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    Wheelwrights of Broadway

    Thomas Stokes 1816-1885

    Frederick Stokes 1845-1917

    Stokes Wheelwrights

    Stokes Wheelwrights. Fred on left of wheel, Thomas his father on right.

    Thomas Stokes

    Thomas Stokes was born in Bicester, Oxfordshire in 1816. He married Eliza Browning (born in 1814 in Tetbury, Gloucestershire) in Gloucester in 1840 Q3. Their first son William was baptised in Chipping Hill, Witham, Essex, on 3 Oct 1841. This seems a little unusual, and I can’t find Thomas and Eliza on the 1841 census. However both the 1851 and 1861 census state that William was indeed born in Essex.

    In 1851 Thomas and Eliza were living in Bledington, Gloucestershire, and Thomas was a journeyman carpenter.

    Note that a journeyman does not mean someone who moved around a lot. A journeyman was a tradesman who had served his trade apprenticeship and mastered his craft, not bound to serve a master, but originally hired by the day. The name derives from the French for day – jour.

    Also on the 1851 census: their daughter Susan, born in Churchill Oxfordshire in 1844; son Frederick born in Bledington Gloucestershire in 1846; daughter Louisa born in Foxcote Oxfordshire in 1849; and 2 month old daughter Harriet born in Bledington in 1851.

    On the 1861 census Thomas and Eliza were living in Evesham, Worcestershire, and daughter Susan was no longer living at home, but William, Fred, Louisa and Harriet were, as well as daughter Emily born in Churchill Oxfordshire in 1856. Thomas was a wheelwright.

    On the 1871 census Thomas and Eliza were still living in Evesham, and Thomas was a wheelwright employing three apprentices. Son Fred, also a wheelwright, and his wife Ann Rebecca live with them.

    Mr Stokes, wheelwright, was found guilty of reprehensible conduct in concealing the fact that small-pox existed in his house, according to a mention in The Oxfordshire Weekly News on Wednesday 19 February 1873:

    Stokes smallpox 1873



    From Paul Weaver’s ancestry website:

    “It was Thomas Stokes who built the first “Famous Vale of Evesham Light Gardening Dray for a Half-Legged Horse to Trot” (the quotation is from his account book), the forerunner of many that became so familiar a sight in the towns and villages from the 1860s onwards. He built many more for the use of the Vale gardeners.

    Thomas also had long-standing business dealings with the people of the circus and fairgrounds, and had a contract to effect necessary repairs and renewals to their waggons whenever they visited the district. He built living waggons for many of the show people’s families as well as shooting galleries and other equipment peculiar to the trade of his wandering customers, and among the names figuring in his books are some still familiar today, such as Wilsons and Chipperfields.

    He is also credited with inventing the wooden “Mushroom” which was used by housewives for many years to darn socks. He built and repaired all kinds of vehicles for the gentry as well as for the circus and fairground travellers.

    Later he lived with his wife at Merstow Green, Evesham, in a house adjoining the Almonry.”


    An excerpt from the book Evesham Inns and Signs by T.J.S. Baylis:

    Thomas Stokes dray

    The Old Red Horse, Evesham:

    Old Red Horse


    Thomas died in 1885 aged 68 of paralysis, bronchitis and debility.  His wife Eliza a year later in 1886.


    Frederick Stokes

    In Worcester in 1870 Fred married Ann Rebecca Day, who was born in Evesham in 1845.

    Ann Rebecca Day:

    Rebecca Day


    In 1871 Fred was still living with his parents in Evesham, with his wife Ann Rebecca as well as their three month old daughter Annie Elizabeth. Fred and Ann (referred to as Rebecca) moved to La Quinta on Main Street, Broadway.


    Rebecca Stokes in the doorway of La Quinta on Main Street Broadway, with her grandchildren Ralph and Dolly Edwards:

    La Quinta


    Fred was a wheelwright employing one man on the 1881 census. In 1891 they were still in Broadway, Fred’s occupation was wheelwright and coach painter, as well as his fifteen year old son Frederick.

    In the Evesham Journal on Saturday 10 December 1892 it was reported that  “Two cases of scarlet fever, the children of Mr. Stokes, wheelwright, Broadway, were certified by Mr. C. W. Morris to be isolated.”


    Still in Broadway in 1901 and Fred’s son Albert was also a wheelwright.  By 1911 Fred and Rebecca had only one son living at home in Broadway, Reginald, who was a coach painter. Fred was still a wheelwright aged 65.

