MANY of the articles published in the Bugle have their basis in family history research, and the following is no exception.
Lee Steventon, a former Blackheath lad, has recently contacted us from his home in Holland.
He is the midst of research into his family, members of which mainly hailed from just down the road from Blackheath, in Whiteheath and Oldbury.
His efforts so far have turned up quite a few family details and photographs, but he is need of more help, hopefully from Bugle readers, as he explains below.
Anyone who can help in any way can contact him at Schoorveld 2, 5993, Maasbree, Netherlands or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, if any material/responses are sent to us here at the Bugle, we will make sure that they get to Lee.
His story is as follows...
"For the past 20 years or so (on and off) I have been researching my family tree and building up the story on Ancestry.co.uk. Through internet research alone, I have managed to trace the Steventon line back to around 1790 to a James Steventon, born in or around Rounds Green near Oldbury. However, it is my grandfather’s family I am particularly interested in at the moment.
"At one point in time, they all lived in Whiteheath Villa in Whiteheath near Oldbury. Thomas Steventon was head of the family and worked for Accles & Pollock who were the owners of Whiteheath Villa. Thomas was their Works Policeman until he retired. He passed away in 1955. Thomas was married to Lizzie Homer who herself passed away in 1973. Their children were: -
1. Maud Steventon (1908 – 1994). Maud married Jack (John) Willis in 1933. It is said that Maud was a very religious woman and was often seen walking around with a copy of the bible in her hands. Maud and Jack did not have any children.
2. Allan Albert Steventon (1910 – 2002). Allan (or Albert as he was more commonly known) married Hilda Cutler in July 1936 and they had one child, Neil Steventon. Through family tree research I managed to track Neil down in Kingswinford and we recently met up for the first time! I took my father with me to this meeting (Neil’s 1st cousin) as they had also never met before. Another interesting point is that Albert Steventon wrote to the Black Country Bugle some years ago asking for information about Whiteheath Villa and the Steventons and my grandfather (Samuel Steventon, number 6 below) wrote back to him. The Steventon brothers and sisters did not keep in contact it seems because of “family differences of opinion”!
3. Lizzie Steventon (1914 – 1982). Lizzie married Peter Griffin in 1940. They did not have any children. I know very little about Lizzie.
4. George Steventon (1917 – 2005). George married Ida Dorothy Rollins (or Dorothy as she was more commonly known). Again, through family tree research I was able to trace George’s son, Gary Steventon, living in Halesowen.
5. Thomas Steventon (1921 – 1943). Thomas was serving in North Africa when the truck or jeep he was travelling in was hit by what we would today call “friendly fire”. The allies were clearing a path in front of the convoy by firing artillery shells. Unfortunately, one of those shells fell too short and hit the convoy. Thomas was killed outright in 1943. He is laid to rest at Enfidaville War Cemetery in Tunisia.
6. Samuel Steventon (1924 – 2008). This was my grandfather and he was born in 1924. He went to school at Good Shepherd’s School in Oldbury and married my grandmother, Joyce Murray in March 1947. After WWII, he was posted to guard Field Marshal Kesslering in Wolfsberg in 1947, where he managed to get a copy of his signature, along with all of his staff. I have seen similar signature papers in the Bugle some months ago where another serviceman gained Kesselring’s signature.
7. Lilian Rose Steventon (1927 – Present). Once again, through family tree research (and also via Neil Steventon who I traced), I managed to get in touch with Lesley Haycock who is Lilian Steventon’s daughter. I was amazed and delighted to learn that Lilian Steventon and her husband (John Haycock) are still with us and living in Tividale. A meeting to learn as much as possible is being planned with them and I’m told many photos and stories are available.
"All of the above children were born in 43 Tabernacle Street in Oldbury, which fell under the hammer of Oldbury refurbishment. I am told that if you were to stand at the entrance doors of what was Savacentre (now Sainsbury’s), you would be standing in Tabernacle Street.
"I would dearly love to learn more about this family, their friends and neighbours and from anyone who knew them. I am particularly interested in Whiteheath Villa. It was compulsory purchased by Oldbury UDC in the 1960’s and demolished to make way for the Lion Farm Estate. We can see the Villa marked on maps of the 1930’s and my father remembers the Villa. It lay a couple of hundred yards off the Birchfield Lane on the way from Whiteheath Gate to Oldbury. It would be great to hear from anyone who remembers the Villa nd even better if anyone can tell me an bit more about the building or even has any photos".