sleeman robert genealogy steam engine railway bluebell west somerset national trust
NEW FASTER SITE
The links below will download data collected from the England & Wales Registers at the Family Records Centre in London, using Excel Spreadsheet (ver 4). They will be expanded as I get time for research.
Use the map to help locate registration districts in Cornwall, Devon and Gloucestershire.
I've added some items of interest about members of the family I know, but there are many more of my generation from the Forest of Dean branch of the family with whom I have lost touch. My Father was brought up in the "island" between Wales and England, cut off by the rivers Severn and Wye. He left there in his twenties and has lived in Coventry ever since. We visited the Forest regularly in the 1960s while his mum was alive, but since then my visits have been infrequent.
One book that contains some pictures of the Forest of Dean Sleeman family is "Highest Point of Dean" by Maurice V Bent (ISBN 0 9510752 0 9).
The life in the Forest from Victorian times until the outbreak of war in 1939 was very isolated from the "mainland". A good book that describes this period was written by Winifred Foley "A Child in the Forest". She gives some insight into hard times and lack of jobs during the period that my father's generation were growing up.
The life since then has changed dramatically with the closure of the pits (coal mines) and the arrival of the car. The television playwright Dennis Potter grew up on the edge of the Forest. Perhaps his most evocative work is "The Changing Forest" (1962) [Published by Minerva - ISBN 0-7493-8643-6] where he describes the fabric of a world whose old ways are yielding to the new; habits altering; expectations growing; work, leisure, language itself changing under the impact of the new television, of commercial jingles and the early Elvis.
You may find his work disturbing or even offensive, but try "The Singing Detective" [on video - BBCV 54465/6] or "Blue Remembered Hills". The change in the UK more generally is conveyed both in the Dennis Potter biography by W. Stephen Gilbert [Fight & Kick & Bite - published by Sceptre - ISBN 0-340-64048-0] and in Potter's many "plays" for television.
His early and controversial TV play "Son
of Man", the Wednesday Play for 16 April 1969, also reflects the reality of the
non-conformist Christian community in the Forest. The Bible had come to seem almost
a local document.
All this is a far cry from the Manhattan
skyline of Croydon, my home since 1972, or the City of London, where I work.
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