When William Charles Brown (aka Charlie) was born on June 15, 1896, in Gloucestershire, his father, Joseph, was 43 and his mother, Charlotte, was 38. He had one illegitimate daughter with Lydia Harris. He later married Florence Laura Green and they had three children together. He died on February 3, 1966, at the age of 69.
Baptismal record for William Charles Brown November the 8th 1897 show he was baptised along with his sister Rose at St Paul’s in Gloucester, Despite telling people he had been baptised at Gloucester Cathedral. At the time the family lived at Number 6 Ducie St Gloucester.
In the 1901 census, the family had moved to Harts Rd., in the Saltley district of Birmingham.
We can also see in the 1901 census Williams father, Joseph b1853 was a bricklayer. Williams Brother, Joseph (born 1879) was a bricklayer too, like his father. All Williams siblings, except the youngest on that census return in 1901, Emily, were born in Gloucester. Emily was born in Birmingham, as was to be the last of his siblings Walter, born later in the census year.
By the time of the 1911 census the family, including William Charles, had moved to 140 Havelock Rd., in the Washwood Heath district of Birmingham, at the top of Alum Rock, a thriving community then and now, where they remained until the death of both parents in the 20’s and 30’s.
He is shown in the 1911 census at age 15 working as an “iron worker” at a Motor Maker – believed to be the Wolseley Motor Company which had a large new manufacturing works in nearby Adderly Park.
Charlie as he now called himself, spent time in the army during the first world war working as a blacksmith in Beaumaris on the Isle Anglesey in North Wales. His older brother Frederick also served in the first world war but was not so lucky . He served abroad and was discharged in 1919 due to sickness – presumably gassed.
Charlie left the army in 1918-19. He lived a bachelor’s life thereafter. After impregnating my grandmother in mid-1919 she gave birth in 1920. To his credit, or perhaps being forced to own up to his responsibilities by his mother, a formidable lady, he paid maintenance for the upkeep of my mother. During this period we are uncertain of his whereabouts. We do know at some time he left the Motor Woks and moved to The Metro Cammel, a railway coach building company nearby where he was a blacksmith.
Charlie’s father died in August 1924. Charlie was 28 and showed little sign of settling down. He still lived at 140 Havelock Rd., Washwood Heath with his mother and family.
In the early 1930’s Charlie was scheduled to go to India for the company. Charlie decided against going. We don’t know if the death of Charlie’s mother in June 1932 at the age of 74 changed his mind. For whatever reason, perhaps his mother’s death, Charlie married shortly afterwards, on the 15th March 1933, aged 36. His wife was Florence Laura Green some 11 years his junior.
Charlie left the Metro Cammel in 1932, returning to the Wolseley Motor Company where he worked for the next 30 years up until his retirement, aged 65, in 1961. During that period working for the Transport and Despatch Department Charlie was in charge of a gang of men called the “Heavy Gang”, a group responsible for all transport movements, loading and lifting in the company.
It’s possible this is where he met Florence Laura Green as she worked at the Wolseley on a capstan lathe. Her father worked there too in the vehicle painting department.
Known Children of William Charles Brown.
Edna May Harris 1920-2016
Anthony Brown was born in July 1934. when Charlie was 43. Tony is last in the Bloodline.
Joan Ann was born in May 1940, when Charlie was 44.
Terence was born in August 1947, when Charlie was 51. He died 1995
There is a rumour, as yet unproven, concerning a child who died. This may have been an early illegitimate child with Florence Laura Green, in fact, this may have some bearing on their marriage. Again we see the possible hand of Charlie’s mother, Charlotte, here. Family stories tell of an incident where Charlie was chased down the street by the formidable Charlotte with a knife in her hand. Could it have been over the results of his philandering? We’ll never know. But, with his track record…
William Charles Brown (Charlie) died on February 3, 1966, when he was 69 years old. He died from complications resulting from a fall down the stairs in 27 Loe Less Rd., Kitts Green, Birmingham where he lived with his family.
He is buried in Yardley Cemetary Birmingham.
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