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Forum Home > Carriages of Convenience. > Black Country Transport. The 'od 'oss an' Cart.

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Every time I hear a Bugle, even the truely awful sound they play from their trucks today, I am thrown back to the sight, of  the old Rag and Bone man. You could hear him coming from several streets away, and we all ran back to our homes, begging our parents for something to take to the Cart. Youngsters may ask why, well, on the back of his trusty, and at times rickety old cart, he had a few goodies. Not much by todays standards, but little treasure's to us. Windmills on sticks. Remember running as fast as you could, to get that ' whirring ' sound they made. Or swinging them round and round, when you could get them to whistle. The multi coloured Ballons, tied with string, that trailed behind him as the Horse clip clopped it's way towards you. The Goldfish in little plastic bags that very rarely lasted the week out, I know, I had plenty in my time. Then there was a scramble, if it was time to feed the Horse, the honour of putting on it's feed bag, was a prized job. Then, with a sigh, and a bit of a melencholy look, the horse set off, for it had no need of a command, it knew the route by heart.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 18, 2011 at 11:21 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Unicorn
Member
Posts: 46

It was not only the ragmans gold fish that died with in a week it was also the ones you won at the fair ground. They must have been sold them by the same person, Mr. Snuff them with in a week @ co.

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February 20, 2011 at 1:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

DemonR
Member
Posts: 4

We still have a Rag and Bone roaming in Nottingham. He has no goodies. But you can watch him, grinning, as he smashes stuff on the pavement with a very big axe. I would not trust him with a goldfish...

February 21, 2011 at 4:49 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

There were of course, lots of others who used the same method of transport. The Milkman, the Baker, the odd Coalman, and for delivering Beer. It was fascinating, watching the way they got the heavy barrels down the steep cellers. They must have been well trained those horse's, they were always in the right place, when the delivery man came back to collect the next orders. There was always a race in the street, between the kids, to see who could get to the droppings first. It was reputed to be the best stuff for the Rhubard, and nearly everyone grew the plant in a corner of the back yard. My favourite was the Breadman, the smell of freshly baked bread, that eminated from the back of the van, was irrisistable. The last horse drawn vehicle I saw though, was the scrap man, still blowing his battered old Bugle.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 31, 2011 at 4:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Looking at a few old Photographs, and I was reminded of a little story my Uncle used to recite. Before he got married, in the 1930s, he and his father purchased a little old banger. It leaked oil, had hardly any brakes, and , apart from the horn, most of the gauges didn't work either. Oh happy motoring days. His father would hear no evil spoken about the car, bragging to the whole street, what a fine motor it was, after all, it was his pride and joy. Whitsun was a bank holiday, so they loaded the motor with all the goodies needed for a picnic, and set off for the sunny climes of Kinver. They all had a great time until, on the way back, halfway up Mucklow Hill, the car conked out. No amount of fiddling, tickering, or swearing would get it to go. There was a Garage at the top of the hill, so Uncle went to seek assistance. It being a bank holiday, they were only open for petrol, but the chap in charge told Uncle to go back to car and wait, and he would send some help. Sure enough, about 30 minutes later, the breakdown vehicle arrived. Two old and not very fit looking nags, complete with a tow chain. His father had no option but engage the old man who came with the horse's, to tow them home. It was just their luck, when the car, pulled by the horse's, turned into their street, most of the neighbours were enjoying the late evening sunshine. A great cheer went up, and my Uncle had the pleasure of seeing his father, beetroot red, hurry into the house, head bowed. Shortly after, he sold the car, but the ribbing, about how much horse power that car had, went on for many years. During the war, with fuel being strictly rationed, some firms, including the one my uncle worked for, went back to using horse's for local deliveries. On one occassion, he made a delivery to a garage, to find several cars lined up, and got a big cheer. He was delivering Petrol, by horse and cart, a good old fashioned way of doing things. Not a bad thing to remember, in these rather budget restrained times.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 3, 2011 at 4:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

There are a few more horse drawn vehicles to be seen in the Gallery. If anyone has a few more, I would be delighted to see them.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 7, 2011 at 4:21 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

