26th October1892 – 1st February1967

Lawson was born on Wednesday 26th October 1892 to his parents, Enoch and Elizabeth. His father, Enoch, had been listed as an iron worker in one census and a puddler in a later one. He became the inn keeper of the Portway Tavern some time after, certainly by the time of the 1911 census.

Enoch Butler (in his later days)
Lizzie Butler

According to the 1901 census, Lawson’s home was Woods Lane, Rowley Regis where he was living with his parents, his sister Nellie and Lizzie’s father, Edward. Shortly after, they moved to the Half Way Tavern where he lived until he got married.

The Half Way
The Portway (as it is now known)

Nothing is really known about Lawson’s early life apart from a few photographs. To the immediate right is a family picture with his wife, his mother and younger brother, Sidney. To the right of that is a picture of Lawson in RAF uniform, which he joined and was discharged from in 1918. His service number was 181782.

Lawson (behind), Ann Maria, Sydney & his mother, Elizabeth
Lawson in the RAF

On Saturday 11th December 1915, Lawson married Ann Maria Hill at the Primitive Methodist Church, Brierley Hill. At that time, the marriage certificate stated that Lawson was a munitions worker. After the wedding, they moved into 49, Lower Potter Street, Brierley Hill, long since re-developed. They were living there in 1918 when their first son, Douglas, was born. Some time after they moved to The Bulls Head Inn, Bull Street, Brierley Hill. It was here that their second son, Norman, was born in 1922.

They moved again to 5, Halfway (later to become 5, The Portway), certainly before 1939. This house was basically a two up, two down with a bathroom extension. The living room, which was also the kitchen and the dining room, had a solid fuel back boiler and I remember hearing it bubbling away merrily when the water got too hot. When this happened, hot water had to be run off to cool it down. Although there were gas fittings for lights, they were unused. There was only a single round pin electrical socket at ground level as far as I remember and some appliances, such as an electric iron, were plugged into an adaptor from the ceiling light. The front room was a ‘parlour’ and was seldom used. There was a piano against one of the walls which Lawson would play. I believe he could read music although I only ever saw him play from memory.

Acccess to the bedrooms was from the ‘parlour’. Behind a door there was a tight spiral staircase that led up to the bedrooms. When I stayed there in the 1960s, the only bedroom in use was the front one as the back one was damp. I remember the front door has a stained glass panel in it. This house has now been merged with Number 4 to make one.