I too live in Birmingham and have Irish heritage…..did your parents know the late Mike Nangle, former Lord Mayor of Birmingham and prominent Birmingham Irish Labour politician, who knew that many Brummies were openly hostile to the Birmingham Irish communityon Council estates in Erdington and Kingstanding in the wake of the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974.

Romance Fiction

I took my parents out today. My retired, slightly eccentric Irish parents. We went to Birmingham where they lived for forty years after leaving Ireland. They only came for one year, you know, to get a bit of money to go home with. Every year they still say they’re going back. They still listen to the local radio from home, get sent their local papers and know more people there, despite being in their teens when they left, than they do here.

But to be fair they have grown to love England too. The great roads “They’re far more sensible than the madness over there. Two hours to go ten miles only to find you’re back at the same auld place you started at.”, the NHS “Jesus you couldn’t afford to be sick in Ireland. Never mind paying to get well, it’d be cheaper to pay to die quick.” and…

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  1. Hi Keith!

    Thanks for the follow and reblog! I’m only just getting used to Word Press, so still not sure how it all works. I’m trying to write and thought the blog would be good practice.

    I’m not sure if my folks know Mike Nangle, I’ll give them a call later and ask, but knowing them I’m sure they do! My parents ran several pubs and Irish clubs in and around Birmingham so they seem to know everyone. I grew up in Small Heath and Stechford, then Edgbaston/Smethwick and only left about 12 years ago. I love Leamington but I don’t half miss Birmingham, with all it’s noise and mayhem.

    What part of Ireland are your family from? Do you go back?


    • Hi Noelene

      Sadly Mike Nangle passed away a couple of years ago…lovely man! When he was Lord Mayor I worked with him on the opening of the then new TNT logistics Depot in Alum Rock. I am sure your Mom and Dad would know him as he was very prominent as an Irish Councillor at Birmingham City Council in the Birmingham Irish community in the 1960’s up to the noughties.

      My Irish heritage comes from my mother’s side….the Merriman’s from the South-West of Ireland….I think my great, great, great Grandad moved from somewhere in the South-West of Ireland following the potato famine in the 1840’s and came to England, probably sailing from Cork to Gloucester Docks (or possibly Bristol?) and then the family settled in Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire working as farm labourers as that was all they knew. There are several Merrimans on the war memorial in Chipping Campden on the Catholic War Memorial(opposite The Volunteer Pub in the little Roman Catholic Church on the High Street) . Chipping Campden is a lovely Cotswold village and my Grandad used to frequent ‘The Eight Bells’ pub as a young thirsty farm hand!

      He came to Birmingham in the early 20th century and initially worked in the Jewellery Quarter as an artisan. He met my Gran, Gwendolene Richardson in Birmingham , who came to work in munitions during the First World War, and who had moved to Brum from Little Comberton, a village near Pershore , Worcs to work.

      The family home was in the ‘Back to Backs’ in Dugdale Street off Dudley Road near the old Cape Hill Brewery, now sadly gone. Grandad worked as an Auxiliary Fireman at the Brewery during the Second World War as he was too old to be called up to fight the Germans….!

      Ironically my Grandad Arthur Lewis Merriman helped put down the Easter Rising in 1916, being a Roman Catholic he was in a Scottish regiment sent to quell the rebellion…..he later said to me that he hated the Irish after that…if only he had known….!!!

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