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Forum Home > Tale's from the region. > Humour. A bit of a Laugh.

Alaska.
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Bilston, Brierley Hill.


Every area has a favourite story, or an amusing happening in the past, something that was, or still is, related today. If anyone wishes to add to this topic, your story will be most appreciated.


Many years ago, so a Bilston story goes, a citizen of the Town went to Darlaston on business. His journey had been uneventful until approaching the town centre, a great noise could be heard. Thinking it to be some kind of riot, ( Darlaston did have a reputation for unruly behaviour ) and not wishing to miss any of the fun, he hurried towards the scene. Gathered in front of him, and blocking the road, was a large crowd, who were all respectfully looking at a strange object in the middle of the main street. No one appeared to know what the object was, so, being a bit of a three cornered hat, he called for the crowd to let him through, and, being a well travelled man, he would tell them what it was. The crowd parted, and he found himself looking at a shiny new Gold Soveriegn. Turning to the by now expectant crowd, he started to say " Why it's only a....," then he stopped, as the penny dropped, that they really didn't know what the thing was. Being a Bilston man, and they do tend to be on the crafty side, and having quickly thought up a good tale, he then addressed the throng. " It's only a red hot shilling " he told them, which bought forth a few mutterings. " It's the work of the Devil " shouted an old man, so the man from Bilston thought again. " Tell you what " he said, " why don't I give you a shilling, you go off and enjoy yourselves, and I'll wait here for it to cool down". Many heads nodded in agreement, so after handing over the shilling, the man, who explained he had not much else to do that day, found an old wooden tub, and sat down to wait. Off went the crowd, happy as a pig in Smiths the butchers window, ( note the resistance to the joke ) waving cheerily as they went. Just as one women turned the corner, she saw the man from Bilston reach out with hands, testing to see how hot the shilling still was. It was the last time they clapped eyes on him, for off he went, far happier than the Pig in ...................  .


One day, in the dusty streets of Brierley Hill, a group of Colliers were making their way back home. From the direction of Stourbridge, came a Hawkers cart, trundling it's way up the bumpy High Street. Now the Hawkers stock in trade, were pots, kettles, and pans of all discriptions. They covered nearly every surface of his cart, and made a tremendous racket as he wound his way from place to place. As he drew past the Colliers, a kettle fell from the rear of the cart and rolled into the shallow ditch. Saying nothing, the miners waited to see if he would notice, and when he was out of sight, retrieved it. None of them could lay absolute claim to it, as they had all seen it fall, and there was a discussion as what to do with the item. Eventually, it was decided that a contest would be held, whoever told the biggest lie, got to take the kettle home. The competition was well under way when who should happen by, but the Bishop of Worcester, on his from Dudley to Stourbridge. Enquiring as to what they were about, he was deeply shocked to hear what they were doing. Standing up in his carriage, he delivered these words, " Why my dear fellows, lying is a dreadful sin. My mother made me promise, when I was a boy, never to tell a lie, and I never have ". There was an enormous burst of laughter from the Colliers, and with a quick vote, they declared the Bishop was the outright winner of the kettle. The Bishop, unused to the Black Country humour, and more to the point, having no answer to make, ordered his carriage to make haste. It's not said who got the kettle.

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

July 10, 2011 at 3:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Old Hill.


Market day was always a busy one across the region. The coming of a Tram service opened up many possibilities for the bargain hunting matrons of the Black Country. So it was, on this day, that old Flo, carefullying locking up the little cottage just off Old Hill Cross, ( never believe that old potatoe about leaving stuff lying about ) boarded the Tram for Dudley. Two stops later, and another old lady climbed on and sat by Flo. Peering at her, Flo realished she knew her, so started up a conversation. " How are you Nellie, and hows that bloke you married ". Taking a bit of time, Nellie replied that she was fine, but her old man was now dead and buried, thank you. " Oh I am sorry " said Flo, as anyone would do, " how longs he been dead then ". This question caused Nellie to wrinkle up her forehead in a frown, and she went into deep think mode. " Now let me see " she said, " if he had lived until three weeks next Tuesday, he would have been dead six weeks come a month last Saturday ". At this stage, Flo began to think it was going to be a long tram ride, so before making a response she thought for a bit. " What ", she asked, " did he die on ". This time the answer was much swifter. " On a Tuesday " replied Nellie. Flo, not a woman to be put off so easily, paused again and then asked Nellie, " What was the complaint ". Nellie looked a bit offended at this, and taking a deep breath said, " Oh, there wasn't any complaint, no, nothing like that, everybody was very happy about it ". Defeated for a time, Flo settled back, to watch the grimy scenery float lazily past the equally grimy windows, as the tram ground it's way up the hill to Dudley. " I hear your old man bought a new dog last week " said Nellie, bringing Flo out of her trance. " Ah yes, he did, went all the way to Bilston to fetch it ", replied Flo. " is any good then, this new dog " enquired Nellie. It was Flo's turn to think now. " Well when he came back," related Flo, " him and his mate took it down the cut to see if it would fetch a stick out of the cut. The dog wouldn't jump in, instead, walked across the water, and bought the stick back."  Nellie sat bolt upright at this revelation, seemingly mightily impressed. " He had to take it back though " said Flo quickly, " because his mate said he had been fiddled, the bloody thing couldn't swim ".

