into the market. This left any the local publishers of printed cards with large stocks which did not sell well. More information is needed to establish this and if you have post cards by local publishers which can be dated and which have nother clues - such as series numbers - I would be interested to have details.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hertfordshire History Meetings, May 2012

There are a lot of societies in Hertfordshire who hold meetings every month that could be of interest It is not possible to tell you about all of them but here are a few talks, etc, of local interest in May, with links to contact details.


25th April.
The Leighton Buzzard Railway
27 April.
The Story of Adult Education, Hertfordshire in Context 1918-1939
28 April.
Was your Ancestor a Dissenter or Nonconformist
30th April.
The Drovers Route
3 May.
Markyate Artists, Authors, Musicians, Actors & Films
5 May.
A Visit to Cromer Windmill
10 May.
Presentation on Hertford Castle
10 May.
Frank Paddick's Boyhood in Croxley
12 May.
Hertfordshire Association for Local History (see below)
Lotteries, Turnpikes and Brokers in 18th Century Hertfordshire
15 May.
History of the Cinema in Letchworth Garden City
22 May.
The Prior Family of Weston
24 May.
Camden Town to Garden City
25 May.
Time in St Albans and St Albans in Time
26 May.
Treasures from the Hertfordshire Archives

If you know of any other May Meetings with a specific Hertfordshire interest please post a comment below.

Saturday 12 May 2012
Warners End Community Centre, Northridge Way, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3QG
11.30 A project and book on Hertfordshire Windmills
12.00 AGM ... followed by ...
Refreshments and a chance to talk
1.45 Tickets Please! Lotteries, Turnpikes and Pawnbrokers in 18th Century Hertfordshire
by Sarah Lloyd, University of Hertfordshire
Non-members may attend - charge of £2.00

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chalfont Road, Chorleywood Post Card

Chalfont Road, Chorleywood, circa 1905

A celebration dinner, the very rich, carts and the railway

The Spring 2012  issue of Herts Past & Present contains four interesting articles. The abstracts and main heading are given here - and the purpose of this review (below the fold) is to explain how reading the articles can help give you ideas for doing local and family history research.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Grocer's Invoice from Hemel Hempstead, 1900

Recently a number of invoices, for various goods from various shops in Hemel Hempstead, were sold on ebay. Such items can throw and interesting light on both the buyer, the seller, and prices at the time. If you are lucky enough for such documents to survive in your family they can say a lot about everyday life a hundred or more years ago.
Because of the high prices they fetched I was only able to acquire one invoice to use as an example. Mr Briggs, who lived at 16 Horsecroft Road, Hemel Hempstead, had a monthly account with W. J. Cartwright - who had a grocer's shop in Hemel Hempstead High Street which was run by Frank Foster, as manager (the receipted invoice provides his signature). Along with other groceries it would seem that Benjamin Briggs brought Guinness (a bottle cost four pennies), Stout and Brandy, and also purchased Cocoatina - a cocoa based drink. [Full Details]

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Four Booklets about Rickmansworth and district

I have added details of the following booklets:
Street Names of Rickmansworth (pub circa 1983) This covers Rickmansworth Town, Eastbury, Heronsgate, Moor Park, Maple Cross, West Hyde - and sticks firmly to its title - for instance it doesn't provide any information on other place names - such as Herongate.
Industrial Archaeology of Rickmansworth by E. V. Parrot (1980) is a slim booklet which mentions Loudwater Mill and Lane, Sokesbridge Mill, Mill End Mill, Batchworth Mill, Scotsbridge Mill, Church Street and Batchworth Bridges, Croxley Mill, Troy Mill, Croxley Green Windmill, Bypass and Wrights Garage, The Canal, Rickmansworth Gasworks, Railway, and Croxley House Well Head. 
Rickmansworth Park, Hertfordshire, by Adrienne Jaques (2003) is a very useful text about a large house, with pictures, maps and an index. This is still in print and available from the Rickmansworth Historical Society
'Ricky' - The Story of a Sailing Club by Tom Vaughan (1980) was published to mark the club's 50th anniversary and is an essential reference work for anyone researching this club.
Note
In each case I have only provided basic information on the booklet - but if you are interested in knowing more please Ask Chris a relevant question which the book may be able to answer - and I will then write a review which relates to your interest. This approach allows me to list as many books as possible while only writing detailed reviews of books which people are interested in.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

War breaks out and ruins the Tring Agricultural show

With the support of Lord Rothschild the Tring Agricultural Show had expanded to become one of the best one day shows of its kind. When war was declared in August 1914 the show was due to take place on the following Thursday. As most of the preparations were well underway it was decided to go ahead, although the military band had to be cancelled. For details of what happened on the day see the report in the Bedfordshire Advertiser.

