I was born in Bloxwich Maternity Home in 1961. I attended Redhouse Junior School, and Aldridge Grammar School, (later Aldridge Comprehensive School).  My degree in English was awarded to me, despite many distractions, by the University of London (Royal Holloway College).

I have worked in the international, temperature controlled haulage industry for too long.

My noisy, opinionated, much travelled, old, Yorkshire husband and I have been happily wed for nearly a quarter of a century.

I feel deeply connected to Staffordshire, its soil, its people and its history.  Tipton, Walsall, Aldridge, Shenstone, and Stonnall are particularly important to me because my ancestors have roamed and toiled there for as many generations as I can determine.  Orgreave and its environs fascinate because they were my daily environment throughout the first 24 years of our married life. We are now part of a surprisingly numerous Staffordshire diaspora living in North West Wales. It’s beautiful, but I miss home.

18 Responses to About

  1. This is a wonderful blog. So interesting forwarded to me by your cousin ( who is a good friend & was my neighbour in the Peak District)

  2. Tom Mason says:


    I write for The Chronicle series I found your blog piece on the Little Wyrley Very interesting and I would love to do a memory lane piece based of teh information on your blog and maybe use some of the picutres that you have acquired. I was wonderingwhether that would be a possibility.


    Tom Mason

    Reporter for the Chronicle

  3. P.L. Timm says:

    Hi – I came upon your blog (very well written by the way) when I “googled” Orgreave Hall – in working on some family history re my great-grandfather F.C. Bird a copy of the 1891 England Census record popped up – Orgreave Hall was listed as the family’s “name of house” – his father Edward J. Bird (54 at the time) is listed as “brewer” and my great-grandfather (then 22) was listed as “managing maltster” – any further bits of information would be greatly appreciated – I’m wondering if each large estate in that era would have had its own brewery? Thanks kindly, P.L. Timm

    • Dear P.L. Timmons,

      Yes, many big houses still had their own breweries in the 19th century. In previous centuries, before reliably wholesome water, and before tea or coffee were ever thought of, domestic “small” beer had been the everyday drink, and domestic breweries were ubiquitous. I was talking about this with my husband only this week – how the estates in his youthful Yorkshire stamping ground each had their own brewery (and smith, and woodman et cetera) – particularly that a special beer was brewed in honour of Lord Halifax’s return from India.

      I think I have come across a Mr Bird as a butler to the Harrison’s at both Aldershawe and Orgreave….could he, too, be related? Where did the family originate from? I have a “Bird” amongst my Aldridge ancestors, too!

      Thank you for reading my blog, and I do hope you return to it again.

      Kind regards

      • Now know that the Bird family were a successful brewing family with an interesting story, and that they were some of the many tenants of Orgreave from the late 18th to the mid 20 th centuries

  4. P.L. Timm says:

    Thank you for your reply. I really know very little about my great-grandfather’s history as a young man in England other than that his family had something to do with hops so the brewery part fits, and that he was a jockey when young. The 1891 Census lists under Orgreave Hall: Edward J. Bird (54, Walton on Naye – Essex) and Emma (49, London – Lambeth) (parents), Edward A. (27, son, Derbyshire-Newton-Solway), Harry P. (24, son, Derby-Newton-Solway), Frank C. (22, son, Barton-Under-Needwood), Edward Grinling (37, son-in-law, Yorks Doncaster), Charlotte S. (26, daughter, Derbyshire-Newton-Solway), and grandchildren (Grinling) Marjorie (4), Edward J. (2), and Phillip (5 mos.), there are also 13 other people listed as various servants (housekeeper, asst. maids, footman, groom, page boy, nurse) – there must have been other residents in different homes at Orgreave that were part of a larger estate for all that staff? So back to my great-grandfather Frances Charlton Bird . . . he married Kathleen Mary Palmer and they then lived in Geeston House, Rutland before leaving England for Canada in 1910 and settling in Penticton, British Columbia – they had a dairy farm there. Bird is quite a common English name but you never know – maybe we do have a connection from eons ago! Best wishes

  5. I spent my formative years in Lichfield & left as soon as possible only to return occasionally to visit relatives and in-laws, the last time being in 2012 after an unusually extended absence of eight years. Being of a similar vintage as you (if a tad older) your posts about Lichfield have a strong resonance, perhaps because you write from a recent historical aspect that I can readily relate to, having no intervening memory between growing up in the area and intermittent visits over the past almost 40 or so years.

    I discovered your blog through your gentle piece on Albert Sperrin, a personality I had long forgotten and whose work should certainly not be. Lichfield should rejoice in such literary eccentricity especially as a light counterpoint to heavy weights such as Samuel Johnson and Anna Seward. Having read your various pieces I now feel a little more emboldened to re-visit my somewhat jaundiced memories of Lichfield, written from some distance temporally and geographically i.e.- http://www.wordsfromswaziland.com.

    Thank you for your enlivened and enlightening writings . . .

  6. Helen Frost says:


    I came across you by googling “gamekeeper” and “staffordshire” and was interested to find mention of the Harrison family and their keeper. My grandfather Harry Poole worked for the Harrisons as gamekeeper at Chartley following the death of Sir Geoffrey Congreve, when the Harrisons took over the shooting rights on that estate. Harry lived on the estate from 1928 to 1955.
    If you are interested in my research on the Harrison family, do get in touch.

  7. Chris Hill says:

    Your English Degree was worth it. Great Blog.

  8. Jo Talbot says:

    Hi. My name is Carl James and I have recently taken over as the activities organizer at Beechfields Nursing Home in Lichfield. Many of our residents have lived much of their lives in Lichfield and the surrounding area. I would like to organise for somebody with an appreciation and historical knowledge of the area to come to our home and do a talk or presentation about some of the local history. I was hoping that you may have some ideas or connections that would helpful to me in this regard. I can be contacted via email at carljms03@gmail.com, via our administrator/secretary Joanne Talbot (whose account I am currently logged in under!), or via telephone at Beechfields (Monday – Friday 9 am – 4 pm)
    I would truly appreciate any advice or help you can give.
    Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

    • That sounds interesting, and worthwhile, Carl, but not something that I would be able to assist with personally, or at least not just at the moment. I will certainly pass on your request to some of my Local History acquaintances who might be able to help.

  9. Nigel Homer says:

    Great blog – one of the most informative yet still personal. I too am Aldridge 60’s-70’s bred. Then Lichfield. Well done!

    • Thank you, Nigel. I remember you…..and I remember your father, the Reverend, particularly his talking to us in assembly at Redhouse about his experiences in Burma. I was called Susan Horton then.

      • Nigel Homer says:

        A different one. May have been at the Methodist chapel. My father was very connected to St Mary’s but wasn’t the Reverend (I think it was Rev Delight). As kids, we’d play in the expansive vicarage grounds (shown in your slideshow) – I remember hiding in the huge rhododendron bushes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s