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

July 11, 2011 at 10:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Walsall, Willenhall, Dalaston


It was the custom in days gone by, to hurl a few good natured insults at neighbouring Villages. I suppose there are are some. who still like to practice this lost art form. Any subject would do, no one was safe from a bit of ridicule, and sometimes it was very to the point. Take this one, aimed at the morals of the people of Willenhall.


A tumble down Church,

A tottering steeple,

A drunken Parson,

And a wicked people.


Not to be out done, the good folks of Walsall, obviously fed up with their local Vicar, scrawled this on the Church wall.


Our new Church,

Our old steeple,

Our pround Parson,

Our poor people.


He had of course spent a great deal of money restoring the Church, and not a small sum on himself. One of the characteristic's, of the workers in Walsall's leather industry, was a certain awkwardness when walking, such as in this little ryhme.


Walsall for bandy legs,

Baggeridge for nuts,

Bilston for dust and dirt,

And Sedgley for sluts.


Whoever made that one up must have been a bit of a traveller, who had obviously sampled the delights of each Town. Poor old Walsall gets another mention in the next one as well, perhaps it was the same travelling man.


Sutton for mutton,

Tamworth for beef.

Walsall for bandy legs,

And Brum for a thief.


There were some who said Darlaston had two sundays in the year when they never put a pot on the fire for a meal. Most meat, was in those days, boiled, not to everyones taste I suspect, but it insured you didn't often get poisoned. Wake Sunday they roasted the meat, the next Sunday, having nothing left to boil, they went without. If anyone has a tale along the same lines, do let me know.


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

July 28, 2011 at 4:27 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Tipton.


Now I wouldn't want to cast any aspertions  towards the good folk of Tipton. I'm sure they all do their bit, but this came in last week. It appears that a native born woman of the Town, had the mis-fortune, to lose her husband, due to a bit too much imbiding of the excellent local brew. After the Cremation, there was as usual a little wake, she cast a few looks around and disappeared into an empty room. Thinking he would offer her some crumbs of comfort, one of the mourners followed her, He was surprised to see her pouring some of the deceased ashes into a glass container, and inquired what she was doing. " Well ", she said, " when he was alive, he never did an honest days work , and now he's dead, I thought I would get a bit of effort out of him, so I'm putting him in this egg-timer. And in a similar vein, a bloke from Owen Street, was about to get into the car on the way to his late wifes funeral. Unfortunately, it choose that moment to break down, so the undertaker asked him to ride in the next Car which was carrying his mother-in-law. A deep frown crossed his brow, and he stared intently at the undertaker. "OK, he said, but you do realise, sitting next to her is going to completely spoil my day ".


As I said, no offence.



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

August 14, 2011 at 3:27 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

West Bromwich, Wednesbury.


