July 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
This is really part two of the previous post, Three Drinking Dens of Church Hill. Having previously shared with you the brief outcome of an inquest into the death of John Springthorpe in August 1858, I found the case to be intriguing and decided further research was required. The original charge of murder had been changed to manslaughter which, on the surface seems fair…..but is it? You decide.
I had my doubts as to how the authorities viewed a case of this description in 1858 but upon reading the extremely detailed newspaper reports I changed my mind. It would seem the police and the Coroner made a great effort to find out exactly what happened on that Tuesday morning in Church Street and I for one find the outcome to be anything but fair. This has nothing to do with the professionalism of the authorities in Walsall, the problem for me is the proceedings that occurred at Stafford Assizes a couple of months later.
July 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
Another illustration from the pubs of old Walsall, this one features the Barley Mow that stood opposite St. Matthew’s Church. Salvation was near at hand but temptation was all around! You will see from the accompanying O.S. map the public houses that were around the St. Matthews area. This area around Church Hill has always been of interest to me ever since childhood, living at the bottom end of Sandwell Street this was our usual route into Walsall town centre. When accompanied by my mother or grandmother in my early years they used to tell me stories about Gorton’s Yard and Temple Street and the hardships endured by the poor families that lived there. I think it was well-known that some of the poorest people in Walsall lived around this area until it’s demolition in the 1930s. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
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.
July 4, 2014 § 1 Comment
One of the secrets of success in business is location and George Attkins certainly got that correct when he chose Park Street as the base for his grocery business which he started around 1875. George was not a native of Walsall, he was born in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire in 1825. Sixteen years later he was listed in the 1841 census as a grocer’s apprentice in his hometown. It would appear he tried his hand at drapery for a short time but realised his destiny lay in the grocery business as the 1871 census lists him having his own grocery business at 39 High Street, Potterspury, just up the road from Stony Stratford. « Read the rest of this entry »