A fascinating puzzle: what is the true story behind this "Tuppence ha'penny token", marked "S.B. Talbot, Vine Inn, Garratt's Lane, Old Hill"?
On 11 Feb 2003, Nick Goodman posted the following message to the Rootsweb ENG-BLACK-COUNTRY-L message board:
I have small a coin/token, about the size of a 10p and half as thin, possibly brass. On one side, from top to bottom the wording 'S.B. TALBOT-VINE INN-GARRATTS-OLD HILL'. On the flip side is just 2 1/2 D.
Nick has generously provided Cradley Links with images of both the obverse and reverse sides of the token:
Cradley, or Cradley Heath?
Garratt's Lane is in Cradley Heath rather than Cradley - see this map at streetmap.co.uk.
there was a TALBOT hotel (now the Chainmaker) in Cradley;
there was also a VINE INN hotel in Lyde Green;
Kelly's 1936 directory shows "Garratt Benj. Beer retlr. Lyde grn"
Kelly's 1940 directory shows "Vine Inn (Benj. Garratt), Lyde grn"
Part of my family tree lived in the Cradley area, Lawrence Lane & Peartree Lane from the early 1800's up to 1880's their main occupation being nailers, coal miners. Both of the above addresses are close to Garratts Lane.
Points to ponder
Nick writes, "I have shown [...] the token to a few people who agree with my idea that it was used as a form of payment."
That seems perfectly reasonable, but does it fit well with the cost of manufacturing the token, which after all had such a tiny (2 1/2d) value?
Might not the token have been produced as part of a one-off promotion; and if so, what was it?
When, even very approximately, might the token have been "minted"?
Why is the Talbot shown as the S. B. Talbot? (this writer's first thought of Steve Bloomer was quickly discarded!)
How many other local pubs were named "The Talbot" and "The Vine Inn"?
Over to you!
The origin and history of the "Tuppence ha'penny token" remains unsolved. We would invite anyone who may have the answer - or even a theory - to either post a message to our mailing list, or contact Cradley Links directly.