The Webb brothers, Joseph and Samuel, had a little farm in Wednesbury.  Well, more like a couple of scrubby fields, sandwiched between the Railway line and the Canal, just off Lea Brook Road. Samuel worked as a miner, at Blacklake, West Bromwich, while Joseph, who most times wasn't the sharpest knife in the draw, looked after the few Cows, the milk from which they sold off the back of an old rickerty cart. One day, a Policeman called at the farm, and informed Joe that he was going to be prosecuted for selling milk which was not up to the mark. After the policeman explained to him, what " adulterated " meant, Joe and Sam had to come with a good story. Watering down the milk was a serious offence. Sam, being the smarter of the two, pleaded not guilty when they came up in front of the magistrate. Reminded that a great deal of water had been found in the milk after testing, Sam still pleaded, they had done nothing wrong. When asked to explain, Sam offered the reason that the old Cow, which had been out in heavy rain, was quite obvious leaking badly. He then said, that as soon as they got home, he would give the animal a good coating of gas-tar, which should keep the water out. The poor magistrate was almost speechless, several sitting in the court were about to lose control and start laughing. The magistrate, knowing he was going to be beaten, gave up, and ordered the bewildered Policeman to take away the lunatic, and then gave the poor copper a telling off, for bringing the case in the first place. The Webbs may not have had much schooling, but then again, there are many other things to be learnt in life, telling a good tale being one of them.

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

November 26, 2011 at 3:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Wolverhampton. Well Sinking.


The Gunpowder Plot. No, not the first one that springs to mind, but a tale of two rather, shall we say, less well educated town dwellers from Wolverhampton, in 1862.  By trade, this father and son team, earned a honest crust by digging, or as it was known at the time " Well Sinking ". A fair degree of skill and knowledge is required for this task, which makes what happened to them quite surprising. Both men were familier with explosives, they were after all,a tool of the trade, although a trifle on the expensive side. One day, because it was cheap, they bought almost a pound of Gunpowder. It was a bit on the damp side, which is why it going for a bargain price, but they knew how to cure that. Taking it home, and waiting for the fire in the grate to die down, they simply popped it in the oven, and went merrily off to bed. The next morning, the lady of the house was up bright and early, and her first task was to relight the fire to cook breakfast, and make the tea. I don't think she got as far as the tea, never mind the bacon butties, when with a tremendous roar, the powder went off. All the neighbours got an early, and unexpected alarm call, as the little house was shaken, then blasted to pieces. Fortune they say, favourers the idiots, and so it proved, for after some frantic digging, all three were pulled from the wreakage alive. Badly injured, but still breathing, and whisked off to the General Hospital, on a couple of handcarts. There are some unkind people, who would have said that they were both a couple of tiles short of a full roof, if they had still had one that is.

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

December 16, 2011 at 2:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Gornal.


A very strange case from the region in 1871, was the theft of some livestock. To wit, a Parrot. Not just any old Parrot mind, this one could talk and whistle tunes. The lady, who had reported the matter, requested in Court, to prove the disputed ownership of the bird, that " Polly ", should make an appearence. She would prove, by a series of sentences and popular tunes from " Polly ", that the bird belonged to her. The defendant, in response, welcomed the idea, telling the Court that the old bird, ( the Parrot that is ) was his, as it only spoke Spanish. The object of both their affections, was duly bought into Court, and both sides then attempted to show the Court, just who did actually own " Pretty Polly ". The bird, placed on a suitable perch, cast it's beady little eyes around the place, and stared steadfastly at the Judge. It refused point blank to open it's beak, and remained mute for the next 15 minutes, while both sides tried desperately to coax it into some animation. The Judge, clearly at the end of his patience, ordered the defendant to be remanded in custody, and the parrot was sentenced for comtempt of Court, committed into the care of the Police, who would then write down anything said during it's incarceration. The words, " who's a pretty boy then ", earned the defendant 3 months hard labour.

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

December 22, 2011 at 11:39 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Romans, Greeks.


Now here's a bit of research information, although why the gentleman concerned bothered, isn't recorded. After measuring over 1,000 subjects, he, Prof Frankes, reported that if you stand normally, with your ankles together, and there is a gap of at least 2cms between your knees, you are " Bow Legged ". If, on the other hand, your knees show no gap, but there is a distance between your ankles of more than 2cms, you are classed as " Knock-kneed ". The ancient Greeks and Romans, although he doesn't say how he obtained the information, were certainly all bow-legged. Civilisation has, he stated, produced an inferior physical race of humans. All women, he says are Knock-kneed, a condition he put down to wearing skirts and getting less excercise than the males. No mention then,of another reason, that of any mothers advice to all her daughters,, " always keep your legs closed ". Mind you, he did do the research in 1912.

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

January 16, 2012 at 11:48 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Railways, Stourbridge. Cradley Heath.


It's been often said, that we British don't complain enough about shoddy goods or service, Even when we do, we get the old run around from some of the larger Companies. This is nothing new, it's been going on for years, but one man, back in the 1860s, tried a different approach after being ignored. He wrote to a newspaper, and to make sure he got the letter noticed, wrote it like this.


