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The Cross Keys,Steward street, Ladywood

BusyLizzie

proper brummie kid
Hi My husbands great uncle ran the Cross keys in Stuart Street in Ladywood Birmingham.His name was Walter( Watty) Green,my husband tells me he was very well Known. A bit of a loveable rogue as he also took bets in his time,and later had his own betting shops
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
hi lizzie
yes thats very true indeed he was a very well known character within the area of ladywood
he later sold it on to our next door neibour old bonna holland the ladywood chinmmney sweep and old bonna used to work at lucas,s
until he had a very bad accident and got a large amount of compensation and e was a very good friend to walter
and he was also my bookie for years i took afew bob of him in betting but he also at the end of the day took my money ;more than i took from him
mr holland god bless him was a great bloke and his wife elsie whomwas my mothers friend in the en it as a case that mr hollond had his son inlaw and is
daughter run the pub for him he was there sleeping partner in the pub as he was wheel bound and had to use crutches
ron and iris was the care takers of the block of flats at salford resser flats whill was at the corner of aston hall rd ;
i also knew wattys grand son in the boxing as well ;
best wishes astonian ;;
 

BusyLizzie

proper brummie kid
Hi Astonia I have read your thread to my husband and he is very chuffed, His grandad was Watty's brother John Green.My husbands father used to take Watty out in his car when Watty was too old to drive.That is how my husband remembers him. He does not know any of Watty's family which is a shame. I have done some research on him for our family tree,and we hold the family bible with his name written in. His father Walter had a pub in Eyre street , but he died ,and his wife died shortly after and all the children were split up which is very sad. I know he was a very generous man. best regards Lizzie
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
hi phil
yes i noticed the way she wrote stuart st its was actualy steward st spellt that way ;
only local people would have known that spelling of the street and reckonised the named pub;
but to me it did not matter as i knew that what she meant as a local kid in ladywod and knowing the fmilys around very well
and i actualy went to that school across the rd from the pub and the old black smiths that was also across the rd and the old church insteward street
and also what i said our next door door Neibours was the person old bonna hollond and glamous looking elsie a blonde attractive lady ;
i did say just previuos that it was irene and ron in fact it was the older daughter cathy and ron whom ran the pub for bonna as he was known ; heee also was grt friends of the milingtons whom ran the colledge arms and bonna was the local district of pigieon fanciers of racing pigieons of the district
always winning top prizes ; cathy and ron on a motor scooter was the care takers at the flats ; not irene ;
but still lizzie spelt it wrong but i am sure we all knew what she meant ;
have a grt day ; best wishes astonian
 

BusyLizzie

proper brummie kid
Hi everyone, yes I did spell Steward Street wrong ,very sorry. I am not from the Ladywood area, I am a Brummie ,I'm from Handsworth. Thanks Astonian for sticking up for me.I am probably going to spell this wrong too.Does anyone remember Colourall in Steward Street,alot of my husbands family worked there. His father was Vernon Green ,he was a manager ,but he worked as a metal spinner there and taught others how to spin. His brother in laws,Jimmy and Percy Stone also worked there .Does anyone remember them .My husbands mother came from Ladywood ,her name was Lilly Stone, they are all gone now but i am hoping someone might remember the family.Best Regards Lizzie
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
hi lizzie ;
yes i do beleive you have spelt correct and the factory was about two hundreds yards from the pub ;
i know it very well ;and if my memory serves me corect they lived in shakespear rd which is about a mile from the pub ;
out of the pub door turning left to the bottom of the street the factory was on the corner of steward st and cope street
across the rd and turn left again ios cope srteeet and up that hill and across the monument rd was shakespear rd they would have heard of alot of familys whom i knew and the greens ; lived in that rd as well ; lizz i have to shoot off now i have to take the wife to a charity line dance on the
hopwood service station at 12 they are dancing for charity ; but i will come back to you again if you want further info and i can tell you about the factory as well and when we was kids we collected news papers for them and weighted it there they bought it off all the kids in that factory for pennies
we all went around to the houses in the ladywod are trying to out each other to get there first ;
lizzie i have to dash best wishes astonian;;
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
Lizzie

I hope you don't think I was having a go at you, I just thought you might like the correct spelling for your records.
 

