The Hamstead Bowls Team Photographed in 1910 by Diana Poppit

My granfather George Horton is kneeling on the extreme right of the photograph. The men were all miners from Hamstead Colliery. The medals they are wearing were given to them when they won their league that year. They were also each presented with a cut glass vase, I inherited Georges and  I think of him whenever I put flowers into it.

My granddad was born in Dudley, where his father was a Nailler. George went to work in the coal mine in Dudley when he was 12 years old, and left there to go to Handsworth when he married my Grandmother, and worked there in the Jubilee mine before, sometime in the 1890's, moving to Hamstead. It was there that most of the eight Horton children were born, my mother who  was the youngest was born in 1908.

The village was a very tight knit community, apart from the few farm workers the men were all miners. They worked and played together. A school was opened for their children and what must have been almost the first adult education centre was formed. Those who had not gone to school, and there were many of them who had to stay at home to help their parents or look after younger brother and sisters, were taught to read and write. Money was never plentiful, but every man had work, no family starved. The village was tagged 'Happy Hamstead'.