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Personal Recollections of Birmingham and Birmingham Men   By: (1815-1891)

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First Page:

PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS

OF

BIRMINGHAM

AND

BIRMINGHAM MEN.

REPRINTED FROM THE "BIRMINGHAM DAILY MAIL,"

WITH REVISIONS, CORRECTIONS, AND ADDITIONS.

By E. EDWARDS.

BIRMINGHAM: MIDLAND EDUCATIONAL TRADING COMPANY LIMITED.

1877.

[ All Rights Reserved ]

These sketches, with the signature " S.D.R. ," were originally published in the Birmingham Daily Mail newspaper. The earliest were written, as their title indicated, entirely from memory. Afterwards, when the title was no longer strictly accurate, it was retained for the purpose of showing the connection of the series. It must be understood, however, that for many of the facts and dates in the later sketches the writer is indebted to others.

The whole series has been very carefully revised, and some errors have been rectified. The writer would have preferred to remain incognito , but he is advised that, as the authorship is now generally known, it would be mere affectation to withhold his name. He hopes shortly to commence the publication of another series.

December , 1877.

CONTENTS.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF BIRMINGHAM 1

THE BULL RING RIOTS, 1839 19

GOSSIP ABOUT ROYALTY 37

BIRMINGHAM BANKS, OLD AND NEW 45

JOHN WALSH WALSH AND THE ASTON FÊTES 69

G.F. MUNTZ, M.P. 79

JOSEPH GILLOTT 89

HENRY VAN WART, J.P. 101

CHARLES SHAW, J.P. 108

ROBERT WALTER WINFIELD, J.P. 116

CHARLES GEACH, M.P. 125

WILLIAM SANDS COX, F.R.S. 132

GEORGE EDMONDS 140

CHARLES VINCE 155

JOHN SMITH, SOLICITOR 164

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF BIRMINGHAM.

It is a fine autumnal morning in the year 1837. I am sitting on the box seat of a stage coach, in the yard of the Bull and Mouth, St. Martin's le Grand, in the City of London. The splendid gray horses seem anxious to be off, but their heads are held by careful grooms. The metal fittings of the harness glitter in the early sunlight. Jew pedlar boys offer me razors and penknives at prices unheard of in the shops. Porters bring carpet bags and strange looking packages of all sizes, and, to my great inconvenience, keep lifting up the foot board, to deposit them in the "front boot." A solemn looking man, whose nose is preternaturally red, holds carefully a silver mounted whip. Passengers arrive, and climb to the roof of the coach, before and behind, until we are "full outside." Then the guard comes with a list, carefully checks off all our names, and retires to the booking office, from which a minute later he returns. He is this time accompanied by the coachman, who is a handsome, roguish looking man. He wears a white hat, his boots are brilliantly polished, his drab great coat is faultlessly clean, and the dark blue neckerchief is daintily tied. His whiskers are carefully brushed forward and curled, the flower in the button hole is as fresh as if that instant plucked, and he has a look as if he were well fed, and in all other respects well cared for.

Looking admiringly over the horses, and taking the whip from his satellite, who touches his hat as he gives it up, Jehu takes the reins in hand; mounts rapidly to his seat; adjusts the "apron;" glances backward; gets the signal from the guard, who has just jumped up bugle in hand behind; arranges the "ribbons" in his well gloved hand; produces a sound, somehow, with his tongue, that would puzzle the most skilful printer in the world to print phonetically, but which a Pole or a Russian would possibly understand if printed "tzchk;" gently shakes the reins, and we are off.

As we pass toward the gateway, the guard strikes up with the bugle, and makes the place resound with the well known air, "Off, off, said the stranger... Continue reading book >>




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