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Forum Home > Halesowen and Hasbury History. > The Chainmakers of Cradley.

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There's always been a bit of confusion amongst those who don't know, that Cradley, should not be included with Cradley Heath. It's an ancient place is Cradley, Worcestershire, just a short journey from Halesowen, and an even shorter one from the other place. Never the less, they are as different as chalk is from cheese, as the inhabitants will quickly tell you. The place is full of old family names, Bloomer, Homer, Hill, Cox, Parsons, Priest, Westwood, Webster, Beasley, Attwood, and many more, who were long associated with the Iron trade, mainly you will be told, Chainmaking. One name I havn't mentioned so far, is Hodgetts, a long line of whom, stretch far back in the history of Cradley. One of the clan, Benjamin Hodgetts, was the proud father of nine children, all of his sons went into the same trade as himself. Luckily, Benjamin saved a few bob, and, as a sideline, began to sell meat from a small shop on the corner of High Street, and Intended Street. The Chainmaker became a partime Butcher. It was the eldest son, Joseph Hodgetts, who, after he married Fanny Haden, in 1901, took over control of the shop. This allowed his parents to take life a bit easier, for the shop did well, even employing a couple of young lads to help out. Born in 1873, Joseph was of course never short of help anyway, most of the family lived within a short walk of the shop, and their parents home in Intended Street. Maple Tree Lane, Colley Lane, High Town, High Street, Lyde Green, in fact there probably weren't many places where the family hadn't put down roots.


The photograph above is an interesting shot of the shop, and the family. Joseph Hodgetts is the man with his arms folded and the satisfied look on his face, and no wonder given the ammount of meat he has hanging up. Standing behind him is his young wife Fanny Hodgetts, also looking a bit on the happy side for this picture ws taken a few months after her marriage, the year being 1902. Visable, over her right shoulder, are the unmistakable silver whiskers of Joseph's father, Benjamin Hodgetts. The young lad, front and centre, is Alfred Turner, smartly turned out for a 12 year old, and wearing one of those new fangled celluloid collars. He lived in Lyde Green. The other, and older lad, is Ethelred Webster, the first time I have come across that name, other than in the dark ages, in 30 years of research. The rather rotund gentleman on the right, next to Joseph, is Thomas Partridge, an Anchor Smith by trade, and a workmate of Josephs father. He lived in Intended Street as well, although he was born in Old Hill. Staffordshire. His was normally called " Barrs " Partridge when at work, to distinguish him from the other Partridge clan,  because of where he was born, Barrs Road, Haden Hill. Joseph Hodgetts had raised three children when war broke out in 1914, and he must have been an early volunteer, for he was listed as being in France on 14th July,1915, with the South Staffordshire Regiment. He was discharged into the reserves on 18th February,1919, by which tme he had gained the rank of Sergeant. He was later photographed, at his parents Golden Wedding celebrations wearing his ceremonial uniform, on 15th April,1922. His father died in 1926, after a lifetime hammering chains, and he himself passed on in 1949. The Butchers shop though,carried on for a number of years, outliving the chain trade by many years, perhaps someone will be kind enough to let me know.


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

July 9, 2013 at 2:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Hi, I am the great granddaughter of Joseph Hodgetts. He actually died on 26/12/1949. We have only recently discovered Fanny Hodgetts and believe she had two children called Nellie and Madge. I am very keen to hear if anyone has any information about them. My grandfather was the son of Joseph Hodgetts when he was married to Harriet in 1923. I believe Fanny died in 1919. I look forward to receiving further information :-)
November 17, 2014 at 4:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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