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Forum Home > Memorabilia From the past. > News Round, Old Style.

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Black Country Anchors.


The Black Country did at least have some good news in 1869, the rescue of the miners known as the Nine Locks Survival. ( See, The Earls of Dudley, Careless mine owners )  The rest of country didn't fare quite so well. There were some very unseasonal storms between January and April, shipping around the coast being severely affected. Even inland there were a few surprises. From Birmingham and the Blackcountry, came reports of a violent Snow storm that lasted 14 hours, which stopped the Railway, and disrupted road travel. Not a new thing then, " The wrong type of Snow ". The more upperclass, had to suffer the effects of an uncomfortable day at the races, as all the Marquees at Durham Racecourse were blown away. One wag in Manchester, deciding to have a bit of fun, perpetrated a cruel hoax on the national papers, by reporting a massive Earthquake in the town. Yes, they all printed it. The Black Country wasn't the only place that had strikes either. there was in this year, a Weavers Strike in Preston, and up in South Yorkshire, a Miners strike involving 1,700 men that threatened the livelihood of another 6,000. Back in Manchester, it was reported that the execution of Micheal James Johnson, for a particular nasty Murder, had taken place. It was noted that there was total lack of any excitement outside Strangeways Gaol. Meanwhile, back on the racecourse, this time at the Rotherham Steeplechase, a new grandstand, built to increase the viewing publics pleasure, fell down, badly injuring two women. Built for 2,000, they failed to take note of the fact that over 4,000 were crammed on it. We may have averted a pit disaster, but not so in South Wales, where a 14 year old and 2 men were blown to bits in an explosion of gas. This next bit may sound a bit familar. The authorities recieved a letter of complaint from an Irishman, imprisoned in 1859, for his part in a Finian Bomb Plot. He said that his Penal Servitude had been years of dull monotony. He claimed he was continually reminded of the length of his sentence, by the painting on his cell door of the words, " Ten Years ". These same words had also been branded into his arm, and his captors never failed, at every opportunity, to remind him how much time he still had to serve. He called it all, " Cold Blooded Cruelty. Poor little diddum's. On a brighter note, Cutty Sark, the soon to famous Clipper Ship was launched, as was another ship, the infamous " HMS Captain ". Just some of the news our ancesters would have been reading about at the time, assuming some of course, could.


Post Script.

HMS Captain, designed privately for the Navy and laid down in 1867. She should have weighed 6,970 tons, but finished up at 7,767 tons. Built with revolving turrets, she only had a freeboard, ( distance from deck to water ) of just over 6 feet. Launched in 1869, she was commisioned into the Royal Navy in early 1870, and during excercises with the fleet, off Cape Finnisterre, in September 1870, during bad weather, rolled over and sank from sight. 480 of her complement of 500 Officers and men were drowned. The inquiry established she was top heavy, carried far to much sail, having perfectly good engines, and they would have severely carpeted her designer, except that he had gone down with the ship. It's believed the Anchors were made in the Black Country. Oops.

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

March 19, 2012 at 4:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Old Hill, Rowley Regis, Cradley Heath.


A bit further back in time, and an indication of how the region was changing in 1818. The inhabitants of Redhall Hill, Rowley Regis, ( spelt differently today ) must have watched the spread of the Industrial revolution, as it crept nearer from the direction of Netherton and Dudley. Local man Thomas Siddaway certainly did, but with eye on a bit of profit as well. He owned 4 acres of pasture land, roughly where Lawrence Lane, Old Hill, is today. The land had 5 tenements, ( dwelling houses ) Shops and other buildings with gardens on Reddel Hill Road as it is now. He proceeded to put the whole lot up for auction, although how his tenants felt about this, isn't recorded. The attraction for any buyer though, was the discription in the auction notice. " There is a good mine of coal beneath the properties ". So there was, as it turned out. Good news for some, but not the tenants, all they got, was the grand order of the boot. Well, thats progress for you.

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

April 22, 2012 at 10:00 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Wolverhampton, Walsall and Bilston Road Canals.


Meanwhile, Wolverhampton was experiencing a tidal wave of vandalism, well they were in 1791. In August, and in the dead of night, some senseless, mindless roughnecks, dislodged the parapet of the Canal Bridge at Monmore Green, which was on the Wolverhamton, Bilston Road. Not content with this act of destruction, they then blocked the towpath with the dislodged stones. The next night, they did the same to a bridge on the Wolverhampton, Walsall Road, this time, throwing some in the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. Locks had also been interferred with, and at one point, attempts had been made to breech the banks. Such goings on could not be tolerated, and the Company offered a reward of 10 Guineas, ( a substantial amount of money at the time ) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. It should be born in mind, that riots were going on in Birmingham when the incidents were recorded, and there are no records to show that anyone was paid the reward money. The culprits, if caught, and found guilty, were likely to face transportation for seven years, so it's no wonder no one came forward. You wouldn't wish such treatment on your worst enemy.

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

May 13, 2012 at 3:48 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Dudley, How to win a Lottery.


