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Forum Home > Tale's from the region. > Lye, Worcestershire.

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Lye Waste, Rowley Regis.



Like my compatilble friend, who worry's that the area of his interest is sadly neglected, ( In his case Rowley Village ) I have similar thoughts about Lye. Over time, it's been called Ye Lye, Lye Waste, Lye Hamlet, and in a reference to some of the building of the past, " Mud City ".  Nowhere near as old as Rowley, never the less, it's a lot older than most folk think. It's clearly marked on a map of 1625 and may go back farther, as " The Worcestershire Subsidy Rolls, 1275, mentions the place name. As far back as 1699, when the Parish of Oldswinford was surveyed, Lye Hamlet, was valued at £198. 15s 0d. It was also recorded as having 103 houses on the waste, which I presume meant waste ground, or common land. Prior to 1650, this area had at least 2 Farms, and a scattering of cottages. Midway between the fairly modern Town of Stourbridge, and the ancient Town of Hales Owen, it was ideal, in about 1750, for the local Nailmakers to build some cheap housing. ( Hence the term, " Mud City " ) In 1781, much to the Nailers delight, the Enclosure Act, turned their little plots into Freeholds, and within a short space of time, there were over 2,000 inhabitants. Not the sort who paid Taxes and obeyed the Law either, but, as described by some, " a dirty, squalid, immoral, lecherous, drunken, thieving bunch of heathens ". ( Perhaps one bit of Folklore, that was perfectly true )  In total contrast, in 1667, a poll tax was taken, when the population Of Rowley Regis was 318, living in 136 houses. The area covered 3,550 acres, roughly 11 acres for each man, woman, and child. Lye Waste was a tiny fraction of that, so the area must have resembled a bit of a slum. ( Mud City would seem to be accurate then )  Apart from the Nail making, Glass was produced from around 1560, and later on, millions of Fire Bricks, and Iron products were made at the Forge. It was, according to the tales, a tough place to live, and it was a brave Clergyman who first set foot on the Waste. Indeed, the Unitarian Chapel was not built until 1790, and faced fierce competition from the many Beer Houses that had sprang up. Enforcing Law and Order would not have been an easy task either, there are many story's of the wicked goings on at Lye. It would not have been easy to miss the place, all that time ago, but today, with all the changes, a stranger could pass through, and not really notice the place. George Woolridge, came up from London to see the place, and wrote a poem, " The Beauties of Lye Waste ". It's a bit of a satirical read really, but the impression it leaves is pretty clear, and explains why he didn't hang around long. He claimed he saw Hell in Lye, so he hot-footed it back to London, he had no intention of meeting the Devil as well.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 25, 2011 at 4:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Hollow-Ware, The Hayes, and Stevens and Co.


For many generations, the inhabitants of Lye Waste, went about the busy task of earning enough to pay for the beer. Well, thats not really fair I suppose, there were those amongst them who had higher standards, and actually bought food as well. You can't after all, swing a hammer, dig coal, or make bricks, when half starved can you ? Most folk associate the area with nailmaking, and so it was in the early days, but as time moved on, other trades began to invade the muddy little patch. According to a local Directory, in 1859 there were two firms involved in a new venture that would change the place forever. Thomas Rhodes, and George Hill, set up businesses, making, what came to be known as The Hollow-ware Trade. Taking advantage of the new methods of rolling Iron, into ever increasingly thinner sheets, they started to make such luxurious items, as The Tin Bath.  I used the term " luxurious ", because it's very doubtful, that any of the people employed, ever actually used them. Well maybe only for brewing beer. For the rest of the Black Country, they turned out Watering Cans, and big Tin Trunks, ideal, for the old " moonlight flit ". ( ask your granny ) The most noted product though, was the mighty Tin Bucket. So many in fact, that Lye became the Bucket Capital of the World. George Hill then produced a absolute master stroke, he installed a big Galvanising Pot, a process recently discovered, that put a protective coating on his products of molten Zinc. His little factory at The Hayes, suddenly became the centre of attention, and before long, there was an explosion of other firms, all with Galvanising Pots. All over Lye and Wollescote, these little enterprise's spread, like a measles rash. So high was production due to the enormous demand, the locals called the Hollow-ware, Lye Jewellery. Some of the Firms, like Hingley and Lamb, Ludlow Brothers, Enoch Boaler, Joseph H Taylor, and Thomas Whitehouse, became virtually household names. The last one I can remember, still in operation, was Stevens & Co. Sadly, it's all gone now, consigned to the big pot of history, with the introduction of the dreaded Plastic Bucket. Some of the old workshops are still standing, wouldn't it be nice, if someone came along and started a little Museum. A bit of hammering wouldn't upset anybody, would it ??




