History of Milk Street at Birmingham in the county of Warwickshire

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Some history of Milk Street

Milk Street runs from Digbeth in a north-easterly direction until it reaches the junction of Bordesley Street and Little Ann Street. The road continues onwards but becomes Barn Street. The thoroughfare's junction with Digbeth marks the demarcation between Digbeth and High Street Deritend. The Big Bull's Head stands on the corner of Digbeth and Milk Street but it was not always so because Milk Street did not connect with Digbeth until 1880-1. I have overlaid 'before' and 'after' plans of this development to illustrate the extension of Milk Street ....

Plans Showing The Extension to Milk Street [1875 and 1889]

It is sometimes puzzling to pinpoint such a dramatic change in the mid-Victorian period. However, I have sourced two key documents to show the changes to this locale. Firstly, I have taken an extract of a plan drawn up in 1875 for the Gooch Estate, a principal landowner in this part of Birmingham. I have then overlaid a section of an Insurance Plan of The City of Birmingham drawn in 1889. This shows how the line of Meeting House Yard was used for the extension to Milk Street. Not only was a new road laid out but brand-new buildings were erected that fitted with the realignment. One of the most dramatic changes in terms of public houses was a new site for the Big Bull's Head which would stand tall on the corner of the newly-created extension to Milk Street.

On the opposite side of the new road junction a large warehouse and retail building was erected. Constructed of polychromatic brick with stone dressings, that imposing edifice, once home to a liquor vaults, was designed by William Jenkins in 1882. Though not exclusively tied to the licensed trade, Jenkins was a prominent pub architect during this period of Birmingham's development. His design on the corner of Milk Street was restored in the 21st century when the Digbeth Campus of the South & City College of Birmingham was opened.

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Until this development took place in 1880-1 Milk Street, as you can see, ended at Moore's Row. However, it was possible to walk from the junction of Milk Street and Moore's Row through Meeting House Yard and via an entry into Digbeth. Meeting House Yard's name stems from the 'New' Meeting House, a place of worship for Presbyterians or Unitarians erected in 1692. It is thought that this was abandoned around 1730 in favour of a new building at Moor Street.

Another key building on the later overlaid plan is the Floodgate Street Board School. I assume that the building was well on the way to completion for it to be included on a plan dated 1889. The school did not officially open until two years later. Once opened in 1891 the Meriden Street Board School was closed. Indeed, the Floodgate Street School closed in 1940 but the building was later used by St. Michael's Roman Catholic School.

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The extension to Milk Street, along with the widening of Floodgate Street, was almost completed by September 1880 when all the parcels of land were offered for auction by Messrs. Ludlow, Roberts & Weller, the sale being held on October 11th 1880 at their sale rooms in New Street. Land ownership was complex, some parts being offered as freehold but others being subject to existing 1,000 year leases with peppercorn ground rents. The land for the Big Bull's Head was subject to such an agreement but had more than 550 years left to run on the unexpired lease.

Junction of Milk Street and Little Ann Street [1953]

It would seem that few photographers ventured down Milk Street in the old days so we have to be particularly grateful to Phyllis Nicklin who captured this superb view of the thoroughfare during the summer of 1953. This is one of a magnificent collection of images she assembled whilst she worked as a staff tutor in Geography at the extra-mural department at the University of Birmingham. For this photograph the woman with remarkable foresight would have been stood in Barn Street - you can see the crossroads with Little Ann Street on the left and Bordesley Street to the right. Consequently, she was pointing the camera along Milk Street where it passes beneath the railway arches. The tall building you can see through the railway arch is the former Floodgate Street Board School. Oh, if only they had retained, restored and refurbished the properties you can see here - they would be seriously in demand in what is becoming a trendy leftfield part of town. In the early 21st century this area was simply an ugly car park space.

Phyllis Nicklin's photograph really captures a sense of community in this part of Milk Street. Perhaps surprisingly however these were not the first properties to be erected here. The tranquil nature of Milk Street would rapidly change in the early Victorian period as it was developed with shoddy housing that quickly degenerated into slums. Living conditions were appalling. The people who lived in the back-to-backs and tenements were amongst the poorest in Birmingham and, according to a report by Dr. Alfred Hill, the City's Medical Officer for Health during the Victorian period, life expectancy of those living in this locality was half that of other parts of Birmingham. The conditions in the locality were such that in 1895 Milk Street benefited from an improvement scheme under the Housing of the Working Classes Act. This would result in the demolition of Nos.22-39 Milk Street, along with 21-30 Little Ann Street - this is the corner you can see in the photograph taken by Phyllis Nicklin.

