Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dating a picture of Shenley Post Office

The Star Coffee Tavern and Post Office, Shenley
This picture must have been taken by 1905, as it appears on a post card carrying this date. But how much earlier is it. I thought this would be an easy card to date but soon run up with a problem. The big house is clearly the "Star Coffee Tavern" and the Post Office is the shop to the left run by J A Tidey. However the big house is still standing and Google street view shows it is called The Old Post Office, and I could not find (in the limited time I had originally allocated) any reference to Tidey being the post master.

However a bankruptcy in 1903 suggests that Tidey may have become the postmaster when the previous postmaster had gone bankrupt - and if this is the case the photograph cannot have been tahen before 1903 - so it must be between 1903-1905.

The Star Coffee Tavern also gave problems - as the only reference I could find was in 1890 - but the most likely explanation is that the big house was multiply occupied - bu the baker and by a "Club House.

Friday, January 29, 2016

A "Food Bank" in Hemel Hempstead is nothing new

The Food Bank for the needy poor of Hemel Hempstead, currently provided by DENS had a Victorian predecessor - as this advert shows.
See who donated funds in 1876 and then visit the DENS page to see how you can support the modern poor.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Update of Hertfordshire Photographers & Post Card Publishers

One of the activities that is slowly continuing is the update of information on Victorian  photographers in Hertfordshire and also early post card publishers.  In the last couple of months changes have been made to the following pages - ranging from a revised date to new examples of their work and additional biographical information. Some of the pages are "work pages" in that when I get perhaps half a dozen references I will then consider adding biographical details.

Pages with Updates
George Avery (1839-1911) of Hitchin (1864-1870) & Kent
John Barnard (1841-1894) of St Albans (1878-1894)
Athelstane Basebe (1853-1909) of Hertford, Hemel Hempstead & Watford (and elsewhere)
Ernest Bedwell of Bedford - Bedwell & Bedford Series of Hertfordshire post cards circa 1903/4
Percy Alex Buchanan - School posts cards nationally (Also Photo Tourists Association)
Michael Chadwick of Tring - post card publisher
Atlas Church (father & son) of St Albans (c1881) and London
Julianna Dunn (1853-1935), photographer of Hemel Hempstead (c1886-c1916)
Thomas Benwell Latchmore (1832-1908) and son of Hitchin from 1864
Daniel Barton Skillman, post card publisher of Harpenden of Herpenden
J J & W F Southwood of Watford (c1900-c1930)
Valentine of Dundee - dated example of Hertfordshire post cards

Giving help by email ....

Regular visitors to this web site will realize that I am not spending as much time updating the site and newsletter as I use to - but the behind the scene activities in the form of emails is much the same as it ever was. Many are circulars and in general can be ignored, and spam goes straight into the dustbin. Simple messages requesting or suggesting amendment to online pages are normally dealt with immediately and I am always happy to get a number of requests from a serious local or family historian seeking information which I try to service reasonably quickly - but often don't have time to add the answer to the public pages.

The Old Market Square, Codicote, circa 1900

The Old Market Square, Codicote

Friday, January 15, 2016

More about comic post cards published in St Albans

In 1908 a company called Crown Publishing Co appeared in St Albans and published some very distinctive comic post cards by an artist using the name of Karaktus. In addition they published a number of unsigned cards in the "Crown Series" by an unknown artist.

I have still not succeeded in identifying Karaktus, but have found some earlier history for the company - and the other unidentified artist could well be a known comic card artist called Fred Stone.

In 1905 the London View company was established in London and while it concentrated on view cards it also produced a number of comic cards, many of which were signed "F. S." (for Fred Stone) - and most of the rest were stylistically by the same artist. In 1908 the company closed.

Comic cards have been identified in the "Crown Series" numbered 1008 and 1009 which very closely resemble those of the London View Company - and one carries the signature "F. S."  The cards are not labelled "London View Company" but may have been produced by them as it seems that a number of their cards did not carry their name or any logo. [I will be monitoring ebay for other examples - and earliest posting dates.]

