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No taxi so we went home by cart on New Year's Day

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: January 06, 2014

Pictured, from the left, are Ethel Squire, her mother Catherine Squire, but we do not know the name of the lady on the right, so if anyone could help we would be delighted. This photograph was taken outside 6, Doctor's Piece, Willenhall.

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ON reading in the Black Country Bugle about the request for Christmas stories, my story is not a Christmas past but a New Year past.

My Mom, Phyllis Evans (nee Gulley), who died in 2004, wrote abut her life and I remember a story she had written about New Year. I wondered if anyone can help with our search for information of our Great Grandfather.

The whole family would look forward to January 1 with delight. New Year's Day was always spent at 6, Doctor's Piece, Willenhall, from when I was a little girl, through to my 20s.

With me would be my Mom and Dad, Grandma Gulley, Aunt Emma and Uncle Bill, with his tambourine with ribbons.

Grandma Squire and Uncle Ernest welcomed us. We would have roast goose, a piece of pork and lovely vegetables, followed by Christmas pudding, mince pies, whisky and port wine. After I married New Year's Day was always really special to Alf and myself.

Year in, year out we were expected for the day, whatever the weather, to eat our annual goose dinner. It was good, bought off Masons, the largest shop in Willenhall for fruit, fish and poultry, just by the clock.

The goose was killed and plucked by Uncle Ernest. Mom went early to help my Grandma Squire, she would cycle to Willenhall early in the morning leaving Grandma Gulley, Dad, Aunt Emma, Uncle Bill and myself to take a taxi later which would then collect us at midnight for the journey back home.

One year I remember no taxi appeared, and we were all getting worried when just then a fellow came by with a flat cart. Dad said: "Would you help us to get to Willenhall?"

"Certainly," he said. He helped Aunt Emma, Grandma Gulley, myself, Dad and Uncle Bill on to the cart and it was a lovely ride. The horse just jogged along to 6, Doctor's Piece, Willenhall. Dad thanked the man and gave him a tip for the New Year.

There were mince pies and a delicious Christmas pudding with sixpences inside, a very large Christmas cake which was decorated with tiny children on sleighs that you could wash and keep for another year. There was whisky to drink and rum in our tea. Even Polly Parrot had a teaspoon of tea with whisky in which she held in her claw.

We would sing Auld Lang Syne. The Forest Brothers had a band and they would appear after tea.

Below Grandma's was a small police station and sometimes they would be locking someone up for being too noisy. One year the taxi didn't turn up to take us home so Mr Thompson from Wednesfield made two journeys and we eventually arrived home safely.

The family she refers to is her maternal grandma, Mrs Catherine Squire (nee Oakley) who lived at 6, Doctor's Piece, Willenhall. Her mother was Ethel Squire.

Although we have pictures of Catherine Squire we have no pictures or information of her husband, our Great Grandfather, Joseph, at all.

We do know that he died in his 30s, probably 1905.

We would be delighted if anyone has any pictures or information of Joseph, or Joseph and Catherine's wedding. Catherine Squire lived at 6, Doctors Piece, Willenhall, from 1899 until 1964 when she died.

Jill Corfield,

18 Silverdale,

Gains Park,


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