Saturday, 2 April 2011

Census story...


I've recently filled in our census form, because, despite being shredded by banks, politicians etc., like most small businessmen, I quite like keeping records, and if any despot really wants to know where I live and what I was doing last night, I can imagine that the last thing he's going to do is click through the 500 million odd forms to find my address...

In the 1901 census, I discovered that my paternal grandfather, the builder who built quite a lot of Letchworth, and Welwyn Garden City, was listed as a 'Tinman'.

Now, apart from whistling 'Yellow Brick Road' a few times, and also this lovely little song by some old heroes, I was surprised by this, because:-

1) I thought he'd always run a plumbing firm, and later, a full building business,

2) I couldn't find out exactly what a 'Tinman' was, apart from the obvious connection with - er - tin! I thought of 'scrap' (nooo), 'tinned' joints in plumbing (maybe), but finally gave up!

Only recently, I uncovered some rare notes written by my Uncle Jack ('twill be another post, but not here), which had several paragraphs on what was going on in the Scrobs ancestry in the early 1900s. He mentioned a workshop in Grandpa Scrobs' early life, where he'd based his plumbing business, and where, in his spare time, he made kitchen implements like bespoke pots, saucepans and the like, (perhaps an early version of these) and they were sold in a shop in Leys Avenue, Letchworth! I imagine they did the job properly, (otherwise they wouldn't have sold) and hope that they stayed the course! Apparently, he loved the work too!

So there you have it; just a small census yarn about a 'Tinman', and which also causes me a bit of a grin, because, as all three readers know, Scrobs spends ages in the shed, doing this and that, and his entry in the census says - er - oh hellfire, I didn't say...

31 comments:

Anna Raccoon said...

I'm intrigued. I went to school in Letchworth, and lived in one of the houses there. Probably the best designed and most expertly constructed house I have ever lived in. One of Tinman's?

Modo said...

Didn't Letchworth attracted a certain sort of zealous, teetotal, smock-wearing, Arts and Crafts type, and quickly became famous for the crankiness of its citizenry? I understand that Cockerneys, on their Sundays off, booked excursions by train from King's Cross to come and gawp at Letchworth's implausible gathering of quacks, weavers, potters, feminists, yoga fetishists and birth-control fanatics.

The first pub, the Skittles, was alcohol-free, encouraging Walter Wilkinson, the celebrated puppeteer and Punch satirist, to write:

It's lectures, lectures all day long
And lectures all night, too!
They've all of 'em got their opinions
And all their opinions is new...

Now what did they want with a milk-and-water pub
When milk shops they were rich in?
Come on, boss! Let's go and have a drink!
We can get one down in 'Itchin.

rvi said...

Gadzooks and perchance! I was born in 'itchen, my mater having been evacuated from the smoke during the war.

I looked up all the references, but my folks only seem to have got as far as 'b' - for binman... Do you think we might be connected?

Anna Raccoon said...

Modo - you are absolutely right, I didn't get this way by accident...it was all design.

Scrobs... said...
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Scrobs... said...

Modo! Yes it did, or so it seems!

I'm going to have to go though all the ancient books I have and report back!

Actually, they all seemed to be a bit religious back then, and Grandpa built several churches, none of which I've ever found!

Scrobs... said...
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Scrobs... said...

All can be revealed Anna! I've emailed you, but by all means get back when (or if) you want!

Sorry to say, the Job Book from all those years ago is long gone, but I can easily help with loads of other info if you're interested!

Scrobs... said...

Reevers, apols about chopping out the occasional reply, I'm doing a bit of changifying on addresses etc, and am getting more and more confused...

Now, Reevers, Hitchin is a place that is seared on our family's history as well, as my Mum worked there in a shop during the war!

Why not email me on: -

scrobleneatgmaildotcom and I'll give you the whole story if you like. We've got several connections here!

rvi said...

Sorry Scrobs, but probably no point. I was only there for the first 3 months of my life and then we moved back into London as the bombing had stopped. I have only ever been to (or rather through) the place once since - and didn't even stop for a quick cuppa nor to see the hospital I was born in which I think has long since been demolished. Thanks for the offer though.

lilith said...

Fantastic, Scrobs. The Census can reveal some fascinating stuff and your forebears were evidently where you get it from :-)

My mum found that my great great grandpa emigrated to NZ from Charlotte St in Leamington Spa. At the time of her discovery I was a student at Warwick and was living in digs in....Charlotte ST in Leamington Spa. Spooky.

I have just discovered another great great grandpa or two in Ireland...a catholic married a protestant and nobody from either family ever spoke to them again :-)

Philipa said...

Love the historical stuff.