Dr. Hill reported to the Local Government Board that "nothing but the demolition of the whole of the buildings would suffice to remove the unsanitary conditions." The cost of acquiring and clearing this corner site was estimated to be £5,500. No provision was made for the 258 people displaced as the Council considered there was ample accommodation for the inhabitants in the immediate neighbourhood. A case of tough luck for the residents of the 66 dwellings who were given notice! Among the residents were 24 engaged in the metal trades, ten labourers and carters, seven hawkers, a number engaged in miscellaneous occupations, and seven widows.

Progress on the improvement was slow but in June 1900 the Estates Committee headed by the Lord Mayor, along with four members of the Health Committee of the City Council, came to what were called the Milk Street Artisans' Dwellings, in order to make an inspection of the completed dwellings. There were "twenty-four tenements containing a living-room and bedroom; twenty-eight with a living-room and two bedrooms; one tenement consisting of a shop, living-room, and two bedrooms; another with a shop, living-room, and bedroom; two dwellings with a living-room and three bedrooms each, and there are five self-contained through houses, comprising a living-room and two bedrooms." It was deemed that the rooms in all of the houses are of a good size. Each house was provided with a large, full-length cupboard, and a compact oven-grate in the living-room; a scullery with sink, boiler, and accommodation for coals, and a toilet at the rear. Some of the houses ran parallel with Milk Street, but the others were built in rows at right angles with this thoroughfare. They were all on what was termed the 'double plan' in that there was one self-contained tenement on the ground floor and another of a similar description on the first floor. The latter, as can be seen in the photograph, had a balcony with iron railings running in front of them. This balcony was approached by a common flight of steps centrally situated. The rental was to be fixed at 1s. 6d. per room. The cost of the scheme was reckoned to be £10,100.

This housing development was not without its critics. In June 1900 at a meeting of the Birmingham Trades Council in discussion of the report of the Housing Committee highlighted several negative issues. After visiting the site the committee thought the "houses were not in any way inviting as residences, being extremely squat in appearance, whilst there was an entire absence of anything approaching decoration." The houses, they added, were "as plain as it was possible to build them." Whilst they considered the living rooms to be of a good size, they considered that the windows were small, noting that casements were used instead of sashes, to reduce the expense. The balconies were also criticised and they remarked that they "would always be an eyesore." Indeed, Mr. Thompson stated that "the balconies projecting from the wall formed the ugliest structure that he had ever seen, and he hoped the experiment would never be repeated." The report had concluded that these made it "impossible for a ray of sunshine to penetrate more than a few feet into the living rooms." On the positive side, the brickwork and plastering was considered good. In the opinion of the committee, however, the houses would "only accommodate aged couples or young people without families, and in no case with more than two children." As a result, the committee stated that "the object of the City Council to build houses for the poorest paid labourer with even a moderately-sized family had been a failure." In what is now starting to sound like a damning report, the committee stated that the "site was an unsuitable one, by reason of its being surrounded with high and dismal-looking railway arches and houses which, from outside appearance, looked unfit for habitation."

In contrast, I personally think those balconies are quite attractive. The shop on the corner of Milk Street and Little Ann Street looks great in Phyllis Nicklin's photograph. I am one of those that mourn the loss of these mini-emporiums that were literally a social centre for the community. If you wanted to catch up on the local gossip you would pop in for a packet of tea or a tin of beans before entering into a chin-wag with the shopkeeper who seemed to know everyone's business. For all their pitfalls of short-dated stock and an Arkwright-like pricing system, these corner shops, with their little bell over the door, were the cornerstones of the community and Britain is poorer without them.

George and Emma Vyse were the first couple to take over the newly-built shop when the development was complete. They didn't have to travel too far as they had been running a similar business on the opposite corner in the late Victorian period. Born in Birmingham in 1851, George had previously worked as a brass founder. There had been a grocery shop on the corner of Little Ann Street in the older configuration of buildings. Indeed, there were a number of retail outlets along this stretch of Milk Street. For example, in the early 1880's at No.35 there was a fish-and-chip shop run by Ephraim Turner. No.30 had a history of trading as a bakery. In the 1860's the flour dealer Thomas Ward was trading from this address. By the early 1880's Richard Chaplin was listed as a baker. Despite the presence of firms like Arkinstall's Galvanizers, this side of the street was a little more domestic, whereas the western side of Milk Street had more heavy industry. This side of the street however was the home of the Ring of Bells and the Malt Shovel.

