Apr 242020


It's April so it's time for our members to help us blog through the 2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge. Our chosen theme this year is Employment, also the topic of our Shared Endeavour where our members are encouraged to research employment within their one-place study. Today's entry is from Simon Last.

In January 1942 the whole of the country was fully involved with World War 2 and in Parham in Suffolk Percy Kindred and his brother Herman were the farmers at Crabbe’s and Park Farms in the village.

However, things were soon to change forever as construction began on an airfield which called for half a million tons of concrete, three diagonal runways and a giant local workforce the like of which had never been seen before. Rubble for hardcore was imported from bomb sites in London and Birmingham and 4,500,000 bricks were laid.

No part of the airfield fell within the boundary of Framlingham parish, the site being some three miles to the east between the villages of Great Glemham and Parham, with all the technical sites, administrative buildings and living sites around Silverlace Green in Parham.

The airfield was to be used by the United States Army Eighth Air Force and was built as a standard heavy bomber airfield to Class A specification. The three intersecting runways were of 2,030, 1.440- and 1,430-yards length. There was an encircling concrete perimeter track and fifty aircraft hardstands, along with two T-2 hangars, technical sites and Nissen hut accommodations for some 3,000 persons, dispersed in the surrounding countryside - ( in 1944 Glen Miller and his Band performed in one of these T-2 hangars to an audience of 6,000)

The airfield was opened in 1943 and was given USAAF designation Station 153 (FM). The 95th Bombardment Group (Heavy) arrived at Framlingham on 12th May 1943 from Rapid City AAF South Dakota.

The group flew the B-17 Flying Fortress as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign and entered combat on 13th May 1943 by attacking an airfield at Saint-Omer. After suffering disastrous losses in its daylight air attacks on the Continent, the 95th was transferred to nearby RAF Horham on 15th June to regroup.

The 390th Bombardment Group (Heavy) arrived at Framlingham on 4th July 1943 from Great Falls Army Air Base Montana.

The 390th Bomb Group flew its last combat mission on 20th April 1945. In over 300 missions, they dropped 19,000 tons of bombs. They lost 181 aircraft and seven hundred and fourteen airmen were killed. The group dropped food supplies to the Dutch during the week prior to V-E Day.

After the war, Parham airfield became a clearing station for the rehabilitation of Polish nationals before being abandoned and closed in late 1948. The land was returned to agriculture and the runways were broken up and ground into aggregate. Buildings were allowed to dilapidate and were used for farm storage. Among them was the Control Tower which was shot up and abandoned after the Americans held a riotous farewell party there in August 1945.

Today the runways and hardstands of Parham airfield have long since been removed for hardcore. The perimeter track has been reduced to one lane farm access roads but remains fundamentally complete. The technical site is in use as an industrial estate, with many of the World War II Nissen huts in use.

In 1976, a project was undertaken to restore the derelict control tower. The Tower was finally dedicated as the 390th Bombardment Group Memorial Air Museum of the USAAF on 13th May 1981 and, since then, has remained in active contact with, and received steadfast support from, US veterans, their relatives, supporters and Friends. There is a website at www.parhamairfieldmuseum.co.uk  for more information.

Apr 232020


It's April so it's time for our members to help us blog through the 2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge. Our chosen theme this year is Employment, also the topic of our Shared Endeavour where our members are encouraged to research employment within their one-place study. Today's entry is from Steve Pickthall.

Tabernarius is from the Latin meaning tavern or innkeeper and I just like the sound of the word - sounds better than just plain "tavern keeper". In the past the local inn or pub was an important meeting place for the locals (albeit mostly men). It was often used as the venue for public meetings and inquests. In modern times pubs may be less popular and many have closed their doors for good in the last few years with the economics of running this type of business being a challenge that too proves too much for many, particularly in rural areas. In my place, New Fishbourne there used to be three pubs, but now only one remains - the Bull's Head - and this blog deals in particular with one licensee who may have been driven by economics to desperate and dishonest measures.

