THIS fine ancient image has been sent to us by family researcher Barbara Handley, of Balsall Common, Coventry (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
It shows local folk in we think the 1860s or thereabouts, during the height of Queen Victoria’s reign, and it is amongst the oldest photographs we have ever published, and that’s saying a lot! It shows Black Country children at school in that long gone, forgotten age, and how resolute and grown-up they look, like mirror images of their seniors. This was taken at Oldbury Free School. We are not sure where this school was located, but Casey’s directory of 1860 listed three Oldbury schools — National at Oldbury Green, Weselyan in Church Street and Unitarian in Birmingham Street.
Barbara writes, “I have received the attached photograph from a distant relative in the USA. My great grandmother was Margaret Bayliss, whose brother John emigrated in 1869. The family had moved from Ludlow, and many of the children were born in the Black Country.
John took these photographs and the family bible with him to America.
“Could anyone identify any of the people? We feel they were probably siblings of his.
I think there must be descendants still in the Black Country or nearby towns who perhaps possess similar images to these”.
Also see our website for another class of Black Country children http:// www.blackcountrybugle.co.uk/News/ In-Class-Thirties-Style-06022013.htm