Arthur Frederick Neal (b1883 – d1965)
Arthur Frederick Neal was born on 14 August 1883 at 125 Cheapside, Aston the ninth child of Alfred Neal and Jane Neal (Barnett). He was baptised 2 September 1883 at the Church of St David, Birmingham.
He had 8 older and 3 younger brothers and sisters: Harriet (b1871 – d1871), Albert Edward (b1871 – d1922), Alice (b1873 – d1932), Alfred Henry (b1875 – d1878), Ellen (Nellie) (b1878 – d1884), Ellen’s twin (b1878 – d at birth), Ada Lucy (b1879 –d1970), Marion Elizabeth (b1881 – d1966), Sarah Jane (b1885 – d1946), George Henry (b1887 – d1962), Beatrice Lavinia (b1889 – d1966)
In 1891 Arthur was living at Trumans Lane, Wythall with his mother Jane, and sisters Marion, Jane and Beatrice.
Arthur joined the 4th South Staffordshire Regiment Field Forces and fought in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 – 1902, sailing on the Aurania on 18 March 1900 and arriving at the Cape about 9 April. Along with the 1st Worcestershire, 2nd Royal West Kent, and 2nd Manchester, they formed the 17th Brigade under Major General Boyes and part of the 8th Division under General Sir Leslie Rundle. The battalion was not engaged in any big battle, and, like the rest of Rundle's force, had few opportunities of earning distinction, although their long stay in the north-east of the Orange River Colony was fraught with every conceivable hardship and danger.
Following his return from battle, Arthur married Lilian Agnes Maloney, known as Lily, on 18 September 1905 at St Anne’s Roman Catholic Church in Alcester Street, Aston, Birmingham. Present as witnesses were William and Elsie Maloney. Arthur was 22 years old and a bachelor, and worked as a carpenter. Lilian was 20 and a spinster. Lily was described as ‘a beautiful Irish girl with gorgeous red hair’. She was also about three months pregnant with their first child. Arthur was living at 21 Cyril Road and Lily at 43 Eversley Road, Small Heath at the time. Their first son Arthur Francis (Archie) was born on 29 March 1906 at 24 Dunton Road, Aston. Their second son Howard John was born on 10 April 1909 at 68 Baker Street, Sparkhill.
In 1911 Arthur was living at 14 Baker Street, Sparkhill, Birmingham with Lilian age 26, son Arthur Francis age 5 and son Howard John age 2. Also living with them was Alfred Wilson a boarder. Arthur was employed as a wagon builder at a railway carriage works.
Their daughter Norah Mary was born on 3 May 1913 at 39 Blackford Road, Sparkhill. Lily died on 29 April 1916 at 39 Blackford Road, Sparkhill from tuberculosis, age 31.
Arthur was a carpenter and joiner and initially made portable buildings including poultry houses and sheds for sale. He later became a builder, buying land when the price was reasonable and building houses and bungalows for sale, and for his family's own occupation.
Arthur married Lilian Florence Roberts on 28 September 1918 at St Agnes Church, Moseley, Birmingham. Present as witnesses were George and Violet McEwan, Lilian’s sister and brother-in-law. Arthur was 35 years old and a widower and worked as a carpenter/joiner, Lilian was 28 and a spinster shop assistant. Both were living at 61 Coldbath Road, Moseley at the time. Lillian was about 1 month pregnant with their first child Cyril at the time of their marriage. They had four children: Cyril Frederick (b1919 - d2008), Reginald William (b1921 – d2005), Daisy May (1923 – d2006), Stanley Charles (b1928 – d2005).
When Arthur married for the second time, his children of his first marriage were not welcome, so Howard and Archie were sent to a family in Henley-in-Arden to be raised and taught a trade, while Norah was put with a family who wanted to adopt her. But when Arthur’s second family began to arrive, Norah was brought home to look after the babies, do housework and man the petrol pumps. After Norah’s marriage to Arthur Browning, Arthur saw the children of his first marriage only a few times. The second family didn’t even know he’d been married before until they met the other family at his funeral. Arthur’s sister, Ada Meaking, said her brother was kind-hearted and loved all his children, but he was afraid they would be treated badly by their step-mother Lilian if he kept in touch with them. Arthur Frederick was a builder, and Archie and Howard followed his trade, as did Cyril and Reginald.