Related Newspaper Articles

These articles demonstrate that Milk Street was a very dangerous place to be in the 19th century......

Three men, Thomas Graves, William Hands, and Jacob Baker, were committed to the assizes, charged with wilfully and unlawfully wounding James Parr, police constable 245. The prosecutor deposed, that he was on duty in Milk Street, about three o'clock on Sunday morning. He heard a cry of police! and murder! He proceeded towards the spot whence the cry came, and went down No.9 court, when he immediately received a blow on the head from the prisoner Graves, and his hat fell off. The prisoner Hands then struck him on the head with some weapon which cut his head, and fell to the ground. Two men were with them; one of whom is the prisoner Baker; and all four dragged him into the entry, beat him severely, and took his belt, staff, lanthorn from him. He got from them into the street, and sprang his rattle. They followed him, took it from him, knocked him down, and kicked him. One of them cried out "damn his eyes give him enough - kill him. He kept hold of Hands until policeman 232 came up, and the other three ran away. He and that officer then went down the yard; and in a house they found Graves, who was bleeding from the head from a blow he gave him with his rattle in the street. They were taken to the station, when Hands said he was very sorry he had not killed him. When in bed on Monday the prisoner Baker was brought to him, and he recognised him as another of the four. By Mr. Hall, who appeared for the prisoners : He had given no provocation. He did not go to Graves' house to ask for a light or pin. Graves did not say he had no drink to give him. He had not had any drink that night. Police Constable Sayers, 232. deposed to hearing the cry of murder! and police! He went into Milk Street, and there he saw Constable Parr and the prisoner Hands, who had hold of each other. He went to the prisoner Graves' house, where he found Parr's staff and hat. His rattle and cape he took from Hands in the street. Mr. Hall : Parr appeared weak and staggering from loss of blood. Police Constable 236 stated that he apprehended the prisoner Baker on Monday, in Milk Street, telling him that it was for assaulting a constable, he said that served him blasted right. Charles Wood, a young man, residing in Milk Street, deposed to seeing from his bedroom window four men attacking a policeman. The prisoner was one of them. Mr. Charles Gem, surgeon to the police force, stated that the prosecutor had been under his care. His head was very much bound. There was a contused wound about an inch and a half long; and he had several bruises to the body. For the defence it was attempted to be shown, that the policeman was intoxicated; in contradiction of which, Inspector Milton very properly observed, that there was not a more sober man in his [second] division."
"Outrageous Assault Upon a Policeman"
Birmingham Journal : March 28th 1840 Page 3

"A number of roughs were brought up at the Birmingham Police Court yesterday morning on charges of ruffianism, and were more or less severely dealt with. The cases had all reference to the doings of two gangs of roughs - namely, the Milk Street and Barr Street gangs. The first case was heard in the Second Court of Police, before Messrs. A. Chamberlain, G. H. Lloyd, and F. B. Goodman, and the prisoner's name was Benjamin Bloxwich, alias Block, of 21 Court, 4 house, Milk Street. He was charged with assaulting Frank Nolan, of 18 Court, 3 house, Great Barr Street; and he was also summoned for being drunk and disorderly. The evidence showed that on the 7th inst. prosecutor, who it was stated belonged to the Barr Street gang, was passing along Coventry Street in the evening, when he encountered the prisoner and a number of roughs. Prisoner at once assaulted prosecutor, and knocked him down. He then put his foot on prosecutor's chest, and beat his head severely with the buckle-end of a belt. He was in this position when Police Constable Meeson arrived upon the scene. The officer heard prisoner say that he would knock prosecutor's brains out, and at once went to the latter's rescue. Prisoner showed fight, and Meeson therefore drew his staff and knocked him down. Prosecutor was taken to the Queen's Hospital in an unconscious condition, and it was there found that he had sustained eleven scalp-wounds, four of which exposed the bone. Prisoner said that he only acted in self-defence. Evidence was afterwards given on the charge of being drunk and disorderly. Mr. Chamberlain said that it was evident prisoner belonged to a dangerous gang, who carried on fighting in the street. The magistrates were determined to put a stop to that sort of thing, and to the use of buckles; and prisoner would have to go to gaol for two months, with hard labour, for the assault; for being drunk and disorderly he would have to pay 10s. and costs, or go to gaol for fourteen days, the terms of imprisonment to run consecutively. The other cases were heard in the Third Court, before Messrs. Barrow, Peyton, and J. Lowe. The defendants were Ambrose Liddell, Edward Beasley, Christopher Harris, Thomas Dalton, and another youth, named Humphries, who were charged with "slogging" in Milk Street, on the 5th of April. Police Constable Watson [56 E] stated that he was called to Milk Street on the 5th of April. Prisoners and several other men were fighting with belts and stones. Humphries and Dalton belonged to the Milk Street slogging gang and the other three prisoners belonged to the Barr Street gang. One of the Milk Street gang was so badly injured that he had been in the Queen's Hospital until Monday. Police Constable Robbins corroborated Police Constable Watson's evidence. The Superintendent of the E Division said that during the last week or two he had been obliged to put on seven extra policemen in the Milk Street quarter on account of the slogging gangs. Each of the prisoners was fined 20s. and costs, or one month's imprisonment, with hard labour. John Bloxwich, another Digbeth rough, brother to the Bloxwich mentioned above, was summoned for violently assaulting Police Constable Bertie [68 E]. In this case it was shown that the Milk Street and Barr Street gangs went into Coventry Street to fight. One of the gang fired a pistol in the street, and when Bertie went up to him a bystander shouted, "Mind, policeman, he's got an axe." The officer then noticed that a rough named Dalton had a pickaxe in his hand, and was just swinging it round at him. Bertie caught hold of it, and was about to arrest Dalton, when defendant, who was standing three yards away, threw half a brick. The police officer "ducked," but the missile struck him on the collar. Defendant, who had been previously convicted of assaults, was sent to gaol for three months, with hard labour."
"The Crusade Against Ruffianism"
Birmingham Daily Post : April 16th 1890 Page 7