Towards the end of 1908 The Crown Publishing Co. of St Albans started to publish cards in the "Crown Series" with the earliest sequence number so far identified being 1026. These are similar to the cards published by the London View Company - and are probably by the same artist. At about the same time they started publishing the Karaktus cards. The company appears to have published no more cards after 1909.

For more information see the bottom of the Karaktus page on the Genealogy in Hertfordshire web site.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

British Newspaper Archive - Victorian Newspapers covering Hertfordshire & Borders

The following list show the Victorian papers digitized at the beginning of January which cover Hertfordshire and adjacent areas, excluding London and National papers.

Bedfordshire Mercury 1837-73; 1903-10; 1912
Bedfordshire Times and Independent 1859-73; 1887-8; 1891-7, 1899-1954
Biggleswade Chronicle 1898-1954
Cambridgeshire Chronicle and Journal 1813-62, 1864-72; 1875; 1877; 1889
Cambridge Independent Press 1839-73, 1875-95; 1899-1910; 1913-1920; 1939
Chelmsford Chronicle 1783-91;1798; 1819; 1831-98; 1900-50
Dunstable Chronicle and Advertiser for Beds, Bucks and Herts 1856-60
Essex Standard 1831-1844; 1846-72; 1874-95; 1899-1900
Hertford Mercury and Reformer: 1834-37; 1840-1889; 1913, 1916-8; 1939
Hertfordshire Express and General Advertiser 1859-71
Hertfordshire Guardian, Agricultural Journal, and General Advertiser:  1852-67; 1883
Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette 1861; 1863-1904; 1939
Luton News and Bedfordshire Chronicle 1897; 1905-6; 1917-19; 1936; 1939; 1950; 1953-4
Luton Times and Advertiser 1855-52; 1866-73; 1875-80; 1885; 1894-1916
Watford Observer 1863-70

Growing food at Abbots Langley School in the First World War

Working in the Garden at Abbots Langley School

Another Publican for the Four Swans, Waltham Cross

The Four Swans Inn circa 1900
Jerry has written to say his ancestor, William John Nash was the publican at the Four Swans, Waltham Cross. It would seem he was there for a very short time, purchasing the lease in June 1896, and going bankrupt in December 1897.
 For more information on this famous inn, claimed to date back to 1260, see Four Swans

Friday, January 8, 2016

The "Genealogy in Hertfordshire" web site in 2016

Last November I posted a message relating to the future of this web site, as the support software has been causing trouble, it is no longer possible to keep all the site up to date when new genealogy data bases are rapidly appearing on line. In addition I am getting older and there are other demands on my time.

I have been thinking things through during December, and a incident, not too serious in itself, means that my top priority in 2016 relates to my wife's mobility problems and my role as a carer. As a result domestic matters take top priority - with the major options including either building work on our present house (which means clearing the garage of 45 years accumulation of junk), or a move to another property - which could mean significant downsizing.

I have set the following online priorities for 2016:

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Boro'gate, St Albans

"Boro'gate" was one of the large houses built around 1900 at the north end of St Peters Street, St Albans. It was on the south side of the Carlisle Road junction, and on the north side of the junction there was "The Hollies," occupied by Richard Gibbs (1834-1910), one time Mayor of St Albans, an alderman on the Herts County Council, joint founder with his father of the Herts Advertiser newspaper, and nephew of my ancestor, John Gibbs, of Aylesbury. Not far away, at the north end of St Peters Street was another, slightly smaller, house called "Calverton" which was built by my grandfather, Harry Finch Reynolds.

Barry's ancestor moved into the newly built house in 1906 and he has kindly provided a photograph and other information. In 1929 it became a boarding house for St Albans High School for Girls and in 1961 was sold. The site now holds the offices of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventists.