Black Country Bookmakers
During and after the 2nd World War “Street” (illegal) Bookmakers flourished, usually
with the tacit co-operation of the local Police and no more so than in the Black Country
This site recalls memories of three Bookies, two in Cradley Heath, the other in Old Hill
My knowledge of the Sidaways is mostly first hand, my connection with the bookmaker Benjamin Homer
is that I married his Grand Daughter--Pat Johnson.
She lived next door to him, in Ashtree road for 22 years, and was a well known Hair Dresser in Old Hill
The eldest Sidaway daughter, my Aunt Doris, married Bert-- the eldest son of Garnet Watts.
Garnet Watts made a book from his terraced house in Oldfields, off Corngreaves Road, Cradley Heath and
ran the business for many years mainly with the help of his three unmarried daughters and his youngest son
With our family history it’s a little surprising that none of the succeeding generations of Sidaways have any
connection with the Bookmaking fraternity.
We all seemed to have opted for fairly safe but, I suspect, a lot less colourful occupations and professions