Bull's Head, New Fishbourne

Bull's Head, New Fishbourne

Louis Gould took over the licence of the Bull's Head sometime between 1882 and 1890. The previous occupant, William Knight is listed in a Kelly's commercial directory for 1882 and Louis is listed in the directory for 1890. In the directories that I have copies of, Louis is listed up to 1895 and in 1899, Thomas Jenner is listed as the licensee of the Bull's Head. I haven't had chance yet to narrow down the dates by looking through the licensing records, but the following may help identify why Louis gave up the pub.

Sussex Agricultural Express, 16th January 1893

Sussex Agricultural Express, 16th January 1893

I love reading old newspapers and as can be seen from the above article, by 1893 Louis was earning a living as a fly proprietor and horse dealer. A fly was a type of horse drawn carriage and was for hire by fare-paying passengers similar to a taxi today. I am not certain whether Louis was also still running the pub at this point.

Louis seems to be on the downward spiral, because he is later listed in a calendar of prisoners dated 9th January 1896 having been sentenced to "four calendar months hard labour". What was his crime? He was convicted of "Unlawfully and with intent to defraud his creditors within two months before the date of a certain Judgement obtained in the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice against the said Louis Gould by William Burgess, on the 23rd September, 1895, which is still unsatisfied, remove one gig, one landau, and two horses, on the 6th September 1895." He subsequently removed other items on the 7th September (two more carriages) and on the 15th of October removed 25 horse collars and two saddles.

The previous incumbent of the Bull's Head, William Knight was a pillar of the local society - he is even mentioned in a newspaper article as having saved someone's life. Louis Gould seems to have been of a somewhat different nature.



Apr 222020


It's April so it's time for our members to help us blog through the 2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge. Our chosen theme this year is Employment, also the topic of our Shared Endeavour where our members are encouraged to research employment within their one-place study. Today's entry is from Karen Bailey.

Droitwich in Worcestershire, England, is situated on underground brine springs which are more salty than the Dead Sea, and has been important centre for salt extraction for a long time; Iron-Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon finds in Droitwich demonstrate the importance of its salt trade. By the time of the Domesday Survey, Droitwich had five wells, with combined annual production of over 1,000 tons of salt, more than the whole of Cheshire’s production1.

Until 1695 the Crown owned all the rights to the salt production in the town, levying heavy rent charges on the three existing pits and restricting the ability to sink any further pits, however local man Robert Steynor broke this monopoly, allowing more people to profit from the natural resource. Deeper pits were sunk to access a stronger brine flow, and new steam-powered machinery meant production skyrocketed; the traditional June to December production season became a thing of the past and all-year-round manufacture became the norm.

By the 19th century, many large salt works (and some smaller enterprises) covered the town, the larger works having their own rail sidings and canal barges. Tenements were “thrown up” to house the workers arriving in Droitwich to work at the new factories. This period has been described as Droitwich’s “heyday of salt production”; at its peak in 1872, 120,000 tons of salt was produced2.

For the saltworkers, the work was backbreaking, heavy labour with long hours in hot and humid conditions, as the furnaces burning off the water from the brine to leave the salt were lit twenty-four hours a day. Both men and women worked in the factories, with older children helping too.

Figure 1: Salt workers loading coal into the furnaces under the huge salt-evaporating vats, c1900. Source: old postcard


Figure 2: Salt workers packing salt (left of image) into sacks (right of image). The sacks weighed around 130kg each. Source: Brettell, Droitwich in Old Photographs

The view of Droitwich in the 1800’s would have been dismal: smoke and debris from various salt works creating a grey smog and turning buildings black and dirty; chimneys, workshops, and slum workers housing, all contributing to an image of “grey industrial squalor”. With the decline of salt manufacturing, by the late nineteenth century, the ‘industrial squalor’ was replaced by “by the sadder squalor of abandoned and derelict buildings”3.

Figure 3: The Vines area taken from Dodderhill in 1860, showing the smoggy, dirty conditions. Source: Town Centre Development Plan, 1960.

