Newsletter – November 2007

November 7th, 2007 by JCope

On 6th November our new Chairman, Joan Ryder, welcomed a large audience to the 45th season of the Society and introduced the speaker, Roy Peacock, who talked on “Ernest Stevens, the Bucket King”.

Recalling that he first visited the Society twenty years ago, Roy went on to enthral his audience with his account of the Stourbridge holloware manufacturer who became one of the town’s greatest philanthropists.  We learned that Ernest was born in Lye in 1867, attended King Edward’s School and eventually took over the family business making galvanised buckets and bowls.  Despite the first factory buildings falling victim to mine subsidence, he built up a most successful local trade, roaming the area by horse and trap.  By 1914 he was selling his brown enamelware across the Country and the Empire, continuing to supply the Army during the War and thriving through the depression of the 1920s and 1930s.

Having made his fortune, Ernest decided to use it for the benefit of people in the area.  Roy told us about his significant support for the Corbett Hospital, his purchase and donation of Stevens Park in Thorns Rd, Haden Hill and Corngreaves Parks, Mary Stevens Maternity Home, Mary Stevens Park in Norton and Stevens Park in Wollescote and about his support for Oldswinford Church.  This legacy remains for all to enjoy, the Stour Works still exists, although not making holloware, and the Stevens brand, Judgeware, is still on sale but is now made in Portugal!

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