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Learning at Black Country Living Museum

Harry Parkin

The date is 1910 and Harry is 9 years old. He lives in Lawrence Lane (the Anchor Maker's 

House) with his parents and his younger brother Fred. His father works as a machinist at an anchor works. His mother keeps house and he and his brother go to school.

His house was built at the end of the 19th century as part of a new development with improved living conditions following the Public Health Act of 1875. They have a kitchen and front parlour, two bedrooms and their won earth closet and brew-us in the back yard. They also have gas and mains water. However, they are still careful with their money and house keeping - see how they cut newspaper into patterns to line their shelves and into squares for toilet paper. 

Harry Parkin Detective Trail

Download the Harry Parkin Detective Trail below which lists all the sites relevant to Harry's life. Your students can choose which sites they wish to visit and in which order. There is also a selection of linked activities to undertake at the different sites, including shopping lists and mystery objects to find and identify.

Gregory's General Store 

Investigation Resources

These are the downloadable links for all the resources associated with Harry Parkin. 

Please begin by downloading the Teachers' Notes. When you are ready, download the relevant PDF documents by clicking on the highlighted links. 


Parkin Family Tree
    A summary of the family relationships revealed by the Census records

Census Records

  • Harry’s Grandfather, Richard, is an out of work farmer in Yorkshire
  • Living with him are:

    - his wife, Elisabeth aged 48
    - his son Edward (Harry’s father) aged 4
    - his daughter Emily A. aged 1
    - his sister-in-law, Martha C Smith, aged 48

1891 Census: Parkin Family

  • Richard Parkin and family have now moved to 73 Halesowen Road, Old Hill
  • Richard’s first wife, Elisabeth, has died and Richard has remarried. His new wife is Annie A. aged 40
  • Edward is now 14 and still at school
  • Emily is now 11 and also at school

1901 Census: Parkin Family

  • Edward is no longer living with his father. He has a family of his own and is living at 22 Church Street, Old Hill, Rowley Regis
  • Edward is recorded as a “patent anchor fitter”
  • His son (Harry) is under a month old and not named yet

1911 Census: Parkin Family

  • The family are now living in Lawrence Lane, Old Hill (the original location of the Anchor Maker’s House at the Museum)
  • Edward (Harry's father) is now a machinist in an Anchor Works
  • Harry is 10 years old and at school
  • Harry has a brother, Fred, who is 4 years old and at school
  • Harry's mother (Miriam) had 3 children in total but only 2 have survived

BMD (Births, Marriages, Deaths)

  • Full name - Harry Lawrence Parkin
  • Born on 26th March 1901
  • Address: Church Street, Old Hill
  • Father’s occupation listed as “Engine Fitter”

Marriage between Harry Parkin and May Payne on 27th September 1924 at the Parish Church in Halesowen.

  • Harry is still living at 91 Lawrence Lane, Old Hill
  • He is recorded as an “ironworker” and his father as an “engineer”
  • Harry’s bride is May Payne from 57 Bloomfield Street, Halesowen
  • May’s father, John Payne, is an “Odd Worker”
  • Witnesses include Harry’s brother Fred and May’s sister Lily

England & Wales National Probate

Calendar Index of Wills: Edward Parkin
Edward Parkin, Harry’s father, died on 11 February 1946 at the Guest Hospital, Dudley. He had been living still at 91 Lawrence Lane, Old Hill. He left his effects, worth £164.19s.1d. to Fred – working as a grocer – and Harry - working as a storekeeper.

  • Harry died on 11th March 1958 aged 56
  • Cause of death was “Coronary Thrombosis & Hypertension” (heart attack)
  • Harry was working as a “Storekeeper at a Motor Works” at the time of his death
  • He was living at 54 Alexander Road, Hasbury, Halesowen
  • His wife, May, survived him

Calendar Index of Wills: Harry Parkin
The probate date was 13 October 1958 and he left all his effects to his widow May, totalling £2835.12s.3d.


Extracts from the School Log Books for Macefield Boys’ School, Old Hill

Log books are the head teacher's daily record of happenings at the school. The information contained in them varies, but usually includes school inspections, appointment of teachers, sickness absences of teachers, the numbers of pupils attending school, and special events, such as jubilees and holidays. Log books do not usually list pupil names, but individual pupils may be mentioned under special circumstances, such as for winning prizes, health conditions that might result in a referral to another institution, or for actions meriting severe punishment.


1884 Map: Staffordshire, Scale 1:2,500

Map showing Old Hill and Lawrence Lane

1904 Map: Worcestershire, Scale 1:2,500

Same area as above showing the development of housing and changes in industry. Note how the fields around Reddall Hill have been developed, and how the Black Waggon, Riddings and Bearmore Collieries have all gone into disuse.

Same area again, showing further development, including the new G.W.R. Railway line.


Lawrence Lane, Old Hill
Archival image showing Gregory’s Grocers (now located at the Museum). The Grocers occupied 89 and 90 Lawrence Lane, next door to Harry's home at 91 Lawrence Lane.

Photograph showing the buildings being dismantled before relocation to the Museum.

Harry’s father, Edward, was a Patent Anchor Fitter. These images of Hall’s Patent Anchors – manufactured by Noah Hingley & Sons Ltd, Netherton Ironworks in Dudley - show how the anchors were constructed and where they were located on ships.

Miscellaneous resources

The Anchor Trade
Information on the anchor trade linking to Harry’s father, Edward Parkin, who worked at an Anchor Forge.

This is the recipe used as part of the shopping activity at the Museum. It is taken from a genuine Victorian Recipe.


Booking a Visit


Our Booking Team are available to offer help and advice when planning a visit. All educational groups must book in advance.

Plan your booking




Did you know?

interesting fact image

1902 - 1928 Cars were produced at the Turner-Miesse works in Walsall Street, Wolverhampton.

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