Must send my census back.

Must fill it in...

hatfield girl said...

There were standards for those Garden City houses - can't remember what they were called but some pair of chaps had set them out - so the houses had, as a minimum, decent-sized rooms, lots of light, proper stairs in a proper hall, and long thin gardens at the back that could feed an army if carefully worked.

Electro-Kevin said...

The problem I have with the census ...

... would it really make that much of a difference to Govt planning if I were a homosexual ?

It's not like they need to provide separate toilets or anything like that is it ?

Scrobs... said...

No problem Reevers! Apparently I was often there when I was a titch as well!

My mum's shop has long gone now, but I have an odd affinity with the place, and all the surrounding villages, where the ancestry started.

Scrobs... said...

That's an incredible coincidence Lils! Just think of the 'lost electricity' and vibes still swirling round the street, and catching again you after all those years.

There is a term for it I think, but the decay of - say sound, never stops, therefore, you should theoretically be able to re-listen to sounds made years ago, with the right equipment of course, not the 1963 Dansette!

You and I were chatting about this once, when I mentioned a pub in Wales, where the walls acted as a tape recorder, and you'd heard something similar!

And now you're part Irish - or even more than you thought! I'd rather know these facts than try and be invisible!

Scrobs... said...

Pips, it does make sense, well, to me that is, because in a few hundred years time, when everyone's either been killed or cured, there'll be a relative of Scrobs, fiddling about on an aging PC trying to understand how his database works...

;0)

Scrobs... said...

Do you mean Parker and Unwin Hats?

There's a great book by Mervyn Miller, which is probably the best digest of all things LGC!

Scrobs... said...

"It's not like they need to provide separate toilets or anything like that is it"

They don't in the more enlightened office developments these days Elecs!

That probably doesn't apply to any 'public' buildings though, there are far too many rules for them to bow down to there.

Modo said...
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Modo said...

RE: (How the devil are you? Saw you'd called in on the lovely Lils, but where were you when I needed support as well eh? Where? Oh, where?)

You Snake Oil Salesman
You really are the most cavilling old fraud… leaving tearstained messages and reprimands about desertion and my lackadaisical attitudes… and look, I come here I find you are the nabob of the blogging world.

Philipa said...

Oh my, KEVIN!! Of course it would make a difference to government planning! Under a Labour government it's against your yoomun rights to use the same lav because you may want to have sex with a passing stranger in the loo and could be MADE to feel uncomfortably oppressed by the presence of heterosexual men using the same convenience. Unless it's a married MP hoping for your willy to accidentally fall into his rectum as he happened to pass by..

Then there's the sexual diversity officer which would need to be appointed to help you integrate succesfully into the community (salary £30Kpa) and the social workers (£30K+each pa) to investigate your family life and the outreach owrker to help get you on a course to help you fully explore gender satisfaction (with a special section on gender confusion and wearing womens panties).

Under a Tory government you'd be made to leave your wife or the children would not be returned to you. You can then be taxed more. Seperately.

Scrobs... said...

You see Modo, you crept in the crypt, and crept out again, so fast that I missed seeing you!

Glad to see that you've never forgotten your bell-ringing terms too; a 'Nabob', is when the third bell forgets his turn, and screws up the whole peal which, up to then, had been sweating for nearly three hours!

Scrobs... said...

Pips, that's quite a lot of information which can be gleaned from Elecs just writing his postcode...

Lucien Modo said...

I've just noticed the fine solidity of material that George's suit is constructed from. Do you know if that was a six ply flannel?

Lucien Modo said...

... Indeed I had an uncle, name of Basil, that was found dead and still standing in Lewes high-street... wearing a very similar suit.

Scrobs... said...

How the devil should I know about the grey flannel suit Modo, I wasn't even born then!

But the Basil story is legend on bonfire nights in Lewes, when they burn an effigy of Newmania...

Lucien Modo said...

Surely after he was gathered up he passed down his flannel? I would have thought as gentleman that you might parade of a Sunday afternoon in a mode of antique cut.

Lucien Modo said...

... as regards Lewes bonfire night. It seems a great deal of effort to be making an effigy when the fellow is there on the doorstep.

Scrobs... said...

Actually Modo, when he died - a bit early because he had something nasty, my dad mentioned that they did divide his clothes up between the three brothers!

If Newmania could see us now eh? Lewes is quite a nice place if you have one leg shorter than the other!

And YD took me round all the pubs one Nov 6th, trying to find the favourite scarf she'd left somewhere the night before!

Scrobs... said...

Pips, that was a party political broadcast on behalf of the last horrible lot!

They all have pension prospects as well, which galls me more than somewhat.