    Fred’s signature on the 1911 census:

    1911 La Quinta

    Rebecca died in 1912 and Fred in 1917.

    Fred Stokes:

    Fred Stokes


    In the book Evesham to Bredon From Old Photographs By Fred Archer:

    Stokes 1Stokes 2


    My Fathers Family

    Edwards ~ Tomlinson ~ Stokes ~ Fisher


    Reginald Garnet Edwards was born on 2 April 1934 at the Worcester Cross pub in Kidderminster.

    The X on right is the room he was born in:


    Worcester Cross


    I hadn’t done much research on the Edwards family because my fathers cousin, Paul Weaver, had already done it and had an excellent website online.  I decided to start from scratch and do it all myself because it’s so much more interesting to do the research myself than look at lists of names and dates that don’t really mean anything.  Immediately after I decided to do this, I found that Paul’s family tree website was no longer online to refer to anyway!


    I started with the Edwards family in Birmingham and immediately had a problem: there were far too many John Edwards in Birmingham at the time.  I’ll return to the Edwards in a later chapter, and start with my fathers mothers mothers family, the Fishers.








    Hildred Orgill Warren born in 1900, my grandmothers sister, married Reginald Williams in Stone, Worcestershire in March 1924. Their daughter Joan was born there in October of that year.

    Hildred was a chaffeur on the 1921 census, living at home in Stourbridge with her father (my great grandfather) Samuel Warren, mechanic. I recall my grandmother saying that Hildred was one of the first lady chauffeurs. On their wedding certificate, Reginald is also a chauffeur.

    1921 census, Stourbridge:

    Hildred 1921


    Hildred and Reg worked at Stone Manor.  There is a family story of Hildred being involved in a car accident involving a fatality and that she had to go to court.

    Stone Manor is in a tiny village called Stone, near Kidderminster, Worcestershire. It used to be a private house, but has been a hotel and nightclub for some years. We knew in the family that Hildred and Reg worked at Stone Manor and that Joan was born there. Around 2007 Joan held a family party there.

    Stone Manor, Stone, Worcestershire:

    stone manor



    I asked on a Kidderminster Family Research group about Stone Manor in the 1920s:

    “the original Stone Manor burnt down and the current building dates from the early 1920’s and was built for James Culcheth Hill, completed in 1926”
    But was there a fire at Stone Manor?
    “I’m not sure there was a fire at the Stone Manor… there seems to have been a fire at another big house a short distance away and it looks like stories have crossed over… as the dates are the same…”


    JC Hill was one of the witnesses at Hildred and Reginalds wedding in Stone in 1924. K Warren, Hildreds sister Kay, was the other:

    Hildred and Reg marriage


    I searched the census and electoral rolls for James Culcheth Hill and found him at the Stone Manor on the 1929-1931 electoral rolls for Stone, and Hildred and Reginald living at The Manor House Lodge, Stone:

    Hildred Manor Lodge


    On the 1911 census James Culcheth Hill was a 12 year old student at Eastmans Royal Naval Academy, Northwood Park, Crawley, Winchester. He was born in Kidderminster in 1899. On the same census page, also a student at the school, is Reginald Culcheth Holcroft, born in 1900 in Stourbridge.  The unusual middle name would seem to indicate that they might be related.

    A member of the Kidderminster Family Research group kindly provided this article:

    stone manor death




    Well known Worcestershire man’s tragic death.

    Dudley Chronicle 27 March 1930.

    Well known in Worcestershire, especially the Kidderminster district, Mr Philip Rowland Hill MA LLD who was mayor of Kidderminster in 1907 was found dead with a bullet wound through his temple on board his yacht, anchored off Cannes, on Friday, recently. A harbour watchman discovered the dead man huddled in a chair on board the yacht. A small revolver was lying on the blood soaked carpet beside him.

    Friends of Mr Hill, whose London address is given as Grosvenor House, Park Lane, say that he appeared despondent since last month when he was involved in a motor car accident on the Antibes ~ Nice road. He was then detained by the police after his car collided with a small motor lorry driven by two Italians, who were killed in the crash. Later he was released on bail of 180,000 francs (£1440) pending an investigation of a charge of being responsible for the fatal accident. …….