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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

June 1, 2011 at 4:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Lye Public Houses, Balds Lane.


Back to the subject of the Beer, the bain of most of the Chapel ranters, and the cause, if you choose to believe it, of so many sins. The Waste, as it was called, began to take shape around the Balds Lane area in the early 1800s. It then grew, and spread up and down the Turnpike Road between Hales Owen, and Stourbridge. An early feature, was a beerhouse, which quickly became a " Communty Centre ", vast quantities of the brew being consumed by the ragged population. As the place expanded, so did the pubs, at a most phenominal rate. I doubt, if there was anywhere else in the Country, in the 1860s, that boasted as many drinking places as did such a small place as Lye. If anyone cares to count how many there are today, we can compare with how many there used to be.



The Brickmakers Arm, The Swan with Two Necks, The Crown, The Royal Oak, The Spread Eagle, The Windmill, The Mitre, The Old Cross, The New Rose and Crown, The Seven Stars, The Malt Shovel, The Rising Sun, The Bulls Head, The Fox, The Noahs Ark The Dove, The Anchor, The Vine, The White Horse, The Queens Head, The Lamb, The George, The Three Crowns, The Duke of York, The Bunch of Grapes, The Holly Bush, The Railway, The Beefeaters, The Unicorn, The Hare and Hounds, The Red Lion, The Cross Walks, The Star, The Hundred House, The Talbot, The Balds Lane Tavern, The Anvil, The Castle, The Pear Tree, The Saltbrook End, The Peacock, The Swan, The Odd Fellows, The Lord Dudley Arms, The Falcon, The New Inn, The Old Bell, The Coach and Horses, The Queensway, The Union, and The Foxcote.


Now I make that 51 pubs, If Ive missed any out, please forgive me. It must have made the old Lye a very lively place on a Friday and Saturday night. No wonder it aquired a reputation for boozing and fighting. And no wonder the old time coppers went around in threes.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 24, 2011 at 3:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Lye Names.


Now I know, a lot of people these days, are on the lookout for family connections to certain places. The farther back in time the better it seems, so lets see if anyone out there has any links with some of these. The names come from a list of taxpayers in the mid 1660s, and i've already spotted a few old Lye names.


Nicholas Addembrooke,( Addenbrooke?) Adam Beard, Edward Challenor, John Cox, Willam Butder, (Butler?) William Hill, Thomas Hill, Bennet Hancox, Nicolas Male, John Reade, William Round, Thomas Levall, Francis Witton, Royn Perrins, Mary Sheldon,(widow) John Parke, James Warrenton, Thomas Wilcox, John Knowles, and Henry Wurler.


They won't be the only ones, living on what was later called Lye Waste, but they may be the only ones rich enough to pay a tax. At least 3 of them owned, or operated, a Beer House, so if you know  who they are. please get in touch. it may help other people in their family research. Cheers.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 26, 2011 at 2:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Lye, Pearson, Williams.



A bit nearer to modern times with this next bit about Lye. Before, and after WWI, a character called Isaiah Pearson, used to travel the district around Lye, selling coal, 1 shilling and 3p a cwt, or exchanging it, for old rags, bones, and rabbit skins. Rabbits, which were a staple of most folks diet at the time, had to be skinned by the person buying them. The more affluent had them made into coats, or even as a blanket, to give a little more warmth in wintertime. Old Isaiah was no miner though, he spent many hours, picking the coal from the many pits that were to be found around Lye. He didn't mind, the coal was afterall free. His prize possesions, were his Donkey, and his Cart, although the cart drew many puzzled glances. For a start, it had one wheel bigger than the other, and the cart bed was higher one side, than the other. From a Black Country point of view, it was the ideal answer to a perticular problem. How to keep the coal on the cart, while picking it from a sloping pit bank. Simple really, Isaiah Pearson was a typical canny old Lye Waster. He was well known as far away as Bromsgrove, where his distinctive cry of " Dun yer want any for sum ", was as familar as his lopsided cart. A rival in Lye, John Williams, had a proper tip up cart for the coal, but couldn't better old Isaiah in the publicity game, besides, his coal was more expensive. There's just one thing in this little tale that I miss, The Rabbit Pies and Stews of my youth.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 20, 2011 at 3:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Lye, Nailers Strike.


