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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
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.
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.·