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Birmingham Links

Acock's Green History Society

Click here to visit the Acock's Green History Society website

You will have to trawl far and wide on the Internet to come across another local history website that has more material than that found on the pages for the Acock's Green History Society. However, I didn't find much on public houses! Mind you, they seem to have all other bases covered - and in terrific detail. Warning : click on the above link and you may find yourself absorbed for many hours. Still, never mind the soaps or the washing-up as you will come away with enough information to scoop any pub quiz on Acock's Green and Yardley.


Astonbrook Through Astonmanor

Click here to visit the Astonbrook Through Astonmanor website

Created by John Houghton in 2002, this is a community website for Aston history and nostalgia. Featuring photographs of old Aston, Aston people and Aston Industry, there is plenty of material and memories to wade through. Unfortunately, updates to the site seem to be few and far between as the community have gone over to a private Facebook group. I guess it is easier to maintain but less favourable in terms of archiving and searching for material on Aston. Still, if you are a fan of social media I guess you can sign up to join in the community.


Birmingham History Forum

Click here to visit the Birmingham History Forum

Launched around 2002, this forum allows people to ask a question on anything Birmingham related. With luck, other forum members may be able to offer help, information and advice. Above all, there is a wealth of local knowledge from people who lived and worked in the city. There are a couple of issues in that some folks, although sincere, respond with memories that may not be truly accurate. Also, the threads can sometimes go off on a tangent unrelated to the original post. However, there is a group of moderators who try to keep it all together. Moreover, there are some who offer some expertise and provide documents, articles, maps and photographs to verify their information and input. Many friendships have been forged through the forum, members of which occasionally meet up for a social in a pub environment during which they raise funds via a raffle. This helps with the cost of operating and maintaining the forum. If you enjoy your experience on the Birmingham History Forum or receive some help from members please use the donation button to keep this valuable resource going.


Birmingham in the Long 18th Century

Click here to visit Jen Dixon's blog "Birmingham in the Long 18th Century"

I stumbled on this blog during the Covid-19 Lockdown and even then I did not delve too deep. The problem with putting your own website together is that you do not seem to have time to see what everybody else is doing. If I really sat down and went through this blog I would be there for many hours or days as there is a wealth of engaging material regarding Birmingham's history during the 18th century. Well, mostly. The blog is put together by Jen Dixon who launched it during her research at the University of Birmingham. Her interests are wildly eclectic and this is reflected within this well-presented blog.


A History of Birmingham Places
and Placenames from A to Y

Click here to visit the William Dargue's "A History of Birmingham Places and Placenames from A to Y"

This is an excellent website but I try not to look at it. On my site devoted to pubs I do try to include some history of the street or area in which a pub is located. I like to have a rummage around for myself and come up with some blurb, hopefully featuring some original material. It would be far easier to see what William Dargue had written on a given location but then I would just be re-hashing his excellent work that is well-presented and provides links for further exploration. He is also very good at listing his source material. So, if you want to know how a Birmingham place got its name and want an authoritative answer then this is the site to head for. My only gripe is that it is yet another Birmingham history site that does not link to my humble online efforts. Honestly, none of the Birmingham sites listed here has a link to this website. Has this yam-yam upset the Brummies?


John Ball's Birmingham Photographs

Click here to visit the Birmingham section of John Ball's website

I found out about this website on the Photo by D. J. Norton pages. Here you will also find some marvellous photographs of Birmingham taken by John Ball between 1961 and 1966 with his Kodak 35mm camera, along with some older images taken with a pre-war folding camera. John, who has plenty of other interests featured on his website, has grouped these images into several walks around the city. Essential viewing for any Brummies who lived in the city during this period and a priceless archive of Birmingham in former times. Thank-you John Ball.


Ladywood Past and Present

Click here to visit the Photo by D. J. Norton website

Created by Mac Joseph in April 2001, this website features a wealth of contributions from people who have lived in or still reside in Ladywood. Easy to navigate, the site has dedicated pages to each street in Ladywood with photographs and stories from those who share their memories for others. There are also sections on schools, churches, factories and, well, just about anything that happened in Ladywood. There is also a fantastic collection of photographs taken by Ingemar Lindahl who visited Ladywood in 1964.


