Some history on Duddeston Row in Birmingham in the County of Warwickshire


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With the development of Eastside in the 21st century, Duddeston Row was swept away. The Woodman Inn survived the bulldozers and remains the only fragment left of the old thoroughfare. A pedestrianised area roughly follows the line of Duddeston Row into town. In its latter years it had become an extension of Albert Street with the Duddeston name being dropped and buildings like the Woodman Inn given a new address as part of Albert Street. The latter thoroughfare, lined with some rather nice buildings, was also removed from the landscape.

Birmingham : Extract from a map engraved by John Dower and published by William S. Orr [1837]

The thoroughfare is marked Duddeston Street on this extract from a map engraved by John Dower and published by William S. Orr in 1837. The road was well-established by this date with development close to the Church of Saint Bartholomew [marked on the green space]. The road formed a key route out to Vauxhall Gardens, Bloomsbury and on towards Coleshill or Saltley.

Birmingham : Saint Bartholomew's Church in Masshouse Lane at Duddeston [1936]

The church can be seen in this photograph taken in 1936. The photographer would have been stood in Park Street. The building was regarded as being in Masshouse Lane though was often described as being in St. Bartholomew's Square. This is where Duddeston Row started and can be seen to the right of the image. St. Bartholomew's Chapel was built in 1749, and benefice was a perpetual curacy valued at £160 per annum, in the patronage of the rector of St. Martin's. The plain brick building with a cupola was erected on land presented by John Jennens Esq., as a chapel of ease. The chancel pointed to the north instead of the east. The interior was regarded as a good specimen of the Tuscan Order, graced with a richly-carved altar piece, presented by the Earl of Denbigh, the communion plate was presented by Mrs. Mary Careless. An older church stood on the site but was destroyed by the Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War. After the Restoration it was rebuilt, and the interior decorated by Sir Richard Gough. The body of the church was rebuilt in 1810, and was repaired and re-roofed in 1845. In the square tower there was a peal of bells, and in the interior an organ, and several monuments, principally to the Gough family. The church was closed in the year following this photograph and was badly damaged by a bomb during the Second World War. The building was subsequently demolished.

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Birmingham : Saint Bartholomew's Church in Masshouse Lane at Duddeston [1936]

This is precisely the point where Duddeston Row met St. Bartholomew's Square. There was a horse trough placed in the cobbled square. Next to the trough is what looks like a Bundy Clock, a timing mechanism for buses. The Globe Tavern on Jennens Row can be seen on the far side of the churchyard. Designed by S. Benson Ltd. of London, the army recruitment poster was fresh off the printing press in 1936, the year of this photograph. With the slogan "It's good to get into the Army!," the poster stated that good meals were free, lodging was free and the clothes were free. I would have thought these could be little else but free. Mind you, in my time in the military only the uniform was free - food and accommodation was subtracted from pay at the end of the month. I doubt that "It's good to get into the Army!" was such a great selling point as the country was looming towards another war. Anybody joining in 1936 would have been the first to be shipped over as part of the Expeditionary Force that ended up scrambling for boats at Dunkirk.

The poster can be seen below as it would have appeared on signboards around the country.

Army Recruitment Poster [1936]

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Map extract showing locations of public-houses on Duddeston Row [1945]

I have marked the locations of pubs on this map extract dated 1945. However, I must stress that by this point the only pub trading out of this collection was the Woodman Inn. The other pubs had closed by this date, though the Golden Horse did hang in there until 1935.

Birmingham : Saint Bartholomew's Church in Masshouse Lane at Duddeston [1936]

Here is a lovely photograph of Domenico Secondini with his barrel-organ and a group of nurses during Hospital Saturday Collecting Day. Domenico Secondini was based in Duddeston Row and operated a business in which he let out a number of barrel-organs on daily hire to individuals to entertain citizens of Birmingham and, hopefully, return with a hatful of cash. Except, that is, the trade was dwindling by the time of this photograph. Domenico Secondini blamed the popularity of the gramophone record for the decline in business. Disillusioned organ-grinders would abandon their machines all over the place and poor Domenico would have to retrieve them and bring them back to Duddeston Row. However, despite the decline in general trade, barrel-organs became a popular attraction for fund-raisers and at charity events - the reason for this photograph no doubt. I imagine that is Domenico Secondini himself who has turned out for this special event. Perhaps that is one of his sons in the photograph. Born in Atina, in the province of Frosinone of the Lazio region of central Italy, Domenico Secondini became a well-known figure of the Italian quarter. He had formerly worked as a stone mason when he first came to the Midlands. The 1911 census shows the family living in Bartholomew Street. They later lived at 3/4 Duddeston Row. His wife Maria died in April 1943 by which time the family had moved to Kingsbury Road.

Ansell's - The Better Beer

Beer Label for Mitchell's and Butler's Cape Ale

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Related Newspaper Articles

"Four men were charged at the Birmingham Police Court yesterday with assaulting the police in Duddeston Row on Bank Holiday. They were Richard Smith, 73 New Canal Street, William Gillan, 73 New Canal Street, Arthur Smith, 31 Buck Street, and George Maloney, 23 Nova Scotia Street. About five in the afternoon, Police-Constable Waldron arrested Richard Smith for drunkenness in Duddeston Row, and Gillan immediately attempted a rescue, and struck the policeman violently several times, half stunning him, while a crowd followed and flung bottles. Finally Smith escaped, and Waldron arrested Gillan and took him into a public#45;house till assistance came. In the evening the battle was resumed. About seven o'clock Smith was re-arrested. On the way to the station he, the police said, behaved like a madman, flung himself down, and assaulted three policemen, dislocating the thumb of one of them. Four policemen were finally compelled to carry him, and in Duddeston Row Arthur Smith rushed out, attempted to rescue his brother, and incited the crowd, while in Nova Scotia Street Maloney also attempted a rescue, and stuck the police. A hostile crowd of several hundred people followed, kicking and jostling the policemen, and throwing missiles. More than a dozen policemen were necessary to keep the prisoners and hold back the crowd, to whom the men made continual appeals. Maloney was defended by Mr. Hallwright, and denied all connection with the row; he had, he said, simply witnessed it in Nova Scotia Street as the police and the crowd went by. His evidence was supported by two other witnesses. Maloney, not having appeared before, was fined 20s. and costs, or one month. The Smiths had both been convicted of assaulting the police on numerous occasions, and Richard Smith had 50 convictions against him; he was sentenced to two months; hard labour for each of three assaults, and Arthur Smith to two months in all. Gillan was also sentenced to two months."
"Violent Scenes in Duddeston Row"
Birmingham Daily Gazette : August 7th 1907 Page 7

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Brummagem Boozers

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