Detective Work

Margaret BLAKE & Briarholm Nursery, London Road, Hadleigh, Essex

In July 2022 I helped the owner of a newly acquired black and white photograph to pinpoint exactly where it was taken on London Road, Hadleigh, Essex. The photo captured Miss Margaret Blake standing outside her gardening business “Briarholm Nursery” in the late 1920s or 1930s. Always eager to learn more, I went on to research Margaret’s family tree and discovered her mother’s side had a fascinating history including quack doctors, printers, artists and house builders.

The Medal In The Garden | George William BRERETON (1874-1940)

An interesting bit of detective work presented itself to me at the end of August on a local Facebook page for Hadleigh, Essex. A local chap named Ron had been digging a large hole in his garden in order to insert a sunken trampoline for his grandchildren, when two feet down he unearthed a silver medal. Closer inspection revealed it to be a King George V naval Long Service and Good Conduct medal for a G W BRERETON. Ron wondered if any members of the Brererton family were still living in the area in the hopes of being able to pass it on back to them, and I decided to help.

Dr George Simpson & Magnus A. O. Williams

A post for help on an Essex local history group peeked my interest this weekend, regarding a giant brass plate unearthed in a Benfleet garden. It’s inscribed “To Dr. & Mrs. George Simpson, Senior Medical Officer, Calr. From Mr. & Mrs. Magnus A. O. Williams, Calr. In affectionate remembrance. Hold ye the good – define it well. 1934”. Could I discover who these people were?