It was of course, due to the improvements on the road networks, that  saw the expansion of the Horse and Cart. Toll roads, although dispised by many, were an improvement over the rutted and wheel deep mud trenches that passed for the roads of the past. The age of the Waggoner, entered a bit of a golden era in the 1750s. Carriers, Hauliers, and Stage Coaches formed the traffic jams of the day, criss-crossing the country, carrying good to all parts. Local carriage of goods and coal was performed by a variety of small business men, many of them subsistence Farmers, with just a few fields. They did grow a few crops, just enough hay and grain, to sustain a half dozen horses that were reqiured. An example would be an advert in 1753, of a coveniently placed good Farm, suitable for a team or dairy cattle, at Rounds Green, Oldbury Chapel. It was stated to be close to a coal works, ( Colliery ) which was convenient for the carriage of the coal. It was also near to the road that ran from Wolverhampton to Birmingham, and other places in the Black Country. Wolverhampton was well served by Waggoners, it being the centre of Jappaning and Lock Making at the time. This, by the way would have been 1749, so appolgises to Bilston and Willenhall, which according to the records wern't. Richard Rolleston and Son, operated an extensive network of delivery routes, which for the time is surprising. Every Tuesday morning, Waggons set off for Sandbach, Middlewich, Northwich, Warrington, Liverpool, Ormskirk, Prescott, Wigan, Chorley, Preston, Lancaster, Kendal, Whitehaven, Newcastle, and on to Glasgow. An impressive feat of enterprise and organisation. The firm also had two depots to and from which goods were delivered and collected for onward transmission. One in Birmingham, at Orram's Mughouse, and the other in Bewdley, owned by Cartwright and Penn. Bewdley was the highest navigable point on the River Severn at the time. Goods for despatch, had to be in the depot before the Friday night, when the Waggons came to collect. A neat and efficient system. It's a great name by the way, is Orram's Mughouse. ( Now called The Mughouse Inn, and Grade II listed )


Another company which operated from Wolverhampton, was Joseph Pearson and Thomas Offley, who very kindley supplied a list of rates charged for 1756. The firms main route was to Chester, and in case anyone wonders why, the Town was a busy River Port. All hardware, which would have included Locks, was charged at 3 shillings per cwt. Fine Glass, which would have come from around Stourbridge, cost 3s 6d a cwt, Bottle crates, 7s each, Bottles 6d a dozen, and Cases of Glass, 8s a case. To encourage trade, they had reduced rates on the return journey, 2s 6d a cwt. Corn, Malt, Fruit and Veg, and other raw materials made the way back. Again, a very efficient little business.


Not everything ran smoothly though, as Michael Hope, a carrier and Waggoner from Wednesfield found out to his great cost. That scourge of the road, The Highwayman, didn't only steal from rich passengers of Stage Coaches. On 9th/10th August 1754, Hopes waggon was held up and robbed. Stolen, were three 24 yard lengths of cloth, two valued at 4s 6d a yard, the other at 5s 4d a yard. A large box containing a shag hat, a mans shirt, womens wear, and a boys shoes. All the items were brand new. Hope lost a total of £370, and offered a reward of 2 guineas for the capture of the thief. He also offered the same reward to any accomplice, who would inform on the culprite if more than one man were involved. That got me thinking. The Waggon was obviously robbed while it was on a stopover, otherwise the driver would have been able to say how many were involved. As only the most valuable, and salable items were taken, it had to have been an inside job. Ah well, such was the exciting life on the road, 257 years ago.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 10, 2011 at 4:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

I must mention, that at one time, there were a great many horses and Ponies at work, that most people never ever saw. For over 300 years, these animals, helped keep the wheels of industry turning, by hauling uncountable tubs of coal, from the pit face to the shaft. There were no regulations concerning their welfare until 1956, almost at the end of this way of working. They had long disappeared in the larger mines, as endless conveyor belts did the job. Locally, the last pit pony, was bought up and retired from the old Coombes Wood Colliery, in Halesowen, in 1952. ( pictures in the Gallery ) In other places, their use carried on, as in the Ellington Colliery, Northumberland, right up untill 1994, when the last ones at the pit, named, Alan, Carl, Flax, and Tom, came to the surface for the last time on February 24th. They were sent to the National Coal Museum in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and then on to a peaceful retirement, at some local animal shelters. Back in August this year, an ex-pit pony called Tony, nearest estimate of age, 40, died at his retirement home, the last known pony of his kind. There were, at one time, over 70,000 ponies, pulling carts/tubs in the mines of Britain. Many miners had close ties with these gentle little giants of the dark, and often shared some of their dinners with them, or bought them little treats. Some of the underground workers even spent their Holidays with the animals, when they came up in the summer months for a few weeks in the sun. I often wondered, when I was a lot younger, how some miners managed to grow enormous clumps of Rhubard, now I know the answer. a hefty dollop of dung.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 27, 2011 at 10:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now if there's a trade or profession that almost always paid well, it was anything to do with working Wood. A good carpenter was a valuable asset around his village. From a simple wooden stool, to servicable and robust Furniture, a carpenter of the day could turn his hand to most things. Even when asked, to the production of Wheel Barrows and Carts. Hence the name Cartwright came into being, a name which may have been applied by the Romans, for the old Brits usually only went by the one name, no matter what their trade was. The really specialised part of Cart making was of course the Wheels. Now dispite what you may think, the solid looking wheels depicted on medieval carts, were not cut from a single piece of wood such as a handy tree trunk. They were in fact in several bits, which when cunningly locked together, formed a very strong circle. These were subjected to rot quickly, and over time, the spoked wheel became the normal thing. Building a wheel required some very high skills, it still does, and so to seperate themselves from a humble carpenter, they were called  Wheelwrights. Until the Iron Foundries began to cast a strong enough Iron wheel, the trade, in both Town and Countryside, reigned supreme. Only the coming of the Motor Car put a stop to the industrious men who at times could be said to have kept the wheels of industry moving. Trains were one thing, but a locomotive couldn't reach the far flung villages of the nation, where the old Horse and Cart  was still the main form of transporting goods, and sometimes people. You may come across a few on your travels. The clip clop of iron shod hooves, the soft hum of iron rims on the tarmac, and the jingle jangle of harness chains, will transport you back to a more gentle form of transport, as the humble Horse and Cart proceed on a Sunday day out. Give them plenty of room, for they are time travellers, not in the same mold as Doctor Who, but time travellers nontheless.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 6, 2013 at 3:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