    Mr Rowland Hill (Philips father) was heir to Sir Charles Holcroft, the wealthy Staffordshire man, and managed his estates for him, inheriting the property on the death of Sir Charles. On the death of Mr Rowland HIll, which took place at the Firs, Kidderminster, his property was inherited by Mr James (Culcheth) Hill who had built a mansion at Stone, near Kidderminster. Mr Philip Rowland Hill assisted his brother in managing the estate. …….

    At the time of the collison both brothers were in the car.

    This article doesn’t mention who was driving the car ~ could the family story of a car accident be this one?  Hildred and Reg were working at Stone Manor, both were (or at least previously had been) chauffeurs, and Philip Hill was helping James Culcheth Hill manage the Stone Manor estate at the time.


    This photograph was taken circa 1931 in Llanaeron, Wales.  Hildred is in the middle on the back row:


    Sally Gray sent the photo with this message:

    “Joan gave me a short note: Photo was taken when they lived in Wales, at Llanaeron, before Janet was born, & Aunty Lorna (my mother) lived with them, to take Joan to school in Aberaeron, as they only spoke Welsh at the local school.”

    Hildred and Reginalds daughter Janet was born in 1932 in Stratford.  It would appear that Hildred and Reg moved to Wales just after the car accident, and shortly afterwards moved to Stratford.

    In 1921 James Culcheth Hill was living at Red Hill House in Stourbridge. Although I have not been able to trace Reginald Williams yet, perhaps this Stourbridge connection with his employer explains how Hildred met Reginald.

    Sir Reginald Culcheth Holcroft, the other pupil at the school in Winchester with James Culcheth Hill, was indeed related, as Sir Holcroft left his estate to James Culcheth Hill’s father.  Sir Reginald was born in 1899 in Upper Swinford, Stourbridge.  Hildred also lived in that part of Stourbridge in the early 1900s.

    1921 Red Hill House:

    Red Hill House 1921


    The 2007 family reunion organized by Joan Williams at Stone Manor: Joan in black and white at the front.

    2007 Stone Manor


    Unrelated to the Warrens, my fathers friends (and customers at The Fox when my grandmother Peggy Edwards owned it) Geoff and Beryl Lamb later bought Stone Manor.


    In reply to: Story Bored


    BOARD 8

    Mater in fitting red gabardine is enjoying some quality time with her grand-daughter. Prune is working hard to get her first baby rocket to Mars.

    The Time-travelling Drag Queens Reginald, Amar and Cedric have finally summoned St Germain’s crystal and are getting ready for the disco party, while worrying about being underdressed for such occasion.

    Phurt is not happy about her assignment on this island. Bloody too small! she says. What am I supposed to eat? Coconuts?


    The Time Seam Bar, as they renamed it, for all the efforts put in it had a slow start, but after a few weeks started to do extremely well.

    Admittedly there was a bit of a public relationship boost offered (not quite completely out of generosity obviously) by the cable network. They’d been alerted of the re-purposing of the Time Sewer facility by the Queens after a routine control of their presence on cleaning duty. The report wasn’t glowing, but somehow a business-oriented member of the Board managed to get the Cable Network to lend some money and advertisement to bring the little venture to the next level.

    Props got a major overhaul and interior designers helped rearrange the space. They even got the Queens an impersonator of St Germain, an old has-been forgotten star who was still on the Network’s payroll and whom they didn’t know what to do with. He was actually doing a brilliant St Germain.

    Amar was in the room at the back, doing some accounting while Reginald was at the bar and Cedric was managing the fat dancers and, of course, St Germain’s shows. So far, the arrangement worked well, and they were quite proud of their success. Cedric’s mother couldn’t stop her praises and rants on the website’s page, so they had to moderate it a bit, but that was basically the most trouble they were in.

    “Another day gone well…” Reginald was removing his wig and make-up, with Amar still counting the last cash made for the day.
    “Reg’, I’ve started to remember things from our visit at the techromancer’s hut, I still don’t know what to do of it.”
    “I’ve been remembering stuff too… Some scary shit.”


    “I’m so booooored” Amar sighed, after his eleventh 5-minute break of the morning was over.
    He looked at his polished nails, then at his two companions.
    “It’s so clean we could eat on that damn sewer’s floor, you should stop cleaning! Come on!”

    Reginald looked at him with pursed lips and a fist firmly planted on his hips “And, you are suggesting somethin’, or are you just going to rub it in some more?”