Photo by D. J. Norton

Click here to visit the Photo by D. J. Norton website

Although this website covers other parts of the Midlands, I am listing it under Birmingham because it features a wealth of material on the city. This remarkable website is being constructed by Mark Norton as a memorial to his father Dennis John Norton. Born in Birmingham in 1930, he was forced to move to Herefordshire to alleviate his asthma symptoms, a condition which sadly claimed his life at the young age of 35. He left a priceless archive of photographs that he captured and developed during the 1950s and 1960s. Dennis Norton took many photographs of Birmingham before the city's large scale development programme and, as a result, the images are a treasure trove of the post-war city. Mark has also showcased photographs from other collections, notably images collected by Geoff Thompson. There is also a large collection of railway photographs as this was a key interest to Dennis Norton, a man who left a rich visual legacy of former times.


Winson Green to Brookfields

Click here to visit Winson Green to Brookfields

As this website's address says, this is an area specific site that, since 2002, has been lovingly compiled by Ted and Margaret Rudge. They state on the homepage that the aim of Winson Green to Brookfields is to "collection information in the form of history, personal stories, photographs and maps to tell the next generation the way were were." Easy to navigate and broken down into streets, the site also features valuable information on the Romany Gypsies of Black Patch.


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Black Country Links

Cradley Links

Click here to visit the Cradley Links website

Cradley Links gives the website of the Acock's Green History Society a run for its money for comprehensive coverage of its subject area. The original Cradley Links site was set up by an Australian who had ancestral links to Cradley. Another site emerged around 2007 with complementary material. This was an extension of the active Cradley Then and Now Historical Group. Inevitably, the two sites were merged in December 2020 to bring together all the historical material compiled by those who love their Cradley. There are stories, photographs, videos, directories, articles on key buildings and trades, along with many anecdotes provided by local people who lived here in the old days. An ongoing work-in-progress, most bases are covered, including pubs! Anyone with a vague interest in this part of the Black Country will be engaged for many an hour on this excellent site.


Saint Peter's Cradley

Click here to visit Saint Peter's at Cradley

This is an outstanding church website combining its core spiritual message with a wide range of community projects. Galvanized by the Revd. Katryn Leclézio, and supported by an energetic team, the parish engages in a varied programme throughout the calendar. In addition to providing information on aspects of the building's history, the website incorporates a variety of activities which can be enjoyed by all, either on the ground or in the virtual world. There is a prayer trail, history trail, nature trail and a wildlife garden, all contributing to a range of projects developing the church building and churchyard into an artistic hub. This really is a vibrant church at the heart of the community.


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Warwickshire Links

Coventry Pubs

Click here to visit the Definitive Guide to the History of Pubs and Beer Houses in the City of Coventry

The Definitive Guide to the History of Pubs and Beer Houses in the City of Coventry does what it says on the tin - and a whole lot more. I can only feature one or two public-houses in the city so this is your go-to site if you need to know all about the city's old taverns. With a little help from pub devotees and history buffs, this site has been put together by Fred Luckett, John Ashby and Rob Orland and sits within the umbrella of Rob Orland's magnum opus dedicated to the City of Coventry. Somehow he finds times to eat and sleep between compiling his monument to all things Cov. He has been at it for a couple of decades so take a look at one bloke's history version of SimCity. A one-man monument to Coventry.


Worcestershire Links

Abberley Lives

Click here to visit the Abberley Lives website

This website acts as an online platform for sharing the discoveries the villagers of Abberley have made during the course of two community heritage projects. This work involved just about everyone in the village so it is a genuine community effort. The keys areas of research were archaeological searches for medieval Abberley, coupled with a project on the 20th century history of the village. So, there is lots to see on the site which will remain an excellent legacy for all the work involved.


Romsley and Hunnington History Society

Click here the website of the Romsley and Hunnington History Society

This excellent website offers a very extensive resource base, including electoral registers, census data, graves index, burials, along with wills and inventories. And much more. There is a marvellous collection of photographs too. Needless to say a lot of work has gone on in the background so give them some kudos if you benefit from the pages. So, if you are interested in this area or need help with your research on ancestors that lived in Romsley and Hunnington then this is your one-stop shop, a fine example of a local history site.


