Saturday, 26 March 2011

Alice Millington in the 1911 Census

An interesting census record showing my g-g-grandmother Alice Millington (nee. O'Hagan) at the age of 66 living with the family of her daughter, Alice Harris. Alice's place and year of birth correspond with previous records we have for her - she was born Alice O'Hagan in Bromsgrove in 1845. By 1911 Alice is a widow.

The family are residing at 4 back 34 Sheepcote Street, Birmingham.

Alice's son-in-law, a Welsh man named Henry James Harris was aged 39. He was born in Pontypool, South Wales in 1872 and his occupation in 1872 was given as Smith Duties.

Henry's wife Alice Harris (nee. Millington) was the older sister of my great grandfather Terence Millington and also of Harry Millington profiled in the previous post. Born in Birmingham in 1879, it is noted the couple had been married for 12 years. 

The couple had three children, George aged 7 (born 1904), William Joseph aged 4 (born 1907)and Annie aged 2 (born 1909).

Also to be found in the 1911 census is another daughter of Alice and John Millington, this time the oldest daughter Ann Vickers, nee. Millington.

Ann is sister to Alice Harris (above), to Harry (see post below) and to my g-grand father Terence.

Annie and her husband William James Vickers are residing at 7 St Martins Terrace, St Martins Street which was close to Five Ways in Lee Bank. Elsewhere on this website we have records of the couple living at this same address in the 1901 census, it was also the same street that my grandfather William Millington was born on in 1900. Annie Vickers also gave this as her address when she was recorded on the death certificate of her aunt, Mary O'Hagan in 1907.

According to the 1911 census, Ann and William had been married for 14 years. Both were born in Birmingham, Ann in 1874 and William in 1971. William James Vickers was a brass dresser and Ann, unusually, was a wormer.

The couple had one child according to the census, Harold Frank Vickers, born in Birmingham in 1903.

Profile - Harry Millington

Terence’s youngest brother, Harry (1889-1943), fought in the Great War.
It is believed that Harry was in a regiment of smaller soldiers called the Bantams.
Harry Millington

Harry Millington was the youngest brother of my great grandfather Terence Millington. He was born in the Lee Bank area of Birmingham in 1889.

In the 1891 census the Millington family were living at 6 Court 1 House, William Street.

The father (my g-g-grandfather) John Millington is recorded as a 50 year old Jobbing Labourer, Alice was 44. William was 15 in 1891 and without an occupation, 12 year old Alice and 10 year old Terence were both ‘scholars‘, whilst the youngest Millington child, Harry was 2 years old. There is no record of their oldest child, Annie, in the 1891 census and we could therefore conclude that she may not have lived with her own immediate family.

Harry Millington married a woman named Mary Taylor on 30th May 1909 at Birmingham St Mark. Harry Millington was a 21 year old bachelor from Back 77 Nelson Street. He was a furnace man and his father recorded as John Millington, a wood turner (deceased). Mary Taylor was a 19 year old spinster from Back 77 Nelson Street and her father recorded as Joseph Taylor, a tube drawer (also deceased).

Anecdotal evidence about Harry has been related to me by my father’s cousins, Brian and Terence Millington (sons of my granddad’s brother George). There is a family photograph which shows Harry in army uniform wearing a snake belt. It is believed that Harry served in one of the Bantam Battalions during the Great War (1914 – 1918). These were apparently battalions for “vertically challenged soldiers”.

In March 2003, Terence wrote:

“I recall Dad saying that his Uncle Harry was in the Black and Tans during the Irish war of independence in 1920. These were well paid volunteers who had previously served in the 1st World War. They were not a very popular bunch of individuals according to the Irish account, which could explain why Dad used to refer to him as ‘a bit of a tartar’ ”

Birth indexes for the Registration District of Birmingham indicate that the following three children with the surname Millington were born to a mother with the maiden name of Taylor. There is a strong possibility that these three were the children of Harry and his wife Mary Taylor:

Edgar W. Millington born in 1922

Elsie M. Millington born in 1924

John Millington born in 1928

There is a record in the death index for the death of a Harry Millington in Birmingham in 1943 aged 54.

Now and Then...

Here are some photos of the canalside near Broad Street in the centre of Birmingham which show contrasting views of what the area looked like 30 years ago compared with more recent views of the same stretch.

The first photo above was taken by my dad Geoff Millington around 1981 and shows my sister Fiona aged about 10 or 11 gazing across the cut at the old buildings which were demolished in the late 1990s to make way for the International Convention Centre.

The buildings beyond that high wall on the opposite bank of the canal included my dad's school, St Peter's Roman Catholic. He tells us that his school yard backed onto the canal. In the distance we can see the bridge carrying Broad Street over the canal and beyond the bridge is the area still known as Gas Street Basin.

The photo above which I took in about 2006 shows what the same stretch looks like now with the edge of the Brindley Place development of new shops, offces, bars and restaurants visible on the right. The ICC is on the left hand side although it stands back from the trees. In the distance is a new footbridge and beyond that is the same bridge into Gas Street Basin and the buidlings of Broad Street which have had a face lift. 