And when the police weren't fighting with the gangs, they kicked off among themselves.......

"Yesterday at the Public Office, before Messrs. T. C. S. Kynnersley, C. Sturge, and John Poncis, Hubert Smith, who was up to that morning a police officer in the borough force, was placed in the dock, charged with having been drunk and disorderly on his beat on the previous evening, and assaulting Police Sergeant Casey, in whose section he was. Mr. John Smith appeared for the defence. Casey stated that at about two o'clock that morning he was visiting his men, when he found several constables, amongst whom was the prisoner, standing at the corner of Milk Street; Addressing Smith, he said that he had been looking for him; he had expected to have seen him before. One of the other men explained that there had been a row in Milk Street, and that they had come from their beats to disperse the mob. Casey then accused Smith of being intoxicated, and told him that he would not let him go to his beat again, but he must remove him to the station. Smith then replied, "An old bastard like you won't take me;" upon which Casey said he should, and, laying hold of him, drew his staff, and was about to remove him, when Smith took out his staff also, and at the same time, seized his sergeant's staff. The other constables then interposed, and also took hold of Smith, who, being enraged at this interference, fell to kicking, Casey receiving the most of the blows upon his shins. Smith was then, with some difficulty, taken to the police station, where he was locked up on the charges of assault and drunkenness. In cross-examination by Mr. J. Smith, the witness further stated that the acting-inspector on duty [Sergeant Donnery] said that he would let the prisoner go out to do duty on another beat, if Casey did not press the charge for assault, but Smith refused to go on duty again. The prisoner did not say, as far as his recollection went, that he would be locked up and have the case investigated before the Magistrates. Smith was not excited only - but drunk - really intoxicated. As respected his own sobriety, Casey said that he had had three glasses of ale that evening, one of which he paid for. He did not remember where he had had all the drink. He did not have any whiskey. "Drunk?" he replied to a rather pointed question as to his precise state, "No. I wasn't drunk; No. Nor yet mystified. [Laughter.] No, I never get that way." He could not remember when or where he had the last glass of ale. He thought it was in Adderley Street. Acting-Inspector Donnery then stated that the prisoner was brought into the office that morning by Sergeant Casey, on the charge of being drunk and assaulting his superior officer. Both Casey and Smith were very much excited. The prisoner had had some drink, and was not in his opinion capable of doing police duty properly; but had Smith been a civilian, he should not have thought him sufficiently inebriated to entertain the charge of drunkenness. He walked straight, but seemed very excited; in fact so was Casey. Prisoner refused to go on the beat with Casey again, and was consequently locked up. He said he wished the case to be taken up before the magistrates to be investigated. In cross-examination the witness stated that before the prisoner was brought up he was taken before the Watch Committee and dismissed. Casey was a very irritable man, and there had previously been an altercation between Smith and the sergeant. Police Constable Moore described the altercation between Casey and Smith that morning, and stated that there had been a grievance between them for some time. He did not think at all that Smith was drunk. In the course of the altercation in question Casey said he had been looking for the prisoner a quarter of an hour, and Smith turning round said, "If you say that to me I'll knock off your head." Casey drew his staff, and Smith did the same. Casey said the prisoner should go to the station, and Smith replied, "That he would not be taken." An endeavour was made to remove him, whereupon the prisoner commenced kicking. Several other witnesses were called in corroboration; but the Magistrates considered that the prisoner had received enough punishment by the dismissal from the force, and discharged him."
"An Insubordinate Policeman"
Birmingham Daily Post : March 30th 1864 Page 4

