This week I begin with an postcard which is showing its age at 111 years and which has some identifying printing on the front, though no message has been written in the conveniently placed blank space.
It tells us that it is a photo of Newland St in Coleford, on the edge of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.
The printing at the end also tells us that it is one of The Wrench Series of postcards and also has the name Arthur J. Bright, Coleford. Arthur Bright was the Editor of The Dean Forest Guardian.
The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney tells us about the Wrench Series.
One of the first picture postcard companies which offered British views was set up by a 17 year old teenager Evelyn Wrench. His idea for the company, Messrs. Wrench and Co., began while on holiday in Germany with his parents in 1900.
On the left is the Baptist Church and at the far end of the street you can get a glimpse of the clock tower standing in the Market Place at the crossroads at the centre of the town. Originally it was part of an octagonal church. These can be seen on this section of an 1840 tithe map of Coleford
The postcard was in the possession of my great aunt whose mother Eliza Bosley had come to Australia from Coleford in 1863 and the image was provided to me by a second cousin. The card had been posted in Coleford in 1904 to a Mrs Ambery in Williamstown. Friend or relation, I do not know at this stage, but with the help of some clues from Mark Dodd I now have a reasonable explanation of how it came to shift from Williamstown, a suburb of Melbourne, to Eliza Fricke in the mid-Victorian town of Carisbrook.
When Eliza was young and living in Coleford her maternal aunt Amelia Baynham and her husband Stephen Aston, living at Five Acres, just to the north of Coleford, had a lodger. It was 1851 and the lodger was William Ambery, a year younger than their son Edward Aston. Eliza would have known these two young men. After all Edward Aston was her cousin. Both boys were to marry and together with their wives emigrated to Adelaide in 1855 on the John Banks. Then both families either together or separately moved over to Carisbrook in Victoria. Edward Aston was to remain in Carisbrook but William and Mary moved on after a while.
Meanwhile Eliza grew up, lost both her parents and with two younger sisters came out to Carisbrook in 1863 to be reunited with Edward and his wife Ann, and William and his wife Mary. And so it stands to reason that Mary, later on living in Williamstown, would pass on to Eliza a picture of “the street where you lived” which had been sent to Mary – Newland St, Coleford. There is still the question in my mind as to whether or not William Ambery could have been related to his hosts, Stephen and Amelia Aston.
Here is a similar view of Newland St taken by my sister in 1986 with someone sitting on the front fence of the Baptist Church, taken before I knew of the postcard’s existence.And why is this particular view of Newland St of interest to me ? It is because of this next photo which is the house where Eliza Bosley lived in Coleford before coming to Australia and it was somewhere opposite the Baptist Church. Presumably that is Eliza or one of her sisters in front of the house.
Two vertical groups of three windows, with the uppermost being slightly smaller. Could this building possibly be the same white house, in the centre of the 1986 photo, with a single doorway replacing the original two doors. It is opposite the Baptist Church, Or is it just my imagination.
As for William and Mary Ambery, William had joined the Victorian Railways and was a train examiner at Castlemaine, then after an illness moved to Williamstown and opened a woodyard, in Douglas Parade. He was also elected a Councillor on the Williamstown Council. (Trove)
And so my story comes full circle beginning with a postcard arriving for Mrs Ambery in Douglas Parade, Williamstown.
Meanwhile, over at Sepia Saturday people are posting about courtrooms and all things legal, or anything else which takes their fancy.