    “Hell yeah, if we’re going to be stuck here, we could redecorate, and make this place a bit more interesting. I’m thinking an underground club, with art deco sculptures and some bit of goth in the back, a stage with fat pole dancers, a disco ball and silver shimmer metallic glowing paint,… Don’t get me started!”

    “Sounds like a lot of work…” Reginald replied after a moment, giving no hint he was buying it.
    “But then, we ain’t got much to do, and I’ll be dying of boredom if we don’t shake this thing up. Count me in!”


    “You call that a contract…” Reginald and his two friends, to varying degrees, managed to keep queenly looks in their royal blue dungarees. “I call that being royally fucked…”

    “Oh shut up and mop!” Cedric had become the most sullen and despondent about the whole thing, and would only reply by short sentences.

    Amar was the most philosophical about the whole situation “Let’s see it that way, cleaning up the Time Sewers isn’t so bad; they’re no longer in use, we ain’t got nobody on our backs,… the pay isn’t fabulous, but we are!”

    “Nobody heard about Linda? or Sadie?” Amar’s question was interrupted by a call on Cedric’s phone. His mother again.

    When he hung up, Amar resumed his litany of questions and monologue, as an excuse for not mopping around. “Still haven’t told your mum, hmmm?”

    Cedric ignored the last question “No, I haven’t heard about Linda Fucking Pol, or Sadie. Bitches.”


    Queens Team and 2121 originated time-travellers

    Reginald / Maurana Banana
    Cedric / Consuela Winnie
    Amar / Terry Bubble
    Sadie Merrie
    Linda Paul

    Supporting team

    Pseu, Maria del Mar, Janice (from the City, around 2257)
    Sanso (from other dimension, multi-dimensional travel contractor)
    Frindle, Trumble, Jingle (fuck knows who they are)
    the Hawai’i techromancer

    Management team (around 2222 and later)

    Irina, mermaid Russian spy and parrot whisperer

    Jonbert, the orchestrator of the time-travelling arcs, wanting to retrieve key information from St Germain which were collected in 1757. En route back to 2222 to intercept the whales’ crystal with help from Linda Paul’s team, and his luxury submarine

    1757 King’s Versailles

    The Queen
    Madame de Pompadour
    her maid Nicole du Hausset, coming from a line of time-smugglers
    Mr Aliette the wigmaker and finger reader
    Count de St Germain
    Giacomo Casanova (pseudonyms Monsieur de St Galle / Jacques de Seingalt)
    Father Balbi, Casanova’s travelling companion
    Theater du Soleil actors (Lison Tailleur, Jean Pastisse, Geoffroy du Limon, Francette Fine)
    Robert-Francois Damiens, the assassim
    Jean-Pierre Duroy, the Grand Intendant, his wife the Pastry Chef Annie
    Cook and Helper
    ghost of Marguerite Isabeau

    The 1757 originated time-travellers

    Mirabelle the oldest and bossiest, Adeline the youngest (thief of the first ferret) and Fanetta, the French maids
    Igor Popinkin, Boris and Ivan the Russian con-artists and saboteurs hidden with the Russian Ballet troupe visiting Versailles
    Huhu the parrot
    The Whale ghost, the ghost ship (died/sunk around 1600s) and time-travelling fin whales of 2020s
    Belen, the whale
    Santa Rosa, the galleon
    the ghost obese gardener-captain Peter Pugh Petit Pois, from Peasland

    The Spanish farm and fat mermaid dolphins

    Lisa, Jack
    Pierre and Etienne
    The Italian cruise ship
    pink Amazonian dolphins


    While she was adjusting her bikini over her fake boobs, Maurana Banana felt a sudden pang of panic. Nothing that could be lipsynched away with bursting into some Name Game song

    Everything was here, yet she didn’t feel fleshed out enough. She wasn’t talking about gaining some padding, she had plenty enough of that, but more about depth and character. At times, she even felt highly suggestible.

    The sound of the waves crashing down the rugged black volcanic stones under the white sand was soothing. The others’ shrills of delight could be heard miles away, they were hoping for a dolphins’ pod sighting and had even abandoned the Goochi platform shoes to be more comfortable.