Another man called Pearson, this time a descendent, one Joseph Pearson, wasn't so lucky. During the great Nailers Strike of 1862, he decided to dig in his heels, and point blank refused to take part, or support the strikers. After one rather accremonious meeting, amidst raised tempers and threats, some strikers said they would " stop his wind ". I had visions of someone cutting his throat until I read further on. It would seem that a few days later. a group of them invaded his Nailshop, and cut the poor mans bellows to ribbons. With no means of blowing his furnace to heat up the iron rods, and no chance of getting either of them repaired, he was forced to join the strikers. A simple, and very effective way of stopping someone from working. A bit less destructive than blowing up the workshop.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

January 16, 2012 at 2:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Dudley Road, Lye. John Phipson, Elizabeth Millward, The Holly Bush.


Justice of course, as we see it, is not the same as the Law. Take the case of Joseph Chivers, ( Quarry Bank Murder,1856, in Ghastly Murders ) who was sentenced to 15 years Transportation for Manslaughter. In the same year, a young 22 year old from Dudley Road, Lye, by name, John Phipson, a nailer working in his brothers nailshop, was charged first with Murder, then later, reduced to the same offence as Chivers. The outcome in this case was very different. Following a disagreement, about drinking water from someone else's Jug, the owner of the Jug, Elizabeth Millward, 49, threw some waste material, left over from nail making, at the miscreant, John Phipson. He, in turn, threw some back, and the incident escalated, until picking up from the furnace, a white hot rod, he threw it at the woman. Now I'm not going to say she was the most pleasent of her kind, but she surely didn't deserve that. The hot metal struck her on the chest, and penetrated over 4 inches between her ribs, severing her Aorta. She died within 5 minutes. Phipson claimed he didn't remember throwing the iron rod, ( it should be noted he threw it while holding the cooler end ) and also that he had expressed the wish, at the time, that he hoped he hadn't injured the woman. ( well he would say that, given she died because of the injury it caused ) He was committed to the Worcester Assizes, and on the 12th April 1856, his trial began. The Judge accepted, the Lord only knows why, that no harm was intended by Phipson when the iron was thrown. It had taken conciderable force, for the hot iron to cause the damage it did, and for anyone to accept that such an act wouldn't cause any harm, is a bit beyond belief. At the inquest, at The Holly Bush  public house, Lye, some weeks before, John Phipson claimed it had all been  accidental. The Trial Jury however, returned a verdict of Guilty, and the Judge, ( who must have been suffering from a abhoration of the brain ) sentenced him to just the 2 Weeks Solitary Confinement. At the same assizes, David Davies, for attempted Beastiality, and Ann Budd, for stealing two loaves and a pound of Butter, were both sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour. As I said at the start, Justice and the Law, are not always the same thing.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 26, 2012 at 11:54 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Lye, Wollescote, Foxcote, Two Gates, and Fatherless Barn.



Like many others, I do, from time to time, bemoan the passing of a few place names. So many have disappeared entirely from modern maps, that it's wonder anyone remembers them at all. Take this one, Careless Green, which was sandwiched between Wollescote and Foxcote, near Lye. It's now just a modern name for the old Bald's Lane, where it joins the Oldnall Road which runs to Two Gates. Back in time, it was the name for a collection of tiny Cottages, clustered around the junction, forming a little hamlet. Before 1860, the inhabitants had survived by making nails in their small backyard forges, but by the 1880s, it was a small centre for the manufacture of Chains. Conditions, to say the least were a bit grim, leading to one Working Commission Report,  labeling the place, " The last bastion of the English White Slave Trade ". There was a notable Blackcountry murder here, at the old Blacksmiths shop, ( see Forum posts ) and another not far away at Fatherless Barn. ( now a housing estate ). There's a picture in the gallery, of some of the last Chainmakers in the area, sadly no names have been included, but older people may recognise a relative.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 3, 2012 at 11:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Lye, Cartwright.


Has anyone, researching their family history around Lye, an interest in one Eliza ( Betsey ) Cartwright, born in 1849, and died aged 18 in 1867. She lived with her parents, Daniel and Eliza Cartwright, in Bott Lane, ( at the time, Cruddens Bott Lane ) just off the Dudley Road. She decided to take a shortcut along the Railway line, heading it seems, for Hay Green. An Engine had been sent to Stourbridge Junction, to pick up several wagons of luggage, and they saw her walking quickly along the line. Blowing the whistle, or so the Driver said, did not alert her to the danger, so the brakes were applied to stop the engine. At slow speed, the engine buffers hit the young girl on the back of the head, fracturing her skull, and killing her on the spot. The first thing that would enter anyones head, was that she was deaf, and didn't hear the whistle, but that apperently wasn't the case. With no other explanation, the verdict was a foregone conclusion, Accidental Death. If she was one of yours, now you know.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 15, 2012 at 4:38 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Lye, Mobberley and Perry, The Hayes.


