The current BBC2 series Peaky Blinders, about a gang who terrorised the citizens of Birmingham in 1919, has caught the imagination of Bugle readers, despite the story coming from outside our patch.
But there are many Black Country folk with Brummagem links and Jill Guest from the Cradley Then and Now group is one such person. She has sent us a fine picture of a bygone relation and his horse and told us her great-grandfather’s eldest brother served with the mounted police in Birmingham.
Jill said, “I read the Bugle article about the new series of Peaky Blinders with interest and I have been enjoying it on the TV, not only because it is a good story but, more importantly as an historian, because of its local historical importance.
“I was especially intrigued with the second episode which screened last week, as it featured mounted police, and my great-granddad Elijah Tromans’ eldest brother William (Bill) was a mounted policeman with the Birmingham police force.
“Admittedly, he served a few years before the time in which the programme is set.
“A picture I have managed to dig out from the family archive is of William Tromans and his horse, but unfortunately I can’t be accurate with the year it was taken.
“I also managed to obtain William’s police record from the Police Museum in Birmingham, which makes interesting reading.
“It states that William Tromans joined the force on the 9th June, 1898, appointed 21st January 1899. He was promoted to 4th class on 20th December 1898 and paid 25/-; promoted to 3rd class on 22nd June 1899 and paid 26/-. On 29th November 1900 an entry reads, ‘Loitering and being absent from a portion of his beat for 50 minutes,’ followed on 16th March 1901 by ‘Severely cautioned by the chief constable for telling a falsehood to him in the orderly room.’ But William must have cleaned up his act because on 12th June 1902 he was promoted to 2nd class.
“It would appear his love life began to encroach on his career as a policeman, because on New Year’s Day 1903 an entry reads, ‘Being absent from his beat and found coming out of a private house in Reservoir Road; also telling Insp. Horton a falsehood.’ “After this latest transgressionWilliam was allowed to resign because of his misdemeanours and went on to marry the lady who lived at the house in Reservoir Road, where he later established a greengrocery business.
“Another interesting piece of information has come to light from the series, which has me eagerly awaiting part three.
“My great-grandfather Elijah Tromans’ wife Alice Hadley was the daughter of Samuel and Norah Keturah Hadley. Norah Keturah was a Lee by birth, hailing from Primrose Hill in Netherton, and her father Thomas Lee, according to family stories that have been handed down, came from a gypsy family. Although he married and had another child he is missing from any census returns, and up till now I have been unable to trace either Thomas or his father William Lee.
“According to Peaky Blinders the Lee family were gypsies, which might explain why I haven’t been able to trace them.”
Have you any interesting photographs and stories from your family’s history to share with Bugle readers? Contact jwork email@example.com, 01384 567678, or write to Bugle House, 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.