The Families Who Lived In The Old Yard

In slightly earlier times the houses were mainly occupied by mining and nut and bolt makers, as can be seen from the 1891 census:

Number 7      Back 7
Mary Bud age 48     William Groves age 28, nut & bolt forger
Jim Bud (son) age 24, bolt forger   Emily Groves (wife) age 25
Henry Bud (son) age 22, coalminer    
James Bud (son) age 17, bolt forger    
Florence Bud (daughter) age 13    
Joseph Bud (son) age 10    
Rose Price (widow) age 49    
Number 8     Back 8
Jane Woodward (widow) age 47   William Mander age 25, stocktaker
Joseph Woodward (son) age 18, nut maker    Florence Mander (wife) age 19
James Woodward (son) age 14, nut maker      John Mander (son) age 6 months
Fred Woodward (son) age 12, scholar    
Annie Woodward (daughter) age 10, scholar    
Albert Lotterill (son-in-law) age 20, engine fitter    
Elizabeth Lotterill (daughter) age 21    
Eva Lotterill (granddaughter) age 1 month    
Number 9   Back 9
Joseph Walker age 35, blacksmith   Clara Rickus (widow) age 56
Jane Walker (wife) age 35    John Rickus (son) age 20, coal miner
    Samuel Rickus (son) age 13, scholar
Number 10   Back 10
William Griffiths    Thomas Speke age 45, coalminer
Thomas Cope, engine worker   Anne Speke (wife) age 49
Joseph Rose   Ellen Speke (daughter) age 16
Sarah Rose (wife)   Jane Speke (daughter) age 13
    Lizzie Speke (daughter) age 12
    Shadrack Speke (son) age 10
    Margaret Speke (daughter) age 6
    Michael Speke (son) age 3
    Abendigo Speke (son) age 1

The houses at the back of the "Old Yard". Numbers Back 10 and Back 9.

By the 1920s all of the houses had new occupants. They were:

Number 7


Back 7

The Bliss family   The Newhall family
The Holden family    
Number 8   Back 8
John Harris, labourer   The Clenton family
Fanny Harris (wife)    
Mary Harris (daughter)    
Fanny Harris (daughter)    
Bill Whitehouse    
Daisy Whitehouse (wife)    
Bill Whitehouse (son)    
George Whitehouse (son)    
Gladys Whitehouse (daughter)    
Dicky Whitehouse (Bill’s brother)    
George Whitehouse (Bill’s brother)    
Fred Perrins, coalman    
Clara Perrins (wife)    
Number 9   Back 9
The Fiddler family   Harry Lunn, sewage worker
    Martha Lunn (wife)
Number 10   Back 10
The Perrins family    Henry Flavell, canal boatman
    Sarah Flavell (wife)
    May Flavell (daughter)
    Daisy Flavell (daughter)
    Bill Flavell (son)
    Rose Flavell (daughter)
    Jack Flavell (son)
    Harry Flavell (son)
    George Flavell (son)
    Mary Flavell (daughter)
    Norman Flavell (son)


Fanny Harris standing by the brewhouse behind number 7.

John Harris in number 8 worked as a labourer at a local steelworks, and Fanny had an even harder job looking after her 9 children. They were:

Elizabeth, Martha, Sarah, Benjamin, John (who died at the age of 3), Harriet (known as Daisy), Mary, Fanny, and Clara.

By this time all but 2 had married. They shared the house with one of their daughters (Daisy) and her family.

Their eldest child Lizzie (Elizabeth), never went to school. She worked at Darlaston Nuts and Bolts along with Daisy and Sarah.

Sarah was a button screwer which meant that she operated a thread cutting machine, which Lizzie cleaned as part of her job.

The works, nicknamed "Bogie Wilkes" was situated in cemetery road at James Bridge alongside the railway. They worked around 55 hours a week, including Saturday mornings, and had a half hour’s walk to and from work, which must have taken even longer after a hard day

They all worked there until they married, as was usual practice in those days. The buildings at James Bridge are now gone, but were still standing only a few years ago.

What remained of Darlaston Nuts and Bolts in the late 1990s.

Daisy, whose real name was Harriet, got her nickname because she often sang the song "Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do".

Young Fanny became heavily involved in The Salvation Army, an interest that she kept all of her life.

Sarah and Henry Flavell enjoyed going to the theatre when they were courting. They went to the Queens Hall which stood in Willenhall Street. It became known locally as "The Blood Tub" because every play contained at least one murder. Two of their favourites were Sweeny Todd, and a murder play called "Maria Martin and the murder in the Red Barn".

As the children began to grow-up and marry, many changes took place at number 8. Lizzie married Sam Small, and moved to number 12 Factory Street, Martha married Harry Lunn and moved to Back 9 in the Old Yard.

Sarah married Henry Flavell, a canal boatman. They moved to 5 Court, 2 House, Willenhall Street, but within a few years returned to live in Back 10.

Benjamin married Laura Davis, and moved to 25 Factory Street.

Daisy Whitehouse.

Fred and Clara Perrins.

The house must have seemed quite empty when the children had gone, but this did not last for long because Daisy married Bill Whitehouse, and they moved into the kitchen.

Clara then married Fred Perrins and they lived in the front room. Mary and Fanny, who never married, lived upstairs, as did John and Fanny.

Fred Perrins had two brothers, Jack and George. Fred had a gin pit at Moxley near to what is now Castle View Road. Jack and George dug the coal while Fred drove the horse and cart, and delivered the coal. They had a winch with a bucket on the end, and  to go up or down the shaft they put one foot in the empty bucket, and held on to the rope.

The horse, cart and coal were kept on a small patch of land by the side of the old yard, and sometimes Fred used to take people out for a ride in the cart on Sunday mornings. They also had a wharf by the canal in Bentley Road South. Coal was delivered here by canal boat, and they had the hard task of unloading the coal from the boat, and later putting it into sacks, each containing 1cwt., and loading them onto the cart for delivery.

George was also a dustman, he lived with his wife Lilian in the front room of number 10, in which they also opened a small shop.

Jack moved into a lodging house at Moxley, then started living rough. He began sleeping in the brewhouse behind number 10, and was found dead there one morning.

When Laura Davis married Benjamin it was her second marriage, she originally married Fred Firm whose brother Enoch will appear later.

Fred died of tuberculosis at the age of 23, and Sarah remembered meeting him on his way home from the doctor's after being told he had the disease. She remembered him walking down the street, crying to himself with tears flowing down his cheeks.

Fred and Laura had two children , a boy called Dick, and a girl called Laura.

Harry Lunn Worked at the nearby sewage works and also made pikeletts, which he sold locally.

Mr. and Mrs. Bliss who lived in number 7.

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