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Stories and Articles

Two Articles Contributed by Sheila Talbot

Two Articles Contributed by Sheila Talbot

Phyllis Gill born 17th March 1875.

Phyllis Gill was the first daughter of Thomas and Mary Ann Gill, [nee Huxley] she was born in the parish of Dudley, baptized on the 18th April 1875.

At the age of six weeks her family left Dudley to live in the country, they went to live at Adams Hill, Clent. Her father worked at St Leonards Church in the village as a gardener, a much different life than his brothers who were miners.

Phyllis went to the school in Clent village, now a family home called school house. She attended St Leonards Church where she married Charles Dedicoat in 1905. She and Charles met at Henley Castle, Worcester. Phyllis worked as a house maid and Charles as a coachman. They had their first child in 1906, Charles Arthur known as Arthur, he was born at his grandmothers home in Kings Heath.

When Arthur was only a few weeks old the family moved to Dudley. No. 8, Hellier St, Dudley. You will find it at the top of Dudley town.

Charles and Phyllis had a daughter Freda, sadly Freda died at the age of 10 months. They had a third child Dorothy, 28.10.1913.

After Dorothy was born they moved into a cottage in King Street which came with Charles job. Charles worked for Barclays Bank, when they built the new bank in Dudley town the family moved into the flat above the bank. They stayed there till after the war. In the war years my father said you could see all the fires around the midlands from the top of the bank.

Around 1949 Charles retired and they moved to Springfield Cres, Dudley. In 1956 a new flu came to the UK and both Phyllis and Charles had this virus. On the 9th March Phyllis passed away. [on the 10th was her granddaughters 11th birthday] On the 11th March Charles passed away also.

At the time all the family were devastated in the loss of both Phyllis and Charles. As time came to pass it was said how nice for two people so much in love to leave this world together.

Philis Gill married John Childs in Dudley

At the age of 15 in 1861 Phillis was working as a servant for James Darbey a Shoe Manufacturer in the High Street Dudley.
The Protestant Dissenters

On the 1871 Census aged 25 she was working for Matthew Gibson the Unitarian Minister of the Old Meeting House, his wife and three children Edward, Sophia and Eleanor.There was also a cook/domestic servant living in., Edward was an American Merchant Clerk.
Matthew Gibson was from Ireland, many young Protestant pastors made the treacherous journey to England to find work in that period.
The Protestant Protesters were linked to the Temperance Society and the Quaker movement.
In 1875 Matthew Gibson married Phillis and John Childs (widower) in the chapel of the Meeting House.
Perhaps the couple's children Joseph, Dora, William, Lilian and Charles were brought up under the influence of these beliefs ?

The Crossing from Ireland

Today, we take for granted an easy crossing of the Irish Sea in a modern hydrofoil or passenger ship equipped with stabilizers and a comfortable interior of restaurants, bars, games rooms and shops.

In the 19th century, voyages could be risky and conditions were often extremely unpleasant; for those travelling as deck passengers, the conditions were sometimes inferior to those provided for cattle. Some passengers died from exposure if conditions were rough.

Vessels were sometimes wrecked. In 1849, all the crew and passengers were lost when the Royal Adelaide , sailing from Cork to London, went down off Margate Sands.

There were no proper controls on the numbers of passengers travelling on a particular ship, and ticket agents simply sold as many tickets as they could. This led to dangerous overcrowding, especially when weather conditions were bad and deck passengers needed shelter. Seventy two passengers, travelling from Sligo to Liverpool on the Londonderry , suffocated to death in December 1848.


The origin of the 'Protestant Dissenters' in Dudley dated from the ejection of the 2000 ministers occasioned by the Act of Nonconformity, which came into force on St Bartholomew's Day, August 24th, 1662. ... In the Birmingham 'Church and King Riots', June 1791, ... many of the chapels round about were dismantled, the Dudley Old Meeting House being among the number.

The Old Meeting House congregation are legally known as 'Protestant Dissenters' and can be traced back to 1662. The first Chapel was erected in 1702, destroyed in 1715 and rebuilt in 1717.
The transition from Old Presbyterianism to Unitarianism was appropriately brought about by reason of the trust deed being one of the open kind 'for worship of God' and the progressive change of thought.

