QLHS Newsletter

Letters and Emails to the Editor 2008

Dear Sirs

As part of my family history research, I'm trying to identify a photograph of a boy (possibly my great grandfather) standing in front of a large memorial fountain in the grounds of his school, which I have reason to believe is in Birmingham.  The wording on the fountain is  "Teaching the Ignorant: Providing for the Orphans: Giving Drink to the Thirsty".  I just wondered if there were any photographic archives you could direct anyone or me to in your society who is knowledgeable on this type of monument who might be able to help?  The boy appears to be wearing a Blue Coat school uniform, but the Birmingham school were unable to shed any light on the location of the fountain.

Boy at fountain

Boy closeup

I realise this email is a long shot, but I have pretty much exhausted other lines of enquiry!


Kind regards

Mary Turnbull, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Ed’s Comment-Can anyone help?

Dear Editor,

Please may I ask for your assistance?

I may well be barking up the wrong tree, however I am trying to trace a person from Quinton who maybe a relative, however the only date I have for them is back in 1989.

The person I am trying to trace is James David Becket whose address in 1989 is noted as 112 Glyn Farm Rd, Quinton.  He is the informant on the death certificate of a person I believe to be my great uncle - Mr Donal Patrick O'Riordan last known address 4 Broadfield Close, West Brom, originally from Southern Ireland.

I am wondering if you or any of your members would be able to assist in such matters. Or alternatively a name of a local paper so I could place a notice.

Thanking you in anticipation

Mrs Kimberley Campbell (nee O'Riordan)

Ed’s Comment-Can anyone help?

Dear Bernard.

The other day (in an Autobahn traffic jam), I was going back in my mind through the names of teachers in 1958....placing the year next to the form teacher of that particular year.


When I got to the 6th year, the name of Miss Shuard flashed back into my mind. If my memory is correct, she lived up the left hand side of Ridgacre Road, just above the World End Lane roundabout....as if you were travelling towards Harborne?

Would you happen to know whether she is still alive?

I recall one very smoggy evening in the autumn/winter of about 1959-60, when Miss Shuard led us children home in crocodile style, because all the buses were no longer running due to the awful visibility. 

Hope you are well and enjoying some good summer weather your side.

Kind regards

John Abbotts 

Hello Bernard

I have written to you before with regards to my school days at Four Dwelling School and indeed my cousin Stella Linnington and I have written about Glyn Farm Road where we both grew up, so imagine my shock at watching the Midlands Today News and my old family home came on, I shot off the settee and shouted that’s my moms house, (of course it is not now) and heard the terrible news that a woman had been found dead and that the house had been on fire, when they mentioned Firemen found this poor lady in the Hall and stairs, my mind visualised the inside of the house as I know every crook and cranny.

I must admit it upset me as my childhood memories of the house are so happy and to feel such a terrible thing happened in that house felt so bad. My mom and dad moved in the 30's when it was new and lived through the War and the bombing, my sister and I got married from there, playing in the street marbles and hanging out of my moms bedroom window talking to my friends as I had chicken pox and could not go out, so as soon as I saw the window I knew it was my moms bedroom. I wish my old house better luck in future and hope that when it is restored happy memories for someone else will come back.

Marilyn Ditch

Ed’s Comment-It’s sad when you memories are stirred by such a terrible news item.

Hello there,

While searching for Farmer family history I came across your interesting website & an article posted by Tony Shield. This Tony says he has a photo of Sir William Farmer of which I am interested. My great great great grandfather George Collison Tuting married Mary Farmer who was a sister to Joseph Farmer from the Farmer & Co, Sydney emporium and Aunty to William Farmer.

We have old albums with photos & some of these are unidentified & we believe that William Farmer would be one of these. I would like to get in touch with Tony Shield so we can identify William Farmer. Could you give him my email address please, as I am sure some of these photos we have would be of interest to him. I am interested in the fact that Samuel Farmer (brother of Sir William) & family of Moor Hall, Rowley, Halesowen immigrated to Central Queensland after 1881.

I would be pleased to get in touch with Tony Shield who may be a descendent of Samuel Farmer or Joseph Farmer.

Regards Sue Ginn, Australia

Ed’s Comment- Can anyone help?

Dear Bernard:

I wonder if you can point me in the right direction. I came across the Quinton Local History Society web page in my hunt for the family of William Record & Hannah Hadley who seem to have lived in the Halesowen/Quinton area.

William Record & Hannah Hadley seem to have lived at Ridgacre, Quinton - and appear to be buried at Christchurch, Quinton on 24 April 1844 [William] and on 7 Jan 1844 for Hannah.

We have been trying to track 2 daughters: Elizabeth b about 1788 and Ann baptised 12 Feb 1792. We know that daughter Ann Record had a son William Record who was born 14 Feb 1821 - perhaps in Quinton, but baptised 4 Sep 1822 at St Phillips, Birmingham.