I have also set up a special page of Old Tring News, to make it easier to locate items referring to Tring and the surrounding villages, such as Long Marston and Wigginton.

Friday, April 13, 2012

An Important Index of Historical Hertfordshire Articles

Jon has drawn my attention to the fact that the St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society have produced a title index (available to download from their web site) which cover a range of publications, including the following:
Their web site contains many more goodies relevant to Hertfordshire - and particularly to the St Albans area.

I reply to a complete beginner's query.

This site aims to provide a specialist help service for people who are seriously researching their ancestors and have hit a brick wall. It is not possible for me to spend time telling complete beginners things which they could find in minutes in any elementary online guide or book on the subject. Normally I send a simple email briefly suggesting that they could find their ancestors in minutes by looking them up on the census. I have just had a request for help where, because of technical difficulties on this site, I do not have an email address for the reply. The following is my reply, in the hope the sender will see it and recognise that it refers to them. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hertfordshire Countryside - April 2012

This month's issue of the Hertfordshire Countryside contained a number of items that I found interesting - but one major disappointment. The six page article on Knebworth There's a great choice at Knebworth - A special welcome to village shopping looked from the title as if it would be weighed down with advertising - but actually had a historically interesting text by Ann Judge. Attenborough's fields was an interesting piece by John Sear about an area of grassland habitat to the west of Bushey village - much in the tradition of articles in the early editions of the magazine.  The two pages of Life and Times of Easter Bunny by Ivan Broadhead included some interesting medieval references to rabbit warrens in the county while the three page Village of Antiquity by Peter Etteridge had some nice photographs of Pirton to support a reasonable historical text. Two reader's letters caught my eye - and there was a full page on the Great Bed of Ware at Ware Museum.

So perhaps this was the best issue so far this year. So why am I bitterly disappointed. The front cover said "Spotlight Harpenden 8 page special feature" and if I had brought the magazine because of this I would have been robbed.  There was a picture of a named pond, and another of an unidentified footpath (both provided by the town council - so could be seen as promotional), and there was a 150 word blurb ending "Harpenden is a great place for young and old". The remaining pages consist of a two page spread detailing a competition for a free meal in a Harpenden restaurant, a two page advertising feature on a firm of audiologists, a one page advertising feature on a firm of accountants, a one page estate agent's advert featuring houses over £1,000,000 each, and three smaller advertisements. Maybe there are some people who would buy the magazine because they needed a hearing air so that they could hear their accountant advice as to whether they could afford a meal out. However I suspect that the majority of people who purchased because of the words on the cover would have been bitterly disappointed and some might justifiably ask for their money back because of blatent misrepresentation under the Trades Description Act.

I know that such magazines need advertising to survive - but this is just not good enough. The magazine must include a reasonable amount of genuine information about the county if people are to read it. Boasting of special features which are only advertisements and editorial puff which is clearly anything but impartial will drive what used to be a great magazine out of business.

HALS Lecture Series - Hertfordshire Dynasties

The archives of several families who have helped to shape Hertfordhsire's history are preserved at HALS. The 2012 lecture series will explore the lives of the men and women belonging to some of the county's famous families. 

  • 17 April Susan Flood: The Delme Radcliffe Family of Hitchin Priory 
  • 22 May Roddy Pryor: The Pryor family of Weston 
  • 19 June Henry Cobbold and Clare Fleck: The Lytton Family of Knebworth House 
  • 17 July Dorothy Abel Smith: The Abel Smith family of Hertford 
  • 21 August Susan Flood: The Grenfell family of Panshanger 
  • 18 September Nicholas Halsey: The Halsey Family of Gaddesden 
  • 16 October Gavin Henderson: Hawkins, lawyers of Hitchin 

Tuesdays 18.30 - 19.30
The Oak Room, Register Office Block, County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford
Cost £3 per lecture or £20 for the series
Original documents relating to the lectures will be on display from 18.00

The Great Bed of Ware has gone back home ...