Deer Cir,

I beg leaf tu sa a wurd or tu on tha awlimpourtant subjek ov raleway travlin. I thing et tha dewte ov all men as thinks, to think a gud deal about therselfs and utherfokes tew, and has part ov sosietee it ort tu bee, if it aint, tha cheif delite ov mann tu looke hafter is hone appenis and mek uther fokes kumfortable. An fer ths reezen, I wish tu drawer atenshun ov tha Stowerbrige Extenshun Raleway Kumpane, tu the a pauling fakt that tha ony hacomedashun that afords tu passingers on theer raleway his no akomedashun hat awl. Now cir, if tranes was hallways in tha stashuns hat tha rite time, hand peeple cud tell wote tha rite raleway time wus, peeple mite goo tu tha stashun, hand the Kumpane av sum ekskuse fer knot errekting watin rumes ov sum sort, fer respektable persuns to resort tu. I av notised mane klocks, in a gud mane stashuns, an I think, wi out hany egsaderashun, I cud sa tha ef a 100 wus plased in a rume, ar cud shave mishelf wi out a lurking glas, wile they wus awl strikin 12. Father moor, it wud be beter, insted ov anin tu wate fer a trane as is behide time in tha peltin rane til awl theer kloths was a stikin tu ther skin, a koffin an snazin as ef theer edds wus aboat tu drap orf, an big teers rolin donne theer cheecs has big as thimblus, awatin fer a laat trane.

             I no sum foke ull sa as theers publik ouses near tu stashuns, an that hobivates such things bi in um an gerrin a glas ore tu ov grog an smock a pip ore tw tu wile awa sum time. But cir, wee cor ekpekt delikate feemale ta goo tu publik ouses an smock til a trane cums in as is behide time. Whi cir, that seams tu the hedukated and refinned tast ov the suppearear clas, uv beeing as livin in tha nintenth senture, an bee enuf to mek osses spake. Persuns sa they woe goo raleway travilin, butt ull ewse the nuw flangled " Numastic Telgraff ", or git up a publik suskripshun fer the porpose of bildin a dasent watin rume. I heerd a mon sa the uther daa, that yower raleway do mek mush moniy, butt I think it shud pae, jsu as otels an publik ouses do, tu fashun a roofe fer the kumfort of yower tavilers.


Yorer obeediont sirvint,

Pale Jones,

Kradley Eeth.


A clever man was Mr Jones, because I can't believe an idiot put that letter together. Railway time, by the way, was indeed different on all the lines at the time. It varied from a few minutes, to several hours, confusing or what. Mind you, from the stories you hear today, nothing much has really changed has it.

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

April 23, 2012 at 3:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Unicorn
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Posts: 46

Not many people could read and write in the 1860's, let alone spell.

April 24, 2012 at 1:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Oldbury, Greets Green.


Now here's a little tale from more modern times, but with a theme thats fairly familiar to many old Black Country folk. It's been many years since the first Meals on Wheels Service was launched, and what a godsend it's been over the years, to the old and infirm. Long may it continue, after all, some of us may have cause to use it in days to come. It's not been without complaints though, and many a driver have some right old tales to tell, here's just one.


The old dear, was waiting impatiently on the doorstep, when the nice lady from the WVS came up the path carrying the metal box. Ushering her inside the old lady sat her down and put a clean white plate on the table. Sitting in the middle of the object, was a solitary Pea, not a green one, more of a washed out grey really. Puzzled, she soon found out why the old ladies ire was well and truly raised. " Go on " she said, " pick it up and see if yo' con ate that ". Still puzzled, she did so, and found it was a hard as a rock, or, as the old dear said it, " a bibble ". " No " she said, not like that, ge'it between yo'er teeth and try bitin' it ". Not wishing to upset someone so persistant, she was after all a long standing and well trained WVS member, she did so. The pea, smooth as a billiard ball, refused to give way under the bite, and shot off across the room. The old dears eyes lit up like a christmas tree, " yo'  cor do it, con yer ", she said in triumph, " and niether con I, and that Pa's been through me twice now ". It's a good  idea, to allways ask first, what the problem is, rather than be seen in an undignified position, throwing up your breakfast in the road.

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

June 2, 2012 at 4:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Bilston, Hell Lane, Witches, Myths. Folklore.


