January 2002

We have been looking forward for some considerable time to the 1901 Census being available on the Internet.  Unfortunately the site crashed within a few days of being opened.  This was a great disappointment as I had hoped to establish that my great grandfather, Benjamin Rollings, was living at the house in Sandy Lane.  After waiting two months, in the hope that the site would resume service - which it did not - I decided to pay the Archives office for a search on the house in Sandy Lane, Tettenhall.  No entries were found for the property.  I now felt that I was never going to find the answer to my enquiry.

July 2002

My Star Jason at the rally, just after I had delivered the Mayor to the chapel.

The Black Country Rally took place on the 14th July 2002. 

It was a magnificent day.  A total of 130 cars, motor cycles, buses and trucks were present. 

The event was a great success.  I had the very pleasant duty of driving the Mayor of Dudley and her companion to the Sunday School Service at the chapel in my 1930 Star Jason.

The entire contents of the St. Joseph's Convent Junior School, Sandy Lane (my great-grandfather's house in about 1895) were sold at auction on the site.  The junior school has closed down but the nursery school will continue and the sisters of the French Order will continue to live at the convent.

I went along to the view day and found it most interesting to see the outbuildings and the grounds, which were far more extensive than I had originally thought.  The nuns had been kind enough to show me around the house on my previous visit when the house was first found.

My grandfather's house in Sandy Lane as it is now.  Note the outbuildings to the left.  There are extensive grounds behind the house.

October 2002

At long last we have proved that Benjamin Rollings, and his daughter Katie, lived at 24 Sandy Lane, Tettenhall.  The information was found on the 1901 census web site now it is up and running.  

The all important census entry.

The census also shows that his sister in law, Mary Holding, was living with him; and that they had one live-in servant, Alice Stanley.

The reasons for our not being able to find the information in our previous searches were:

1.  We had been looking under Sandy Lane, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton.  The entry was made as Staffs, W'ton.

2.  The district then was not Tettenhall but Wrottesley.

Whilst looking out this information I found that Benjamin's son, Joseph, was the manager of a public house, at number 21 Pearson Street, just around the corner from the Star works in Frederick Street.

January 2003

At the beginning of January 2003 I decided to telephone my cousin, Peter Lisle, and his wife Nora to wish them well for the New Year. Whilst talking to Peter, I asked how his painting was progressing. You will recall that I mentioned previously the portrait he had painted of the Queen Mother and, indeed, the one of myself. He told me that he had received quite a few commissions recently from local people and that he had just completed one of the inside of the Chapel at the Royal Wolverhampton School. He said he would send me a copy of the picture. A few days later a copy of the picture arrived in the post. 

Peter Lisle's painting in chalk pastel, varnished, of the interior of the Royal Wolverhampton School chapel.
The picture is looking from the rear of the Chapel towards the altar; the Rev D. Atkinson is shown on the right, with his son reading the lesson. The Head of the school at the time, Mrs Ann Evans, is on the left.

The interesting part of the picture, as far as the Rollings family is concerned, is the reredos behind the altar, which depicts Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper".

It was presented to the chapel in 1913 by Lucy Rollings and friends, in memory of her late husband, John Rollings, who was a Past Vice President of the school. 

Peter is making quite a name for himself with his pictures, which are produced to a very high standard indeed, including the above mentioned picture.

The reproductions on this web page does not do justice to their quality but I thought it would be nice to have the one of the Queen Mother included here.

It was commissioned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Wolverhampton School, of which she was patron.

August 2003

Lucy Rollings in 1887.

When the ownership of my great grandfather's house in Sandy Lane was proved, I thought that would conclude matters relating to the Rollings family in Wolverhampton.  To my surprise I received an e-mail from Mrs. Mary Evans, who lives in Washington, DC, USA.  

Mary advised me that she had been told by her Uncle Tom about the Rollings story being on this web site.  In the e-mail she told me that she was descended from Richard Lisle, the son of Edward Lisle, whose wife was Sara Ann Rollings, and that her mother was Beryl Lisle.

In the correspondence Mary told me she regularly wrote to Winifrid Janowski, whose mother was Amy Beswick Lisle.

Winifrid had sent her two photographs, of Uncle John and Aunt Lucy Rollings (my great great grandfather's brother and sister-in-law). 

Mary was not sure how they fitted in to the family tree and I explained that John was Sara Ann Rollings' youngest brother.  

I am now in possession of the two splendid photographs shown here.  They have the date 30th August 1887 on them.  Mary thought they may have been wedding pictures.  But that was not the case as they were married on 2nd April 1881. What the event, if any, was, we do not know.  

I have now sent Mary a lot of details of both the Rollings and the Lisle family trees. 

John Rollings in 1887.

March 2004

At the beginning of March I received a letter from Mary Evans with which she enclosed a copy of her family tree. At that date, she advised me that her mother has 6 living children, 23 grandchildren and 34 great grandchildren with one more expected in June. With spouses that makes a total of 87 people.

Also included was a photograph of herself and Max on an Alaskan Cruise in 2002.1 can certainly see a likeness to the Rollings family in Mary.

July 2004

On the occasion of the Black Country Car Rally at the Black Country Museum, in July, Bev Parker, of the Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society, handed to me photocopies of two Invoices relating to my great grandfather’s building business at 31 Powlett Street, Wolverhampton. 

They where dated 30th September 1897 and the 30th December 1897 respectively. Both accounts related to repairs to a property in Bilston Road owned by Messrs Blakeway.

It would seem that the December account was not cleared very quickly. 

I asked Bev how he had obtained the accounts. He told me that he had received a parcel of papers from Mr. Jim Boulton of Wombourne, who had carried out a number of house clearances years ago.

The papers where found on a spike that was used to file receipts. I have since made contact with Jim and I am pleased to say that I now have the original papers in my possession.

I think this more or less concludes the family history in Wolverhampton.  I shall now move to my grandfather and the family in Birmingham.

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