Albert James Brown born in Fazeley 18th September 1901

James Brown writes about his Father

Birth certificate of Albert James Brown

My father was a gardener and began as a journeyman on the large estates around Fazeley/ Tamworth, I think Keele Hall is the only one left intact now.

(editor writes)Here is a reference from J.E. Coulson, Head Gardener to Sir Robert Peel in 1918.

It is likely that Albert Brown was an apprenticed gardener initially. The status of "Journeyman" was attributed to those who had completed an apprenticeship and were 'on their journey' to becoming masters of their trade. In this case it would be the journey towards becoming a head gardener.

It was common for Journeymen in what ever trade to move from place to place to extend their knowledge. Taking good references was essential.

This reference reads...

Drayton Manor, Tamworth 25th May 1918

This is to certify that A. Brown was employed in these Gardens under me for about two years, during that time I always found him a most steady obliging and industrious young man and always took an interest in his work.

He left me to improve himself and I have no fear that he will do his best to any one engaging him to give satisfaction.

I shall be pleased to answer any other particulars.

J.E. Coulson
Head Gardener to Sir Robert Peel Bt.

writing about his father James Brown continues...

See here the front and reverse sides of the Fazeley Charity Cup medal won by Albert James Brown,

and below, the medal alongside his pocket watch.

This reference is from Keele Hall Gardens, Newcastle, Staffs. It is dated November 4th 1922.

The wording is not clear but it seems that it says...

"This is to certify that Albert Brown has been engaged in Keele Gardens as journeyman for nearly three years. As there is ????? here about one acre of ????? he has had plenty of ?opportunity? to improve his knowledge in fruits of all descriptions, St????, greenhouse plants, tresses, ??????, Chrysanthemums etc. He is well up in watering, ?penknifeing? and ?dressing? and always willing to ????? outside when necessary.

He leaves to improve his position and I wish him the rewards which in my opinion he deserves.

The reference is signed by
W.J. Guire FRHS (spelling of name uncertain) Hd Gardener to Colonel Sneyd.

writing about his father James Brown continues...

His family I believe were mostly miners, although his father is mentioned as a painter on his marriage certificate. Here is his birth certificate.

Grandfather also served as an army sergeant in WW1 but photo's etc have been lost. He lived around Tamworth all is life and is buried (with his medals) somewhere in the Tamworth/ Fazeley area. He died in 1952 I believe.

The photos I have attached (above) are of journeymen gardeners, my father is on the left - with the knife and fork!

Here is a reference from The Gardens at Canwell Hall Sutton Coldfield.

It reads...

"Nov 29th 1919. This is to certify that A. Brown has been employed in these gardens for the past 10 months. He is a steady, industrious   & quiet young man who has taken a good interest in his work, which has been chiefly ??????. He is leaving to improve himself & I shall be very pleased to answer any questions concerning him."

It is signed C.E. Garrard (?) Gardener to Philip S. Forton Esq (?)

My father came south in the 1920's and moved around southern England gradually improving his position ending up a head gardener.

I have about a dozen more refences from southern england. Here is one from The Gardens, Crawley Court, Crawley. Winchester. ! Sept '25

It reads...

This is to certify that A Brown has been employed here under me a foreman of glass houses for the best part of eighteen months. I am pleased to say that he came to me with an excellent character which he has fulfilled in every way. He had charge of the ??????? early and late - peaches, carnations, chrysanthemums, melons, cucumbers and the growing of general greenhouse stuff, including ????? flowering shrubs, roses for ??? bloom and house furnishing and giving every satisfaction. I have found Brown thoroughly reliable and attentive in his work, taking a great interest in it. I have much pleasure in recommending him as a capable man.

J Lewis
Gardener to
Col Geo. Philippe
The Gardens, Crawley Court, Crawley. Winchester. ! Sept '25

Closing words from James Brown...

I have not had access to any records so know very little of the family history, but still have cousins in Tamworth but not in regular contact. Anything you may be able to find will be very much appreciated and if I can help further let me know.

Regards Jim Brown.