Bilston, has had many tales of mystery told about it over the years. It was for instance, credited with the start of the Cholera Epidemic, in 1832, retribution it was said, for the wicked goings on in the notorius Hells Lane. ( Now Ettingshall Road ). The old Lane, was also home to, it was alleged, a wise old man called White Rabbit. He had a reputation as a Witch, and was well respected among the local miners, who were suppostitous to a man. Several ominous signs were noticed around one Pit, and it soon aquired a name for being haunted. Naturally the miners, urged on no doubt by the  owner, who was fearfull of losing business, quickly consulted White Rabbit about the problem. Spreading out the tools of his trade, a few old bones and talismans, he cast a spell for them, then gave them some instructions to be carried out at the tradition witching hour, midnight. These consisted of marching through the pit with the most educated miner carrying a Bible. He had to chant the following,  The Lords Prayer Backwards, then recite, ' Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, God bless the errand that we're on.' So, in the dead of night, the way lit by flickering candles, the miners proceeded to carry out the witches instructions. Suddenly, deep within the miner, they all came to a shuddering stop, as the pit's evil spirit appeared. Franticaly chanting the words, ever louder, as the sinister spirit got nearer, it was clear that the effort was failing. One miner, in the nick of time, spotted what was wrong. " Yer b****y fool Caggy, the books in yer wrong 'ond " Almost faster than the eye could follow, Caggy swiftly changed hands, and with a terrible shriek, a rumble, and a flash of light, the evil monster disappeared. For days afterwards, the lingering smell of Brimstone hung in the air, or so they said. How much of this is down to that other demon, Drink, is hard to say, but old White Rabbit, his reputation intact, was ever after to be seen smiling.

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

July 11, 2012 at 9:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Gasworks, Wednesbury, Walsall. Drayton Manor.


Most Court rooms are not noted for being places of entertainment, but every now and then, a case brings some much needed laughter. Such was the situation in the 1870s, when a gentle man took on the might of a large organisation. In the case of Timmins v The Birmingham and Staffordshire Gas Company, the plaintiff was complaining that water containing gas, had entered his well, rendering himself and his family ill. In letters prior to the case, Dr Letherby, ( for the Company ) stated that this could not be the case as they would all be dead, as nothing could survive in such contaminated water. The plaintiffs Lawyers, Mr Williams and Mr Bird, suspecting that this argument would also be used in Court, laid a little plan. Before the case started, they filled a glass tank with a mixture of the gas and ordinary water. Then they put in it, a fresh and healthy Gudgeon, straight out of the river. Sure enough, Dr Letherby stood up in Court and propounded his theory, only to be a bit non-plussed when from under the table, the plaintiffs representatives bought out the Fish. Alive and well and swimming about happily. The entire Court was convulsed in laughter, even the Judge joining in. When it all calmed down, the plaintiff was awarded his costs and damages. Dr Letherby though was not pleased, and for years afterwards claimed they had cheated, and it was only by adding fresh water, that the Fish survived to be returned to the river. The good Doctor, you may think, was suffering from sour grapes, which, although not sour, are the subject of the next little piece of humour.


Now everyone knows Sir Robert Peel was responsible for the modern Police Force as we know it. His country seat in 1880, was at Drayton Manor, now famous for it's theme park. The house had large grounds, which required several gardeners, one of whom was not above helping himself to a few of the Grapes which were grown. Enough it seems, for Sir Robert to make his own wine. Caught red handed, the gardener admitted parcelling up a large quantity of them, and sending them away by the Railway. He pleaded with the Magistrates for mercy, and used an age old excuse, he had an old and disabled mother to support. It didn't work, well it was never going to, having stolen from such a high status individual as Sir Robert Peel. He was fined the large sum of £5, plus £10 costs and damages to cover the cost of the stolen grapes. The gardener then expressed his desire to pay the sum, stating that he had in his pocket, a Watch and Chain which would more than cover the costs and fine. Taken aback, the magistrates remarked that they had a pretty shrewed idea where said item had come from. The gardener was again arrested, this time for stealing the Watch and Chain from one of Sir Roberts high profile guests. It hadn't, at that stage, even been reported as missing. Well, nobody ever suggested that Sir Robert Peel was in the same league as Sherlock Holmes.

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

October 27, 2012 at 3:30 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Birmingham, Music Halls, Pantomime.