BusyLizzie

proper brummie kid
No Phil, I did not think you were having ago at me, I thought you were correcting me. I do have the correct spelling on our family tree ,but it was late and it was automatic of me to spell in the Scottish way of spelling Stuart. I also know it is the right pub because it belonged to the family. Never mind its okay and i am new on the site and i am still learning. Best regards Lizzie:star:
 

BusyLizzie

proper brummie kid
Hi Dwilly ,what does awate mean ? I have been on "Oldladywood",I found it very interesting,and read about Watty Green. Best wishes Lizzie
 

Anitah

New Member
My parents, Vera and Albert Everill were publicans and ran the Cross Keys in the late 1950s. I would be about 4 or 5 at the time. Upstairs there was a room with a boxing ring where Watty Green ran his fights. My dad regularly found half crowns and two bob bits between the floor boards, bets that had slipped from the fingers of the 'audience' at these fights.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
the building was still there about 3 years back when i was down steward st taking pics..still had the cross keys name but im not sure if it was being used as a pub..

lyn
 

Anitah

New Member
I was there with my husband about two years ago and it was still and pub and believe that it remains so. There's still a number of factories around which I suppose services it.
 

Julian

proper brummie kid
Hi Astonia I have read your thread to my husband and he is very chuffed, His grandad was Watty's brother John Green.My husbands father used to take Watty out in his car when Watty was too old to drive.That is how my husband remembers him. He does not know any of Watty's family which is a shame. I have done some research on him for our family tree,and we hold the family bible with his name written in. His father Walter had a pub in Eyre street , but he died ,and his wife died shortly after and all the children were split up which is very sad. I know he was a very generous man. best regards Lizzie
Hello, Busy Lizzie, I am Watty Green's grandson. My Father was George Green who was born in an upstairs room of the Cross Keys and who was Watty's second eldest son; there were a total of 10 children born to Watty and Julia and in his later years Watty lived in Cateswell Road with my Father and next door to two of his daughters, Maude and Florence (Flossie). My Father often spoke of the family bible as a family heir loom passed down from generation to generation with records of all the descendants recorded in it and I was wondering if it would be possible to see it or get a photograph of it? Mostly I am curious about the page with the list of descendants recorded.

Carl Chin published an article about Watty in the Black Country Bugle and Carl kindly sent me copies of the photos. My Uncle Dennis supplied most of the information and photos to the author, John Scott. I have quite a few photos accumulated now and am always on the search for more. I will post some of the photos later should anyone be interested but for now, here is the article, plus a few updated comments and corrections from myself:

WATTY GREEN - A SPORTING BENEFACTOR FROM THE HARDWARE CAPITAL WHO HELD COURT WITH THE BOXING ELITE

Born in 1878, Walter John Green went on to inscribe an indelible name for himself in the annals of sport. He was one of those rare characters who mixed effortlessly in many social and sporting circles, managing to combine the skills of pub landlord, bookmaker, greyhound and boxing and, last but not least, charity event organiser. In the latter capacity he helped to raise much money for the poor of Birmingham and the Black Country. A man who would have made his mark in any age. John Scott, of Heath Hayes, Cannock, kindly shares with us some rare photographs, and a wealth of background information, as follows...

"I am writing as I have recently been given material regarding a man who was once well known in the Black Country and in the Springhill area of Birmingham. This man was the Great, Great Uncle of my wife Beverley Scott. The man I am referring to is Watty Green.

Walter John Green, known all is life as Watty, was born in 1878 in College Street, Birmingham. He was the second child of nine to Walter and Ellen Green. The other children were: Army, William, Laura, Maud (Beverley’s Great Grandmother), Nellie, Minnie, Jack and Alfred. Father Walter was a nail cutter and then a publican who died at the age of 46 in 1899. Watty was by this time 21 years old. His mother Ellen also died young and her brother brought up the younger children. His name was Alfred Faulkner and the children called him “Unkee”.