Scandal and shame in Dudley in 1912, when some local dignities were involved in an illegal activity; Gambling. On December 17th, the Police Court in Dudley was graced by the presence of the Medical Officer of Health, Doctor Wilkinson, the Director of Education, Mr. J.  M. Wynne, Messers John Poole, and Mr W. E. Harper, all prominant members of Dudley Parish Church. The prize catch in this awful gambling cartel though, was the Vicar of Dudley, himself, the Rev. A. Grey. Maitland. They had been summonsed under the 1264 Gaming Houses Act, having flouted the law regarding the raising of funds for the Church restoration project. The Court room was packed with the Church's congregation, three of the Towns senior Magistrates headed by Doctor Messiter, Staffordshire's Chief Constable, and prosecution and defence Lawyers. What had transpired, unfolded before them, and it was, by any standards, a truely shocking episode of greed and avarice.


Between the 27th and 30th of November, they had organised, in the Public Hall, Dudley, a lottery of the most unspeakable kind, setting up several tables equiped with a spinning arrow, which when it stopped at any object placed around the circumference of its spin, would be won by whoever had placed money on it. Contrary of course to said medieval Gambling Act. The persons summonsed, had all been in charge of one of these tables, during the stated period. The prizes on offer, to the good folk of Dudley, included a leg of Mutton, a Pork Pie, a Box of Soap, a Honey Pot, a Set of Saucepans, a Table Decoration, a Towel, a Cushion, a Jar of Marmalade, a Camera, and other articles too numerous to mention. All for the simple task of placing a penny for each spin, in the spot where the prizes were.  As a game of pure chance, this was indeed Gambling, even though the practice was pretty widespread at other money raising events. Chief- superintendent Speke, of the Dudley Constabulary, had already warned them that the tables constituted Gambling, but the defendents had gone ahead anyway. This drew forth a comment from Doctor Messiter, that it wasn't a case of morals before the Court, but a clear case of illegal activity. To gain evidence, the Police had sent several offices and their wifes to the function and when it became clear that some them had won prizes, a bit of laughter rippled round the Courtroom. Dudley's finest, Speke, now stated that he had attended other functions that used the same methods, but went on to add, that he never stayed until the Gambling part began, because even at a penny a go, he couldn't afford it. This produced even more merriment for the packed parishioners. It was beginning to get a bit out of hand, and possibly to save the Police, and a by now, a red faced Chief Constable, from more embarrasment, the stressed Magistrates decided, that on payment of £3.12s.6d, ( the costs ) they would dismiss the case. This was of course greeted with a very loud cheer. As for the summonses that had been served, Doctor Messiter observed, that it had not been proved, that the Vicar, as chairman of the fund raising committee, had actually managed the said Lottery. At which stage, the Reverend Gentleman entered the witness box, and denied all knowledge. Case dismissed. It later transpired, that one of the wives of a Magistrates had actually won the leg of mutton, now I wonder whose wife that was.

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

January 20, 2013 at 2:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Many people today mistrust the politicians whom they elect, what would you do, if you didn't have a vote?, and their election was at the whim of a handful of Gentry and landowners. The votes of whom, it has to be said, in 1832, could be bought and sold. Industrialization had swelled the population to unheard of levels at the time, and they now were numbered in the thousands in the many Townships of the Black Country. According to the records, this was the list prepared.


Amblecote. The register showed just 2 people on the list. Not much effort required there then to secure a Parliamentary seat. Just a big purse.

Himley. Another short list, where the Earl of Dudley lived, with just 8 voters on the list. Guess who got the seat.

Pelsall. Just 6 voters here, and no wonder they were known as " rotten boroughs".

Rushall. Not far away, and with 15 people allowed to vote, the candidate wouldn't wear out much shoe leather.

Enville. Hundreds employed in the Iron trade here, but just 18 registered voters.

Wednesfield. Just outside Wolverhampton, with a large population, matched by just 24 people on the list.

Smethwick. Beginning to be heavily industrialised, had a surprisingly low number of rgistered voters. Just the 28.

Kinver. An area which had a few of the monied gentry, having moved from the smoke and grim of the towns, 34 registered voters.

Willenhall. Center of the early Lock trade, had just 46 on the list

Walsall. 49 registered voters here, although this figure only included the town, ( Borough ) The rest of the voters, 78 in all, were to be found in the surrounding hamlets, Bloxwich, Leamore, Bentley, Palfrey, etc.

Bilston. It was said, that only the poor lived in the town, but it managed to have 55 good men and true on the register.

Rowley Regis. Not just the village, but it also included Cradley Heath, Old Hill, and part of Netherton. 64 voters registered.

Tipton. Heavily mined, and covered in smoke, nevertheless it boasted 87 men who were eligable to vote.

Sedgley. One of the largest of the old parishes, and which covered an area from Bilston to Gornal, being still a bit semi-rural, had 91 voters.

Darlaston. Renowned for it screws and bolts, seems to have been a place of a bit of wealth, 125 men, qualifying for the right to cast to a vote.

Wednesbury. No less that 164 men of substance resided in the town, or so the voters list said.

Kingswinford. Another large parish, stretching from Dudley to Stourbridge, and with 169 voters to call on.

Wolverhampton. Surprisingly, the town had only 213 registered voters, but enough to keep the same Member of Parliament for many years.

West Bromwich. The largest number of registered voters, 339, lived in, or around the town. The total includes Great Bridge, and parts of which would now come under Oldbury.


This was the state of the area before the Reform Act came into being, which swept aside the old Rotton Boroughs. With them,supposedly, went the currupt practices that enabled the unscrupulous to line their own pockets. However, bad pennies have a nasty habit of coming back, and it would be many years hence, before the ordinary working man had a say in how Democracy and Government should work. To all intents, it seems to be still a work in progress.



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

January 23, 2014 at 2:50 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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