A New Year Wish

How many of us have made a New Year’s Resolution with the best of intentions to keep it? How many of us have also broken them (often accidentally) within weeks?! Maybe a New Year wish upon a star would be more appropriate….

Whilst having a delve back through the local newspapers for 1916 to see how the New Year began 100 years ago, inevitably the papers were full of news of the war and the traditional list of individuals receiving New Year Honours. Of note in this particular year was a knighthood for ‘Alderman W. H. Bowater, for three years in succession Lord Mayor of Birmingham’.

The Night Sky In January. Birmingham Daily Post 1 January 1916.

The Night Sky In January. Birmingham Daily Post        1 January 1916.


All the news articles were interesting, but what really caught my eye was a fantastic star chart showing the constellations and their position at 10.20pm on 1st January 1916.


I doubt they will print the same again this year, but if you do feel like a breath of fresh air, why not look up to the stars on 1st January 2016 and see if you can spot the constellations (weather permitting!) 100 years on.



Of course if you want to, you can find the latitude and longitude of any star with a celestial globe – as instructed by Henry Groombridge in The Lady’s and Gentleman’s Assistant, in the use of the Celestial and Terrestrial Globes (LP 07.2 SWI) published in 1786.

L07.2 SWI

The Lady’s and Gentleman’s Assistant, in the use of the Celestial and Terrestrial Globes. Front page with images of globes.                            L07.2 SWI

Instructions on finding the latitude and longitude of a star.

Instructions on finding the latitude and longitude of a star.

On reflection, 2015 has been a very difficult year across the world. Maybe instead of a New Year’s Resolution, we can all make a New Year’s Wish for a happy 2016 for everyone. The Geminids may have been and gone, but we can always hope to see a shooting star!

Here at the Iron Room, we would like to say thank you so much for reading our blog. We hope you have found the articles interesting, and maybe inspired you to go exploring through the archives yourself, as we certainly have this year! We have had some wonderful articles from guest authors who share in our passion for the history of Birmingham, its people and its places. We hope to bring you even more interesting articles next year.

A very Happy New Year to all!

Nicola Crews


2 responses to “A New Year Wish

  1. Hi, New Year Resolutions are great but they are hard to complete! I have had one for years and that is to find where my great Great Great Great grandfather came from to be in Birmingham…. in the 18th Century. We don’t see any record of his age at death nor any record of where he came from, nor a will in which he might have told us something!

    All I know is that my Grandfather was the youngest son of Dr Charles Yarwood of Aston, his Dad was a Chas. Yarwood who was born in Bromsgrove in a spell when his Family were out of new Canal Street, Deritend and lived in Bromsgrove for about 5 or 10 years – about 1785-1795 (we think in connection with the Bham Worcester Canal building. Chas’s dad was John Yarwood whose dad was the mysterious William.

    I have lots on them and their children and history but nothing links me back to Wm’s origins 😦

    They were variously attached to St Peter & St Pauls Church at Aston juxta… and St Phillips (The Cathedral) and also with St Martins, even with other Churches in Deritend!

    They lived in New Canal Street, Deritend then in Sutton Street, Aston and Chas died in Yates Street Aston.

    There was some suggestion that Wm lived on the Aston Hall Estate and may have been a Carpenter with experience of Canal lock building.

    I did see a note of a Settlement Certificate of Yarwoods at Aston but it was of a Samuel Yarwood from Stockport….not surprising because the Yarwoods mostly came from Cheshire.

    So, help me to make this one work and you may just be making one of your own work too?

    I was born in the QEH in 1943 – I now live in Cambridgeshire. Life is good if challenging at times but with a second new hip life will decidedly be better…. but I can still use my Mac without that…. what next?


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