April 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
Although Job Toon, the central character in this story was not originally from Walsall he did live in the town in his early life and also ended his days there. In the years in between he became a jockey, head lad, assistant trainer, trainer/stud manager and finally, the licensee of the New Inn, John Street, Walsall. How many other Walsall publicans can say they came second in the Irish Derby as a jockey and then won the same race a few years later as a trainer?
Job was born in 1851 in Atherstone, Warwickshire to Job and Elizabeth Toon, the sixth of their seven children. In the census of 1851 Job was just 5 months old and the family were living in Woolpack Yard, Atherstone where Job senior made his living as a wood turner. By 1861 the Toon family had moved from Atherstone to 4 Birchill Street Court in Walsall where Job senior was now earning his living as a hame maker in the leather trade. The young Job, now 10 years old had given up on school and was employed as a brush maker at one of the several brush manufacturers in the town.
When exactly the next chapter in young Job’s life began is uncertain but it appears he followed his thirteen year old brother, James, who by 1861 was listed in the census as a groom at Thomas Cliff’s stable in Hednesford. Another apprentice in Cliff’s stable at this time was another thirteen year old, the Champion Jockey of 1866, Manchester born Samuel Kenyon, also aged thirteen in 1861. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
It has been ten years since I self-published the first edition of A Complete Record of Walsall Races & The Hednesford Training Grounds and almost from day one I regretted the fact that I never registered it with the British Library…….in other words, it didn’t have an ISBN. At the time it seemed like a good idea as it added to the cost of producing the book. In the ten years that have passed I have produced many books for local history societies and individual authors and quite a high percentage of them have been registered with the British Library, it one was of these authors that allowed me to register this revised edition.
June 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
On the day a programme for the famous match between Walsall and Arsenal in January 1933 sells for £280 (all but a penny) on a well-known online auction site I rue the missing front and back covers from my copy! « Read the rest of this entry »
May 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
Best part of ten years since the book A Complete Record of Walsall Races was published people still insist on stating that the Races began in 1777, they did not, they began at least twenty-two years earlier. Whilst researching for the book I was “introduced” by the staff of Walsall Local History Centre to a grand gentleman by the name of Henry Somerfield. Mr. Somerfield, who is sadly no longer with us, left a remarkable legacy, amongst the many things he did, in 1926 he extracted and transcribed all of the articles appertaining to Walsall from the Birmingham newspaper, Aris’s Gazette. He carefully transcribed his findings into notebooks of varying shapes and sizes and these are now kept at the WLHC at Essex Street for perusal by anyone interested to take a look.