Annex to Chapter 9

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The house numbers in Church Green East were changed between 1891 and 1892 :.

*The Buggins family were at number 14, but by 1891 at number 18.
*The Capital and Counties Bank (in 1875 the premises of the Glos. Bank, and in the 20th century, LloydsBank) was number 16, but became number 19.
*Smiths, the surgeons, who were at number 20, were found by 1892 at Church Green House, which is now the NatWest Bankat the start of Alcester Street.
*Ben Sarsons' old house, which became the premises of Webb & Sons became number 20 Church Green East.
As it seems unlikely that all these families and businesses moved house in the same time period, it is reasonable to assume that they stayed, and the house numbers changed. This may have had something to do with the development of Peakman Street.

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Ben Sarsons' will gives details of the premises at 20, Church Green East, which were later rented by William Webb:

"my copyhold or customary messuage or dwellinghouse together with the shop, warehouse, bakehouse and other outbuildings, yard, garden and hereditaments thereto belonging situate adjoining together partly on Church Green East and partly in Peakman Street…"
"my piece of freehold land with the buildings and premises some years since purchased by me from the trustees of Mr John Robinson but since enfranchised by me, situate in Peakman Street adjoining to the said premises in my own occupation and heretofore occupied by Samuel Scriven, but now of several tenants….

"….. premises purchased by me as copyhold but since enfranchised as aforesaid, situate in and fronting to Peakman Street, for sevearal years occupied by John Gould but now by James Gross. ……"

Incidentally, Ben Sarsons also owned property in Cox Street near Balsall Heath which he had purchased, and property at Woodgate, Stoke Prior which had been left to him by his Aunt Nancy.

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This is the account from The Redditch Indicator of the celebrations in Redditch on midsummer day 1887, to mark Queen Victoria's Jubilee (50 years of her reign).
"This was by far the largest festival ever held here. In the early morning the bells of the Parish Church rang out joyfully. At ten o'clock a thanksgiving service was held, attended by a large congregation including the members of the Rifle Volunteer Corps and the Local Board. The choir entered the church by the west door singing "The Old Hundredth" (All people that on Earth Do Dwell) which was heartily joined in by the people. The specially appointed service was then performed. "God save the Queen" was sung as the anthem, accompanied by the organ and Town Band, and produced a splendid effect. After the service the Volunteers fired a "feu-de-joie" in the Church Green enclosure, and for an hour the town presented a brilliant and animated scene, while the band played a selection of music. At one o'clock dinner was provided at the Drill Hall and at the large room at the Fox and Goose Hotel. Altogether upwards of 500 aged and poor persons were feasted, and were well attended to by ladies and gentlemen of the town. In the afternoon more than 3,500 school children assembled on the Church Green and to the music of the Town Band and the Feckenham Drum and Fife Band, formed the gayest and the longest procession ever seen in Redditch, each child wearing a medal specially struck to commemorate the Jubilee year of Her Majesty's reign.
The children then separated to their respective schools for tea. In the evening all adjourned to the Tilehouse Wood, and the children formed into a square, and led by the Town Band sang, with good effect, the new national song "Awake O Happy Nation". Sports, merry-go-rounds swings etc were then enjoyed. At ten o'clock rockets were sent up in response to the signal from Malvern and the huge bonfire lighted, and with the firing of cannon and a brilliant display of fireworks, a most successful and memorable celebration was brought to a close

The Needlemakers Almanack adds a few details to the above account - the day concluded by a display of fireworks at a spot near Muscatts Way. A bonfire consisting of 1200 faggots and at least 50 loads of wood was lit on the highest point on receiving a signal from Webheath on the reception of a signal from the Malvern Hills. At Ridgeway Cross 42 bonfires were sighted, and 52 from the Clent Hills.

Compare the above account with the description of the celebrations for the Queen's coronation.

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This is the report from The Redditch Indicator on the death of William Webb (July, 1887):

"On Friday morning the town was startled by a report that Mr W Webb, baker and confectioner, Church Green East, had shot himself. This turned out to be unfortunately too true. It appears that between eleven and twelve o'clock the servant went into deceased's bedroom and found her master lying on the floor dead. Dr Mathews and Sergt. Cope were at once sent for, when it was found that deceased had committed suicide by shooting himself.
A breech-loading double-barrelled gun was lying close to the body; one barrel was found to have been discharged, in the other the cartridge remained. The muzzle of the piece had evidently been placed by deceased in his mouth, and from the fact that a toilet comb about six or seven inches long was found lying beside him, it was conjectured that he used it as a means of reaching and pressing the trigger of the piece. The charge had blown away the back portion of deceased's head, scattering the brains, and death must have been instantaneous.
Deceased had only within the last few days taken possession of the premises recently occupied by the late Mr Palmer, baker, who also committed suicide. No reason can be assigned for the act, beyond the fact that deceased, who was naturally of a genial temperament, had recently complained of violent pains in his head. It is expected that an inquest will be held this (Saturday) morning. Much sympathy, it need hardly be said, is felt for the bereaved widow and family of deceased."