And these men tarnished the credibility of the street name.......

"Charles Tetley, milk dealer, Milk Street, was summoned for selling milk adulterated with water, and also for selling milk from which the cream had been taken. In one case a fine of 20s. and costs was imposed, and in the other defendant was ordered to pay the costs. Alfred Evans, milkseller, also of Milk Street, was fined 20s. and costs for selling milk from which 25 per cent. of cream had been taken."
"Adulterated Milk"
Birmingham Daily Post : January 5th 1884 Page 4

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Related Newspaper Articles

"A sad occurrence, attended with fatal results, took place on Sunday, in Milk Street. From information obtained last night, it would seem that a bricklayers' labourer, named John Clarke, aged 23, who lived with his wife in 9 court, 5 house, Milk Street, had been for more than a week under medical treatment by the parish surgeon. He had not been to work since Thursday week, but on Saturday was apparently recovered from illness, and expressed his intention of soon resuming his employment. On Sunday, about noon, he went to the house of his wife's aunt, who lived at the top of No. 9 Court. Whilst there, he was smoking with some young men, but had nothing to drink. About an hour after his arrival, John Roach [20], a fitter and striker, living at No.9, Milk Street, came to the door, and told Clarke he wished to speak to him. Clarke went outside, and Roach immediately struck him violently in the abdomen, saying that it was "a return for his striking his [Roach's] brother the previous evening." Roach repeated the blow three times, and Clarke then staggered home. He appeared unwell, and went to bed. During the afternoon. Roach went to Clarke's house several times, and asked to see the latter, challenging him to fight. About half-past four Clarke again went to his wife's aunt's house, accompanied by his wife. After sitting there a short time he went to the door and told his wife that he felt ill. He was seized with a fit almost directly afterwards, and Mr. Gibbs, surgeon, Digbeth, was called in. He recovered from that fit, and in about hour was seized with another, which was quickly followed by a third, in which he died. Roach is stated to have been drinking for some time, and on Sunday was mad with drink. He and his brother had been engaged in a quarrel the previous night and he seems to have laboured under the impression that the deceased was one of the men they had fought with. Deceased before his death denied that he was with Roach at all the previous night, and when Roach charged him with "laying on" his brother, he also denied it. Roach was apprehended yesterday afternoon, by Police Constable Berkley, as he was leaving the Wharf Tavern, Coventry Street. At that time he was under the influence of drink, though not drunk. He was taken to Alcester Street Police Station, and was removed last night to Moor Street. Since his apprehension he has declared that he remembers nothing of the affair, being drunk at the time; but states that, on hearing of it, he determined to give himself up. A post-mortem examination of the body of the deceased will be made today by Mr. Gibbs, surgeon, and the inquest in all probability will be held tomorrow."
"A Man Killed By Another in Milk Street"
Birmingham Daily Post : October 10th 1865 Page 4

