Monday, July 26, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
On the night of the census in 1851, both the Radcliffe Arms and the New Inn accommodated the players.
The Rogers family were at the nucleus of this group, spanning three generations: Thomas and Mary Rogers, both 64, their son, also Thomas, with his wife Ann and four children, their daughter Caroline and the man she later married, John Wade Clinton, and two actors in their early twenties, just starting on a career, Charles and Caroline Brown. There was certainly enough of them to form a small acting company, capable of taking on most of the popular dramas of the day. The emphasis was on "light" entertainment and heavy tragedy left to the sophisticates of the London stage. The melodrama was the great favourite. These plays had a plot line which usually boiled down to Dick Dastardly threatening the Virtue of the pale, innocent and defenceless heroine, but thankfully foiled by the manly hero. In addition they might perform short sketches from the Commedia del Arte tradition and do a few comic "turns". They are all recorded in the Census as "Comedians", which would mean that they would perform the repertoire described above rather than do stand-up comedy as we would understand it today. In later censuses the women style themselves as "Actress" and John Wade Clinton gives his profession as "Lecturer and Comedian" which might suggest some changes in their repertoire.
Thomas Rogers the elder was born in Christchurch, Hampshire in 1786. His wife Mary was born in London so it is fair to assume that they met while touring. The family turns up in Warminster in 1841, all of the part of the family business. Their son Thomas is married to Ann with the beginnings of their family. There are three daughters, Amelia, 20, Augusta, 18 and Caroline, 15. Amelia and Augusta disappear from the Census after this date, presumably due to marriage. It is possible they continued their careers.
Some measure of the itinerant lifestyle can be taken from the places of birth of the children of Thomas and Ann Rogers -Agnes in Arlesford, Lavinia in Wimborne, Leonard at Henley in Arden, Amelia at Christchurch, Alfred at Wimborne, Clara in Somerset. After Caroline married John Wade Clinton, their children were born in Arlesford, Shaftesbury, Stallbridge and Bridport. In every census they are staying at Inns or in lodgings.
Thomas and Mary Rogers probably died with their acting boots on but the next generations appear to move towards more settled professions. Thomas Rogers the younger, his wife Ann, and two of their daughters settle as Innkeepers at Wootton Basset in their 60s. One son, Leonard became a telegraph supervisor in derbyshire and another, Alfred, a bank manager. John Wade Clinton started up a photography business in London's West End. I have not been able to follow Charles and Caroline Brown.
On 30th March 1851, Thomas, the elder and Mary Rogers, John Wade Clinton and Caroline Rogers were staying at the Radcliffe Arms. The New Inn put up Thomas and Ann Rogers and their four children as well as Charles and Caroline Brown. We don't know how long they stayed - I suppose for as many performances as could be booked, possibly a week. I imagine they performed at the Reading Room at Wolverton, this being the only building (apart from the school) able to accommodate this sort of activity.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
There is something very attractive about windmills and they appear to generate more interest than watermills. Bradwell Windmill still stands after two centuries but it was only used for 71 years of its life as a working mill, closing in 1876.
I have reproduced the text below of a duplicated sheet produced by the Council. It is dated 1956 and someone in my family paid 3d for it. One curiosity is the last paragraph:No responsibility can be accepted by the Council for any accident, injury, or loss sustained by any person while in, or in the precincts of, the windmill. Obviously this disclaimer was sufficient in 1956 to protect the Council from lawsuits.
WOLVERTON URBAN DISTRICT
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
The area also records a "Roadside Cottage" and a "Grove Cottage", although there is no way of determining the location from these documents. A Toll Gate House is presumably located on the Newport Road - then called the Turnpike. The only other occupied house in this area, occupied by Thomas Clarridge and his family and some lodgers is called "Puddle House" in the 1851 Census. The same house is unnamed in 1861, although occupied by the same family. Clarridge was employed by the Grand Junction Canal, so it is safe to assume that he was living beside the canal.
The minute reads:
In accordance with Minute of Locomotive Committee Feby 22nd. 1853 Tenders were received by advertisement for Houses and Cottages at Wolverton including,
14 Houses for Foremen
4 Cottages with shops
60 First Class Cottages
40 Second Class Cottages
Additional tenders for roads and drains were also scrutinied and again the lowest bid from Mr. Firbank for £1341 4s 8d was recommended.
The first parts of the new village were the south side of the High Street, Spencer Street and Bridge Street. These streets were not so imaginatively named originally, being High Street, Middle Street and Top Street. Middle Street and Top Street were renamed Spencer and Bridge Streets at the end of the century.
At the same time as construction of these new houses was going on three streets to the north of the Engine Shed in Wolverton, Garnett St., Cooke St. and Walker St., were being demolished to make room for worskshop expansion. This amounted to approximately 40 cottages, which were in any case much inferior to the new ones in Stantonbury, so I expect the new cottages were filled as quickly as they were built.