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This is the report of the inquest into the death of Wiliam Webb :
On Saturday afternoon last Mr E Docker, deputy-coroner, held an inquest at the Public Office, on the body of Mr William Webb, baker and confectioner, who committed suicide by shooting himself on the previous day. The jury was as follows:Messers. T. Ricketts, J. Allen, T. Haines, W. Badger, T.A. Dipple, C.T. White, W. Dewey, W. Free, G.F. Brough, W. Gibbs, J. London, A.S. Paine and J. Hollington.

Mr F. W. Hollington, who identified the body, said deceased was cousin to his (witnesses) wife.* He was forty six years of age, and so far as he knew, in good health. He had lately removed to another place of business and he knew of nothing else likely to worry him. In reply to a juryman, witness said deceased suffered from neuralgia, and had complained of pains in his head. He had never heard that deceased had had a sunstroke. Witness continuing said Deceased's servant came to him shortly after eleven on Friday morning. He went at once and found deceased lying on his face on the floor of his bedroom, his left arm lying across underneath his chest. His right arm was bent, and a comb lying across the fingers. Witness should think deceased stood in front of the glass, put the muzzle of the gun to his mouth and used the comb to press the trigger. The gun was lying close to deceased. He had had it for years. In reply to a juryman witness said deceased's financial position was good, and his domestic relations were very comfortable.
Jane Sheppard, domestic servant in the employ of deceased, said she last saw her master alive in the sitting room about half past ten. A carpenter was at work in the room; Mrs Webb was down at the garden some distance away. Witness did not see deceased again until she went into his bedroom about eleven o'clock to make the bed; he was then lying on his face between the wardrobe and the fireplace. The gun was lying close to him between the wardrobe and his head. She ran downstairs and told Miss Chandler, assistant in the shop, who went up to him. Witness heard no report of a gun. The gun was kept in the next room in its case. Mrs Webb had told her (witness) that deceased had complained very much of his head lately.
Mr E Mathews, surgeon, said he had attended deceased professionally for about fourteen years. He had suffered considerably from rheumatism, and occasionally from neuralgia. Witness had not attended him, he thought, this year for neuralgia. He was sent for between eleven and twenty minutes past, and found deceased in the position already described. His head was a perfect pulp; there was a wound behind each ear, and he was lying in a pool of blood. Both jaws were broken and the palate bones were blown completely away. He had not the slightest doubt deceased had shot himself. The brains were scattered about on the ceiling and wall, and death must have been instantaneous. Deceased was very happy in his domestic relations. Witness understood that deceased had been in the hay field in the sun a good deal, and that morning complained of the heat and violent pains in his head.
he coroner having briefly referred to the evidence, the jury found a verdict that deceased committed suicide while in an unsound state of mind.

*There is a misunderstanding here: the wife of the deceased was the cousin of the witness (Sarah Webb was Fred Hollington's cousin)

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This is the report of the funeral of William Webb:

The interment took place at the cemetery on Tuesday afternoon in the presence of a considerable number of interested spectators, and drawn blinds with closed shutters evinced the sympathy felt for the members of the family of deceased. Soon after three o'clock the funeral cortege left the house of deceased on Church Green East, headed by the bakers of the town, some fourteen in number, followed by a coach containing the following friends;-
Mr E Mathews (surgeon), Messers. Joseph Hand, A. Jones, J. Webb, E. Hollington and J.Potter. The hearse succeeded, bearing the corpse, which was literally covered with tasteful wreaths composed of choice flowers and maiden-head fern. The bearers were Messers. J. White, W. Gibbs, T.Haines, J. London, J. Green, and C. Jeffries. In the mourning coach immediately after the hearse were Mrs Webb, Mr T. Webb, Mrs Cranmore and Mrs Hickley.
In the second coach were Messers. Hickley, Cranmore, J. Hollington and F.W. Hollington.
The latter gentleman had charge of the funeral arrangements and carried them out most efficiently.