Thursday 31 December 2015

View From A Hill - 31st December 2015

This blog is the 50th I've posted in 2015 which is a lot less than in 2014. There a couple of reasons for this, but hopefully I may be able to to do a bit better next year. 

And so to sign off for 2015, a couple of images are published. The first one really amused my wife - I wonder why?

And the second is from a old copy of Viz 

And so all that remains is to wish my readers a Very Happy New Year!  

Friday 18 December 2015

Commodore J. Stuart Blackton's Sheffield Connection

This report appeared in the Telegraph and Independent dated 6th September 1939

I must admit that I did not now that J.Stuart Blackton was "one of the greatest figures in the motion picture industry" but a check revealed a plethora of articles relating to his life and career. A couple of them are linked here Denis Gifford  and Vitagraph.

I wanted to know a bit about the Sheffield connection, and all I knew was that he emigrated to the USA from Sheffield in 1886 when he was about 11 years of age. But I found out the main reason why he went to the US lay in the callous and cruel nature of his father towards his mother, the rogue Henry Blacktin 

At the time the case caused a local sensation and was reported in detail in the local press. The article is called The Dark Heart of Henry Blacktin  - Sheffield 1875 

Smallpox and Police Court Humour - Derbyshire 8th March 1924

I came across these two articles in the Derbyshire Times dated 8th March 1924. They were adjacent to each other in the column but offer two very different perspectives to life in 1920's Derbyshire.

Monday 7 December 2015

Thomas Hobbs Paddington London 1st April 1875

One of the curiousities of Family History research is that you never know what you will discover. On many occasions it will be a pleasant surprise but there are times when it brings you up short.

This report is from The Morning Post dated 1st April 1875 and refers to a court case in Westminster (London) - it is not was the family's greatest moments

Thomas Hobbs is supposed to be my great great grandfather but research has shown that this may not be the case. What we can say is that Thomas Hobbs was the person who brought my great grandfather James Hobbs up and employed him as a foreman in the Hobbs family business. The business was based in North Wharf Road Paddington London and by the mid-1870's was a sizable enterprise.

As you may have gathered.dust was a euphemism for a product that certainly was not dust. The "dust" the company collected from the streets of London was put on barges in Paddington Basin where it was shipped down river to Middlesex and put on "the fields to enrich the soil"

Of course this state of affairs could not last forever. But Thomas failed to heed the march of the internal combustion engine and by the early years of the twentieth century the business ceased to exist as a going concern. The fewer horses on the street, the less was the need for a "dust" contractor, simple as that. Thomas died in 1907 but left nothing in his will to my great grandfather James. 

Our side of the family entered into a era of  "reduced circumstances" which now seems entrenched - I think we are always waiting for the much vaunted "jam tomorrow" so beloved by successive UK governments.