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Living by Henry Green

BordesleyExile

master brummie
Not a reference book, Henry Green's fictional account "Living" gives a unique insight into the lives of workers in a Birmingham brass foundry about 1929. Henry himself worked in various roles within his father's Tyseley factory, Pontifex, and had a high regard for foundry men. Pontifex company have now moved out of Birmingham. I found the book so fascinating that it motivated me to research the geographical and socio economic aspects of my own family, the Milners of Aston, who included brass workers, chandelier makers and art brass workers.
"Living" is still in print but sold with 2 other stories under the title "Loving, Living, Party Going".
There is a dearth of 1920s fiction based in an industrial landscape, but I think "Living" is a real gem.
 

Big Gee

master brummie
Not a reference book, Henry Green's fictional account "Living" gives a unique insight into the lives of workers in a Birmingham brass foundry about 1929. Henry himself worked in various roles within his father's Tyseley factory, Pontifex, and had a high regard for foundry men. Pontifex company have now moved out of Birmingham. I found the book so fascinating that it motivated me to research the geographical and socio economic aspects of my own family, the Milners of Aston, who included brass workers, chandelier makers and art brass workers.
"Living" is still in print but sold with 2 other stories under the title "Loving, Living, Party Going".
There is a dearth of 1920s fiction based in an industrial landscape, but I think "Living" is a real gem.
Evening,

I've never read the book you mention, but I did work in the foundry industry for a long time. It was (and is) a hard way to earn a living. Pontifex are now based in Leeds and manufacture pressure-vessels and similar products.

I can remember visiting foundries in and around Brum and the Black Country, where the best place to be was close to the furnace in both cold and hot weather - when it was cold, for obvious reasons, and when it was hot it was always less humid. There's something about molten metal that fascinates, and I dearly wish I was still connected with the industry.

Big Gee
 

brummiemummy

knowlegable brummie
I would be interested in knowing more about chandelier makers as both my G grandfather and GG grandfather were in the trade around Aston. My GGG Grandfather Joseph Bayliss b 1817 was a brass candlestick dresser but his son Fredrick and Frederick's son Samuel were both chandelier makers. I know from Samuel's military enlistment records of 1896 and 1906 that he worked for Thomas Ford in Emily Street 1895 and Verity & Co Plume Street 1906 as a brass worker in chandelier making.
 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
Hi Brummiemummy:
On checking around it seems that Thomas Ford, Emily Street, declared personal bankruptcy in l906- from London Gazette via Edinburgh Gazette 1906.https://www.edinburgh-gazette.co.uk/issues/11060/pages/78/page.pdf
There are several references about the company in the National Archives Not much else I could find except a Dividend Notice for this company https://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/28002/pages/1717/page.pdf

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Veritys- Not much about Verity's since the thread on BHF sometime ago https://birminghamhistory.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=4828
although there is a most interesting link regarding a catalogue issued by the company that came up for sale on EBay sometime ago. There is a picture of their factory in Aston and many illustrations of their products at that time. A totally amazing selection. I would love to own some of them. https://www.ebay.com/itm/TRADE-CATA...ps-LIGHT-lights-LIGHTING-Street-/261031002527
 

brummiemummy

knowlegable brummie
Thanks Jennyann. The catalogue is amazing. My dad has an original glass ceiling lampshade suspended by brass chains (although these have been replaced) which looks to be about the same era. It was his father's and I suspect his father may have inherited it from his father Samuel who worked at Verity's or maybe it was a wedding gift in 1915, the year of my grandad's marriage. I'll see if I can get a photo and have a look to see where it was made...very carefully.
 

wam

master brummie
Not a reference book, Henry Green's fictional account "Living" gives a unique insight into the lives of workers in a Birmingham brass foundry about 1929. Henry himself worked in various roles within his father's Tyseley factory, Pontifex, and had a high regard for foundry men. Pontifex company have now moved out of Birmingham. I found the book so fascinating that it motivated me to research the geographical and socio economic aspects of my own family, the Milners of Aston, who included brass workers, chandelier makers and art brass workers.
"Living" is still in print but sold with 2 other stories under the title "Loving, Living, Party Going".
There is a dearth of 1920s fiction based in an industrial landscape, but I think "Living" is a real gem.
There was also a companion volume with the stories Nothing, Doting and Blindness (I'm doing this from memory so I could be wrong about some of the titles). I remember a joke from a Malcolm Bradbury play that goes something like this.
Lecturer : What are you doing this year?
Student : Nothing
Lecturer : ?
Student : The green nothing.
 
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