In 1825 the salt tax was repealed, and a new brine source was discovered at Stoke Prior, a few miles north-east of Droitwich4. Attracted by the large profit margins in salt manufacturing, local entrepreneur John Corbett acquired all the salt producing companies at Stoke Prior as well as some of those in Droitwich itself, developing the sites and incorporating more efficient means of brine pumping and finding “new markets in which to sell it”5.

Being a “typical Benthamite entrepreneur”, Corbett provided an entire village for his workers and their families including providing a church, school, good housing and amenities, as well as improving their working conditions. He stopped employing women, claiming it promoted immorality as men and women often worked in a state of undress because of the heat of production, increasing pay for married men to compensate for the loss of their wife’s earnings6.

Figure 4: Female salt workers tending to the brine in the evaporating vats, c1900. Source: old postcard

Increased domestic and foreign competition bankrupted many smaller companies and the “stress of competition”7 drove survivors to amalgamate in 1889 to form the Salt Union. The whole industry was in decline, and with the added pressure of the close proximity of Stoke Works, salt manufacturing ceased in Droitwich in 19228. The sites of the old salt works “degenerated into rubbish tips”9, and soon the whole of the Vines and Covercroft areas were ‘slums’.

A new industry was needed to save the town – and surprisingly a large-scale cholera epidemic was the answer! But that’s another story for another post!

However, in recent years, salt has once again started to be produced from the brine springs under the town. You can now buy Droitwich Salt again, which is particularly nice in the equally locally made Wychbold Fudge’s salted caramel offering! (I only try these things out for the good of my One-Place Study, of course!)


1 Salt Manufacturers' Association, History [Online]. Available:  https://seasalt.com/history-of-salt

2 L. Blewitt & B. Field, Droitwich: A Pictorial History (Chichester: Phillimore, 1994), p. 3.

3 B. Middlemass & J. Hunt, John Corbett: Pillar of Salt, 1817-1901 (Droitwich: Saltway Press, 1985), p. 87.

4 B. Middlemass & J. Hunt, John Corbett: Pillar of Salt, 1817-1901 (Droitwich: Saltway Press, 1985), p. 20.

5 A. White, Worcestershire Salt: A History of Stoke Prior Salt Works (Bromsgrove: Halfshire Books, 1996), p. 32.

6 B. Middlemass & J. Hunt, John Corbett: Pillar of Salt, 1817-1901 (Droitwich: Saltway Press, 1985), p. 31.

7 W. Sterry Cooper, Fragments of Droitwich History and Development (Droitwich: F. L. Whately, 1935), p. 7.

8 D. F. Freezer, From Saltings to Spa Town: The Archeology of Droitwich (Droitwich: Droitwich Print and Design, unknown date), no page numbers.

9 C. Weaver, The Healing Baths of Droitwich Spa (Malvern: Spas Research Fellowship, 1999), p. 110.

Apr 212020


It's April so it's time for our members to help us blog through the 2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge. Our chosen theme this year is Employment, also the topic of our Shared Endeavour where our members are encouraged to research employment within their one-place study. Today's entry is from Darris G. Williams.

Figure 3 Hot Mill’s by David Humphreys (born 1882), who was employed there.

Figure 3 Hot Mill’s by David Humphreys (born 1882), who was employed there.[1]

There were four different tasks performed by a mill crew in the tinplate works before more automated technology became common in the 1930s: furnaceman, rollerman, behinder and doubler. The rollerman had better average weekly earnings than other workers in the tin works.[2]

The rollerman was the crew leader and made sure the correct thickness and length was produced. He received the hot bars from the furnaceman then passed the bars through the rollers. The man standing behind the rollers used a pair of tongs to grab the steel and pass it over the rollers back to the rollerman. It took four or five passes through the rollers to make sheets of steel.[3] Those hot sheets weighed up to forty pounds. Teams normally produced two or three tons of plates in an eight hour shift.

The heat in the rolling mills could reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit so the men had to drink a lot of liquid. They wore short sleeved flannel shirts along with head and neck scarves to absorb perspiration. Because the work was so hard, “no-one lasted in the mill beyond the age of 45”.[4]

[1] David Humphries, Hot Mill’s: Pontardawe Steel, Tinplate & Sheet Works. 1955. https://museum.wales/blog/2016-04-27/A-Window-into-the-Industry-Collections---April-2016/?cat=1641&page=3

[2] Paul Jenkins, Twenty by fourteen: a history of the South Wales tinplate industry: 1700-1961. (Llandysul: Gomer, 1995), 207. 