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Beer Links

What Pub?

Click here to visit the What Pub? website

It took some time for CAMRA to throw in the bar towel and recognise that punters did not want to carry around a heavy book when visiting a small part of the country. What use is it lugging around details of Scottish pubs when one is heading to the south coast? The Good Beer Guide is still a useful tome on the bookshelf but this website makes it easy to find a decent pint when on holiday or visiting a distant town. This online guide features photos, addresses, opening times and a rough guide to what's on at the counter. Oh, and a link to a map. Another bonus is that, providing the local CAMRA branch are on the case, the info is more up-to-date than the GBG - hence it is less likely that one will turn up and find that the publican has moved on and the beer is rubbish!


Other Links

Inn Sign Society

Click here to visit the website of the Inn Sign Society

I should join this society as I have an interest in old hand-painted inn signs. I guess I get put off by yet another annual subscription! My bank account seems to get emptied every year by all the subscriptions I let run when I should really sort out which are important to me. Members do get a quarterly magazine with articles on inn signs. However, if you saw the overloaded shelves I already have then you will understand why I need to stop. So, I guess it is a pity that there are not loads of galleries to browse on the society's website with a 'donate' button. Anyway, enough of my observations. It is great that there is a body that dedicates their spare time indexing and researching the inn signs around the UK so if you have more than a passing interest then this should be your first port-of-call.


Richard Percival's Breweriana

Click here to visit Richard Percival's Breweriana website of Brewery Trays

I first learned of Richard Percival some years ago when I spotted a lovely copper brewery tray produced for a pub local to me. He did not have a website back then and I knew nothing about the man. So how did I get to know about him? Well, I really wanted that brewery tray as a local history item to display in my house, a real conversation piece for friends and visitors. Consequently, I started to bid on the item. However, I kept getting outbid by another e-bay user. Still, I forged on as I really wanted the tray. I had started questioning my sanity when I was bidding up to £50 for the item. I am not sure what I was thinking as the bidding went way beyond that price. No matter what stratospheric figure I entered it bounced back with a higher bid. I am not sure of the amount entered by this other person but it was such that I was never going to outbid him. Disappointed, I sent a message to the winner of the auction, outlining my reason for wanting to take ownership. This is when I learned that the winner of the auction was Richard Percival who told me that I was never going to win the competition for that brewery tray. But fair play to him, when he received the tray from the seller he took some nice photographs and sent them to me as a consolation. A nice touch. Since then this brewery tray obsessive has produced a website to showcase his collection and share them with the rest of the world - another generous gesture by the man who has had to build storage facilities to display his breweriana hoard. So click on and enjoy looking at his unrivalled collection of brewery trays, though his quest for more continues. What a legend.


Greenwich Meridian

Click here to visit Graham Dolan's site dedicated to the Greenwich Meridian

A brilliant website that features everything you ever wanted to know about the Greenwich Meridian. The site is the brainchild of Graham Dolan, the senior education officer at the National Maritime Museum, where he works on programs related to the meridian line and its history. Author of "On the Line : The Story of the Greenwich Meridian," he is an authority on the history, astronomy, and geography of the Prime Meridian. So look nowhere else but his wonderful work online.


Churches of East Anglia

Click here to visit The Last of England by Simon Knott

Rather than send you to a specific county, I have placed a link to the main portal of Simon Knott who has several websites dedicated to the Churches of East Anglia and Essex. I have not met this bloke but, through his writing, he sounds like a kindred spirit and somebody who would be good company in a pub. Indeed, he can be found in the odd tavern or two during his journeys across the Eastern counties during his pilgrimages. He has visited all the churches of Norfolk and Suffolk and compiled personal notes on each with galleries of photographs. Many of the latter have been taken by John Salmon and some are quite remarkable. He is one of a small band of fellow devotees who have helped Simon compile a shrine to the ecclesiastical buildings of East Anglia. It is a body of work that the Sunday Times described as "An act of worship." His sites have certainly enhanced our cycling journey along the east coast. Many of the pages provide a contextual setting for the building, some social commentary and augmented with personal reflections. I raise my glass to these pages which almost demand the act of kneeling prior to reading.