February 2000

At the beginning of February 2000 I had a phone call from my cousin, Peter Lisle. He told me that he had painted my portrait from the photograph taken in the arm chair at the time of our first meeting. I duly arranged to go over to Albrighton on Thursday 10th February to collect the picture. It really was good and they had taken the trouble to have it framed - a very kind gesture indeed.
This is Peter Lisle's portrait of me. I know that web pages do not do justice to Peter's skill and artistry but I am very proud of it; I think it instantly became an important part of my family history.

Towards the end of last year Peter had painted a portrait of the Queen Mother to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Wolverhampton School. The Queen Mother is the patron of the school.

In December Keystone Lodge had a presentation of the school's history given by Mr. Ambrose, one of the lecturers. It was very interesting.

July 2000

At the beginning of July 2000 I took the Star Jason Coupé to the IMI Marston Sunbeam Register rally at Cosford. During the event I met Mr. C. G. Weight. He told me that his father, Mr. C. A. Weight, had purchased the Briton Company. The company is still trading under the name Tractor Spares Ltd., in Willenhall. Mr. Weight is currently restoring a Briton car.

It has been a very interesting time over the last few weeks. I have made contact with the Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society, who have put a picture of my Star car on their web site. And I have acquired a 1906 Star loop framed lady's bicycle, to go alongside my Star Jason car.

The Star bike. It is looking rather sorry for itself, but I have already started sorting it out.

Note the wire frame from the rear mudguard to the hub of the rear wheel; it was intended to stop ladies' dresses catching in the wheel.

The brake on the handlebar is for the front wheel; the back brake was of the backpedal type.

I am also hoping to find a Star vacuum cleaner; these, I am told, come up from time to time.

October 2000

The Civic Society Plaque: At the beginning of October, it was suggested by Frank Sharman of the Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society, that I might consider sponsoring a Civic Society Blue Plaque on the Pines Hotel (now the Quality Hotel). This would commemorate the time that John Rollings lived at the house. A meeting was arranged with Mr. Rudi Herbert, who takes the responsibility of the plaques for the Civic Society. We sent off a letter to the Quality Hotel asking for their permission to erect a plaque. Approval has now been received and the plaque has been ordered and will be erected some time in the New Year.

The Land Registry. With the help of Frank Sharman, I obtained information from the Land Registry on the following properties.

The Pines in Penn Road. The Land Certificate established that John Rollings bought the first plot of land on the lst. October 1890 and further adjoining plots of land were purchased over the years up to 1898. The 1902 O/S map shows the Pines in all its glory with its garden bounded by trees and shrubs. It looks as though the plot on the left may have been a field for the pony. It reasonable to presume that John lived at the Pines from 1894 to 1909 the time of his demise.

Alameda Sandy Lane. The search on this gave no information. It would seem that in 1895 land in Tettenhall was not subject to registration. As a last hope I have again written to St Joseph’s Convent, asking if they might help me with information from the old deeds of the property. I feel that this is an imposition, but I see no other way to obtain the information.

10 and 12 Balfour Crescent.

Marlborough House, 10 Balfour Crescent. This proved very interesting.

This property was not registered but number 12 was registered, supporting the fact that Benjamin's daughter Kate lived at number 12.

The land was purchased on the 5th June 1906.

The Certificate further stated that the properties built on the site had to be to a minimum value of £400.

November 2000

On Saturday 5th November I went with my eldest son, Steven, to an antiques shop in Walsall, called the Dog House. On walking in through the entrance I saw a Star Vacuum Cleaner leaning against the wall. It was in red rusty condition but was in good working order. I needless to say purchased it, much to amusement of a lady in the shop who thought I’d bought it for my wife to clean the house with. I have restored it to its original condition and it is now leaning against the wall in our garden room.

My Star vacuum cleaner, restored.  It is not waiting to be used - I do not think that anyone could ever have sucked up any dust into it.  Using it is good exercise but completely ineffective at cleaning.  The item behind the vacuum cleaner in the left hand photo is a Bosner, also made in Wolverhampton, by our next door neighbour's late uncle.

Amendment June 2006:  regrettably it later turned out that the vacuum cleaner was not a Star Engineering product. See the entry above under October 1999. 

February 2001

On the 26th February 2001, the Civic Society plaque to commemorate John Rollings and his living at the Pines (now the Quality Hotel) in Penn Road, Wolverhampton, from 1894 to 1909, was officially unveiled by myself.  

Those present were as follows:

The Rollings family:  Brian J. Rollings,  Sylvia R. Rollings,  Steven P. Rollings, Adrian J. Rollings.
The Lisle family:  Peter Lisle, my cousin and grandson of Edward Lisle, and Norah Lisle, his wife.
Wolverhampton Civic Society:  Rudi Herbert, the Plaques Secretary, Kay Herbert, his wife; and Richard Rhodes, the Chairman.
Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society:  Frank Sharman and Bev Parker, the webmasters.

Posing for the Express and Star photographer. Both they and the AdNews reported the event.

Left to right:  me, Sylvia (with Richard Rhodes partly obscured behind her), Steven, Rudi Herbert, and Adrian.

March 2001

With the help of David Evans of the Star Register, I have managed to arrange a Star and Associated Makes Rally.  This will take place at the Black Country Living Museum on the 17th June 2001.  Letters were sent to seventy owners advising them of this event.  It is now hoped we may have a dozen cars present on the day.  

I have now started the restoration of the Star bicycle.  I am hoping to have it finished to take to the rally.  

The end of April 2001

The 1906 Star lady's bicycle.

The 1906 Star lady's bicycle is now fully restored.

I have carried out the following work on the machine:

It was completely stripped down, all the nickel plated parts were sent for re-finishing, including the original wheels. The frame was sprayed black and lined with green and red lines as per its original specification (with a slight difference in so far as the lines are slightly wider than the originals).

The centre of the wheel rims were painted black, leaving the portion which the brakes run on in a bright nickel finish, after which a red line was put on between the nickel and the black either side.  

The wheels were sent away to be re-spoked.

The original Star transfers have been preserved on the frame and rear mudguard.  The ladies' skirt protectors on the back mudguard have been restrung with cord from the fishing tackle shop.

It has now been reassembled.  I am pleased to say it looks like a new machine.

One final touch: I have managed to locate a 1910 oil lamp for the front.

The middle of June 2001

The Star Rally was a great success with no fewer than 15 cars present.  As a result of this I have managed to persuade Ian Walden, the Director of the Black Country Museum, to have a much larger event, for all cars made in the Black Country, next year.  This would include vehicles up to the present day.  I became part of the organising committee.

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