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Wills Street

Paul Mann

knowlegable brummie
:angel: Just a thought, after doing a bit of family research and having to translate many abbreviations while doing so... Do you think : Vale Wm = Nuns (veiled women) and Hy = Holy (Church ladies) hence your convent house, maybe for teaching Nuns from the school at the end of the road.
As I said just a thought.
Was this St Marys Convent in Hunters Toad .That convent did teach young ladies to become Nuns?? There was also a Girls School in the convent.
 

Paul Mann

knowlegable brummie
Ah , brings back memories , the building Lyn( In Post 9 )was i think owned by Frank Elvins , they were builders or the like, next door was a house that when i was a kid ,in the 50s / 60s ,sold Honey , which reminds me that once a bloke walked along Wills st with a great big BEAR on a chain ???:)
It was my father who sold honey at no 8. I am sis son and I still keep bees. The great big bear was probably my father with his Saint Bernard name Tony!!
 

Paul Mann

knowlegable brummie
Looking at the building, I would think this is the original house.
Remember that date of directory is publication date, so probably refers to year before.
Before 1876 houses in directories on this street are not numbered, but in 1876 and 1878 , although nos 2,4, ^ 6 are listed , no8 is not, and I suspect that it was not then built. From then no 8 is listed as:
1879-1880 William Faraday Johnston
1882-1884 William Chambers
1888 -1890 John Hunt
1892-1895 Not listed
1896-1897 James Gething
1899-1903 William Jones, builder
1908 Mrs Mary Fearnsides
1910-1912 James Edward Bendall
1913 1924 Mrs Ellen Bendall
1932 William Wyatt
From 1912 it is best to use the electoral roll, so:
1912 James Bendall
1918 James Bendall. absent voter M/311023, -Pte, 1/1 GloucesYeo
1920 Limited but increased Suffrage , so some women have vote and are included
1920 James Edward, Henry, David, Ellen, and Gordon James Bendall
1922 Ellen & David Bendall
1925 Edward Morgan & William, Ellen, Walter and Francis Wyatt
1927 William, Ellen, Walter, Francis and Gordon Wyatt
1930 William, Ellen, Walter, Francis, Gordon, Winifred and Eleanor Wyatt
1935 William, Francis, Gordon, and Eleanor Wyatt
1939 Wilfred & Gladys Mann
From Paul We always knew the shops in Villa Road as "The village". Was No 8 built on a field?? The plot went a long way back and the gardens of No10 onward also had the same length gardens. As you seem to be local can you find an old map to through more light on this. Thank you.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Am not local, You can see from the map c 1955 (no 8 in blue) that all the plots in that part of the street ran up to a line approximately half the distance to John St. The c1848 tithe map, not long after the street was constructed, seems to show that at that time no 8 (position in blue) had not been built. The line may have been the boundary of a field, or merely the boundary decided when the Aston estate was split up. I think the latter is more likely. It should be remembered that at one time all this area was fields

map c 1889 area around no 8 wills st.jpgtithe map c1848 showing wills st and position of no 8.jpg
 

LOZELLIAN

master brummie
I do not recall a Catholic church in Wills Street. There was an elemntary school along from No 8, I went ther for a while until they were evacuated, probably in 1941. The Catholic Church was, and still is, in Hunters Road. There is a convent opposite and my mother taught there from 1926 until 1863.
The roads across Wills Street were from Hunters Road, Brougham Street, Villa Street, Church Street, Angelsey Street, Burbury Street, Carpenters Road and Lozells Street.
As a former resident of Wills St, almost opposite The Waterloo Pub (long gone now), I remember St Francis school because we (St Silas Pupils) used to fight with the kids who went there lol. I also recall J & W Malleys (2-8 Wills St I think) and there was a builders yard opposite, was that theirs or did it belong to Attridges (hunters Road)?

A few shops suddenly come to mind, Hurlestones (Wills St/ Brougham St, Bunns Wills St / Church St, Rowneys Wills St / Church St (formerly a grocers in the 60's) Sodens, Wills St / Anglesey St, Cooks Newsagent Burbury St, and Bosworths / Boswells? Fishmongers, Mrs Mac's Haberdashers Wills St.

Lozellian.
 

Paul Mann

knowlegable brummie
As a former resident of Wills St, almost opposite The Waterloo Pub (long gone now), I remember St Francis school because we (St Silas Pupils) used to fight with the kids who went there lol. I also recall J & W Malleys (2-8 Wills St I think) and there was a builders yard opposite, was that theirs or did it belong to Attridges (hunters Road)?