Back to the early 1980s and this time dad has stood under the Broad Street bridge to take this shot which looks in the opposite direction along Thomas Telford's 18th century canal towards Ladywood in the direction of Smethwick and the Black Country. This was a vital and at times hotly disputed canal during the industrial revolution as it allowed resources and goods to be carried from South Staffordshire, Wolverhampton and the Black Country into Birmingham and beyond into Warwickshire and Worcestershire. At one point a bar was even put across the canal at Gas Street Basin because feuding carrier companies could not agree on rights of passage.

Once again that's the lovely Fiona striking a thoughtful pose as she veritably visions the future when the dank red brick walls of old Ladywood will be replaced by the gleaming windows of the ICC. In fact, I'm wondering from this image if it was actually all her idea in the first place! She is definately pondering something.  

This is another one taken by me along the same stretch of canal and looking in the same direction as my dad's photo above. I am pretty certain that the old building on the right hand side is the same building with the thin chimney on my dad's photo above - it is the pub in which President Clinton had a pie and a pint when he came to Birmingham for the G8 conference in the 1990s. 

The big white building is the National Indoor Arena, if I'm not mistaken you can just see the corner of the same block of high rise flats which appears in my dad's photo, peeking out at the right hand side of the NIA complex. I think you can also make out the same footbridge in the distance on my dad's photo.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Birmingham City Centre - images

A view of Victoria Square, Birmingham from the Town Hall looking up Colmore Row.
Image from a post card, circa. early 1960s?

Am I correct in suggesting that the row of fine buildings on the right hand side have completely gone? The square in the foreground has been substantially pedestrianised, I'm pretty certain that the Victoria statue has been relocated and the site is now occupied by a huge fountain-based sculpture.

The Rotunda building in Birmingham and part of Bull Ring Shopping Centre.

From a photo my dad took circa. 1980s. The Rotunda is still in situ but this section of road is now covered by a pedestriansed public square bordered by the new Bullring and Selfridges buildings.   

More Miscellany From The Family Archive

Contemporary Furniture For The Late 1950s / Early 60s Family In The UK

I've been having another rummage through the Millington family archive, aka mom's old biscuit tin which, by strange coincidence, was a tin of Huntley Palmers Family Circle (probably an antique item in itself!) and my latest discovery is a black & white brochure for Quality Furniture by Viking.

I can't see a date on this brochure but I have a feeling that mom and dad might have been looking at this around the time of their impending marriage in 1958 or perhaps before they moved out of the extended Millington family home in Monument Road, Ladywood and set up their very own independent home at 107 Station Road in Harborne in early 1961.

One might assume from this brochure that Viking Furniture Industries were the Ikea of their day. A Google search identifies several Viking companies around today, including furniture manufacturers and sellers, but I can't immediately identify any of them as this same company. This one was based at Sydenham Station Approach in London SE26.

On the front of the brochure Viking Furniture Industries announce that they are "proud to present this selection of contemporary craftsman-built furniture, brought to you at a fraction of normal prices".

"All items are soundly constructed in choice hardwood with finest hardwood multi-ply for long life".

Looking through the brochure certain items do seem familiar, such as a gateleg table (V 120)and the Sapele dining room suite (V 108a). If the items that my parents had at Station Road for some four or five decades were indeed from this Viking brochure, then we can definitely confirm that the company's claim of reliability and longevity was a valid one.

Remarkable value too, it should be said, with the contemporary 3-piece bedroom suite below, including wardrobe (V 100), chest (V 101) and dressing table (V 102) costing an incredible £12.14.0. But if 12 quid was beyond the budget of your average newly wed couple just starting out in their first home in 1961, then thankfully Viking were offering budget terms:

"Details of our easy payment plan will be found on an enclosed list of items".

I'm hoping the old folks have paid it off by now as we could do without being burdened with that debt in the middle of a global recession.

The language in the sales pitch is also rather outmoded these days, I don't think they'd get away with the following advert for a complete 6 piece dining room suite in silver birch, costing 25 and a half guineas:

"Here's every woman's idea of luxury (and every man's idea of economy!)"

A case of that cheeky Bert in the sales and marketing department enjoying a harmless little gender role stereotype gag with his customers there perhaps? Though no doubt Mavis in the secretarial office would have appreciated the purchase had it come her way.

Elsewhere in the brochure we have the Admiralty Type Desk (V 113) for him and the Needlework cum Coffee Table (V 107) for her:

"What a clever double-purpose cabinet! Closed - it's an attractive occasional table. Open - it's a housewife's delight, with sliding tray and container that keeps all your needlework tidily at hand".

I wonder if Doris Day ever owned the V 104 (lovely polished kidney dressing-table) for just 79/6:

"Genuine Queen Anne style in polished walnut or medium oak. Shines like a dream - looks like a million! Price includes a set of adjustable triple mirrors. Matching upholstered stool red, blue, yellow".

A yellow stool next to your polished walnut Queen Anne huh?  ...very nice.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Tennal School - misc. photos

Here are a few photos taken from the 100th Anniversary of Tennal Approved School book (see blog post below this one).