I had been looking into where the Paulin family lived when they were in Birmingham and trying to ascertain how they lived. My main focus was on their economic or social position. After Frederick’s bankruptcy in Peckham and the Anchor Brewery, I wasn’t sure if they were doing well, especially with 13 children in the home. I had seen the census – and they had two servants. So I was confused a bit – good or bad?
I started an internet search to see if I could find “Henley Lodge” which was the name of the house they lived in, which was in Acock’s Green. There was nothing extant that was called that, but I did find the website for the Acock’s Green Historical Society: http://aghs.jimdo.com/ . I decided to write them and ask if anyone knows if this place still existed. I got such wonderful assistance from Mike Byrne of the Society; it was as if my problem became his problem. Such a great collaborative research process! And as a result I have a pretty good idea of where they lived, and what kind of neighbourhood they lived in.
So here are my initial sources for the place:
1901 Census listing Ernest and Emma Paulin with their five children at “Henley Lodge” Yardley Road
1886 Birmingham City Directory listing Frederick Paulin, accountant, living at Henley Lodge, Yardley Road
And – 28 July 1888 Reading Mercury notice of the marriage of Louise Mary Paulin to Robert Rutherford, stating that she was the daughter of Frederick Paulin of Henley Lodge
Mr. Byrne first went into the sources for the 1881 Census, and looked at where the Paulins lived at that time – which was not Henley Lodge. Here is what he found:
“The 1881 census has Frederick as an accountant on the Warwick Road with his family. There are some records on the internet saying the family lived in a grocer’s shop, but whoever did this had read the previous entry and not noticed that the census was describing the property next door. Looking at the sequence of records, he would have been in quite a good house, which later became a shop, somewhere to the left of or maybe indeed the house with the tall chimney on the left in the 1936 picture and on the right in the 1953 image. However these have been replaced by modern shops as shown in the Google streetview screen shot.”
As for Henley Lodge, he wasn’t sure given what he knew of Yardley Road, so he asked for a picture, so I sent him my lone outdoor shot which I thought had been taken when they lived in Birmingham because of the age of the children in the image. Apparently this was the help he needed.
“I think I can be reasonably confident that the building Henley Lodge is now called 162 Yardley Road. It was probably built in the early 1880s, which may be why it was not on the 1888 map, which itself was surveyed over a period of time. As you can see from the 1904 map, it stands back from Yardley Road on the corner of Francis Road. This is confirmed by a directory of 1905. In 1900 it was occupied by George Perkins, a well-known local chemist from the Warwick Road near where your family lived in 1881. In 1905 it was occupied by George Hill. Today it is part of a garage business, and the front and back have been covered by extensions, but you can see that it was a large enough house to match the photograph.”
Needless to say this picture of how they lived could not have happened without the knowledge and assistance of Mike Byrne. Clearly they were living an upper middle class lifestyle. Not sure how they financed this completely, but most likely from sources other than his salary as an accountant. He just was not that good at money. Some of the money might have come from his adult sons working, or his wife’s inheritance from her mother, or help from his Dad. All possible! He named his home after his birthplace, and frankly the name made his place sound a bit posh.
Thank you Acock’s Green Historical Society and Mike Byrne! Thank you.