Watty started life like his father before him as a “Jack Cutter”, which was cutting nails to size. At the age of 21, Watty married Julia Thomas at All Saints in Hockley. Between 1899 - 1919 they had ten children: Minnie, Walter, Maud, Phyllis, George, Eileen, Florence, Dennis and Louis. Dennis, who is now aged 87, was the man who passed this information and his photographs to me.

All the boys went into the bookie business and some of the girls married men in the same business, so the Greens were very well known in the area. There are numerous photographs of Watty’s children enjoying themselves at the seaside so it is believed that they were quite well off. They certainly appeared to enjoy life immensely as children. George, Louis and Dennis were sergeants in W.W.II and both have survived to this day. (Alas Dennis and my Father, George have passed away since the writing of this article - Julian).

From an early age Watty was interested in horse and greyhound racing. He was also very interested in boxing and once promoted Len Fowler. I have an official programme from the White Heavy-Weight Championship of the World dated 16th July 1914, which Watty attended. This was at Olympia in London and was between Georges Carpentier of France and Gunboat (Edward J.) Smith of Philadelphia. I have also quite a few photographs of boxers and promoters who I cannot identify and would be interested if any readers have any knowledge.

As well as running a pub Watty set up a bookmakers and went into partnership with Jack Boffin. Watty and Jack worked their way up to become respected members of the local community and Watty throughout his life regularly attended charity functions and gave money to local boys clubs so they could better themselves and pull themselves out of the poverty that Watty himself had been born into.

Watty also distributed shoes to the poor of Birmingham. It is apparent that he felt very strongly about caring for the poor and needy as I have come across a souvenir programme from the Birmingham business and sportsmen’s committee dated Monday 14th December 1931. This programme was the 11th annual boxing tournament at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham on behalf of the Police-Aided Association for clothing destitute children of the city. Watty at this time was a member of the Committee. There were six fights. Lightweights Len (Tiger) Smith from Birmingham v Harry Corbett from London. Larry Gains, the then leading contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, sparred against his partner Harry Leven. Lightweights Peter Price from Worcester v Peter Nolan from Walsall. Featherweights Charlie Rowbotham from Birmingham v Arnold (Kid) Sheppard from Ferndale, U.S.A. Flyweights Alby John from Smethwick v George Kirby from Birmingham. Finally Jim Rowbotham, Bantam-weight champion of the Midlands v Tommy Hyams from London. Unfortunately it is not known who won each match but the programme does show that donations added to £526.14.6d. Not bad for one night's charity work in those days.

Watty ran The Cross Keys pub in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham between 1910-1940s. The pub is still there today. While he ran this pub he gave away 500 hot cross buns for the poor on Good Friday. He was also a founder member of Birmingham and Midlands BPA (Bookmakers Protection Association) between the late 20s-30s.

Watty died in 1966 aged 88 years. His wife Julia had already passed away 6 years earlier. His death was mentioned in the 1966 edition of the Greyhound Racing Association Hall Green Bulletin. It stated that up until his illness a year prior to his death Watty was a regular patron at their stadium from when it first opened. They described him as “A grand Old Gentleman who would be missed by all”. Surely a fitting sentiment for someone who did so much for the poor of Birmingham.

Perhaps someone will be able to identify the boxing photographs that once belonged to Watty Green".

Cheers,
Julian
 
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Julian

proper brummie kid
Here are some photos of Watty and Julia in their later years attending a charity fundraiser, young Watty and his brother, Watty outside The Cross Keys, The Green family inside the Cross Keys and Watty outside the Cross Keys.
Watty & Julia Green 01.jpgGreen. Watty Green left as a young man.jpgPre WW1 Walter John Green back row 7th from left.jpg1920s Green. The Cross Keys Pub Watty with is Family.jpg1920s Watty Green 01.jpg
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
hi julian what a wonderful man your grandfather watty green was..really enjoyed reading your post and looking at the photos you have posted..this is just the sort of thing we love to see on the forum...many thanks for taking the time to share your family history with us all...oh i neally forgot to say that i am often out and about with my camera and ladywood is of interest to me so if i am near steward street would you like me take some pics of the cross keys for you..

lyn
 
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