A few shops suddenly come to mind, Hurlestones (Wills St/ Brougham St, Bunns Wills St / Church St, Rowneys Wills St / Church St (formerly a grocers in the 60's) Sodens, Wills St / Anglesey St, Cooks Newsagent Burbury St, and Bosworths / Boswells? Fishmongers, Mrs Mac's Haberdashers Wills St.

Lozellian.
Yes it was J & W Malley, my father was a bricklayer there. The site almost opposite was theirs too. During the war they had a machine to crush old bricks to make hard core, opposite that they took over the garden of the first house at the top of the hill, we had that as an allotment, later Malleys used it.
There was a family named Hurleston, lived in Heathfield road, on the right hand side. The father had a lorry repair shop at the bottom of the garden, it was on the roaad behind. Dennis Hurleston was my age and we went ot the same school. There was a younger son always known as "Bobba"!!.
On the Villa road there was Tisdales, a butcher?. Wagstaffs, a greengrocer on the corner of Barker street, opposite Wilkinsons a hardware shop. Wimbush was a bakers and Crosses a grocer, next to the Villa Cross picture house. My first date with my future wife was to that cinema. Long time ago.
A Mrs Cox ran a Post Office on the corner of Wills Street and Church Street, my mother and I sold Savings Stamps from there again during the war. Keep this going please.
 

LOZELLIAN

master brummie
Yes it was J & W Malley, my father was a bricklayer there. The site almost opposite was theirs too. During the war they had a machine to crush old bricks to make hard core, opposite that they took over the garden of the first house at the top of the hill, we had that as an allotment, later Malleys used it.
There was a family named Hurleston, lived in Heathfield road, on the right hand side. The father had a lorry repair shop at the bottom of the garden, it was on the roaad behind. Dennis Hurleston was my age and we went ot the same school. There was a younger son always known as "Bobba"!!.
On the Villa road there was Tisdales, a butcher?. Wagstaffs, a greengrocer on the corner of Barker street, opposite Wilkinsons a hardware shop. Wimbush was a bakers and Crosses a grocer, next to the Villa Cross picture house. My first date with my future wife was to that cinema. Long time ago.
A Mrs Cox ran a Post Office on the corner of Wills Street and Church Street, my mother and I sold Savings Stamps from there again during the war. Keep this going please.
Hello Paul,

Thanks for your reply, I'll do my best but, the old grey matter ain't what it used to be I remember alot of the shops and where they were located but, their names often elude me lol.

I remember the following: Cowdrills (bicycle shop barker street), Jacks gents barbers opposite & the chippie a couple of doors up, George Masons (Villa Road), the bank almost next door but can't remember what it was called, there used to be a gents fashion shop a few doors up from there towards Barker St, Collets Newsagents (I was a paper boy there); The Chicken Inn chippie(Villa Road).

Lozellian.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
just catching up with this thread....nice pic that your brother took paul...would you have anymore taken of wills st or surrounding streets that you could share?...the pub was the angel which is still there but no longer a pub...you are correct in saying there was no catholic church in wills st but there was i believe st marys school just down from where you lived and before the angel pub.. actually if you go to post 24 mikes map shows the school and the entrance to it was via wills st...i lived in villa street from 58 until 72 so would have been there at the same time as you and your family were in wills st...small world

all the best

lyn
 
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Paul Mann

knowlegable brummie
just catching up with this thread....nice pic that your brother took paul...would you have anymore taken of wills st or surrounding streets that you could share?...the pub was the angel which is still there but no longer a pub...you are correct in saying there was no catholic church in wills st but there was i believe st marys school just down from where you lived and before the angel pub.. actually if you go to post 24 mikes map shows the school and the entrance to it was via wills st...i lived in villa street from 58 until 72 so would have been there at the same time as you and your family were in wills st...small world

all the best

lyn
Greetings. sorry I do not have any other pictures but I will ask my sister in law, wife of Tony who died in 2012. I know St Mary school in Wills street as the "elementary school" I attended there briefly, probably in 1938 ?? The gate went into the play ground. A class room on the left was for juniers where I was. At the top was the senior class. A Mr Tommy O'locklin was the head. The school was evacuated so I had to return to the convent in Hunters Road.
An interesting memory. We went to a playing fields by bus, I had an apple, when I was eating it several other children asked for the core!!
I was in an air raid shelter, right at the back of Mlleys yard when the church belonging to the convent was bombed in Brougham Street. I later found a bomb map of the area and I was sure if there had been another bomb in that stick I would not be here. I have memories of the shelters at No 8, would they be of any interest. Nice to remember. Regards Paul
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
what memories you have please keep them coming about the shelters paul...strange thing is i was going to ask you if you remember any of the bombings in that area...there was a bombing in brougham st of the convents training school in which 1 nun died also in villa st southalls factory was bombed with the loss of 1 life.. do you recall or have any info on the bath tavern pub in brougham st?..a friend lived at no 20 brougham st and at the back of his house were piles of bricks and rubble from demolished or bomb damaged back houses..so would you have any knowledge of a bomb dropping at the back of no 20 which was close to the top of brougham st...sorry for all the questions but its great to find someone with such a good memory of the old end. my condolences on the loss of your brother...

