Thursday, March 31, 2016

The London View Company and its possible connections with Hertfordshire and Karaktus.

In the first few years of the 20th century there was an explosion of postcard collecting - and many firms rushed to the market. One of these was the London View Company, which was founded in 1905, expanded rapidly - became a limited company in 1906 and failed in 1907 or 8. While it published view cards from all over the country the only ones I have so far traced relating to Hertfordshire are of Watford.
Swiss Cottage, Watford - London View Co.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Post Cards of Cassiobury Park, Watford, 100 years ago

The Mill in Cassiobury Park  circa 1903
Anna drew my attention to the extensive online information on Cassiobury Park posted by the Friends of Cassiobury Park including a picture of the remains of the Mill.

I have significantly updated the page of old postcards of the park - which special emphasis on the Old Mill and Swiss Cottage, and in almost every case if you click on the image yoe will get access to a high resolution image. I have included a number of different views by different photographers and I am in the process of updating the photographer pages to help you date any images you may have. The update has involved adding about a dozen new views and adding high definition images behind some of the images already online.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Hertfs Past & Present - Spring 2016

This has just been published by the Hertfordshire Association for Local History and contains the following items which will interest local historians:

Entrepreneurs and Rebels looks at the people who lived in Ware in the 14th century. Such research is greatly aided by the amount of information on web sites such as 

Robert the Mason and his legacy looks at what is known about the man who rebuilt the original Saxon church at St Albans. As a result of his work St Albans is the only major church in England with a great crossing tower of the 11th century still standing.

Benn's Club of Aldermen is the name pf a painting, dated 1752, in the Goldsmith's Hall, in London. This article examines hoe a grocer's boy from Puckeridge ended up in such exalted company.

Vincent van Gough's sister in Welwyn tells of the search to find which house the sister of the prominent painter lived for a short time during the 1870s.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

An 1866 Music Work Book from Prospect House School, Tring

Beth Atkinson has donated a charming school music work book that had belonged to William Henry Ewer (1852-1871) of Lilley, when he was attending Prospect House School, Tring, in 1866. This will shortly be passed to the Tring Local History Museum, and hopefully will go on display later this year.

Many of the tunes are ones we still know today, and get harder as you go through the book. I am currently trying to track down some of the unfamiliar tunes, and some, like the Aylesbury March, shown here, may well be of local origin and not recorded elsewhere. If you can identify any of them let me know in a comment below.

Details are also given of William Ewer's short life.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Want your name in print? "Vanity" Biographies in Hertfordshire and Nationwide.

Hertfordshire Leaders
[1907? edition]

Nearly every County in England, and some parts of Wales and Scotland, had a book like this published between 1907 and 1910 with the editor named as either Ernest Gaskell or Allan North. In fact the editor was actually Carrie Amy Campion, the partner of Truman Press, who had deserted his wife in about 1897.
So who was Truman Press?

The Hall at Lockers Park School, Hemel Hempstead

The Hall at Lockers Park School
Yet another view of this interesting school, published by P. A. Buchanan in the 1930s

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Are you sure that "find" is really your ancestor?

Many beginners, when researching their family tree, find a name and approximate date which seems to fit and assume that they have found their ancestor - and stop looking. A recent inquiry relating to someone called William Howard turned up the following entries in the Hemel Hempstead baptismal register which clearly demonstrates why you have to be careful:
It shows that two different babies called William Howard, with different fathers also called William Howard, were baptised in the same church 8 days apart ....
For many more similar examples see 

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Den of Serpents in Watford circa 1890?

When this card came up for sale on ebay I brought it because I was interested in the photographer, Fred Downer, of Watford. In particular it had a name so this could help me to date the card, and perhaps add to my knowledge of the photographer's work.

It looked a pretty straight-forward item to put online as the 1890 trade directory told me that William Arthur Stradling was a surgeon living in Station Road, Watford, and he was listed with his family in the 1891 census - but not the 1881 or 1901 censuses. All I need to do is check up on his date of death and I had got him recorded.

A quick check on FreeBMD told me he died in London in 1902 and I could have left it there - but it would only take a few minutes to check the British Newspaper Archive ... ...

What I found meant I wanted to find more - and I was hooked ...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Your ancestor may be relieved that he had one of these

I have just updated the page about the modified earth closet made by William Brown and exhibited in the Tring Agricultural Show of 1871 and 1872. It was a modification of the closet designed by the Rev. Moule and may have used levers similar to the levers shown in this later advert. It is not clear whether William Brown's version ever went into commercial production.