Saturday, May 23, 2015

Recent Correspondence (May 2015)

Charles Campbell Ridgway was a pupil at Lockers Park School, Hemel Hempstead, in 1915. Following a query from Alan, who is related to him, I have added Charles' obituary from the Times. See Ephemera - an empty envelope.

Thanks to information received from Christine I have placed a link to the Chidwickbury Stud on the Childwickbury page.

I have had two queries about photographs taken by Thomas Latchmore of Hitchin, relating to people in the pictures. In neither case was there sufficient clues to be able to identify the individuals. (The more dateable examples of work by Hertfordshire photographs the more I can help people date their old pictures.)


Friday, May 22, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Leighton Buzzard Observer (1863-1889) now on British Newspaper Archive

The Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette is now online. While Leighton Buzzard is in Bedfordshire and Linslade was (in the 19th century) in Buckinghamshire the paper often included news (and adverts) relating to N.W. Hertfordshire. For instance I noted 1660 references to "Tring" between 1863 and 1889, 320 to Markyate, 192 to Ashridge, 184 to Caddington (now in Beds), 184 to Kensworth (now in Beds), 158 to Studham (now in Beds), 142 to Gaddesden and 60 to Flamstead. The larger towns in Hertfordshire also get frequent mentions with 2364 for St Albans, 1615 for Hemel Hempstead, 1447 for Watford, about 950 for Berkhamsted (various spellings), 867 for Hertford and 528 for Hitchin.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Early Post Cards of Hertfordshire - by Wrench

Bishops Stortford
Sir John Evelyn Leslie Wrench (1882-1966) was actively interested in the unity of the British Empire and his post card activities only occupied a few years of a very active life. As a teenager he founded a post card publisher which expanded in a couple of years to become one of the biggest British publishers - and then went bankrupt because it had expanded too fast. He published a number of Hertfordshire view cards in 1903/4, all but one example seen so far having being printed in Saxony. All cards carry a negative number and those recorded so far are:
  • 2195 The Parish Church, Watford
  • 2196 The Fig Tree Tomb, Watford
  • 2198 The Footbridge, Cassiobury Park, Watford
  • 2199 The Swiss Cottage, Cassiobury Park, Watford
  • 2664 Woodcock Lane, Hertfordshire (location uncertain)
  • 2665 Beckhampton Place, Hertfordshire (location uncertain)
  • 4919 Church [Interior], Kings Langley
  • 4920 The Old Ruins, Kings Langley
  • 4921 Church, Kings Langley (wrongly labelled)
  • 4922 The Castle Ruins, Kings Langley ("Wrench" name/logo omitted)
  • 4923 The Mill, Kings Langley ("Wrench" name/logo omitted)
  • 4924 The Mill Bridge, Kings Langley (pub W. Baldwin)
  • 5197 Pound House, Kings Langley (pub W. Baldwin)
  • 6288 High Street, Bishops Stortford
  • 6290 On the Stort, Bishops Stortford
  • 6292 South Street, Bishops Stortford
  • 6294 The George Inn, St Albans
  • 6295 St Michael's Church, St Albans
  • 6296 St Albans Abbey from S.W.
  • 6297 St Peter's Church, St Albans
  • 6303 French Row, St Albans
  • 6304 Sopwell Nunnery, St Albans
  • 6307 Town Hall, St Albans
  • 7758 Congregational Church, New Barnet
  • 7760 Hanley Church, Barnet
  • 7762 Church & High Street, High Barnet
  • 7765 Wesleyan Church, New Barnet
  • 8584 Grand Staircase, Hatfield House
  • 8586 View from N.W., Hatfield House
  • 8587 South Front, Hatfield House
  • 8631 Cassiobury Park, Watford
  • 8632 The Chalet, Cassiobury Park, Watford
  • 8638 Waterfall, Cassiobury Park, Watford
If you know of other Hertfordshire cards in the series please let me have details.
I would be particularly interested if there were any on undivided backs, or cards with a style and number which suggests they were in the Wrench series but which do not carry the Wrench name/logo 

Press Reports of Award of Victoria Cross to Edward Barber of Tring


Solomon Willis, Hemel Hempstead Cricket Captain 1868-1880

Solomon Willis, Captain of Hemel C.C.  1860-80
About two years ago I posted details of Solomon Willis, who was until 1897 the Under Bailiff of the ancient Pie Poudre Court of the Bailiwick of Hemel Hempstead. He was also a keen cricketer and Andy Turbutt has kindly sent me a copy of the photograph which proudly hangs in the Hemel Hempstead Cricket Pavilion. He was their Captain between 1860 and 1880,

Since the original posting copies of the Hemel Hempstead Gazette have appeared on the British Newspaper Archive - and there are a number of references to him as the Under Bailiff, as a cricketer, and as the publican of the Compasses Public House in the High Street. I have added some brief extracts to Solomon's Time Line, including a reference that shows he had a special uniform as under bailiff - and the picture I earlier posted is almost certainly genuine, and not merely fancy dress. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

April Report & Future Plans

Some real problems in April - starting with a software problem which has stopped me automatically updating the web site - meaning that I have to keep track of all files I amend and then update them manually one by one. In addition the computer I have been using to update the site crashed and had to spend some time in the local "computer hospital." These events highlighted a number of problems related to the continuation of the project and made it essential that I re-organize my filing system and make more reliable backup arrangements. 

In addition a number of domestic and other matters have been clamoring that they have been neglected and I need to spend more time on them over the next few months. 

One activity demanding my time relates to the research I did in the 1970s and 1980s as I have been asked to write an article in ITNow (the professional magazine of the British Computer Society) about how the commercially inspired rush to develop the computer industry meant that unconventional research ideas being abandoned because they were not "fashionable." This means I will need to spend more time on my other blog Trapped by the Box.

In addition I feel I need a real break - and have become involved in another short-term project in conjunction with the Tring Camera Club. Some years ago, when we still had a dog, I started taking photographs recording the area around Tring and posting some of them on a site called Geograph for archive purposes. The occasional posts "Rural Relaxation" on this newsletter has been a byproduct of this activity. The Club has now launched a project, linked into Tring 700, to record archive pictures of Tring as it is in 2015.I have got involved and I have decided to record my contribution to this project and also my posts to Geograph on a temporary blog "Recording Tring." This fits in well with my keep-fit plans to walk round the town three or four times a week - as the walk is far more interesting if I have a camera ..

In these circumstances I have decided to put any significant updates to the main web site on the back-burner for the next two or three months, although there are one or two things I was working on which I will finish. This newsletter will continue (you can help by feeding me details of new Hertfordshire books and booklets, details of local and family history events, etc.) and I will still answer questions - but will put a cap of one day a week on my genealogy related activities. The biggest loss will be the weekly Tring News from 1915 - but while a small number of people found it very useful there were not enough people to justify in continuing.