The pastors of the Old Meeting from 1805 are Hews Bransby, John Palmer, Richard Steven, Dr Davidson, John Thomas, Matthew Gibson, H Rylett, and A H Shelley, the present incumbent.

Dudley Book Society was founded by a small group of townsmen about the year 1732, and has enjoyed an unbroken existence since that day.
The founders were mainly members of the Society of Protestant Dissenters, whose meeting place was the Old Meeting House, (built in 1702) in Wolverhampton Street, Dudley.
Prominent among the dissenters were the Baylies family. Brothers Robert and Samuel and sister Anne were members at the Old Meeting House, and founded the eponymous school in Pease Lane, (now Tower Street), Dudley.
The Society was founded at a time when individuals were often persecuted for their religious beliefs or liberal thinking. At the time Dudley was a small market town at the northern end of the county of Worcestershire near the centre of England, long before the rise of what is now the nearby city of Birmingham.

Samuel Baylies is held to be one of the founding fathers of the Society, and his portrait, normally held for safe-keeping in Dudley Art Gallery, is displayed at the Society's Annual Dinner.

The dissenters were joined by friends belonging to the Established Church, who were in sympathy with the Society's ideals and aims. Meetings were held regularly at one of the hostelries in the town, most frequently the Saracen's Head Hotel, where one can visualise them sitting with tankards of ale and churchwarden's pipes, enthusiastically discussing the matters which interested and concerned them.

One of the Society's chief activities was to purchase and circulate among its members the best publications, fiction and general literature, of the year. Meetings were held bi-monthly, to discuss and agree book purchases, and any other competent business. New members were elected by invitation, membership was limited to 24, and non-attendance and other similar misdemeanours were punished by a system of fines. Membership was not to be undertaken lightly. For example, fines for non-attendance could only be avoided by giving written notice to the Secretary, of illness, or of being more than twenty miles from home!

The Meeting House today

The Meeting House today

Most exciting .... This Gill research really shows where Charles my grandfather's radicalism came from...He moved from being radical christian to humanist.... Maurice followed in his footsteps... It makes me Proud ....Kelmscott the name of Charles Childs houses ...It all fits!!! Also Ideen it was a radical german group ...House names proclaiming poiltics and philosophy... What a family..

Dudley 1750

Dudley 1750
The Black Country

Dudley - Birthplace of Phillis Gill Charles Childs and Edith Warren

Dudley is located in the heart of the Black Country, which comprises parts of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall boroughs and the City of Wolverhampton.
The Dudley district was one of the early centres of the Industrial Revolution, based on the mineral wealth of the area: its coal, iron ore, limestone, and fireclay. Depending on who tells the story, the Black Country gained its name from either the smoke from the factory chimneys in the 18th and 19th centuries - or the rich loamy earth and the eight foot coal seam which dominated the area.
Dudley's stake in the iron trade was considerable with John Wilkinson constructing the magnificent feat of Ironbridge on the River Severn in 1779. Nails made in Dudley were used in the building of Nonesuch Palace and Hampton Court, and one of the best known families in the trade were Foley's.
From the modest beginnings as one of the many small chainmakers working in Cradley and Netherton, Noah Hingley built up an integrated industrial combine which manufactured anchors, cables and chains from iron made in his own works using coal from the mines he leased from the Earl of Dudley.
The Chain and Anchor Works owned by N. Hingley & Sons Ltd were built at Netherton in 1845 and produced equipment for many famous ships including the ill-fated Titanic. The Anchor weighed sixteen tons and was the largest in the world. Castings and patent still survive.

The Black Country is the industrial region to the west of, and separate from, Birmingham in the Midlands of England. It gained its name in the mid nineteenth century due to the smoke from the many thousands of ironworking foundries and forges and the nature of the countryside which had been covered by dark spoil from the working of shallow and relatively thick (30ft) coal seams.

The region was described as 'Black by day and red by night' by Elihu Burritt, the American Consul to Birmingham in 1862 and other authors, from Dickens to Shenstone, refer to the intensity of manufacturing in the Black Country and its effect on the landscape and its people.

The industries included:-

coal & coke
iron & steel
locks & keys
ships anchors
beer & stout