Did your ancestor travel from London to Cambridge? If so they may have spent a night in the Great Bed of Ware. It was built in the late 16th century - almost certainly as an advertising gimmick to encourage travelers to break their journey in the town. It soon became famous - even being mentioned in one of Shakespeare's plays! For the last 80 years it has been on display in the Victoria & Albert Museum but a Heritage Fund grant [pdf] means that from April 2012 to March 2013 it will be on display in Ware Museum. If you visit the town there is also a history trail [pdf] which guides you round the inns where the bed is known to have been in the past. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why did James and Ann marry on Christmas Day?

One of the joys of family history research is that when you answer one question several new questions immediately present themselves.

Last October I gave Carolyn some advice about the Ashby/Sherman family of Aldbury and Northchurch (part of Berkhamsted) and she has now sent me details of the marriage certificate. It appears that, having already got quite a large family they decided it was about time they got married. Obviously there would be people around who would be concerned about the souls of this couple who were "living in sin." Was a Christmas Day marriage - perhaps involving other wayward couples - part of a recruitment drive by the local Baptist Minister to enlarge his congregation? While I have not done so, it might be worth looking at adjacent entries in the Chapel register to see if others were married at the same time.  Were the earlier children already baptised prior to the wedding - perhaps by the Church of England - perhaps at Aldbury? For full details of the research so far see Ashby/Sherman, Aldbury 1840/1851.

Herts Past & Present - Review Policy

Herts Past and Present is the name of the current journal, published in the Spring and Autumn for members of the Hertfordshire Association of Local History (who also sell back issues). The current series was started in 2003, and there were earlier series. The articles are written by serious historians and will typically look at a single topic - sich as an old diary - or the effects of a particular law on the people of Hertfordshire. It is very much a metter of luck whether a particular article includes a mention of your ancestors, the place where they lived, or their occupations, and if you main interest in getting as many skeletons as possible pinned on your ancestral tree the journal is not for you.

However, if you are interested in trying to imaging how your ancestor lived, and the factors that affected his life, there is much of relevance. An article may not mention him, or even where he lived, but it could throw light on the relevant social conditions at the time, and the kinds of documentary sources that were used to write the article. As a result you may, in some cases, be able to say - now I know why my ancestor fell on hard times and, for example, decided to emigrate.

For each issue I will list the key articles, their abstracts, and the main titles - and then write a blog describing why the articles may be of interest to the family historian. Pages giving details of issue 1 (Spring 2003), issue 13 (Spring 2009) and issue 14 (Autumn 2009) have been online for some time - and have now been upgraded to contain the basic information. I will be posting the information on issue 19 next week, including the assessment on the Newsletter, and earlier issues will appear at intervals in reverse order.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Wrestlers' Inn, Aldenham, becomes The Battle Axes

Several years ago Nancy asked about The Wrestlers' Inn at Aldenham, and Colin has just contacted me to say that another of his relatives, James Meager, was associated with the pub in Victorian times. I decided to find out what happened to it and discovered that it was demolished in about 1891 as part of improvements to the Aldenham Estate - and The Battle Axes public house was build as a replacement.

A unknown school near Hitchin

An unknown School near Hitchin circa 1875
Click here for larger or very large image
A school with about 60 pupils, mainly girls, with teachers, lined up outside an unknown school. An excellent case for the Rogues Gallery - where the aim is to try and identify the missing details - If we knew the school it could well be possible to identify the head mistress. And perhaps some one who is descended from one of the girls has a copy and can identify one or more of the children's faces.

It was taken by a professional photographer (as judged by the inscription on the back) called G. A. Nichols, of Croydon Road, Station Road, Hitchin. Initially I was unable to identify him but subsequent research (see comments) has identified him as George Albert Nichols - who must have been in Hitchin between 1871 and 1881 - giving the date for the photograph of around 1875. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hidden Messages - The Shorthand Message

Kathryn has replied to my earlier post (Can anyone read shorthand?) with a translation - which is not very secret - but reminds us that many people exchanged post cards merely to add to each other's collections. (Perhaps a bit like the way some people now collect friends on Facebook!)
Dear Mr Uphill  Thank you for your lovely postcard of Dorchester. You said I think that you liked pictures of churches. Have you ever seen a photo of this church before? I myself think that houses would be such a delightful collection of postcards. You said that you like foreign correspondents best,  I think everywhere today,  I have a correspondent in China, Malta, Gibraltar and in America, and find it very interesting indeed. Yours sincerely 
So my Hidden Messages page now has two examples - but I would love to find some more on Hertfordshire cards. Definitely some used number codes (1=A, etc - or even more sophistcated). 