lyn
 
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Paul Mann

knowlegable brummie
what memories you have please keep them coming about the shelters paul...strange thing is i was going to ask you if you remember any of the bombings in that area...there was a bombing in brougham st of the convents training school in which 1 nun died also in villa st southalls factory was bombed with the loss of 1 life.. do you recall or have any info on the bath tavern pub in brougham st?..a friend lived at no 20 brougham st and at the back of his house were piles of bricks and rubble from demolished or bomb damaged back houses..so would you have any knowledge of a bomb dropping at the back of no 20 which was close to the top of brougham st...sorry for all the questions but its great to find someone with such a good memory of the old end. my condolences on the loss of your brother...

lyn
To follow on from the email from lyn. You asked about bombs in Brougham Street. The main one, a large bomb. was the last in a stick and hit the church belonging to the convent and the laundry and demolished both. There were girls, known to us as "The training home girls" they came to St Francis church in Hunters road. There was a mass the following morning at 5am! I have a bomb map of Birmingham which I will try to add later.Home was No 8 wills street. As you look at the house the room on the right was a through room with French doors at the rear. On the left was a smaller living room, the hall was in between . Underneath were cellars. When the war started Dad made the cellar under the left hand room into a shelter for us bunks were erected and it was white washed. Dad was in the first war so too old for no 2, he was on rescue and had seen places where people were trapped in a cellar but drowned or gassed because on broken pipes. Our cellar had both so Malleys then made us a new shelter in a garage at the top left had corner of their yard, see picture. they added another 9 inch wall inside and a double blast wall at the front. At the back of the shelter was a special Morrison shelter, like a table made of steel, this one was much stronger. On the left side was a hole in the wall so that we could get out if the front was blocked. We used this for the rest of the war.
When the sirens sounded we had to get up, put some clothes on and walk into the yard and up to the shelter, about 100 yards. There were six people there, my parents, my brother and Mr & Mrs Abbot, he was the yard foreman and he and dad were fire watchers. There was a cast iron pot belly stove, plenty of wood, to provide hear and cups of tea. If we went to the shelter and did not make tea my brother knew nothing in the morning. If tea was made he would wake up and say "Can I have a cup please" Some raids lasted most of the night.
There was a small bomb at the bottom of Barker street, it demolished on e house. The worst one hit Wagstaffs green grocery shop on the corner of Barker street and Villa Road. The cellar was used as a shelter. We were told the bomb was an aerial torpedo whish went down the side and killed everyone in there, lime was used to fill the remains.
It was pure lock whether you were hit or not.
In Villa street near Nursery road was a firm who made buttons from sea shells, it was used by the ARP as a base. My mother was deputy head warden.
The airal picture of Malleys yard was taken from the internet. It shows the shelter in the top right hadnd corner of the yard. I do not know how to expand the picture, sorry. Paul.
 