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"Dr. Birt Davis, the Borough Coroner, held an inquest yesterday afternoon at the Malt Shovel Inn, Milk Street, respecting the death of John Clarke, who met by his death under circumstances briefly reported in the Gazette of yesterday [see Birmingham Daily Post article above]. The first witness called was Mary Dunlavey, who said she resided in Milk Street, and the deceased was her brother. He was twenty-five years of age, and was by occupation a labourer. On Sunday last he left the house between twelve and one o'clock. He was not very well, but was a good deal better than he had been for some days previously. He returned home about half-past one, and then appeared very ill. The witness asked him what was the matter, and the deceased said that the prisoner, John Roach, had been hitting him. He then went to bed, but got up about an hour afterwards and sat on the doorstep of his neighbour's house for a few minutes. As he was sitting there he became worse, and appeared as if he was in a fit. Some of his friends then carried him into his house, and a doctor was sent for. The assistant of Mr. Gibbs, surgeon, came, but the deceased was then in a fit. He rallied a little, and was taken to bed, but had not been there more than three quarters of an hour, when he died. Witness did not know what had taken place between the deceased and the prisoner. She thought they were very good friends. Mary Stringer, said, about half-past twelve on Sunday afternoon last, she was in her house, when hearing a quarrel she opened her door to see what it was, when she saw the deceased and the prisoner, and a number of other persons. She watched and saw the prisoner strike the deceased two blows in the stomach. The deceased did not return the blows, and was shortly afterwards taken to his home. The prisoner John Roach was very much intoxicated at the time, but the deceased was quite sober. Patrick Lawlis said he was in the house with the deceased on Sunday last, and at half-past twelve the prisoner, John Roach, came and knocked at the door and asked for the deceased. The deceased went to the door, when the prisoner accused him of beating his [the prisoner's] brother on the night previous. The deceased said he did not do so. The prisoner then struck him three times, but the witness would not swear on what part of body. The rest of this witness's evidence only corroborated that of the witness Stringer. Mr. Gibbs, surgeon, said he was sent for to see the deceased on Sunday evening, about six o'clock, and sent his assistant. He saw the deceased himself afterwards, but he was then dead. He had, under the Coroner's precept, made a careful post-mortem examination of the body, and was of the opinion that the deceased had died from a collapse caused by a shock to nervous system, and that a blow to the stomach might produce such a result. The prisoner, who was present in custody, after being cautioned by the Coroner, declined to make any statement, and the Coroner having briefly summed up, the jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict of manslaughter against John Roach, who was shortly afterwards committed for trial on the Coroner's warrant. A large crowd of people congregated around the house while the inquiry was going on, but they were kept in order by a body of police, who remained round the door during the whole of the inquest."
"The Manslaughter in Milk Street"
Birmingham Daily Gazette : October 11th 1865 Page 3

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"Yesterday morning, a shoemaker, John Grant, aged 33, lodging, with his wife and two children, at 67, Milk Street, attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat with a razor. Grant, who was a sober and quiet man, has for some time been troubled with the conduct of his wife. About eight o'clock yesterday morning, he went into his bedroom with one of his children - a son, aged nine years - and, in his presence, inflicted upon himself a severe wound upon the throat. The cut was about four inches in length, and slightly penetrated the windpipe. The boy immediately ran out of the room and gave the alarm, when Grant was found lying upon the floor in a pool of blood. He was taken immediately to the Queen's Hospital, where he lies in a precarious condition."
"Attempted Suicide in Milk Street"
Birmingham Daily Post : February 10th 1869 Page 8

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Newspaper Articles

"Thomas Voice [17], labourer, Moore's Row, Milk Street, and Thomas Dalton [18], brass-founder, Milk Street, were charged with stealing 1½cwt, of scrap-iron. Early on Thursday morning the prisoners gained admission to the works of the Battery Company, Coventry Street, and were seen to carry a quantity of iron away. The stolen property was subsequently found in a shop in Milk Street, and this led to the arrest of the prisoners. Voice, when arrested by Police Constable Tubb, punched, kicked, and bit the officer, and when Police Constable Burrows came to Tubb's assistance Voice destroyed the former's uniform with his boots. Both prisoners pleaded guilty. Dalton was committed to gaol for fourteen days, with hard labour. Voice, who was on ticket-of-leave from Saltley Reformatory, was sent back to finish his sentence, which expires in 1888."
"Theft of Scrap-Iron"
Birmingham Daily Post : September 8th 1886 Page 3.

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"James Clarke [26], and Henry Walker [23], labourers, Milk Street, were charged with violently assaulting John Glynne, plasterer, Milk Street. It appeared that on Tuesday night the prosecutor returned home intoxicated. He was about to go to bed when his wife said something which offended him, and he at once rose to strike her. The wife screamed, and the prisoner Clarke, and a neighbour came to the door. Prosecutor opened the door, and Clarke remonstrated with him. Prosecutor said his quarrel with his wife was a matter with which he [Clarke] ought not to concern himself. Clarke, however, thought otherwise, and calling Walker to his aid they assaulted the complainant somewhat violently. A poker was freely used, and Mrs. Glynne said the house and yard were covered with blood. The prosecutor's head was bandaged. The prisoners were sentenced to twenty-one days[ imprisonment, without the option of paying a fine."
"Assault with a Poker"
Birmingham Daily Post : April 9th 1874 Page 6.

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