From the records of the regions criminal activity, here's one that surprised even me. Back in the 1880s, entertainment was very limited, but the Theatre's were very popular, and attracted huge audiences. Music Halls and Pantomines, were a firm favourite, but you wouldn't associate them with criminality would you. Extortion, extracting money with menaces, has been around a very long time, and during this period it was not uncommon, so I'm told, for small gangs of thugs, to follow the performers around demanding money. What on earth for you may ask. They would, for a price guarantee a cheer at the end of the actors performance. Failure to pay, would, on the night, get the poor long suffering actor, a very loud chorus of Hisses. One week, at the Prince of Wales Theatre, in Birmingham, the actors refused to pay up to a gang of toughs. During the performance of a Pantomine, on 6th March,1880, from the gallery, someone threw a large Cabbage at the stage. Miss Jenny Hill, a rather pretty member of the cast, unfortunatly chose that moment to step forward and was hit in the eye by this enormous cabbage. There was a shocked silence, and them pandemonium broke out, as the packed audience went after the assailant. Fighting broke out in the gallery as the thugs tried to flee the scene being greatly out numbered. The man who had thrown the cabbage, was quickly apprehended, and whisked away at speed before he could be lynched. ( He had after all, spoiled a good nights entertainment ) Dragged before the Magistrates on the monday morning, he was shown the error of his ways, by being given two months hard labour for the assault. Non of the other actors though would give evidence about the extortion racket, not surprising really, it was a touring company, and their next stop was Manchester, where, it was rumoured, the thugs threw less wholesome stuff than an occasional large cabbage.

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

November 12, 2012 at 3:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Bilston, Dogs, Smethwick.Samuel Wootten.


Bilston, has always been proud of its association with the breeding of good Dogs. Whether it was for fighting or racing, the town could compete with the best of the rest of the region. But thats not the only kind of dog they reared, as this little tale will tell. One Saturday night, a few years before the first World War, a dog paused outside the butchers shop of Mr Kendrick. It was the custom at the time, as closing time due high, to put the meat on display, on a board, held up by trestles, and reduce the price. As the butcher kept an eye open for a likely customer, the dog suddenly jumped up, snatched a fine piece of Beef, value 2 shillings, and ran off. The butcher, shouting curses that would have totally shocked the local Vicar, gave chase, and was just in time to see a man take the beef from the dog, and leg it over a wall. The dog though was caught by its pursuer, taken back to the shop, and then handed to a Policeman who had been called to the " robbery ". Sgt Heappy, not being a local man, but from Smethwick, was reportedly a lot smarter than his colleagues, ( not difficult , if you believe all the stories about the folks of Bilston at the time ) and proceeded with a crafty plan to catch the real thief. By 1 am, the streets were deserted, so the Sgt attached a long piece of string to the dog, and followed it as it headed off for home. Soon, they arrived at the front door of one Samuel Wootten, a man not unknown to the local force, who, at the dog scratching and barking, let him in. He must have been surprised when the Policeman followed, still holding the string. A quick search revealed. in the pantry, the stolen beef, which Wootten quickly blamed the dog for, aiming a kick at the animal and calling him a " bad dog ". Down at the Police station, having been charged with the theft, Wootten offered to pay the cost, but this failed to prevent him being bought before the Magistrates. Wisely, he pleaded guilty, assuring the beaks, that no harm was meant and he was only taking the dog for its walk, when it suddenly ran to him with the joint of beef. He then said, that as it had fallen into the mud, he decided to take it home to wash it, before returning it to the shop. He was alarmed a few seconds later, he said, by a large man waving a big knife and shouting at him, so he climbed the wall and ran home. The Magistrates were not very impressed with this explanation, nor indeed was the butcher, who wanted the dog put down. They gave Wootten a choice, a fine of 10 shillings, or 14 days hard labour, its not clear which option he took, as from the back of the court came this repost. If you've got any puppies off that dog Sam, I'll take one ".  Amidst a great deal of laughter, the Magistrates had trouble hiding a few smiles.