Does anyone have information on the Lye company, Mobberly and Perry please. They have a listing for manufacturing Fire Clay Products, and were somewhere along the old High Street. Down the road at The Hayes, the firm also had a Fire Clay Mine, and it's this part of the business I have an interest in. It wasn't a very big mine, employing just 14 workers undergound, and 6 on the surface. I know it was working around the early 1900s, but havn't got the year it closed. In the same area, Hickman and Company, another firm in the same business, also had a Fire Clay mine, but I can't find any information listed about the date it ceased operations. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 23, 2012 at 2:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

peter
Member
Posts: 1

Alaska. at September 23, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Does anyone have information on the Lye company, Mobberly and Perry please. They have a listing for manufacturing Fire Clay Products, and were somewhere along the old High Street. Down the road at The Hayes, the firm also had a Fire Clay Mine, and it's this part of the business I have an interest in. It wasn't a very big mine, employing just 14 workers undergound, and 6 on the surface. I know it was working around the early 1900s, but havn't got the year it closed. In the same area, Hickman and Company, another firm in the same business, also had a Fire Clay mine, but I can't find any information listed about the date it ceased operations. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Hi

I started work at Mobbery & Perry as a pattern maker about 1963 and worked there until it closed  about 1965. it was situated on the hayes there was the RED YARD (this produced house bricks) with a warf for the loading of coal (mined at the beach tree coal mine)the pit head baths (still suvive as the Scout hut near to the Wye Nott pub)

On the other side of the road was the WHITE YARD (where I WORKED producing special Refractories ,ie fire bricks/retorts)In later years this was the site of the M&G Trailers works, hope this gives you some information anything other questions please ask 


  Regards

peter Hazelwood 

September 24, 2012 at 8:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Thank you Peter, sorry for the delay, it appears my Broadband supplier seems to have forgotten to have the cables waterproofed. I will get back to you about the Company, for it played a large part in forming the Industrial Landscape of the area. Long before both of us were born I should add.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 26, 2012 at 2:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Lye Waste, Baker, Wheale, Hill, Worcester Assizies.



The waste at Lye, was mainly in the old parish of Wollescote, and is indeed indicated as such, from the 1841 Census. A place of tumble down mud and brick houses, full of ragged people who were mostly dirt poor Nailers, and a place where the forces of law and order rarely trod. It was a hard life  " on the waste ", and you got, and kept, what you fought for. Family disputes and feuds were common place, some of them dragging on for many years, and not a few ending in a death. There were some decent folk on the waste, but there were some who resorted to violence at the drop of a hat, one of these was Uriah Baker. He had been born in 1835, at the far end of the waste, near the junction of todays Springfield Avenue, and Perrins Lane. The family residence was at Bridge Brook, a short distance from the old Brook Farm. He grew up to become handy with his fists, and fond of the local brew, which gave the area, and the inhabitants, a fearsome reputation. His first wife, Mary Wheale, soon found about both, for, amid rumours of a great deal of brutallity, she died sometime between 1861, and 1863. Despite the accusations, Uriah was never charged with anything, and with his cronies, carried on as before. The Baker's, along with others, also had their enemies on the waste, among them the Hill family, although some of the family had moved away to London in the latter part of the 1850s. The Hill's mother, Ann, died in early 1864, and some of her children returned for the funeral. A few days later, they were having a drink in one of the many beerhouses, when a arguement broke out with a group of locals, among whom was Uriah Baker. Contemporary newspapers of the time, ( written in London and not always as accurate as one would like ) carried a brief account of what followed. There was an almighty punch-up, which spilled out into the road, bricks and other materials were thrown, and Thomas Hill was hurled bodily down an embankment. During the melee, one person was hit on the head with a missle, to wit, one brick. The name in the report was Daniel Hill, but this was in-correct, the name was in fact, Benjamin Hill, aged 22. The other Hill brother, Samuel, escaped any serious injury, and together with a few other witnesses, fingered Uriah Baker as the brick thrower. Some days later, poor Benjamin died, and Baker was arrested, charged with Manslaughter, and sent of to Worcester, to await his trial at the next Assizies. Uriah was advised to plead guilty to throwing bricks, and to deny deliberatly hitting Hill with a brick while he was on the ground. When no witnesses could be found who had seen Baker strike any blows, the only thing that could be proved was wounding, and for that, Uriah Baker was sentenced to 6 months. By a strange twist of fate, the case that followed his, was against one Daniel Hill of Lye, who, having been found guilty of Larceny, ( for about the third time ) was given a similar sentence. As I said, contemporary newspaper reports leave a lot to be desired at times.


