The Borough of Walsall 1814…200 years ago

August 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

1814 map of Walsall copy

A few weeks ago I posted an earlier article titled ‘The Wheels of Progress’ and included in this post was a section of a map showing the Borough of Walsall from 1814. This map section has now found its way onto the Facebook pages of Walsall Past and Present with no explanation as to its meaning, it is described to readers as being an 1814 map of Walsall and not part of a map of Walsall. To clarify matters I decided to attempt an explanation. « Read the rest of this entry »

Hope Cottage……..some cottage!

July 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Walsall Life

The previous post about Eyland & Sons Limited concerned the family business but this post looks at their residence in Highgate Road.

Hope Cottage or Hopelands, the residence of the Eyland family. Hope Cottage or Hopelands, the residence of the Eyland family.

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The wheels of progress

July 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

During the Middle Ages travel from place to place had not really been necessary as most villages and towns produced the majority of things that they needed themselves. As the population grew in Tudor times and towns began to specialise in particular trades so the need for better roads arose. Although improvements did occur in the area, Walsall’s roads remained in a poor state. After the Turnpike Act of 1747 was passed by parliament turnpike companies built several new roads around the town. For the privilege of continuing on your way travellers either paid up or remained where they were!

Local charges were:-

  • Coaches and four wheelers                12d (5p)
  • Chaises and two wheelers                 6d (2.5p)
  • A horse                                                  1d (o.5p)
  • A drove of oxen                                   10d (7.5p) per score
  • A drove of pigs, cows and sheep       5d (2p) per score

Inevitably some people were exempt from paying the toll; these included Members of Parliament travelling to and from London (now there’s a surprise!), serving soldiers, funerals, voters on election day and road menders…..charging the latter would be rubbing salt in the wounds!

At the bottom of the map shown below can be seen “Dog Kennel” referred to in the Bull’s Head details later in this post. The lack of detail is due to the fact that the map this section is taken from was drawn up to show the boundaries of Walsall Borough only. Anything outside the perimeter, i.e. Hammerwich Brook and Mr Darwall’s bridge, was in the Foreign.

A section of an 1814 map showing the new road, Bridge Street .

A section of an 1814 map showing New Road (Bridge Street) highlighted in red, the watercourses that ran through the town are shown in blue.

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Sister Dora….the town thanks you

June 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

The portrait by W. Munns that hung in the committee room of the Cottage Hospital.

The portrait of Sister Dora by W. Munns that hung in the committee room of the Cottage Hospital.

By all accounts, Monday 11th October 1886 in Walsall was a dismal day so the photographs show us that recorded the days events. A heavy mist hung over the town, a combination of the onset of autumn and the filthy atmosphere created by the town’s industry that always seemed to be there, but that day the people of Walsall turned out in their thousands to honour a good person who put the community first. It was the day Walsall honoured Sister Dora by unveiling a grand statue of her on The Bridge in front of the George Hotel. « Read the rest of this entry »

Walsall Races – c.1754-1876

May 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Best part of ten years since the book A Complete Record of Walsall Races was published people still insist on stating that the Races began in 1777, they did not, they began at least twenty-two years earlier. Whilst researching for the book I was “introduced” by the staff of Walsall Local History Centre to a grand gentleman by the name of Henry Somerfield. Mr. Somerfield, who is sadly no longer with us, left a remarkable legacy, amongst the many things he did, in 1926 he extracted and transcribed all of the articles appertaining to Walsall from the Birmingham newspaper, Aris’s Gazette. He carefully transcribed his findings into notebooks of varying shapes and sizes and these are now kept at the WLHC at Essex Street for perusal by anyone interested to take a look.

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High Street c.1905

May 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

Looking down High Street from St. Matthew's steps c.1905

Looking down High Street from St. Matthew’s steps c.1905

This picture shows a very atmospheric view of High Street, Walsall from St. Matthew’s steps, it was taken around 1905 by Arthur Farrington a member of Walsall Photographic Society. His younger brother Frank Podmore Farrington was also a member of the Society and several of their photographs will be used throughout this blog.

Below are the three Farrington brothers, Frank on the left, Arthur in the middle and eldest brother Charles. The family, from around 1900, ran the old-established company, Eyland & Sons Limited of Lower Rushall Street, more about the company in future blogs.

Farrington brothers copy « Read the rest of this entry »

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