Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Great Grandfather was a foreman at Woolwich Dockyard

Stephen Head -- my 2x great grandfather -- was born 29 Jul 1817 in Plumstead, Kent, England; and died 28 Dec 1881 in Plumstead, Kent, England 

According to a Kentish Independent newspaper account of the September 10th, 1910 funeral for Mrs Stephen Head (Margaret Wilkie), at Plumstead Churchyard, Mr Head, her late husband, had at one time been a foreman at Woolwich Dockyard.

The Woolwich Dockyard was an English naval dockyard originally built in 1514 by Henry VIII for the construction of his famous ship 'Harry Grace a Dieu'. 

Royal Navy vessels were built at the yard until its closure in 1869.  The area around the dockyard was known as the Warren and consisted of workshops, warehouses, timber yards, barracks, foundries and the nearby Royal Arsenal.

During the time Stephen would have been foreman at the dockyard he very likely would have been involved with loading and outfitting ships for the Royal Artillery including the loading of shot, shell (above) and horses (below).

During the time that Stephen was at the dockyard shipbuilders had intensified the development of marine steam engineering and a growing number of steam vessels entered naval service, so Woolwich became the principal naval yard for fitting out and maintaining the Navy’s steam fleet.

There is very little gleaned from the historical record for Stephen's life, but we do know he was the son of a Royal Artillery soldier who had served in the West Indies during the late 1790s.

And, Stephen's son, and namesake, Stephen John Head was employed at the Woolwich Royal Arsenal as assistant foreman of its carriage department for 42 years, so there is an association with the Royal Artillery for three generations in this family.

While not well to do by any means Stephen and Margaret managed to prosper and raise ten child in Woolwich.  At one time they lived in an area known as the Sprays Buildings on Hog Lane in Plumstead.

My own experience in a dockyard was in the late summer 1968 when I worked as a shipwright apprentice at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.  The dockyard was one of the dirtiest and most dangerous places I've ever worked.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- Philip Carey

Philip Carey (1925 - 2009) was an American born film and television actor.  He is probably best known for his roles in Westerns as well as his starring role in the NBC television series "Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers."

Philip Carey's Santa Susana locations filmography includes:

The Man Behind the Gun (1953) starring Randolph Scott, Patrice Wymore and Dick Wesson (Bell Ranch)(Iverson Ranch) Warner Bros.

The Nebraskan (1953) starring Philip Carey, Roberta Haynes, Wallace Ford and Richard Webb (Corriganville)(Burro Flats) Columbia

Wyoming Renegades (1954) starring Philip Carey, Gene Evans and Martha Hyer (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

They Rode West (1954) starring Robert Francis, Donna Reed and May Wynn (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Massacre Canyon (1954) starring Philip Carey, Audrey Totter and Douglas Kennedy (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) Columbia

The Outlaw Stallion (1954) starring Philip Carey, Dorothy Patrick and Billy Gray (Corriganville)(Chatsworth Reservoir)(Bell Ranch) Columbia

Return to Warbow (1958) starring Philip Carey, Catherine McLeod and Andrew Duggan (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) Columbia

"Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers" TV Series (1956) starring Philip Carey as Lieutenant Michael Rhodes (26 episodes, 1956-1957)

Over the next five decades Carey made appearances in a plethora of other TV Westerns and dramas.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- John Carroll

John Carroll (1906 - 1979) was a American born actor and singer.  He appeared in several Western films in the 1930s and 1940s, and is probably best known for his role as Zorro in Zorro Rides Again in 1937.

John Carroll's Santa Susana locations filmography includes:

Zorro Rides Again (1937) [serial] starring John Carroll, Helen Christian and Reed Howes (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Fabulous Texan, The (1947) starring Bill Elliott, John Carroll and Catherine McLeod (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Wyoming (1947) starring Bill Elliott, Vera Ralston and John Carroll - Republic

Angel in Exile (1948) starring John Carroll, Adele Mara and Thomas Gomez (Corriganville) Republic

Old Los Angeles (1948) starring Bill Elliott, John Carroll and Catherine McLeod (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Old Los Angeles (1948) starring Bill Elliott, John Carroll and Catherine McLeod (Iverson Ranch) Republic