[3] Ashburnham Tinplate Works, https://pembreyburryportheritage.co.uk/home/ashburnham-tinplate-works-2, viewed 20 April 2020.

[4] Kidwelly Industrial Museum, Kidwelly Industrial Museum Education Pack for Tinplate, page 24, www.kidwellyindustrialmuseum.co.uk , viewed 12 April 2020.

Apr 202020

It's April so it's time for our members to help us blog through the 2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge. Our chosen theme this year is Employment, also the topic of our Shared Endeavour where our members are encouraged to research employment within their one-place study. Today's entry is from Brenda Turner.

Hiram Johnson Kellogg is a gent I have written about here before.

Hiram Kellogg was born in October 1803 in Castleton, Rutland County, Vermont, about 125 miles from the Canadian border, directly north of there. It is likely he was drawn to Canada by the punitive taxes levied in the United States in the years following the Revolution to pay for the cost of the Revolution itself, which took what became the United Sates of America forever from the grasp of Great Britain.

For whatever reason he came to Canada, he was undoubtedly here in 1830, when he married Martha Harris, born in England, who had come to the area then known as West Templeton, in Lower Canada, (now Quebec). She was age 15 at the time when they married, while he was 27.

This couple settled there, and twelve years later in the 1842 census of Canada East (that is, closer to the mouth of the St Lawrence River emptying into the Atlantic Ocean) the family has 10 members (see the column on the far right), which would have included any hired farm labourers, and their families. During this period, the Township of West Templeton was just being established and cleared for farming. The first land grants in the area started in about 1826. None have been located for Hiram Kellogg, but that is not to say that no such land grant had been made.

1842 census of Canada East

1842 census of Canada East

Note that just four families away from Hiram Kellogg’s family are the Samuel Harris family. Hiram had not had for to go far to find a wife in Martha Harris, daughter of that Samuel. At this time, there were very few actual roads serving the community. In this census, Hiram and his father in law were both reported to be farmers.

In the next few censuses, Hiram was always described as a farmer, until in later years, Hiram appeared to ….. ahem …… branch out. In the 26 June 1857 issue of the Ottawa Citizen, Hiram inserted an ad claiming to be Professor Kellogg, and extolling the benefits of Professor Kellogg’s Life Preserving Vegetable Compound. This was cordially recommended by local residents, including this writer’s great grandfather, Hugh Turner, to cure fever, puking and purging, and small pox. According to this ad, a drunk could be made sober in one half hour by swallowing two doses, and it was excellent on all horseflesh and other beasts.

Uh huh

In the 1871 directory of Quebec, in the village of Templeton, Hiram Kellogg had moved on. He was now described as a phrenologist, a specialist in measuring bumps in the skull and predicting character traits as a result. Please see the Wikipedia definition of phrenology which follows the directory.

1871 directory of Quebec

1871 directory of Quebec

Phrenology (from Ancient Greek φρήν (phrēn), meaning 'mind', and λόγος (logos), meaning 'knowledge') is a pseudoscience which involves the measurement of bumps on the skull to predict mental traits.[1][2] It is based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that certain brain areas have localized, specific functions or modules.[3] Although both of those ideas have a basis in reality, phrenology extrapolated beyond empirical knowledge in a way that departed from science.[1][4] The central phrenological notion that measuring the contour of the skull can predict personality traits is discredited by empirical research.[5] Developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall in 1796,[6] the discipline was influential in the 19th century, especially from about 1810 until 1840. The principal British centre for phrenology was Edinburgh, where the Edinburgh Phrenological Society was established in 1820. Wikipedia

The discipline of phrenology may have been influential until about 1840, but time moved more slowly in the little community of West Templeton Quebec. Hiram passed away quietly in 1877 and is buried in my special place, the West Templeton Cemetery, along with one of his sons.