Ann Record and son William seem to be living at Ridgacre in 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses. William Record seems to be buried 31 Jul 1879 at Christ Church, Quinton and his mother, 22 April 1876. Thanks to the Burial Transcription team of Carole Bradley, Jackie Hill and Doreen Bright.

We located the following baptisms records at St Johns Halesowen for the Record family:

(2) 1.1 John RECORD
ch. 19 Jun 1785, St Johns, Halesowen, Worcestershire, England

(2) 1.2 Sarah RECORD
ch. 7 Dec 1788, St Johns, Halesowen, Worcestershire, England

(2) 1.3 Ann RECORD
ch. 12 Feb 1792, St Johns, Halesowen, Worcestershire, England

(2) 1.4 Mary RECORD
b. 12 Feb 1792, Halesowen, Worcestershire, England

(2) 1.5 Joseph RECORD
ch. 24 Feb 1793, St Johns, Halesowen, Worcestershire, England

(2) 1.6 Susanna RECORD
ch. 17 Apr 1796, St Johns, Halesowen, Worcestershire, England

(2) 1.7 Phoebe RECORD
ch. 18 Feb 1798, St Johns, Halesowen, Worcestershire, England

(2) 1.8 Obedience RECORD
ch. 29 Jun 1800, St Johns, Halesowen, Worcestershire, England

I am wondering if perhaps someone in the Society could do a look up for me in the baptism records  see if there were any other children born to this couple- particularly an Elizabeth or Eliza.

Also wondering if anyone is researching this family?

Thanks for your help, Charlotte

Ed’s comment-Can anyone help?

Hello Mr Taylor


I’m trying to trace my mother’s family and I’m hoping that some of your members may remember them. My mother, Kathleen Astley, died in 1952 and my father some few years later. I believe that my grandfather and great-grandfather may have lived in Long Lane. My grandfather was either William or Walter Astley (their father was called Alfred). William and Walter appear on the Quinton Church School register for 1898 (William would have been 5 and Walter 7). My mother had a younger sister called Nancy.


That is all the information I have and I would be so grateful if anyone can shed any light on the family.


With my thanks, Kathy Collinson

Ed’s comment-Does any remember the family?

Hi there

My name is Bob Burton. I lived at 251 West Boulevard from around 1930 until 1951 when I got married. My parents continued to live there until my mother’s death in 1970.  As you can gather I am almost 80 now, and have lived at Weston-S-Mare for 47 years.  I enjoy family history and genealogy, and have been busy tracing old school friends and colleagues in the area. I have got a lot of help from the Woodhouse Road School archives on line, and have indeed written to the school and had a very nice reply from the Head Teacher.  On of the things that has always stuck my mind was the fate of Tennal Hall.   I checked about it online and saw the picture of it, and its history. I remember being told that it was bought, taken down brick by brick and then shipped to America.  Would your society have any information on it? And is it still somewhere in the U.S.  My mother was a founder member of the Quinborne choir, at the Community Centre, and we had many family parties and a wedding or two there.  My parents liked a social drink, in the days before TV, and met many of their friends in the Punchbowl. At a weekend.   They were great friends with the manager’s wife, who occasionally came to our house for an evening, where my mother would play the piano, and they would all gather around to sing the songs of the day.  Particularly during the war.   As a young boy I remember what we called the "new estate" being built up to Tom Knockers wood, and all the newcomers from what was then the clearance of all the old back to back houses out of the centre of Birmingham.  Some were very poor, and had never seen an indoor toilet or even a bath.  How times have changed. Hope this is of interest to you.


Bob Burton

Ed’s comment-Thanks Bob and there will be more.

Dear Mr Taylor,

Just a "thank you" for the QNS archive where I found my grandfather (Bertram Jeavons) plus some of his brothers and sisters. My mother had no idea where he went to school, nor of his mother's name (Amy) as she only met her grandmother once.

I have found him in the 1881 census, but living in Bolton. I believe Vivian was killed in the great war, but know very little more than that. Mother didn't know about her aunt Gladys so perhaps she died quite young to, although she did know about Phyllis.

Apparently Bertarm was a director of a brass foundry called Akerman and Jeavons. It went bust, probably in the depression, although family rumour has it that they supplied lots of the brass work on the Titanic. Hope they got paid for it!

(Bertram married Alice Field; they had three children Pauline, Ursula (my mother) and David. Ursula married Robert Howse of the well known Blackheath firm Thomas Howse Ltd which still exists although none of the Howse family are now in it).

Many thanks,

Merrick Howse

Dear Mr Taylor,

Having lunch here at work in Jakarta Indonesia and typed "Quinton" on my search engine just for something to do. I nearly fell off my chair when I came across your website and have spent the last couple of hours devouring every word.

I left the UK in 1978 for Australia and have since then worked in many countries around the world. I now find myself back in Indonesia for while but Quinton will always be the place where I spent the happiest days of my early life.

