100 Years Ago in Belbroughton

This article originally appeared in Belbroughton Parish Magazine in January 2012.

A look through the Bromsgrove Messenger for early 1912, reveals something of what was happening in Belbroughton a hundred years ago.  In January, the Winter Sales were in full swing and the Messenger for 20 January 1912 featured an advert for:

  • Boys Norfolk Suits in smart Tweed Mixture.  Prices 2/11 – 4/11 (less than 25p)
  • Men and Boys Tweed Caps.  Prices 2¾ – 1/- (5p)

Then in February a fall of timber brought newcomers to the village to salvage material for a now forgotten trade:

A Lancashire Industry There has been a recent heavy fall of timber on the Scrivens Farm, Belbroughton.  A considerable portion of the timber consisted of alder, and for several weeks past, three or more Lancashire wood workers have set up three tents in the fields where the timber is lying, and are converting the alder into clog bottoms ready finished for the Lancashire clog makers.  The tents are used for workshops and the men have still a considerable quantity of timber to deal with before their labour is finished.

The Workmen’s Club held its AGM on 8 February and the Messenger has the following rather downbeat report – though billiards clearly saved the day:

Mr J W Woodward presided over a moderate attendance of members.  The Secretary read the report of the past year, which was of a somewhat favourable character.  There were 64 ordinary members at the commencement of 1911, while the present number was 71.  There had likewise been a considerable improvement in the receipts from billiards.  A vote of thanks was awarded to the honorary members and to the contributors to the recent whist drive and dance.  Through their aid there was a net contribution to the funds of the Club of £8 11s.  The balance sheet showed that the debit balance had been reduced from £48 12s 8d to £42 15s 11¾d.  The receipts from billiards were £17 1s 5d.  The following officers were elected: President, Mr W R Nash; Vice Presidents, Mrs Noel, the Rev S M Cooke, Messrs G W Edwards, J Howard, W Higgs, H J Stobart, S Knight, D Riste, and H T Williams.  Mr A Martin was re-elected Hon Secretary.  The Treasurer (Mr J Lacy) wrote resigning his office, owing to the pressure of his private business.  A resolution was carried regretfully accepting his resignation with a vote of thanks for his 19 years as Treasurer: Mr J Woodward was elected Treasurer, and Mr G Darby was re-elected Librarian.  The following were elected additional members of the committee: Messrs J Bate, jun, T E Brett, W Davis, G Cound, T Handley, W H Harris, W Lacy, C Reynolds and T Woodhouse.  The next business was the sale of papers and magazines, the prices realised being somewhat below those of the previous year.