Hemel Hempstead Statute Fair in 1841

The above report appeared in The Reformer of 2nd October, 1841, and suggests that the fair was not as successful as usual.  For future reference the news item is linked from the page of Old Hemel Hempstead News.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Peter the Wild Boy at Berkhamsted

The 18th century liked freaks and in 1723 a young boy was found wandering in the woods in Hanover. It was believed he had grown up with no human contact and was therefore considered noteworthy. He spent the later days of his life on Broadway farm, near Bourne End, then part of Northchurch Parish, and Berkhamsted town.

I have posted an account of his life at Berkhamsted, originally written in 1782 or 1783, and published in Biographica Curiosa or Memoirs of Remarkable Characters of the reign of George the Third (1822).

The copy of the book I have illustrates another area where you can look for family history information. It came to me in a box of miscellaneous family items some 40 years ago - and has on the fly sheet the signature of a previous owner - my great great grandfather, John Gibbs.

More about Lemenager (a French-born photographer) in Watford


I know that Henri Victor Leménager was a photographer in Watford High Street between about 1872 and 1887, when he emigrated to the United States. I now have added two further examples of the carte de visite that he produced. One relates to the earlier period when he had a studio at Bushey, and the other has yet another back design relating to his Watford studio.

Two of the pictures involve the same chair, and two more may involve the same chaise longue. If you know of any other examples of his work that could help with more precise dating his photographs please let me know. 


Saturday, April 7, 2012

National Archives Discovery launched in April

Online Document ordering service at National Archives is to be replaced by their new "Discovery Service" by the end of April and will be extended to replace their online catalogue by the end of June.
If you have used the Beta test version, available since last September, why not share your experiences by commenting below.

William Harold Cox of Luton & St Albans

Hexton Manor
Last November I posted details of some of the post cards of Hertfordshire produced by W. H. Cox and Jack commented that he had seen some other cards. As a result I decided to look into the biographical background in more detail. The cards I have seen were all produced when he had premises in Castle Street, Luton, in about 1905. In 1908 he married a local girl, daughter of a straw hat manufacturer, and went to live in and work in St Albans, while apparently keeping the business running in Luton. However by 1914 he had returned to Luton to kive - and also to run a studio in Wellington Street, Luton. It would be interesting to know if he published any Hertfordshire cards from his St Albans Studio, or from his later Luton Studio. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Illustrated London News Online

The Illustrated London News has been digitised and is available to members of subscriber organisations. In Hertfordshire you can use it either in a public library or at home (assuming you are a library member). Your own library may also have access arrangements. I decided to see if it had any information on previous drought conditions in Hertfordshire and found this picture from 1934. (Overseas visitors to this site should note that, at a time when most reservoirs should be brim full, water restrictions are in place over virtually all of South East England.)

Harpenden has had a Spring Clean

Over the years the pages for the larger towns and villages on the web site have become increasingly untidy and during the break I decide to fit Harpenden up with a proper menu and to reorganise the existing pages, including the book pages and the talk "The Road Through Harpenden". This will allow new material to be introduced later - and several pages have been left in an unfinished state because I known I have further information to add. 
Leyton Green, Harpenden

I'm back - and planning to make this Newsletter better than ever

I'm back in action – but still have a number of hospital visits due over the next few months although none should take me out of action for long.

During March my mind was on other things – and I stopped posting and updates on the 17th. The Newsletter, which had been running on an average of just over 100 views a day dropped to about 70, and there was some fall off in the number of visitors on the main web site. In addition the “Ask Chris” and “Tell Me” facilities were not working due to a fault in the security checking routines (over which I have no control) and until the problem is identified and corrected I am suggesting that messages are sent to me as comment to the Temporary Fault Message. It also turns out that some of the February figures were exceptionally high due to a fault which cause the robot that indexes the site every Friday evening to get lost and go into a page reading loop!

I have also been looking at how I can easily keep things moving smoothly and Newsletter items tend to fall into the following categories: