Some time ago I met a local man who I had never met before upon the modern bridge that spans the stream that runs through the bottom of our current fields of interest. We talked about fish — because I was then very interested in this stream and its fishes because it does hold good stocks of them these days due to its current state of rude health. According to this ancient fella, when he was a very small boy, he and his friends swam and paddled there and discovered that it held populations of 'stony loaches', which is a tale that would have been true, for it once did (and it even may now!)
And then the conversation moved along ...
He then told me that the area of the stream that we stood above was once known as 'Polly's Parlour' and was a place where people came 'to enjoy themselves', which intrigued me no end. What on earth could 'Polly's Parlour' have been? What would have prompted such a name when there was nothing of a parlour nor anything like a parlour to be seen there?
The field that has been producing evidence of 'people enjoying themselves' directly abutts the area described, and given that it might have been part of Polly's Parlour or even Polly's Parlour' itself, then I have named it as such!
Every field needs a good name, don't you think? And 'Polly's Parlour' is a very evocative name indeed!
What I hadn't banked on was becoming a collector of old shirt buttons. It's not that I have a particular want to — it's just that they are frequent finds in Polly's Parlour and so a collection is forming of its own volition!
What is interesting about these shirt buttons is that some carry the names of the local drapers and outfitters who sewed them upon their shirts as a means of brand advertising. There's H J Nicoll of 39 New Street (Birmingham), Sadler of Birmingham, two that may carry brand names but are too corroded to decipher (yet!) and the star find, Goldie Brothers of Coventry.
Two others are inscribed with 'Best Ring Edge' and 'Our Own Make' and the rest are plain.
They remind me somewhat of 17th inn & traders tokens, in that they may carry evidence of merchants, some of whom may be obscure or even unknown at the present. I cannot yet discover anything about 'Goldie Brothers' and their company nor Sadler of Birmingham and theirs, but a little research may fulfil that need. However, H J Nicoll of 39 New Street was very easy because they were a large company with seven outlets in five cities including Paris. Very swanky!
What I am wondering is this; shirt buttons are detached from a man's shirt through exertions, and what else does a red-blooded male do in the parlour of a woman named Polly, besides exert himself?
Maybe I have too rich an imagination...