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Old Black Country adverts found on a wall Down Under

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: January 12, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • Dudley House in George Street, Sydney, Australia, may have been named after the Earl of Dudley

  • The Black Country advert was found at the rear of the Albion Place Hotel, Sydney

  • The works of S.F. Turner, bedstead and fender maker, Dudley

  • Historic adverts for Black Country firms in Sydney, Australia

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THANKS to our readers the Bugle has an army of eagle-eyed observers scouring the globe for anything with a Black Country connection.

Usually it is something that was made here, one of the millions of items that were exported all over the world when our region was the workshop of the world, but sometimes it is something a little more unusual.

Around six weeks ago John Franks of Yardley was enjoying his holiday in Sydney, Australia. He was strolling along George Street, one of the oldest and busiest thoroughfares in the city when his eye alighted on the Albion Place Hotel. Thinking that they may be a connection with West Bromwich Albion, he explored around the building and at the rear he found another building signwritten with old adverts for three Black Country businesses.

The old advert, possibly over 100 years old, has clearly been retouched and in process, sadly, some of the letters have been mixed up or obliterated.

Fairbanks, Lavender and Sons are listed in the 1900 edition of Kelly's Directory of Staffordshire as harness manufacturers in Eldon Street, Walsall.

Handford-Greatrex and Co. Ltd. have an extensive listing in the same directory: "Coach, saddle, bridle and harness leather; goods specially prepared and packed for export; highest awards Paris 1878 and Lyons 1894."

The awards refer to the Exposition Universelle, also known as the 3rd Paris World's Fair, held in 1878, and the Exposition Internationale et Coloniale at Lyon in 1894, noted for the assassination of the French President, Marie François Sadi Carnot, when he attended the exhibition.

Handford-Greatrex and Co. operated from three address in Walsall, all in close proximity; Whittimere Street, Lichfield Street and Rushall Street.

Bedstead and fender makers S.F. Turner had their works in Dock Lane, Dudley. The business was established in 1840 and is probably best remembered today for the safes they made, with many examples surviving.

When John got back home, he was leafing through some back copies of the Bugle when he came across a photograph taken at the S.F. Turner works. The picture, in Bugle 1105, showed workers in the bedstead making section, among them Benjamin Fradgley who was the first person in Dudley to be killed in the blackout in 1939 when he was run down by a car.

Another building that caught John's eye in George Street, Sydney, was Dudley House and this too may have a connection with the Black Country.

It was likely named after William Humble Ward, second Earl of Dudley, who was Governor-General of Australia from 1908 to 1911.

Have you seen any intesesting artifacts connected with the Black Country while on your travels? What is the furthest corner of the globe where the Black Country has reached? Please send us your pictures, contact dshaw@blackcountry bugle.co.uk or write to our editorial address on page 2.

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