I was born in Lordswood Maternity Hospital, March 19th 1953. My mother (maiden name Ellen Moore, my dad's name was Ken) had been born in Quinton and lived in Firsby Rd prior to getting married. Her mother and father Rose and Ted Moore later moved to Overdale Rd. The first memories I have of Quinton are the glorious blackberries that used to grow in the area behind my Nan's house in Overdale Rd.

I remember there was a drainage tunnel that us kids used to say was haunted that ran from near Firsby Rd under Overdale Rd and came out behind some Pre Fabs on the other side. I lived in Tyseley until I was about 11 and then we moved to Plimsoll Grove, Quinton ( Number 9) in 1964. I attended Lordswood Technical School as it was called then. I have so many memories. Woodgate Valley, Lapal Canal, Clent Hills, Warley Odeon etc.

We later moved just down the road to No.36 Pitman Rd and I lived there until I got married in 1976. I served an apprenticeship starting in 1970 at Birmetals and can well remember walking across Woodgate valley to Clapgate Lane at 6AM every morning Rain, Hail or Shine!

Does any one remember "Purcells" the newsagents opposite the bus terminus? My mom would send me to the Grocers nearby and I would sneak a few pennies from the change to buy my comics there. I have a brother who is seriously handicapped but every one around us knew him and was so kind. His name is Terry. He still lives with my Mom and my sister Debbie and her family near Bridgenorth but unfortunately is now totally blind. I am sure that some will remember him. I know I'm rambling a bit but there are so many memories it's hard to put them all down.

Some of the families I remember are the Bird's, the Crew's, the McDonnels,the Hassam's, the Maguire's, the Dearn's ( I still keep in touch with Malcolm Dearn who now lives in Cornwall. He and I were in the Fire Service together) the Cooper's, the South's and the Rose's.

I found the correspondence about the wartime years fascinating. My mom told us many times about the plane crashes and bombs. I will be passing on your website details to her.

I had a real suprise when I was reading your letters section from 2003. A gentleman called Bill Deeley recalls a cricket match between Four Dwellings and Bierton Rd School in 1946. One of the players for Bierton Rd is one G Nutt. This is in fact a Gordon Nutt whose parents were great friends of my family. Gordon went on to become a very successful professional soccer player in the 50's and 60's. As I recall, he played for Arsenal, Coventry and PSV Eindhoven in Holland. He now lives in Tasmania and I am sure he will be flabbergasted when I pass this on to him. He is the 5th boy from the right in the picture.

While I am on Four Dwellings, my sister went there right through infants and senior school and my mom was a "dinner lady" at the infants school for quite a while. I also went to an evening youth club there called "Harlequins" as I recall. I think it was an offshoot of the Stonehouse Gang at Weoley Castle.

There was also a letter from someone whose father managed the "Warley Bowl". I remember him well. I particularly remember the Monday night when there was an almighty brawl between the "Quinton Mob" and the "Smethwick Mob". He took quite a few wallops but gave a lot more back before it was all over. I remember hiding behind the shoe desk till it finished!

I could go on and on but need to get some work done. I wish you every success with the website. Please feel free to pass on my e-mail address to anyone who remembers me and wants a chat.

Keith Kimmons

Dear Bernard,

My name is Chris(tine) Dingley and my husband is Roger Dingley. I have been researching the family trees of both my and my husband’s families and have just come across your excellent web site on Quinton. I was particularly interested in the reference to Henry Dingley and the article by him you reproduce on the origins of Quinton. This is because Henry was also my husband’s great grandfather and we have been tracing his movements and ancestors for some time. We also have a picture of him and his wife Louisa at the wedding of my husbands grandfather Bernard Ridley Spurgeon Dingley in 1907.

Henry’s father Samuel, was the enumerator on the 1851 census in the Quinton district and he is my husband’s great great grandfather. He was a nail factor for a period of his life. We know that this could well have been a “back yard” type of self employment – what was the job of a nail factor – was it like a wholesaler? We have a copy of his signature from the 1851 census when he was trying his hand at farming. (He later returned to being a nail factor and died in 1876)

We were in Spies Lane this weekend trying to find the location of their old house but could not understand why the numbers now start at 150. Samuel’s house is listed at No.1 in the 1851 Census. Perhaps you could throw some light on this. Has development destroyed the old houses or was Manor Lane originally part of Spies lane?

Samuel’s son, Henry, moved for a short while to Coventry in about 1880 and it was there that my husband’s grandfather was born. His name was Bernard Ridley Spurgeon Dingley (Henry was a very keen Baptist and named his son after the famous late 19th C Baptist preacher called C H Spurgeon.)

Henry Dingley moved back to Birmingham Aston and was living in Mole street in the 1881 census and later in Main street in 1891. (Both these properties are in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham and have been knocked down but similar houses to theirs still exist.) He is listed as a clerk and Lay Preacher in 1891.

Bernard Ridley Spurgeon Dingley (Henry’s second son) had two children and Robert McVane Dingley was my husband’s father. My husband is Roger Dingley, and we have a son and a grandson so the line is still intact.


Christine and Roger Dingley

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