Attachments

Paul Mann

knowlegable brummie
To follow on from the email from lyn. You asked about bombs in Brougham Street. The main one, a large bomb. was the last in a stick and hit the church belonging to the convent and the laundry and demolished both. There were girls, known to us as "The training home girls" they came to St Francis church in Hunters road. There was a mass the following morning at 5am! I have a bomb map of Birmingham which I will try to add later.Home was No 8 wills street. As you look at the house the room on the right was a through room with French doors at the rear. On the left was a smaller living room, the hall was in between . Underneath were cellars. When the war started Dad made the cellar under the left hand room into a shelter for us bunks were erected and it was white washed. Dad was in the first war so too old for no 2, he was on rescue and had seen places where people were trapped in a cellar but drowned or gassed because on broken pipes. Our cellar had both so Malleys then made us a new shelter in a garage at the top left had corner of their yard, see picture. they added another 9 inch wall inside and a double blast wall at the front. At the back of the shelter was a special Morrison shelter, like a table made of steel, this one was much stronger. On the left side was a hole in the wall so that we could get out if the front was blocked. We used this for the rest of the war.
When the sirens sounded we had to get up, put some clothes on and walk into the yard and up to the shelter, about 100 yards. There were six people there, my parents, my brother and Mr & Mrs Abbot, he was the yard foreman and he and dad were fire watchers. There was a cast iron pot belly stove, plenty of wood, to provide hear and cups of tea. If we went to the shelter and did not make tea my brother knew nothing in the morning. If tea was made he would wake up and say "Can I have a cup please" Some raids lasted most of the night.
There was a small bomb at the bottom of Barker street, it demolished on e house. The worst one hit Wagstaffs green grocery shop on the corner of Barker street and Villa Road. The cellar was used as a shelter. We were told the bomb was an aerial torpedo which went down the side and killed everyone in there, lime was used to fill the remains.
It was pure lock whether you were hit or not.
In Villa street near Nursery road was a firm who made buttons from sea shells, it was used by the ARP as a base. My mother was deputy head warden.
The airal picture of Malleys yard was taken from the internet. It shows the shelter in the top right hand corner of the yard. I do not know how to expand the picture, sorry. Paul.
The bomb map says secret but I got it off the internet. Ref at top "ACCUMULATIVE NOV 1940 TO 11/12 DEC 1940"
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
i have been keeping an eye on numbers 2 to 8 wills street for 10 years now as i go down the old end quite often to see whats going on etc...the last time i was down there was only about 3 months ago so imagine my surprise when i popped down yesterday and saw that a total refurb is ongoing which will result in the buildings being turned into apartments to rent...to highlight the changing face of these buildings i am posting some photos that i took of the fronts and back in 2009 and 2011 and the photos i took of front and back yesterday...as you can see nos 2 to 6 well under way no 8 is now being renovated and has scaff up... the back of the properties completely gutted for what could be turned into a car park for new residents....hope these photos are of interest especially to paul mann who used to live at no 8wills st 2011 2.jpgwills st 2011 3.jpgwills st 2011 4.jpgwills st 2011 5.jpgwills st 2011 6.jpgwills st 2011.jpgwills st back of 2 to 8 2009 2.jpgwills st back of 2 to 8 2009.jpg wills st 2011 2.jpgwills st 2011 3.jpgwills st 2011 4.jpgwills st 2011 5.jpgwills st 2011 6.jpgwills st 2011.jpgwills st back of 2 to 8 2009 2.jpgwills st back of 2 to 8 2009.jpg

lyn
 
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Paul Mann

knowlegable brummie
Dear Astoness. Amazing!! I am most grateful to you for all your trouble. The picture of the back of the house brought back memories. The upstairs room was my bedroom for several years. In the 1940's My farher had an "Observation hive" behind the window with the bees flying out over the garden. This was taken to the flower show in Handsworth park. The bee exhibits filled a marque. My avocet ? is my father remonstrating the bees at the park, he was a great showman. I will tell the Birmingham beekeepers even no-one will remember him. I will see if it is possible to get plans, from the corporation. Again "Thank you for your trouble" Paul.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
hello paul i thought the older photos of the back of your house would bring memories back for you glad you like them and please keep your messages coming as they are always interesting

all the best

lyn
 
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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the update Lyn. Just shows what can be done today without demolishing everything. Viv.
 

Paul Mann

knowlegable brummie
hello paul i thought the older photos of the back of your house would bring memories back for you glad you like them and please keep your messages coming as they are always interesting

all the best

lyn
Regarding the rear view of the house. When we lived there there was a room over the driveway into to Malleys yard, you can see the new brickwork on the side wall. The first window was onto a landing to get to the front bedroom and the one mentioned above. The one below was a french door [doubeledoors] on the back of the main living room. Left when viewed from the front. The little one in the corner was a glory hole. The next one was my bedroom, as mentioned yesterday. Below this was our kitchen/living room. This one had the call box for a servant. When we moved in a new grate with an over above was fitted, it also had a back boiler for the bath. Next right was a scullery with sink and cold tap. Above this was a loft, reached by a ladder on the other side of the house, Dad had pigeons in there for a time, Behind this again was a flush loo and coal house. The scullery had another door onthe other side. Was this a trademans door?? reached from the gate to the left of the house as viewed from the front?? I think the house originally had a long garden reaching back the same distance as those behind No 10 onwards. Malleys kept taking more of the garden as their business developed. For us the rear fence was about 3 feet behind the loo!!
There had been two Conference pear trees , one was still there and remained as long as I lived there. The other was a stump. Dad had a large aviary in the back corner. One Saturday he decided to remove the stump, all went well until it was ready to fall, it went the wrong way and knocked the top out of his aviary, quite a few budgerigars escaped, some were recovered but not many. Dad eventually had foreign birds as well, he would take them to bird shows at weekends. He was a member of the M,B.A. Midland Bird Association, does this still exist??
The bath room was on the other side of the house, not original. It was small 6 ft square, bath to the left and a hot tank to the right with a small window behind. A small sink between the two opposite the door. No inside loo.
Happy memories. Paul
 
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