Did Uriah Baker learn a lesson from this? Well, in 1865 he re-married either a Mary Guest/Lloyd, and seems to have carried on much as before. Almost exactly two years later, he stood in the Dock, at Worcester Assizies, where he was found guilty of " Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm ". Now whether or not this was his unfortunate wife, is open to debate, for in later life, she is still with him. For now though, he was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment, a sure sign that it was a very serious assault. He was released in January 1873, and, instead of returning to Lye, went to live in Halesowen, where Mary gave birth to two daughters. He was soon on the move again, this time to the market town of Kidderminster, ( his wife having been born in nearby Stourport ) where he took on work as an agricultural Labourer, while his daughters worked in the Carpet trade. He died in the town in 1908, having I suppose, well and truly learnt a lesson, for he never again got into any trouble. He was just one of many, from that lawless place they called " Lye Waste ".

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 10, 2013 at 3:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404



There were though, some good things that came out of Lye. In 1893, just off Lye Cross, was born a child who would later go on to become world famous. Cedric Hardwicke, later knighted for his service's to the entertaiment industry. And what a service he performed, starring in hundreds of films and theatre productions, his debut was in 1912, and his last appearance was in 1964, the year he died. He has a Plaque to his memory on the Library, and a Sculpture near the cross. Rather topicaly, he was in the 1955 Film, Richard III, directed by another well known actor, Laurence Olivier. By a strange quirk of fate, I have sitting next to my fireplace, an old type funnel Coal Scuttle, which I purchased for a few shillings from a holloware firm in Lye while delivering the steel sheets to make even more. It's 47 years old, and still in good nick, which is more than can be said for it's owner. I am indebted  to one of the site's members, Colin Wooldrige, for also telling me of an old house in Lye, known as the " Ghost House ".



Not that it is actually haunted, the name comes about due to the areas previous history of Brickmaking. Before bricks were loaded and stacked in the Kilns, they first had to dry out overnight. Sometimes this wasn't possible, as the yard had to be cleared for the days production, so when they were picked up, a clear hand or fingerprint was visible, even after firing. Hence the name, and the impression that the house was built by unseen hands. You can see the handprints, to the left of the drainpipe. That sculpture, by the way, was made by Tim Tolkien, a relative of the famous author, who has his workshop in Cradley Heath, and is better known for his " Sentinel " sculpture that adorns the traffic island at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham. ( The one with the Spitfire's ) There's an awful lot of talent about in the region it seems, it just requires a bit of searching.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 7, 2013 at 11:04 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

It's fairley usual to have to put in a family tree, " Agricultural Worker " against someones name, fot thats the nearest a lot get to finding out an occupation. There are times though, when you get a bit lucky, as in the case of some records from the old Parish of Oldswinford. The area included Lye, Wollescote, Amblecote and Stourbridge, but most of the names that are listed, came from around Lye and the Lye Waste. The earliest occupation of a Nailer, in 1682, was one John Perrins, and followed by John Robbins in 1687, Oliver Hill in 1693, John Bames in 1695, and William Orford, in 1697. As you can see, Nailing was an old trade, and the making of them usually took about 7 years to learn, or so anyone at the time would have you believe. The lengthy time of course, had more to do with setting a young child of 8, the task of swinging a hammer all day, until he, or she, got the work right. It was just an excuse to work your kids to exhaustion, and as yet, the big demand in wrought iron nails hadn't yet hit the boom years of later on. The names mentioned, had taken on an " apprentice ", mostly the waifs, orphans, and strays, housed in the Parish poor house, and a burden on the rate payers of Oldswinford. The terms of the agreement, were either until 21, or in some cases, 24 years of age had been reached. As most couldn't read, they would have had little understanding of the slavery they were about to undergo. So who were the men who took advantage of this system, and trawled the poor houses of the region looking for likely candidates. Here are a few from 1700, to 1750. Paul Chellman, Joseph Burton, William Hill, John Taylor, Thomas Robbins, Thomas Weaver, Henry Harris, James Eller, John Cox, Jeremiah Mobberley, Joshia Parkes, John Round, Thomas Knowles, Richard Perry, Thomas Heathcock, Jeremiah Whitehurst, John Edmunds, Benjamin Mason, John Smith, and George Wooldridge.  Just to show that it wasn't only the nailers exploiting the situation, John Jeston, a manufacturer of White Glass and Bottles, also took on many from the poor house, as did John Wooldridge, a local Farmer, whose wife also took on some girls to teach them " Housewifery ", and more importantly, how to read. William Stone, in 1713, was a general carter, and needed help to load, and drive the carts. He would also find the free labour useful, for shoveling the dung, cleaning the horses, and a thousand and one other jobs. William Bellamy, had a really useful shop in Oldswinford, he made almost all the clay pipes, that became so handy, for that quiet smoke over a drink, at the end of a 15 hour day. These names though, are only a few, I will add a few more another time.




