"Annie's Story" - Morgans Buildings, Overend by Jill Guest


Today, Friday January 18, 2008 Margaret informed us that her Auntie Annie, her grandmother's aunt, passed away peacefully at 3.40 this morning. Annie is the subject of the story below, written just eight months ago. It is 42 years to the day since Margaret's gran died, she was Annie's favourite sister and brought her up after their mother died in giving birth to Annie. Jill Guest

Annie Oliver: celebrating her 100th birthday.

In May last year (2007) I received a phone call at Cradley Branch Library from a lady, who was trying to trace a house in Cradley where her great-aunt had been born. Her great-aunt was approaching her 99th birthday and wanted to see where she had been born. Sadly her mother died at her birth, she was sent to live with relatives, who had brought her up. Her birth certificate said Overend Cradley.

A copy of the 1901 census found the family, Austin Witham Oliver and Annie Louisa Oliver, living at Morgans Buildings, Overend, Cradley with their older children, I knew of no such place in Overend, or even Cradley. I checked some local trades directories and found Austin Witham Oliver had a Tailor's shop at 132 High St, Cradley Heath, so I did wonder if Morgan's buildings had been in Cradley Heath.

Morgans Buildings

Morgans Buildings today: on the left of the Little 'Un' Paper Shop, in Overend Road.

However, a message on the Rootsweb Cradley mailing list produced a response from Alan Jacob whose mother Evelyn Jacob (née Hall) had been born at Morgans Buildings in 1919 and he knew exactly where it was. The building is still there, in the side road off Overend, next to the Little 'Un' paper shop in Overend Road. It is thought to have once been a Bakehouse, and was earlier known as Morgan's Folly. It was made into two houses, now 132 & 134 Overend. At the time of Alan's Mom's birth it was known as New Road but became Overend later. Her family lived at 134, and a family named Southwick lived at 132.

Annie's 100th birthday

Annie Oliver has just celebrated her 100th birthday and has now visited not only Morgans Buildings, but also Church Road, Cradley, where her father was living with his family at the time of the 1881 census before his marriage.

His father, Osborne Oliver, was an Officer of the Inland Revenue and moved around the country as his children's birthplaces showed. Austin Witham Oliver was born in Newquay Cornwall, his unusual middle name of Witham being his mother's maiden name. He was the eldest of nine children.

I have now had the pleasure of meeting Annie Oliver, a lovely lady, happy to have found her Cradley roots and to have her story told on Cradley Links.

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