10 December 2014

Having had a fairly ‘entertaining’ 24 hours – translate ‘entertaining’ to ‘god awful’ – I decided today to delve into the ‘amusing finds’ file to cheer myself up (and hopefully entertain my lovely readers too!). Last year, some of you will remember my fairy workers, angels and other random finds in the censuses of England and Wales. Santa Claus stocking makers were new news to me and it seemed a little unbelievable that there were 178 Reindeer residing in England and Wales in 1911. Put reindeer into the key word search on Ancestry and that’s what you get…. Some of the results I cannot even fathom why they are connected with the word at all but it would seem that there are various inns and hotels around the country called The Reindeer, Reindeer Inn, Reindeer Hotel etc.

Delving further into the reindeers of England and Wales, it transpires that some are in pretty poor repair these days with Robert Wade’s photograph on Geograph (left) showing the ‘sight that greets visitors to Burnley as they step off the train at Central Station’. Eek!

The Reindeer Hotel in Lincolnshire hasn’t faired much better, despite being around since 1720 according to The Closed Pubs website. James William and Elizabeth Fairweather were ‘hotel keeper’ and ‘landlady’ of the Reindeer Hotel in 1911 and the property is recorded as having fourteen rooms. A sad situation for a hotel of such long history to be closed down….

Other establishments were recorded in Long Bennington, Nottinghamshire – where until earlier today, Ada Goddard was recorded as ‘Uncle’ when it clearly says ‘visitor’ (muchos gracias, Ancestry!) – King Street, Wolverhampton and also Reindeer Cottages in Wilbert Lane, Beverley, Yorkshire (East Riding). There was a small part of me which was a little disappointed not to find an ‘actual’ reindeer enumerated – but I am always happy with a cracking transcription error! (yes, some do say – easily pleased!) Ethel Skey was the daughter of Vincent and Elizabeth Rhoda Skey, aged 25 and living in Islington in 1911:


Ancestry believes that Ethel was a ‘silver reindeer‘! But the icing on the cake is a man who was actually called Reindeer …. he was a Dutch hairdresser, born in Assen, Netherlands and living in Shepherd’s Bush in 1911:


[Don’t forget to keep an eye out over the course of December for the hidden message in the titles of FWL blogs…. When you think you know, email us so as not to spoil it for others!]

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