Arthur and Lilian's first child, Cyril Frederick was born on 26 May 1919 at 54 Ombersley Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham. Their second, Reginald William was born on 2 January 1921 at Grimes Hill, Wythall. Their only daughter, Daisy May was born on 2 February 1923 also at Grimes Hill, Wythall. Their final son, Stanley Charles was born on 13 August 1928 at Laburnham Cottage, Alcester Road, Wythall.
Arthur bought a shop and garage premises in Alcester Road, Wythall. Lilian worked in the shop selling sweets and groceries and also cups of tea, as well as manning three petrol pumps. A mechanic was employed to service vehicles. After several years they sold the business and moved to a rented bungalow in Earlswood lakes while Arthur built houses at Orchard Villas, Alcester Road, Wythall. They moved into one of these houses.
Arthur and Lilian bought a pair of cottages in Meriden and made one into a shop which sold sweets and groceries. Arthur added an extension to the rear to create a café and they served teas, refreshments and home-made ice cream. They called the property ‘Wayside Café’. Meriden was a village and is located in the centre of England. Business was brisk particularly when the weather was good.
Arthur and Lilian sold the business and moved to a bungalow in Spring Lane, Hockley Heath, near Birmingham. They stayed there for some time and then moved to a house at College Street, Burnham on Sea, Somerset, having liked the area after having stayed there in a caravan on holiday. Lilian took in bed and breakfast guests while Arthur built four bungalows at Ruishton, a small village near Taunton, Somerset. They sold the guesthouse at Burnham and moved into one of the bungalows.
After the start of WWII, Arthur and Lilian sold the bungalow and moved to a house in Coombe Lane, St Marychurch, Torquay. After the end of the war, they sold the house and moved to a bungalow in Teignmouth.
They then moved to a house in Sunnylands Avenue, Southbourne, Bournemouth, then a bungalow in Harting Road, Boscombe East, Bournemouth. They sold that property and moved into lodgings at Foxhole Road, Southbourne while Arthur built a bungalow at Harbour Road, Southbourne, a short walk from the beach. This was the last property he would build.
In 1960, Arthur and Lilian sold the bungalow at Southbourne and bought a bungalow in Highridge Crescent, New Milton, Hants, to be close to Daisy and her family.
Arthur died on 4 December 1965 at 5 High Ridge Crescent, New Milton of heart disease, and was buried at New Milton Cemetery on 11 December 1965. His age is stated as being 81 but in fact he was 82 when he died.
Lilian Florence Neal (Roberts) (b1889 – d1976)
Lilian Florence Roberts was born on 19 October 1889 at 5 Lovers Walk, Aston the second child of William Roberts and Louise Roberts (Walton). She had an older sister Violet Daisy Louise (b1885 – d1974). She was baptised at the church of St Peter and St Paul on 10 November 1889. In 1891 they were living at 5 Lovers Walk, Aston where William is described as being a ‘case tube maker’, a metal working occupation. Living next door at 7 Lovers Walk were William’s parents John and Emma Roberts, aged 70 and 72. John is also described as being a ‘case tube maker’. In 1901 they were still living at 5 Lovers Walk, Aston when Violet was a warehouse worker.
In 1911 William and Louise were living at 1 Foundry Lane, Smethwick where William's occupation is given as a grocer with his wife and daughter assisting in the business. William and Louise had been married 26 years.
Lilian married Arthur Frederick Neal on 28 September 1918 at St Agnes Church, Moseley, Birmingham. Present as witnesses were George and Violet McEwan, Lilian’s sister and brother-in-law. Arthur was 35 years old and a widower and worked as a carpenter/joiner, Lilian was 28 and a spinster shop assistant. Both were living at 61 Coldbath Road, Moseley at the time.
During her life with Arthur, they moved many times within the Birmingham area and then to Somerset, Devon, Bournemouth and finally New Milton in Hampshire. She ran several businesses as Arthur built houses and bungalows for sale or to live in.
After Arthur died on 4 December 1965, granddaughter Helen stayed for several months to keep Lilian company. Lilian sold 5 High Ridge Crescent and on 9 September 1966 moved into St Denys, Station Road, New Milton an assisted living complex for the elderly, where she was to spend the final 10 years of her life. She suffered a stroke and died in hospital on 13 March 1976 age 86. She was buried in New Milton Cemetery.Go to top