What I originally knew about the family history

For many years I had felt that it would be interesting to look back into the origins of our family. About l0 years ago, when I was talking to my Father's second eldest brother, John Percy (known as Jack), during one of many conversations about my great grandfather and his associations in Wolverhampton, he told me that my great grandfather had installed a peal of bells in the Royal Wolverhampton School.
My grandfather, Henry Rollings, was a saddler by trade. He left Wolverhampton in approximately 1899 to live with my grandmother, Lily Cowdell. It would seem that they moved around to find work and lived at many different addresses in Staffordshire.

My father, Harry, was born in Hednesford, at what was known as the Mud Cottages in Bradbury Lane. Eventually they moved to Birmingham were they lived in Farm Street, Hockley. At this time Grandfather managed a saddler's shop in Great Hampton Street, W. H. Heaton & Co.

Unfortunately he died in 1912, when my father was only 8 years old. As a result little was known of the family before that date.

This is one of the few photographs which have come down through the family. It shows my grandfather, Henry Rollings (left) outside the shop he managed, in about 1910.

When the original was scanned into a computer, enhanced and blown up, I could read the sign on the door. It says: "W. H. Eaton & Co. Saddlers etc. Removed from 21 Gt. Hampton St". This was a surprise as I had always understood this was a photo of the Great Hampton St. shop. I will have to think about this!

At the time of Henry's death, Benjamin, his father, wanted the two younger sons Harry (my Father) and William, to be enrolled at the Wolverhampton School.

After much deliberation Lily, their mother, decided that she would work and keep all the family together. I understood that little was heard from Benjamin after this but I have since established that he died 9 months after his son, which obviously was the reason.

My grandmother, Lily Cowdell. This is another of the few family photos.

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