Monday, 17 February 2014

Doctor Henry Smith D.D. and the 1791 church theft.

Within the burial register I have just transcribed for Bromley Saint Peter and Saint Paul is the Reverend Henry Smiths account of a major theft from the Parish Church.
"0n the night of  the 13th April this year,1791,the vestry-room door was broken open,and the chest of deal,in which the plate was kept,was robbed of the following articles:one large flagon with lid fixt;one quart chalice,one rich chased chalice and loose cover,with a straining spoon,one large paten and one small paten;the above were all gilt;the gold fringe from the pulpit and the Communion hangings;one large damask table cloth,and two damask napkins.
It appears, from every observation, that the perpetrators of this sacrilegious deed must have secreted themselves in the Church during the morning service,for there were not the least traces of violence upon the doors,wall or windows. They let themselves out of the Church by unscrewing the locks of the doors leading to the gallery at the East end,which must be done on the inside.
A bottle of Tent wine was taken out of the cupboard and drunk which makes me think there were more than one,and I indeed can hardly imagine one person to have courage sufficient to carry him through such a Diabolical Enterprise."
There appears to have been no one apprehended for the theft....unless anyone has a record of conviction away from the Bromley Area.
The transcript was published online this month at Kent Online Parish Clerks Kent Online Parish Clerks Bromley Parish page. All of the Bromley parish transcripts will eventually be available on a single page.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Bromley Saint Peter and Saint Paul parish register transcripts go online

Kent Online Parish Clerks have added further transcripts. All of the parish registers form Bromley are on a single page here.
The addition of two burial register volumes now means that all burials 1678-1855  are now available. If you are using Firefox as a browser you need to right click on a link and select "Open in new tab to get the link to open for you.
Work is continuing to finally prepare the  transcript of two volumes of marriage registers for publication later this year as well as the earliest Composite Register from Christenings Marriages and burials.
I am happy to say that my transcription work is slightly ahead of schedule for Bromley albeit there are thousands more entries awaiting transcription.
The transcripts are dedicated in memory of the late Bob Rubie A.G.R.A. A.G.P. whose practice specialized in the family history of railway worker families. Bob had researched most of the Southern and London,Chatham and Dover rail staff families. Bromley was an important part of these railway companies and it seems fitting that this large transcript history should recognize Bob's work.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Update on the Royal Bell Hotel Bromley

One of my most popular blogs concerned the Royal Bell Hotel and subsequently I have included other references in blogs about Bromley Postmasters history. As I have explored archive material both at Bromley and elsewhere the Royal Bell Hotel's importance to life in the town over centuries has emerged and I hope in future to blog about original research in some historical contexts.
I was saddened to hear the scale of damage to property although considering the neglect in recent years and the severe weather conditions affecting many inhabited homes it is not altogether surprising to find that the structural survey has identified some serious problems. The survey is described at Bromley Arts and community website.
As can be seen there is an asbestos removal issue to clear a collapsed basement ceiling following significant water ingress. The scale of dry rot and treatment is also established for the first time. There is a daunting challenge ahead but at least Social Investment Business have extended until June 2014 their funding.
Amanda Hone and her committee continue to work towards rescuing the building and bringing it into Community Ownership as both a community pub and arts space.
One useful way to follow and support this initiative is through the Facebook page Campaign to Establish a Permanent Arts and Community Space in Bromley.
It is encouraging that agents for the property are working with the community in view of the threat to the building.
I look forward to further developments in conserving the building and future community use with interest.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Thank you to Yandex users

I had little idea that when I began to blog that I would reach such a wide international audience.
The blog has for some time had traffic from Eastern Europe and last week Lithuanian readers joined for the first time; the blog is read in the Russian Federation and Ukraine also and a constant traffic from Germany. This did not surprise me as I had previously corresponded with professional researchers who work across Eastern European boundaries.
With Kind permission of Vladimir Nechiporov from Moscow I thought that this picture would indicate a  day on the Moscow river. Vlad is a gifted photographer and took this image with his fingers exposed briefly!
I have now received emails from 4 people who found my blog using Yandex which is I am told the largest search engine on the internet.
Since I write from the perspective of a Kent researcher in Archives it is useful for me to know that the transcripts I prepare from records at Bromley Archive are of interest to an international audience.
Before blogging I was aware of the international connections of prominent families from Downe parish in Kent but blogging has enlarged that interest in the history of the Bromley District and I am encouraged by emails and comments from readers of the blog.
The growing volume of traffic took visitors to the blog over 1000 and I seem to have over 40 visits daily during January.
As Kent Online Parish Clerks produces a larger volume of transcript material this year I will be monitoring the apparent settlement of people from many nations in the town of Bromley. I am aware of many nationalities from completing the burial register transcripts.

Frost Fair:When an Elephant walked on the Thames

In the course of transcribing parish registers for the parishes in and south of Bromley it has been fascinating to find evidence of mariners dockers and Thames based employment listed. I recently examined details of a docker buried at Bromley whose funeral director's account book showed in the 1814 account that a dockers friendly society had paid for the burial. I found the Museum of London Docklands a useful resource for my research surrounding Thames Lightermen earlier this century and so the current exhibition at the Museum concerning the Frost Fairs on the river see Museum of London Docklands attracted me.
I can do no better in this blog than the BBC magazine article about Frost Fairs here. The exhibit at the Museum runs until Sunday 30 March. The Museum is easily reached at No.1 Warehouse West India Quay E 14 4 AL (use Docklands Light Railway West India Quay). I commend the Museum and this exhibition.