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My Dudley Grandfather was miner - and clog dancer

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: August 15, 2014

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I AM trying to find out some information relating to my Grandfather, Samuel Houlston, who was born in Dudley in 1865 at 91 St James Terrace.

He was a coal miner and a clog dancer. He also performed with a clog dancing doll that he operated on a board that he tapped making the doll dance. I still have this doll.

He moved to Nottinghamshire around 1899 and worked in Annersley mine. He died in 1937. One of my uncles used to travel to Dudley to visit his relatives in the Houlston family.

My questions are about the straps he wore around his legs just below the knee as part of his mining attire. Does anyone know what purpose those straps served and the other question is why did he call them his "Dudley Yorks?"

I heard my late mother refer to these. When she was a child, if her brothers were making a noise in bed, he would rattle his Dudley Yorks on the stairs and threaten the lads with them. I cannot find any reference to these straps or the name he called them anywhere.

If anyone can shed any light on these questions I would love to hear from them. Regards.

D John Benfield,

93 Denman Lane,


Leicestershire, LE9 3AL.


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