My (paternal) Grandfather - Ephriam William Hyde

Early Years

Ephriam William Hyde was born in 1887 at 4, Belle View, Woodcross, Sedgely, Worcestershire, one of three sons of Josiah Hyde and his wife Jane (nee Massey). The three brothers were Ephriam, Josiah junior, born 20 July 1889 & George Harry born 1894. Their father was at that time employed as an Iron Shearer. Ephriam's birth was registered at Dudley.

Ephriam was named after his paternal Grandfather - Ephriam William an Iron Shearer & Shopkeeper. Ephriam senior was born 29 August 1830 and his parents were Joseph & Harriot Hyde, from Ettingshall and Joseph was an Iron Moulder.

My Grandfather Ephriam's father & mother, Josiah & Jane were married at Wolverhampton Register Office on 17th Novemeber 1886. Josiah was 25 and Jane just 18. Jane's father, Joseph Massey was a Blacksmith of Sedgeley. Josiah was at this time living in Penn, Wolverhampton where his father, Ephriam senior was now shown to be a Licensed Victualler, of (we believe) the Rose & Crown public house. He also owned a small shop at Woodcross Sedgeley, and it is probably this property where Josiah & Jane made their home, and the three brothers were born.


Grandpa Hyde worked for Barrow Stores (more on Barrows in another article) during the early years of the 20th Century until he moved himself and his young family to Harborne and opened his newsagents shop opposite the Green Man pub.

Ephriam started work for Barrow's when he was 14, (the school leaving age) in 1901 and was initially employed in the warehouse, fetching & carrying. By the time he left in 1922 he had risen through the ranks to become a representative visiting the large houses of Birmingham to take orders and introduce new produce lines.

According to my father, Grandpa Hyde visited the houses of such well known people as Nettlefold, Chamberlain, Cadbury, Martineau, Lanchester located in Edgbaston, Moseley, Kings Norton and possibly parts of Harborne.

Between 1889 and 1911 the boundaries of Birmingham were expanded to include the formerly separate towns of Aston, Edgbaston, Erdington, Handsworth, King's Norton, Northfield and Yardley, some of which had been part of Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

At that time, areas of Birmingham such as Balsall Heath, Handsworth & Aston were at that time desirable areas for monied merchants & industrialists and therefore its more that likely Ephriam visited large houses in those areas too.

My father told me that Grandpa had a pony & trap (with a hood) provided by Barrow's for getting round to these premises, although I believe he would have had a motor vehicle at least post WW1- Ephrtiam was the sort of man that had to have the status symbols. This is proved by the fact that when he moved to Harborne he had the latest Morris motor car and possesed a handmade sporting shotgun and handmade fly fishing rods. His attire of the time reflectd a man able to buy well and not be restricted to homemade, hand-me-downs and/or repaired clothing.