The area, at the time being mainly rural, there were as many working the land, as working at little forges. Farmers took on aprentices, some even offering a certificate at the end of the years of hard work. Families, which tended to be of the larger kind, needed help in rearing their young, and many young girls were " apprenticed " to learn house keeping, how to be dairymaids, and no doubt, toil in the fields from sun-up to sun-set. All this slavery, was backed up by a law, which made it illegal to leave your " Master " before the set time stated on the documents. Proving that you had been cruelly treated was no easy matter either, for should the Court set you free, there was no other employment to be had, and any attempt to claim Parish relief, would be met with yet another Court case. Troublemakers, ( for the ratepayers at least ) were not tolerated. As the industrial pace picked up, so did the number of nailers and ironworkers, and in 1717, James Blunt was listed as a Chainmaker. He is not likely to have been the first, but the date puts Wollascote on the map, as one of the earliest references to the trade in the area. Lye also had it's own Locksmiths, the Westwood family, a Basket Maker, William Eggington, and several, including John Badger, making Scyth's.  From 1750, the number making Nails as a principle form of earning money had expanded, as the next list shows. William Mobberley, Richard Walters, Thomas Howell, Boss Perry, John Bromfield, John Sparry, Thomas Everson, Samuel Moore, Edward Price, Samuel Brooks, Richard Phipson, Thomas Chapman, John Bradley, Giles Jackson, Thomas Liddell, John Powell, Joseph Fletcher, Zachary Hill, John Lavender, Jones Taylor, John Moseley, William Parker, and a noted name later on, Joseph Pardo. There has to be someone, who would buy all these nails of course, and sure enough, there is, Abraham Grigg, Nail Factor, and possibly one of the richest men in Oldswinford. ( Apart from the Foleys that is )  The seemingly endless supply of young and cheap labour  to be exploited, dried up at the end of the 18th Century, thanks in part, to some truely awful reports that appeared in the national press. Others from the Oldswinford Poor House, went off to Wolverhampton and Bilston, where, since the 1690s, there had been an established Toy Making Industry. Others, from at least 1683, spent many years toiling in the Coal Mines of Darlaston, sweating for the Lockmakers of Willenhall, and the Gun and Tube Works of Wednesbury. There are a few discriptions of the work some were put to, amongst which, I will highlight these. Honest Labour, and Lawful Work. It's hard to believe, that you would require an apprenticeship of over 10 years, to learn how to Labour.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 17, 2013 at 4:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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From the distant regions of Canada, comes a request for information on a relative. The name is unimportant, but the mans job discription is, for he is listed as a shovel maker, and they can't find out where he would have worked on Lye Waste. The answer isn't simple either, for around the 1840s, there were several firms producing this item. George Westwood, James Binns, Eli Ellwell,  Eversons. and Wood brothers, all had workshops on the Waste itself, making Spades, Shovels, and Forks. Wood brothers also made Chains at their Iron Foundry, as did Eversons, for the more products you could turn out, the better chance you had of surviving a depression. A lesson well learned from early on in the 19th century. Shovels came a variety of sizes as well. Small ones for the railway companies for use on the Engines, ( there's not all that much room on a footplate ) Large ones for loading and unloading coal from narrowboats and railway waggons, and extra large ones used in the breeze or coke making trade. They made others of extra thickness, for stoking the huge number of furnaces around the Black Country, the heat would have quickly reduced the metal to the thickness of paper. The humble shovel was also the preferred weapon ot choice, when two rival railway companies clashed over a small piece of land. Not heavy enough to do serious damage, but broad enough to raise a few bumps on stubborn heads.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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I may have already mentioned that around Lye, were a great many old mining shafts. Some of them were fairly shallow, but a few went down a long way. The murderer, Michael Toll, ( see More Nasty Murders ) in 1830 made use of one such shaft, to throw his pregnant wife down, and a few months later, just a short walk away, another was used for a similar murder. This time it was a child, Sarah, or Sally Chance, and she was just 4 years old. I don't like child murders, having children of my own, I have never understood how anyone can kill a child. There's very little doubt, that Charles Wall, a Lye nailer, didn't throw the child down a 240 foot deep shaft, on the 16th May, 1830. He was seen walking the girl in the direction of the shaft, but not back again. She was found early the next morning when the Miners started their shift at 6.0am. What you may ask, was the childs mother doing at the time, and, why a hue and cry wasn't raised. Charles Wall was due to be married shortly, and yes, you may have guessed it, to the girls mother. She wasn't arrested however, as she hadn't been seen with her daughter on the day she vanished. No one will ever know now, whose idea it was, to start the marriage with a " clean sheet ", so to speak. He was a sullen man was Charles Wall. saying very little at his trial in Worcester, and showed absolutely no emotion when condemned to death for his dispicable actions. That is until the Judge, deeply upset at such a waste of human life, he added something else to the sentence. He ordered Walls body, after being hanged, to be handed to the Doctors for dissection. Howls of protest from the family, and Wall suddenly lost all his colour. This was feared more than the hanging itself, for it meant that there would be no grave, over which the family could shed a few tears, not that the monster deserved any. Although there may be a headstone to Charles Wall in the Cemetery, he isn't underneath it, for his soul, if he ever had one, is wandering the depth's of enternal hell, with no place for rest. Good, he earned it. One last interesting little fact, The execution was not at the usual early hour but at 6.00pm in the evening. This was because there was an election going on, and it was felt the hanging might affect the vote.