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

January 1, 2013 at 4:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Now here is a little piece of whats called 'gentle' humour, and it begins with a question, " Why are Ships Launched with Bottle of Champagne ".  It' a very old tradition this, and stems from the very ancient practise of offerring things to the Gods. It used to involve the blood of an animal, and before that, the gruesome sight of a young woman being sacrificed, her warm blood used to smear the boat for good luck. This, the ancient priests believed, would protect both the crew, but more especially the cargo, from harm. Perhaps they should have used a couple of crates of the stuff when they launched the Titanic. Still on the subject of Religion, only this time far more modern. The local Vicar called the other day, well this old fool is getting on a bit, and maybe he thought that touting for a bit of business wouldn't go amiss. " At your age " , he said, " you should be thinking more about the hereafter ". I hadn't been prepared for that, so I paused a little then said, " Vicar, no matter where I go in the house, be it in the lounge, the sitting room, upstairs, or in the bathroom, I always ask myself, now what am I here after ". He has now taken to calling me an old Coffin dodger. He did though leave behind a little card with this message on it.


Frowns make wrinkles on your face,

Smiles put crinkles in their place;

There's not much difference between the two,

But laughter lines are better for you;

So if you have wrinkles,

Smooth them out with a smile,

You'll find that a crinkle is more worth while.

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

May 5, 2013 at 4:29 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Now times were hard in days gone by, and the welfare state was in it's infancy. No job seekers allowance then, just 10 shillings a week dole money, just enough to pay the rent, with a few bob left to feed the gas meter. Two Blackcountry friends had been out of work for some time, and when a couple of vacancies came their way for the night-shift at a local Ironworks, it was grasped with both hands. All went well for a couple of months, when one evening, as the pair were walking to work, Sam turned to his mate George and poured out his heart. " I think ", he said, " that my old lady is having it off with another bloke while I'm at work. The neighbours have been giving me a few funny looks, and yesterday I heard a tale in the Pub about her being the local bike . What do you think I should do.?" " Well," said george, after a lengthy pause, for neither of them were the brightest lights on a dark night, " tonight,  we will both ask for a pass-out about 3 am, and we can go and have look. That should set your mind at rest."  So, at the appointed time, having given the foreman a flimsy excuse, off they went, back to Sam's house. Sneaking through the back garden, they quietly opened the back door, and crept like a couple of burglers up the stairs. Flinging open the bedroom door and switching on the light, Sam was mortified to find that the rumours were true, and there was indeed a bloke in bed with his wife. Grabbing the bedclothes, Sam pulled the covers off, to discover that the bloke was stark naked, and was in the motions of putting his hands around the intruders throat when Ethel, he wife, shouted at him. " Before you decide to murder him, you should know that he has paid the Mortgage on the house, paid the Electric Bill, and tomorrow is paying the Gas bill as well." Sam stopped in his tracks, looked at George and asked him what he should do now. " Well if I was you, I should cover the poor sod up again, in case he catches pneumonia ".

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

July 6, 2013 at 11:27 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

If you are on the young side, then this piece won't be of a lot of interest. It's about being annoyed on public transport, and, concidering it happened in 1868, could well be just the sort of thing you will find in todays Newspapers. Loud music, mobile phones, and bad language, are all familier to us oldies, and so I should add, is the response to a complaint reported here.


It's February, 1868, cold damp and the passenger who had  just purchased a ticket at Rowley Regis Station, was looking forward to getting a bit of respite from the biting wind. He had completed his business in Blackheath, and was now enroute to Hockley, Birmingham, and then off to a warm hotel room. There was of course, no heating in the carriages in 1868, and no way of changing compartments either, for the early trains had no corridors. He sat down in the half empty 3rd class carriage, and as the train moved off, a man, seated opposite, began to cuss and swear in a truely awful manner. Waiting for the man to finish a perticulary long bit of swearing, our intrepid traveller made a robust complaint about such intemperate language. " Iv'e got every right to swear if I like " said the man, " and no ranter parson will stop me ". The next station down the line was Langley Green, so as soon as the Train came to a halt, the traveller made a complaint to the Guard. Quoting the rules about civil behaviour towards other passengers, the Guard exchanged words with the man, who, for the moment, fell silent. As soon as the Train again moved off the man started swearing again, and obviously upset by the telling off, this time, if it was possible, the cussing was even worse. Working himself into an outraged frenzy, the man told the traveller " to shut his trap, " and suggested, non to politely, that it was he that should flung off the Train, " and if he didn't shut up, he would do the job himself ". Our man, fearing for his safety, did indeed shut up, but penned a letter to the Company, expressing his disgust. " I believe the man is a native of the Black Country, a member of that Barbican Clan of uneducated oafs ". I hope no one today thinks the same of us, as our traveller of many years ago did. Then again, after hearing about several incidents on our local bus service, the comment may still be valid.