norman holloway
Member
Posts: 1

Alaska. at February 18, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Every time I hear a Bugle, even the truely awful sound they play from their trucks today, I am thrown back to the sight, of  the old Rag and Bone man. You could hear him coming from several streets away, and we all ran back to our homes, begging our parents for something to take to the Cart. Youngsters may ask why, well, on the back of his trusty, and at times rickety old cart, he had a few goodies. Not much by todays standards, but little treasure's to us. Windmills on sticks. Remember running as fast as you could, to get that ' whirring ' sound they made. Or swinging them round and round, when you could get them to whistle. The multi coloured Ballons, tied with string, that trailed behind him as the Horse clip clopped it's way towards you. The Goldfish in little plastic bags that very rarely lasted the week out, I know, I had plenty in my time. Then there was a scramble, if it was time to feed the Horse, the honour of putting on it's feed bag, was a prized job. Then, with a sigh, and a bit of a melencholy look, the horse set off, for it had no need of a command, it knew the route by heart.

The job I used to hate was racing out with a bucket and shovel to collect the droppings for dad's garden, then topping it up with water. Funny, now I live in the country, I still do it for my own garden! The other job that really got to me was after the coalman delivered somewhere in the street, bucket and shovel again sometimes btwo buckets, one for droppings band one for coal! 

September 8, 2013 at 2:02 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

It's been a rule of the road in this Country, from the early days of Coaches and all things horse drawn, that you should keep to the left hand side of the Turnpike Roads. Evidently, this rule was variable, and during the hours of daylight, taking into account the state of the road at the time, you could use whichever side was convenient. Carter Joseph Hodgkiss, on the 31st August, 1826, availed himself of this priviledge, having just emerged from a Beer house, and, finding himself a little late on the way back to Halesowen, furiously set off. Having passed through the village of Hagley, without seeing a soul, and driving like a man possesed, he met a young lad on the Turnpike. By met, I mean ran down and ran over. Samuel Horeage aged 11, was on the way to his work at a nearby Ironworks, and of course, was walking on the correct side of the road. ( He was an unlucky lad was Samuel, for the year before, his father, also named Samuel, had been killed on the same Turnpike Road, through his own poor driving. See "Stagecoaches" ) The Inquest, which was told that Joseph Hodgkiss " was driving on the wrong side of the turnpike, before daylight ", found the cause of death to be " Accidental ".  As I said, the rule of the road was flexible, one rule when people could see, and another for when they couldn't. The matter would have rested there, except that the Magistrates were not happy, that a young lad, innocently going about his business, had lost his life. They sent Joseph Hodgkiss to trial, at the Worcester Assizes, on a charge of Manslaughter, where he was duly found guilty, and sentenced to 7 years Transportation. In contrast to this, John Jones, a native of Birmingham, was found to be circulating forged money in Worcester. Chased, he escaped back to his home, where he was soon apprehended, and flung into Prison. He escaped, was again pursued, and finally caught hiding in West Bromwich. Returned to Worcester, he was sentenced to Death for Uttering  a False Banknote. Later commuted to 14 years Transportation. So it would appear, that in 1826, you could kill someone on the Turnpike, but woe-betide anyone who tried to pass " funny money".

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 5, 2013 at 11:28 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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