This blog is designed to record the findings of our family history, mainly for the benefit of the family, and to document the dead ends, the breakthroughs and the journey.
I’ll post the family stories as I’ve written them to now, and I’ll be grateful to anyone who can add further information or pictures, or point out errors.
Particular thanks to my sister Julia and my cousin Mandy who between them have done much more of the work than I have.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Roebuck Street: a start

I’ve decided to digress a little and look at the history of Roebuck Street. It plays a large part in the Hamilton/Timmins part of the family history, and according to Dad the family owned extensive property in the street at one time. I’ve just looked ta the Land Registry site and it’s not available on a Sunday. What planet are these people living on.

What I know so far, from the Victoria County History, is that Roebuck Lane existed by the later 18th century  and probably much earlier. A house called the Roebuck at the north end existed in 1684 and was demolished c.1855.  Also at the top of Roebuck Lane, and on its western side, was a  house called Springfields.  By1795 it was the home of Archibald Kenrick.  After his death in 1835 his son Archibald lived there; it was rebuilt probably about that time. The younger Archibald was still living there in 1850, but it subsequently became the home of W. Bullock, an iron-founder like the Kenricks. By 1860 it had been bought by Thomas Bache Salter, and it remained the Salters' home until c. 1906. In 1970 it was the social club of G. Salter & Co. Ltd. By 1836 there was a large house to the south of Springfields called Oakley; it was owned by Timothy Kenrick, son of the elder Archibald Kenrick. It was demolished c. 1960. Roebuck Street was laid out as Park Village in the 1850s; by 1970, however, the street was given over to light industry. The area around Grove Crescent between Roebuck Lane and Roebuck Street was formerly occupied by the Grove and its 4-acre estate; the property was sold in 1892 and built over.

An ancient tree known as the Three Mile Oak formerly stood on the northside of the main road near the boundary; by the1830s it had disappeared, but the name was preserved by the near-by inn and toll-gate.

From: 'West Bromwich: The growth of the town', A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17: Offlow hundred (part) (1976), pp. 4-11. URL:  Date accessed: 22 April 2012.

No mention is made of Roebuck Street in Mary Willett’s “A History of West Bromwich, first published in 1882, but that is hardly surprising, as the book concentrates on the prominent families and large houses of the town, and does not mention the effects of the industrial revolution at all.

By 1911, the last point for which I currently have any data, the Hamiltons occupied no 17 (Gert & Walter), no 66 (Joseph  and Sarah Emily, and their younger children) and no 102 (Ernie & Gert). Joseph and Sarah Emily had been living at no 74 in 1891 and 41 in 1901. We moved into no 85 in the early 1950s and Arthur & Minnie with Brian and Alan also lived in the street but I can’t remember the number. I will have to ask Alan.

There’s a lot more to do looking at land ownership, directories etc.

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