Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wolverton Street Names - II

The "Little Streets"

The streets south of the Stratford Road, later known as the "Little Streets" were built mostly in 1840 and survived for 120 years.

The streets were Creed Street (which still survives) Ledsam Street, Glyn Square and Young Street.

These were the men who gave their names to these streets.

George Carr Glyn was born into a London banking family and was probably instrumental in securing the capital for the London and Birmingham Railway venture. In 1837 he became chairman and continued in that role when the enlarged company became the London & North Western Railway. He was a member of parliament and in 1869 elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Wolverton - the first to hold that title since the Middle Ages, and perhaps a tip of the hat to Wolverton’s importance in those early years.

Richard Creed was the secretary for the company, at first jointly with Captain Moorsom of Birmingham and after Moorsom’s resignation, the sole office holder. Creed was also a well-connected banker and was a partner in the firm of Fauntleroy and Company. As an interesting side note the head of this firm, Henry Fauntleroy, was found guilty of forgery at the Old Bailey and sentenced to death! There was no suggestion that Creed was implicated. From the summary of the trial it appears that quite a number of people lost money through Fauntleroy’s misappropriation and I expect that many in those times might have felt that the death penalty was a proper punishment. However, Henry Fauntleroy was the last man to be executed for this particular crime and subsequent generations of bankers were able to rest easy.

Joseph Frederick Ledsam, one of the more influential board members and for many years Deputy Chairman. According to the 1851 Census he was a landed proprietor, Deputy Lieutenant of Worcester and a JP. He was living in some comfort on the Harborne Road in Edgbaston. The Ledsams, like many successful Birmingham families, emerge during the 18th century, likely in some manufacturing enterprise. In the 19th century Thomas Ledsam and Sons were button manufacturers and Daniel Ledsam was a merchant in the mid-century. Joseph was obviously part of the same extended family but his precise place in the family is not apparent from my brief research. What we can say is that he had some capital and was probably smart enough to invest it in the new railway. On August 13th 1846 The Times listed the individuals who had put up money for "Railway Speculation". Any amount over £20,000 had to be declared to Parliament and therefore became public knowledge. Ledsam put up £186,000 - a serious sum of money.The following account, extracted from "Modern Birmingham and its Institutions 1841-1871", a compilation of local activities, gives a clearer concept of Mr.. Ledsam's role in the community.
On December 28, (1861) Mr.. Joseph Frederick Ledsam died in his 72nd year. Until a short time before his decease Mr.. Ledsam occupied a prominent position amongst the leading inhabitants of the town, but his failing health compelled him to retire from public life.
Ledsam was a Magistrate for the three counties of Warwick, Worcester, and Stafford, and a Deputy Lieutenant of Warwick. He was High Sheriff of Worcestershire, a fund-raiser and benefactor of the General Hospital and an active member of the Government Board of the Free Grammar School.

He was likewise well-known as having a prominent share in the management of several important commercial undertakings, amongst which may be mentioned the Birmingham Banking Company, the Birmingham and Staffordshire Gas Company, and last, but by no means least, the London and North Western Railway Company, in connection with which, for several years, he performed the laborious duties of Deputy Chairman of the Directors. By those who knew him personally, Mr.. Ledsam was highly esteemed, both as a public man and in the relationship of his private life; and the regard generally entertained for him was abundantly justified by his amiable character and his uniformly courteous and obliging disposition.

Thomas Young remains obscure. He was a director of the L & BR and sat on a number of committees, which suggests that he was a hard working director. Unfortunately there were many Thomas Youngs, quite a number of whom were well-to-do and not one of them stands out as the Thomas Young of the L & BR.

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