Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hertfordshire People - March 2016

I have just received the latest copy of Hertfordshire People, - The Quarterly Journal of the Hertfordshire Family History Society, and as always it is packed with information. Items I personally found particularly interesting were:
My Favourite First World War Relative told the story of C S M Herbert Henry Stone and is an interesting example of what you can find out about your soldier relatives.
What's New at HALS - I was most interested to see that some military service tribunal records had survived, and there some farm surveys relating to the First Worl Dar
Hertfordshire Firsts ...... described the origins of steeplechasing.
As I live in Tring I was thrilled by the article A Female Pauper Apprentice's Life at Tring Silk Mill and the article paints a bleak picture of the working conditions pauper girls were require to work under.
The Book Review section covers a number of interesting volumes and I am planning to purchase two relating to the canals and the First World War - and if I have time reviews will appear on my web site.
I have also noted some Dates for my Diary - included future Society Meetings and also some others. I don't think I will have time to go to Who do you think you are at Birmingham in April but will try and make the Buckinghamshire FHS Open Day at Aylesbury on 23rd July, as my mother's family tree has Aylesbury branches going back to about 1600.

St Albans Local History Conference in October

St Albans & District Local History Network have circulated the following message which I am passing on in case you haven't seen it:

The 2016 Autumn Conference will be on Saturday 22nd October at our usual venue, Verulamium Museum. Do please reserve this event in your diaries now, before you forget! If any of your friends are not on our Network email list please pass on our email address – – and we will add their address to our growing list.

George ANTHONY, Sandon, circa 1700

Laura is looking for information about George ANTHONY of Sandon. If you think you may be able to help see HERE

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Libury Hall - A German Colony in Hertfordshire

Nicholas has provided this excellent old post card view of the Das Altenheim (old people's home) at Libury Hall, and provided some information about another former inmate. I have also updated some of the news stories about the home, which was used as a concentration camp during the First World War.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I'm having a short holiday from Genealogy

Over the last couple of weeks genealogy and this blog have had to take a bit of a back seat, and it will be several weeks before I do anything major, although I will still try and service all emails that are "on topic" within a week of receipt.

One of the reasons is that my blog "Trapped by the Box" has been rather neglected recently and I have decided to give it a major face-lift. It has a new mission statement: 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Thomas Potten and Caldecote House, Aldenham

Marina provided two excellent pictures of Thomas Potten and his wife Ellen two add to the information already online on the Potten family of Watford. They are particularly of interest because they can be dated too a few years and so provided addition examples of the Watford photographers that took them.

When I originally answered Marina questions the British Newspaper Archive was not available - so I decided to see if I could add anything from this valuable source, I found a reference to Thomas Potten when he was working as a gardener for William Drummond at Caldecote House, Aldenham and as a result I have created a page on Caldecote House, with particular emphasis of the time Thomas was working there. 

I also found a reference to a cricket match played between Caldecote House and Stanmore in 1874. A quick check on the list of players suggests that most (if not all) of them did not live in Aldenham - so might have been house guests. Can anyone identify any of them?

I would also love to have a picture of Caldecote House of Aldenham (or Bushey Heath) - Does anyone know where I might get one?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Could this be Sarah Rowbottom, Aged 100+ ???

In February 1865 The Hertford Mercury published an article about Sarah Rowbottom, nee Edwards, who was claimed to be over 100 years old. The article says:

We have before us a portrait of this centenarian, taken by Mr. Frederick Downer, of Watford, an accomplished photographer ... The eye of the old woman is very bright, the expression of her face shrewd and intelligent, but the wrinkles are wonderful. ...

The carte de visite reproduced here has a back consistent with it having been taken by Fred Downer in the mid 1860s. One copy is currently for sale on ebay and there seems to be more than one copy in existence. I am sure Frederick Downer would have sold multiple copies of his photograph of Sarah Rowbottom from his shop in Watford High Street.

Does anyone out there have any firm evidence that this is the correct photograph?

More Dixon Bricks from St Albans

Roger has come up with two very different examples of brinks made by W. A. Dixon, of St Albans. One (shown here) is a quality squint brick, which may have been machine made, and the other is best described as "grotty" and seems to be hand made, of very poor quality, and still contains small stones.
For Information on William Alexander Dixon's brick works in the Bernards Heath area of St Albans, click HERE.
This post reminds me that some years ago I collected a lot of information on 19th century St Albans brickmakers - but have not yet transferred the information online - and I will try and clear some of the backlog during the year..

I also understand that the St Albans Museum has downsized it collection of St Albans bricks. I am not sure how comprehensive the collection was, but as much of St Albans was built of brick a reference collection of dated examples could be useful. It makes me wonder whether other collections, of particular use to researchers, have been downsized as part of the planned move to the old Town Hall building.

The Half Moon and Holloway's Brewery, Hemel Hempstead

Alister has provided a useful update on the history of the Half Moon public house, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, at the end of the 18th into the early 19th century. The earliest known owner was a Dr Hugh Smith (does anyone know anything about him), and through marriage the pub became part of the estate of the Holloway's Brewery. On the death of George Holloway in 1827 the brewery was sold but the following pubs were transferred to Weller's Amersham Brewery.
Bull, Markyate
Half Moon, High Street, Hemel Hempstead
Leather Bottle, Leverstock Green
Queens Head, Corner Hall, near Two Waters
Red Lion, Nash Mills

The Coffee Tavern Craze of the 1880s

Around 1880 there was a wave of coffee taverns being opened all over Hertfordshire associated with the Temperance Movement. Some time ago I posted information on the Tring Coffee House, which opened in 1878, and recently I mentioned the Star Coffee Tavern at Shenley. Jon Mein sent me some information about the latter, and I decided to post a page on Coffee Taverns - giving details of some of those which opened prior to 1880, including a long contemporary press cutting relating to the Tavern at Bengeo.

I plan to add more information about the Coffee Tavern that opened in Hemel Hempstead when the British Newspaper Archive finish inputting the relevant years for the Hemel Hempstead Gazette - and would be interested to hear what any of you have about the fate of some of the other taverns.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Leading Coal Merchant lived at Boxmoor

Margaret has provided some information about G. S. Brentnall, who lived at Roughdown House, Boxmoor in the early part of the 20th century.  He was joint founder of the firm Brentnall & Cleland.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Redevelopment of the Old St Albans Museum

The Former St Albans Museum in Hatfield Road
This building (or at least the front part seen in this picture) was built as a museum for the City of St Albans in 1898 but is now redundant as plans are underway to open a new museum is the magnificent former Town Hall in St Peter's street. Last year I reported on the closure and said something about its history. Now plans are underway to convert the original building into housing - retaining the older part including the frontage shown above and some of you may wish to comment.

Representations about the plans need to be made to the St Albans Planning Department by 17th February and more information can be found HERE.