Sunday, November 30, 2014

Books on Tring published in 2014 (including one on WW1)

During 2014 four new books have appeared on the history of Tring - and if you are looking for a Xmas present for a local historian with an interest in the town all may be purchased from the Tring Local History Museum

  • Letters to Tring: The Great War 1914-1918 by Wendy Austin
  • The Waterway comes to Tring: 1792-2013: The Grand Junction Canal, by Ian Petticrew & Wendy Austin
  • A Surprising Walk in Tring Park: The Story from the Ice Age to the Present by Shelly Savage
  • A Perspective on Pendley: A History of Pendley Manor , by Bob Little
For pictures of the covers, additional publication information, (and reviews when I have time to write them) see Tring Books 2014.
For details of other books on Tring (some no longer in print) see Tring Books.

Tim Amsden at Tring LHS display for Tring Xmas Festival (held on "Black Friday")
For some years Tring has has a Christmas Festival Evening on the last Friday in November when the High Street is closed to traffic. The Local History Society puts on a poster display in the Victoria Hall. For pictures of earlier Street Festivals see Events in Tring High Street.

The Holliday Family Links with Augustus Smith and the Scilly Islands

Help Desk
OK - A couple of months ago I posted under the heading "It looks obvious - but don't jump to conclusions" and I got it wrong. It seems possible that young James Holliday (1787-1879) stated to work for James Smith (1768-1843) shortly after James Smith moved to Ashlyn's Hall, Berkhamsted, in 1801. By 1841 James Holliday was James Smith's farm bailiff. Two of James Holliday's sons worked for the Smith family - at some time working in the Scilly Isles, which was "ruled" by Augustus Smith, of Ashlyn's Hall and Tresco. My initial mistake was a failure to find Charles Holliday in the 1841 census as he was listed as a domestic servant in London - but was probably there because he was a personal man-servant to James Smith, who was also staying at the same address.
More Information on the Holliday Familya

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Arthur Thomas Collier, St Albans Inventor, circa 1900

Reilloc Tyres under Tower Bridge, London
St Albans
A couple of months ago I posted this advertising post card for Reilloc Tyres. Geoff has now provided some additional genealogical information on the inventor, Arthur Thomas Collier who moved to St Albans in 1891/2. Interestingly Arthur had previously been a Congregational Minister, first in Cornwall, and then in Sydney, New South Wales, and it is not clear what led to him giving up the church and becoming an engineer!

A Historical Limerick for a change.

Drowning Clarence in a butt of Malmsey wine
Duke of Clarence was drowned in a butt
Malmsey wine for that year was in glut
There’s no doubt he was dead
But some say that his head
From an ax-man had suffered a cut.

George, Duke of Clarence, a royal prince of the House of York at the time of the war of the Roses, was assassinated in 1478 because he plotted with the Lancastrians against his brother, King Edward IV. It is said he was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine, but some said he was secretly beheaded.

To relax I often write limericks and nearly Wednesday I write a Science Limerick which I post, with some of the background science, on my other blog "Trapped by the Box." I also occasionally enter limericks in the MadKane weekly limerick romp - and this week the first line had to end with "but" or "butt" and the above was my attempt to write something different ... Perhaps I should try and write some about Hertfordshire history ...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Tring at War - 28th November, 1914

Old News
All Tring Public Houses are to be close at 8.30 pm. The 21st Division H.Q. is in the town and the Northumberland Fusiliers have had their leave cancelled! A mortuary, has been erected at the Boys' School to equip it as a military hospital. Troops have been moved out of the Halton camp because of the mud. News of some men from Wigginton who have been fighting at the front.
And if you want to forget the war why not hire a really up-to-date car
I have also added 1911 census data on all the people mentioned in the news.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

1917 School Nursery Rhyme refers to Sister Susie sewing shirts for soldiers

From an old school magazine, The Mortonia.

Tommy had a little shirt
With buttons all askew,
The stitches playing wibbly-wob,
It came from Sister Sue!

He took it to the Front one day,
To show his soldier brothers -
They said 'twould frighten all the Huns,
So please do send some others.

Wibbly-Wob was the name given to a game of table football

Sister Sue is a reference to the First World War Tonguetwister Song in which each chorus is sung faster and faster .... The first version was written in 1914 and the following verion popularized by Al Johnson in 1916.
"Sister Susie's sewing shirts for soldiers
Such skill at sewing shirts
Our shy young sister Susie shows!
Some soldiers send epistles,
Say they'd sooner sleep in thistles
Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Walkern Club Football Team 1911/2 - another player identified

Walkern Football Club - Winners of the Greg Cup in 1911/12
Ronald has written in to say that the player in the front row, far right, is William James Smith.

Please let me know if you can identify any other players

Sunday, November 23, 2014

£50 Prize for the best essay on your First World War Hertfordshire Relative

Hertfordshire Family History Society Competition
A kind donation by the late Sherry Martin has made it possible to fund a biennial competition open to members of the Hertfordshire Family History Society which is to write an article between 1,500 and 2,500 words long on a particular theme. There will be a £50 prize and a certificate for the winner which will be announced at the A.G.M. in 2015. The winning article will also be published in the next available Hertfordshire People.
If you are not yet a member of the Herts Family History Society you will need to join (Why not get someone to give you a subscription for Christmas) and get your piece in before the end of February.

Heath Farm Dairy. Sandridge/St Albans

St Albans
Heath Farm Dairy was a major supplier of milk to the City of St Albans 100 years ago. This photograph of Heath Farm Dairy was probably prepared for use in an advertisement and provides a wider view of the farm  from the Home Meadow, showing more of the farm buildings to the North of the Farm House. At the time (early 20th century) the photograph was taken the farm would have been in St Albans, but the northernmost farm buildings could have still been in the parish of Sandridge. The farmer was my great grandfather, Jacob Reynolds, and during the First World War difficulties was caused by the number of the milkmen who joined the armed services. (see The Story behind a 1916 Christmas Card)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Another unusual Post Card from St Albans artist, KARAKTUS, c1909

St Albans
Post cards
During 1908/9 The Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, published 30 unusual "comic" cards by the artist Karaktus. I now have identified 26 different cards and would like to identify the cards numbered 6, 12, 19, 21 and 22. In addition I am looking for any clues as to the identity of Karaktus.

See all the cards so far identified HERE

Friday, November 21, 2014

Tring News: King reviews Troops at Halton. Lord Roberts dies.

Old News
100 Years Ago Today
 Tring War News
King stops in Tring on way to Review at Halton.
Northumberland Fusiliers in billets
Baths for soldiers in Museum
Films showing at the Gem Picture House
Arrangements for troops to see films at Halton Camp
William Smith setting up civilian guard of older men
Gertrude Hiller marries Mr Fletcher, gardener at Tring Park
Ellen (Nellie), wife of Herbert Grange, dies aged 52 years.

In addition I have added the Tring War News for 7th November 1914
This includes:
Private Joseph Poulton, 28, of the 1st Bedfordshire Regiment died of wounds - obituary and funeral
Lieut. Vivian Williams wounded and in a nursing home in London
Belgium refugees established in their new home at "Woodville"
William Mead, of New Mill has constructed a bathing place where 24 soldiers can take a bath at any one time.
Leiut.-Corporal H. A. Beasley is now on active service.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Origin of the New River

The New River Head at Great Amwell (1810)
Great Amwell
I have been meaning to provide a page on the New River, which was built 400 years ago to bring fresh water from Hertfordshire to London - and which is still flowing. However I have just discovered a very useful history on the London Metropolitan Archives web site.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Lost" Hertford War Memorial web site has been found.

The Hertford War memorial was restored and rededicated in 2001 and Tracy Turner set up a web site with a lot of useful information about it and the names on it. I set up a page linking to it the same year, but Tracy stopped updating her site in 2002. In 2009 I discovered that it had disappeared, and the URL I had given no longer worked, apparently because the web site had been deleted.

Jonty has just emailed me to say the site is now on the WayBack archive. ...
I have also updated my Hertford page to include information on the site.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sheep reveal Medieval Ridge & Furrow Field at Wilstone

Medieval Field with sheep at Wilstone, near Tring
Many old medieval ridge and furrow fields have been ploughed until they are virtually level but there are still minor differences which reveal them. In this case the grass growing on the former ridges is obviously of a better quality than than in the wetter furrows - and the sheep can tell the difference!

This picture is taken from the embankment of Wilstone Reservoir and the former ridges, which run from left to right across the field are parallel with those that survive in the reservoir.

Royal Engineers at Hitchin in First World War

More Pictures

Thursday, November 13, 2014

War News from Tring - 14th November 1914

Old News
I have just added news items from the Bucks Herald of 1914 under the headline TRING IN WAR TIME. This includes the news that the Herts Regiment has gone overseas and the changes in billeting arrangement due to heavy rain making life under canvas very difficult.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Refreshing "The Road through Harpenden"

The Road through Harpenden
This site has been running since 2001 and my attention was recently drawn to some pages which were last updated years ago relating to talks I gave to various societies, and the arrangements for me giving talks. Many of these talks contain valuable information which is hard to find and need to be properly integrated with more recent postings.

I have started restructuring the pages relating to publications and talks -and to begin I have looked through the talk I gave in 2002 and 2004 under the title "The Road Through Harpenden" which contains interesting information on early mapsturnpike roads, stage coaches and cycling - together with a number of old news stories from the Herts Advertiser. Some more links need to be made - and several other talks need similar reformatting.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Rural Relaxation - Collared Dove for Lunch!

The dove saw the hawk as a threat
But its plans to escape were upset
When a window it hit
So I wrote this obit
And the hawk ate a feathered bagette
This morning I was interrupted by a large thump on our sitting room window, and I realized at once that a bird must have flown into it at speed. However I wasn't the first to get to the Collared Dove ...which had almost certainly flown into the window trying to escape from the Sparrow Hawk! [Another picture]

OK this was rural life coming into my garden - but I still try and get a rural walk or two each week, with pictures, but recently I haven't had the time to go through them to select the best for the blog.

Vi-Cocoa - made by Dr Tibble at his factory at Callowland, North Watford

Old News
In about 1899 or 1900 Dr. Tibbles opened a factory at Callow Farm, North Watford, to make that "wonderful" chocolate drink Vi-Cocoa (see advert) and other chocolate products. Unfortunately it burnt down in 1903.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Vanishing of Old St. Albans

Old News
St Albans
We are not the first to worry about our heritage buildings being demolished. When Frederick James Worsell's shop was sold to Boots, the chemists, in 1899, F. G. Kitton, the artist who produced the above drawing, wrote a long piece urging the people of St Albans to sign a petition asking for the building's features to be preserved.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Congratulations to Dr Janet Woodall of Walkern

The Hertfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England has presented Janet Woodall with the Peterkin Award for her immense contribution to village life. She transformed the village journal, founded the Walkern History Society and made Walkern immeasurably more lively, neighbour- and neighbourhood-conscious.

Monday, November 3, 2014

WW1 Tapestry from Napsbury at St Albans Museum

Just a quick note to warn you that the excellent WW1 Exhibition at St Albans Museum  "Keep the Home Fires Burning" finishes on 14th November. There is still time to see this wonderful tapestry of military badges made by soldiers in Napsbury Military Hospital and also the Memorial Window from the Folly Chapel at Wheathampstead.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A link between Thomas Edison and Hertfordshire

As a young man John Verity spent some time around 1880 in America working with Thomas Edison (whose first light bulb patent is dated 1880). He returned to England and his efforts culminated in the great display of incandescent lighting at the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1882.   In conjunction with Sir James Pended and Sir George Elliot, he founded the Metropolitan Electric Supply Company. As chairman of Verity's (Limited) he was a large employer of labour in Birmingham and Manchester. 

In 1897 he made Sandridgebury, Sandridge, his country home and married the daughter of a London banker, Henry Lubbock, of Newberries, Aldenham, Herts. Later the same year he also hosted a meet of the Hertfordshire Hounds at Sandridgebury. However he only lived in Hertfordshire for a short time - perhaps after becoming High Sheriff for the County of London, and died in 1905.

A Hertfordshire Hounds "Calendar" from 1897

The Hertfordshire Hounds will meet on ... ...
Trudi has provided this most interesting Hertfordshire Hounds "Calendar" where, instead of turning over the pages the owner would get a regular postcard from the hunt kennels which were just north of Harpenden. The card was then slide in from the side to appear in the central window. In this case the card was sent to John Verity of Sandridgebury.

I would be most interested to hear of other similar Victorian "post card calendars" - particularly if linked to Hertfordshire.

Hitch Bricks at Ware Museum

Some Hitch Bricks
Further to my earlier posting about the distinctive bricks made by Caleb Hitch of Ware, Helen has written to say that her grandfather and great grandfather worked with and subsequently bought out Hitch's building firm. In addition Ware Museum has a permanent display on Hitch bricks in the museum with information concerning the Hitch family, as well as the connection between malting and brickmaking. The museum is open from 11am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and 2-4 on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. 

WW1 Exhibition at Ware Museum
B.T.W. Ware Museum currently has a WW1 exhibition (until January 14th) and will be open for a Dickensian Evening, which is on the 5th December, from about 7pm until 9.30ish.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Genealogy plans for Rest of 2014

We are all getting older and need to plan for the future and there have been some family discussions about the current situation and how a smooth transition might be made as old age takes its toll. I am well aware that some years ago a well-known local historian died, having collected (and in some cases borrowed) many important historical documents, and the local history society only learnt of his death on the second day of the bonfire! In addition infirmity might force a dramatic down-sizing if, for example, a move to a nursing home becomes necessary.  It would be difficult, if I died tomorrow for anyone to quickly identify material that should end up in a records office, through to items which are best treated as waste paper.

The current thinking - as far as the house is concerned - is to add a downstairs bedroom with en-suite facilities - which means clearing the garage - and so the first priority is a massive assault on the clutter that fills the garage and other areas of the house. This is just starting and will mean less time for working on genealogy-related tasks. The rest of the plan ... ... ...

For readers of this Newsletter, and users of the main web site, the chief effect will be that I spend less time posting new information on the main site. There may be more news style "quickies" on the Newsletter - but only if people keep me informed of forth coming events, publications, etc. In view of the bitterly disappointing donation rate when I answer "Ask Chris" questions (see the Webmaster's report) I may consider cutting this facility out altogether. On occasions I have spent five or more hours preparing an answer and don't even get a "Thank You" message for finding an extra generation or two! On the other hand the downsizing will almost certainly mean streamlining my library - and selling off duplicate and otherwise unwanted Hertfordshire material on ebay ... When I do I will put a note in the newsletter