    Sadie was very quiet, and at times felt almost like she was about to say hello and run out of conversation. However, she told something that had struck the Reggie inside the Maurana’s persona. That she should act on her highest excitement, and that there was no more to life than that.
    Easy enough when in drags, but when out of the wigs, make-up and fake eyelashes and acrylic nails, it was like being an out-of-water dolphin. Nothing but a big fat stranded sardine without appeal, just good for an extra pouring of olive oil.

    Before being a drag queen, Reginald worked a few jobs since a young age, mostly deliveries. The last one he got was more stable, a job as a security guy. He’d almost blundered at the interview, he laughed at it now, when he’d forgotten to remove the Gothic styled nails from the night. Instead of hiding them and look stupid, he had the good sense to invent those crazy stories like the ones he would tell his teacher when he forgot some homework deadline.
    Security was better than delivery, there was no denying. Being in a position were people were not quite paying attention to you, but still eyeing you from the corner, as if you could do something vicious or bully them out of the building. She liked that.
    There was always excitement as there were plenty of crazy people each day to be escorted out, so following excitement wasn’t difficult. Following yours was more of a catch.

    She’d joined the drag contest to win her own highest excitement. She already got points for being the first pick-up of the jury before Consuela and Terry, and also for being the one to snatch the key.

    She put the last touch of green on her eyelids with a hand flourish. She was perfect. For now, that was something to get excited about.


    “Well, that was almost too easy…”
    Despite his weight and the various layers of clothes, Reginald who had struggled to get back into Maurana Banana’s tight costume was the first to realize what had just happened, and had rushed to the statue to snatch the prized crocheted ferret, beating Consuela and Terry by a short hand.
    Sadie looked with a slight hint of disapproval at his XVIIIth century apparent undergarments, but was glad that this was resolved so efficiently.

    “The prize is inside the ferret, ladies.”
    “Off with your grabby hands, you tart!” shouted Maurana batting her eyelashes ferociously at Terry Bubble who wanted a closer look at the intriguing tear in the fabric.
    “Oh leave it there, you silly bitch, now you can gloat with your tarty breeches, you haven’t get half your costume ready” Consuela was starting to enjoy the argle-bargle.

    “And what should we do now? Wasn’t there supposed to be another one?” Maurana turned to Sadie.
    “We’re in luck. Obviously there always has been a plan B, dear. The second one was a decoy for the Russian team, I just got it confirmed from the tagging chip of the toy.”

    Everyone was hanged to her words, which was a satisfying moment, not so much for the riveted attentions on her loving person but for the temporary silence. Sadie milked it for a few more seconds before adding.

    “Let’s open it up carefully, there is a key inside we need. Then, you only need to do one thing before we go home. Get on that scene at the Opera, rock the audience, and we’ll get down the Time Sewer off to our time and your prize.”

    She pause before adding, looking down at Maurana’s breeches. “There is obviously some prep’ work left to do.”


    Reginald gaped in amazement at the brainwave that had struck Sadie. Poor thing, he thought, she seemed to have these fits sometimes, where she would hang on a word, frozen in time for minutes, and then resuming as if nothing had happened.
    He snapped his fingers in front of Sadie, but she remained motionless. Pity, he thought, there would be none of the delicious crocodile eggs poached from the Menagerie left when she would come back to her senses…


    The e-zapper’s signal was dropping until it was gone, while there were eerie hoots and echoes in the tunnels.
    Sadie’s report to Linda Paul would wait till a few hours. The broadcast wouldn’t start until the afternoon anyway, so they had time to relax. The carriage wasn’t so comfortable, but the blue lights provided a smooth reassurance, and the zebras were now trotting at a regular pace.

    Sadie looked with fondness at the boys in drags. A fondness which even surprised her. They were starting to reveal more of their true self as they were lulled to sleep in the carriage. How funny she thought, how a few drags and accessories can both hide and reveal parts of your personality.
    Cedric, was a white guy from uptown actually quite challenged to grow a real beard, and he was playing that sassy bearded lady queen Consuela.
    Amar the second-generation North African guy was raised in the suburbs before he chose to become the shiny Terry Bubble, while Reginald from the same neighbourhood was playing Maurana the big burly black queen,…

    The more Sadie spent time with them, the more which labels they chose to be called with started to become inconsequential.
    She was actually more and more confident they would do a great job at blending by simply hiding in broad daylight. Their eccentricities would be a rousing success at the royal fête, they just had to hone their alibis a bit, and align on their story. As soon as they would be in Versailles, with the Russians from the competing cable network in toe, they had to be at the top of their games.

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