There are more articles on Lye scattered around the website, just enter the name in the sites search engine.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 8, 2013 at 3:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

taylor
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Posts: 1

Alaska. at May 25, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Lye Waste, Rowley Regis.


Like my compatilble friend, who worry's that the area of his interest is sadly neglected, ( In his case Rowley Village ) I have similar thoughts about Lye. Over time, it's been called Ye Lye, Lye Waste, Lye Hamlet, and in a reference to some of the building of the past, " Mud City ".  Nowhere near as old as Rowley, never the less, it's a lot older than most folk think. It's clearly marked on a map of 1625 and may go back farther, as " The Worcestershire Subsidy Rolls, 1275, mentions the place name. As far back as 1699, when the Parish of Oldswinford was surveyed, Lye Hamlet, was valued at £198. 15s 0d. It was also recorded as having 103 houses on the waste, which I presume meant waste ground, or common land. Prior to 1650, this area had at least 2 Farms, and a scattering of cottages. Midway between the fairly modern Town of Stourbridge, and the ancient Town of Hales Owen, it was ideal, in about 1750, for the local Nailmakers to build some cheap housing. ( Hence the term, " Mud City " ) In 1781, much to the Nailers delight, the Enclosure Act, turned their little plots into Freeholds, and within a short space of time, there were over 2,000 inhabitants. Not the sort who paid Taxes and obeyed the Law either, but, as described by some, " a dirty, squalid, immoral, lecherous, drunken, thieving bunch of heathens ". ( Perhaps one bit of Folklore, that was perfectly true )  In total contrast, in 1667, a poll tax was taken, when the population Of Rowley Regis was 318, living in 136 houses. The area covered 3,550 acres, roughly 11 acres for each man, woman, and child. Lye Waste was a tiny fraction of that, so the area must have resembled a bit of a slum. ( Mud City would seem to be accurate then )  Apart from the Nail making, Glass was produced from around 1560, and later on, millions of Fire Bricks, and Iron products were made at the Forge. It was, according to the tales, a tough place to live, and it was a brave Clergyman who first set foot on the Waste. Indeed, the Unitarian Chapel was not built until 1790, and faced fierce competition from the many Beer Houses that had sprang up. Enforcing Law and Order would not have been an easy task either, there are many story's of the wicked goings on at Lye. It would not have been easy to miss the place, all that time ago, but today, with all the changes, a stranger could pass through, and not really notice the place. George Woolridge, came up from London to see the place, and wrote a poem, " The Beauties of Lye Waste ". It's a bit of a satirical read really, but the impression it leaves is pretty clear, and explains why he didn't hang around long. He claimed he saw Hell in Lye, so he hot-footed it back to London, he had no intention of meeting the Devil as well.

