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    Cradley Links

    Boxley, Pearson, Homer & Beale

    Debra Dixon has been writing down her memories of her grandparents and the time she spent with them as a child in Cradley Heath. She says "if I don't tell someone they will be forgotten", and so we are publishing them here.

    Debra calls what she has written: "little snippets of years gone".

    50th Wedding Anniversary

    I have attached a photo of my nan and grandad Hetty and Heber Boxley taken on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1987. Also in the picture are (from left to right): their daughters Brenda, son David, daughter Mary and my mum the eldest daughter Maureen, each born 1939, 1944, 1942 and 1937. Nan was born 1917 and grandad 1915.

    Only my mum, antie Brenda and uncle David are still alive.

    Little Hill: a narrow road that led into an even narrower footpath that was used as a short cut by pedestrians on their way from Cradley to Cradley Heath. (Peter Barnsley)

    My late grandparents were Charles Hebor Boxley, born 1915 at 28 Little Hill up Little Lane, Cradley, one of many children to George and Florance Boxley of Cradley. My grandad was known to all as Eber not by his first name. My nan Hannah Hetty Pearson was born in 1917 in High Street, Cradley Heath and was known as Hetty. She ended up living in Butchers Lane, Cradley where she was living when she married.

    They often told me how they met. When my nan was 12 and grandad was 14 she used to take her father his dinner at the chain shop on her scooter. One day as she went in to take his food my to-be grandad took off with the scooter back up to Cradley. Nan always said her father had to run after him and get the scooter back. That was their first encounter with one another.

    "Yo day need fancy weddings"

    Many years later in the 1930s they met up again living in Cradley and in May 1937 they married. Nan always said "yo day need fancy weddings, we day have one". They went on the same omnibus, as nan called, it to Stourbridge from Cradley. Nan sat at the front and grandad at the back with two witnesses. They married at the Register Office, came back the same way and had a cup of tea and a cake off my nan's mother and that was it. They were married.

    They remained married until grandad's death in 1991 over 50 years later. After they were married they went to live at Dudley Wood. Then, when the Council built the housing estate on what used to be Tibbits Gardens in Cradley Heath now Northgate, they went to live there and remained until their deaths. Nan died in 2008.

    Noah Hingley's Ironworks, Netherton: anchor chain making.

    Joseph Pearson who was my nan's dad was working at Noah Hingleys in Netherton, as was his brother, when my nan's scooter was taken. He was only 4ft 11in tall and in the photo he was standing on a box which you could just see if I remember right, otherwise he looked the same size as all the other men.

    My grandad Charles Boxley also worked at the Chain Shop obviously years later and I remember going to see him in the 60's. I can remember him coming back from work. He used to hang his thick leather belt up in the kitchen and nan used to scrape the black off his back before he was allowed to have a wash in the kitchen.

    I also remember how we didn't have hot running water for the bath and we were only allowed to boil the water once aweek (it may have been a Friday night) and a wash down the rest of the time. An outside toilet to boot. Its funny how all the things start coming back to you as you remember.

    Memories of the War

    Grandad also told me how in the war my antie Brenda born 1939 had to go to hospital in Birmingham (Dudley Road I expect) and they were not allowed to visit. My mum, Maureen Boxley born 1937, recalls air raids and going up the garden and grandad holding her to see the planes in the sky (not all the time as they did have an air raid shelter for nights).

    He always said they must have been spitfires dog fighting (against German aircraft) and how they watched as the bombs dropped - my understanding over Quarry Bank. Also the distance towards Birmingham at night was lit up red and they would worry about my Antie in the hosptial.

    The Homers and the Pearsons

    My great gran Harriet Elizabeth Homer known as Lizzie was born in 1897 and married Joseph Walter Pearson in 1916. She lived at the time in New Street, Quarry Bank and he lived nearby in Stour Road.

    1911 Census for Caleb and Florry Homer in Cradley Heath: with children Thomas, Lizzie, Violet, Bert and George.

    I have attached the 1911 census which had Lizzie Homer living in Cradley Heath High Street with parents, brothers and sister.

    Both Joseph and his brother worked at Hingleys at the time of the making of the chain and anchor of the Titanic and my nan had a print of that picture you see everywhere when they are taking the anchor to the station. She always pointed to the person stood with the two horses near the cart with the anchor on it and said it was her dad Joseph. She always said that her uncle, Joseph's brother helped with the chain for the Titanic.

    My dad

    Anthony Beale (right): and friend at the fair in the late 1950s.

    My dad Anthony Beale born 1935 married my mum Maureen Boxley in February 1960 and they lived in King Street, Cradley Heath around the corner from my nan and grandad in Northgate.

    He worked as a bus driver for The Midland Red Bus Company out of the depot in Cradley Heath by the railway station, now Hawks Cycles.

    One day he went to work and did his shift, then he went off to play football for the depot team. They played Shrewsbury Garage at Quarry Bank Park. He collapsed on the pitch after half an hour, the goal keeper apparently tried to resusitate him but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Corbetts Hospital.

    A post-mortem examination revealed that he had been in the early stages of a virus infection which, together with the extra effort of playing football had caused heart failure. It was probably an influenza infection.

    Dad was 26 years old and I was 14 months old so my mum and I went to live with my nan and grandad together with my antie and uncle who where still living there at that time. I only have one photo of me, mum and dad together which was taken 2 months before he died.

    The Jolly Collier

    The Jolly Collier, Cradley Road: now re-invented as The Wizard & Glass

    After my Uncle David Boxley and Antie Linda (who ran a hairdressers in Old Hill) were married they went to live in Norwich in the 1980's. Her mum and dad, Grace and Jock Parker, ran the Jolly Collier as it was once known in the late 1950s and 60s, now the Wizard & Glass. Antie Linda got married from there and I was a bridesmaid.

    We went from the pub; I thought it was great.

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