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

September 22, 2013 at 4:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Halesowen Divorce.


Frederick Ronald Field sounds like a strange man from this report of July,1953. He lived in Holt Road, Cakemore, Halesowen, and had been married for 14 years, the union producing two daughters. In July 1951, his wife, Gladys Irene Field, arrived home to find her, and her daughters belongings, out in the back yard. The locks had been changed, and her husband refused to allow them back into the family home. He had though, thoughtfully, also dumped in the yard, the couples double bed. With nowhere else to go, she was forced to move all their possesions into the little outhouse on the yard. Incredibly, all three then continued to live in the cramped outhouse, for the next two years. Dispite repeated attempts to resolve the matter, it came to a head in 1953, when Gladys finally applied for a Divorce. She was, by this time, living with a relative in nearby Beaumont Road, having left the outhouse in Feb,1953. Our Fred didn't like this developement, and contested the case with some rather outlandish claims. He Claimed that the trouble started when Gladys began to " have it off ", with a Samuel Green, of Wrights Lane, Old Hill. He further claimed that Gladys had treated him in most cruel manner, all their married lives, by continually throwing at him, Cups, Plates, and Candlesticks. He then tried to claim that poor Mr Green wasn't the first either, to have enjoyed his wifes charms, which of course was a bit of a fib. He just didn't want to anyone to think he was a heartless cretin with no thoughts for his own flesh and blood. With a rye smile on his face, the Judge granted the long suffering Gladys her sort after divorce, and shortly afterwards, she was re-housed by Halesowen Council. How she, and her two daughters, survived that long in a cold and damp outhouse I havn't a clue, but she was well rid of the pain in the backside that was Frederick Ronald Field.

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

November 29, 2013 at 11:49 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

The Rowley Hills Gold Rush.


There were many ways, in which a man could earn a living in the Black Country of yester-year. Most of them involved a great deal of hard graft, sweat, and at times. immense danger. In the first decade of the 19th century, many went hungry, some starved to death, and others simple gave up and put an end to the daily agony. There were some though, blessed with a few more brains than others, and finding the Wolf at the door, devised various little schemes to enrich themselves. At the expense of course, of their victims. The giddy heights of the Rowley Hills, and the numerous Quarrying activities, gave one individual an idea for a little money making venture. Now where he got the idea from, no one knows, but it became a common feature alsewhere in later years.


The main character in this tale, is one " Tinker Bennett ", a local Rowley man, who travelled far and wide, and in 1812, or thereabouts, found himself back in the village, bereft of any substancial sum, that would enable him to enjoy the lifestyle he thought he deserverd. His family owned, and worked, several little quarries, well, more like little caves in the hillside really, but the discription will surffice for now. Wandering around the windswept hills, an idea came to him, and he quickly set off for the wicked town of Birmingham. Some days later, he appeared in a local Beerhouse, complete with a piece of " Rowley Rag ", which to anyone who looked at it, bore the unmistakable signs of traces of Gold. Telling those interested that an Assayist would be arriving the next day, he retired to await the results of the announcement. The next day, the by now very crowded pub, waited with bated breath as the gentleman from Birmingham made his examination of the grey rock. " It's Gold alright " said the assayist, and amidst the turmoil which followed, the voice of Tinker Bennett could be clearly heard, offering to sell parcels of land he owned. Now the folk of Rowley, always professing to be poor, had no trouble finding enough money to purchase this land, for the power of greed is very strong. So, as soon as the paperwork was complete. off they went in search of Rowley's riches. And just as fast, Tinker Bennett headed off in the oposite direction, for he had a secret. He had of course, " Salted " the sample of Rowley stone by the simple process of firing a shotgun at it, loaded with a fine sprinkling of Gold Dust. The news of the Gold Strike meanwhile, had dragged in hundreds of prospectors, and holes began to appear all over the hills. It was thristy work as well, all this searching, and the pubs did a roaring trade. It couldn't last though, and a week later it became clear that the Gold could not be found, nor for that matter could Tinker Bennett, for he was by now, many miles away from the " Diggins ". He wouldn't be the last one to come up with a get rich scheme, for it's said, that although a hard working race, the Blackcountrymon " isn't the brightest being on the planet. In this case, it was actually true.

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

March 21, 2014 at 3:27 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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