 

The Enclosure Act for Oldswinford was passed in 1782, and any one wishing to gain the freehold had to state their case for receiving an award and proving their claim.

 

This was to take place at the Talbot Hotel in Stourbridge.

 

The enclosures awarded are recorded on thirty parchment nearly three foot square and without any abbreviation

 

These are held in The Shire Hall Record Office Worcester

 

My own 5 x Grandfather's Benjamin Taylor received 2 awards

 

One at Waste Bank and one at Chawn Hill

 


January 23, 2014 at 5:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

From Lye to Lille, a 1918 Soldiers tale.


From the research of Colin Wooldrige, that stalwart of the history of Lye, comes a tale of the first World War. Not an epic discription of a battle, nor of the harsh conditions endured by the troops, but a insight into the day that all the guns fell silent. You can almost feel the relief, of this 31 year old Royal Engineer Sapper, who had first heard the sounds of battle, on 21st, November, 1915, and was there to here the silence, on 11th November,  1918.


William Ewart. G. Freeman, was born in Lye in July, 1887, the youngest child of Owen Freeman, who was the Manager, at Harrisons  Fire Brick Works, on the Dudley Road. His father sadly died in 1908, aged 64, and the Managers job was given to Williams eldest brother, George, William, by now having dropped the name, favouring Ewart instead, was a Clerk at the works. He volunteered when war broke out, and was drafted into, not a local Regiment, but The Royal Engineers. He has not one, but three different service numbers, all with the Engineers, and when the War ended, he was in Lille, France. His Regiment experienced a rather colourful annoucement of the Armistice, as the documents below will attest to, and which he wrote for the Worcestershire County Express.



The next part is a good discription of the events, for Ewart Freeman seems to have had a way with words, due no doubt, to the excellent education his father had encouraged all his children to make the most of.




I am indebted to Colin for the information, and to the family for permission to publish an account of the events, almost a hundred years ago. I hope you have enjoyed the insight. Oh, I almost forgot, William Ewart G Freeman, died in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, in March, 1956.



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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

June 4, 2014 at 11:40 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Elsewhere on the website, I may have mentioned, that old photographs can produce a wealth of information if you look carefully.



This one has been supplied by Colin Wooldridge, and features, among others, his Grandfather. As most of the Wedding Party, ( and it is a wedding ) all come from around Lye, it's safe to assume that the setting is also in Lye. Colin dates the picture to 1910. Given that his grandfather, Alfred Wooldrige, who is standing fifth from the left in the back row, with Amy Lucas in front of him, also got married that same year, it has to be the wedding of his future brides sister, Lucy Lucas and Howard Richards. Lucy's father, John Thomas Lucas, was a well known tradesman around Lye, being a Carpenter, as was his young daughters choice, Howard Richards. Like a great many pictures from the era, the old Victorian influence of not smiling, is a prominant feature, as are the hats. In the group of 34 people, there are 22 women, and 19 of them are wearing enough floral attire to stock a flower shop. I am still a bit puzzled though, for the mariage was registered in March 1910, yet we have a couple of trees already in leaf. ( There must be something in the air around Lye and Wollescote ) Seated next to a rather still nervous looking bridegroom, are his two sisters, and then his mother and father, Mr Richards, ( also a well known Lye carpenter ) balancing the family dog on his leg. ( I almost missed that ) Seated on the brides right, is her mother Rhoda Lucas ( nee Cole ), John Thomas Lucas, and then her brother and his wife, listed as Mr and Mrs Cole. ( also a well known name around the district ) In fact, we have several more names, that go back over 300 years in the history of Lye Waste. Alfred Lucas, Lucy's oldest brother, married Jane Hill in 1902, and Louisa Lucas, married Samuel Hick, in 1907. Alfred Wooldrige of course, came from a long established Lye family, and his bride was Amy Lucas, who as I already now know, were Colins Grandparents. So often, we are sometimes left with pictures that have no names attached, and have to guess the identities. It's not often either, that you come across a picture of your Great Grandparents, not that many could afford the cost at the time. The impression that this one leaves you with though, is that there was money to be made in the Carpentry Trade.


You can see, and hear, one of Colins talks at the Bethel Capel, Hill Street, Lye,  on the 8th July.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

June 19, 2014 at 3:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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