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Forum Home > Blackcountry Factual History. > West Bromwich Chronicle.

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404



You all know that the place got it name from the shrub that grew wild on the heath, The Broom. It gets a mention in the Domesday Book, and some recent research suggest it may have once been part of the Parish of Handsworth. It's main feature during many centuries, was the road that ran across the heath, linking Birmingham with Dudley, Wolverhampton, and on into Wales, along the old Roman Road. It's believed the population made weapons for both sides during the English Civil War, and at times, helped the Royalist Cause. In the year 1665, the Lowe Family, residents of Lyndon, built at large house close to what was then little more than a village, Charlemont Hall. It original name was Crump Hall, but it may have been changed as a Colonel Crump became very unpopular after the Civil War. When Charles II was restored to the throne, he needed some quick money, so a hearth tax was introduced, and at 2 shilling a time, the folk of West Bromwich were soon moaning. Nevertheless, it pulled in £33. 4 shillings, which goes to show that some crafty folk had a bit tucked away. The little Town was nicely placed, when the old cart track was turned into a Turnpike Road, although most couldn't afford to take a Stagecoach to either London or Holyhead, the fare being a whole guinea, they probably hadn't got 2 and a half days to spare anyway. That was an awful pile of money in 1731. To compensate for this lack of travel, the townspeople were given a gift in 1771, their first Public Library, sadly it was located in the Swan Inn, which was a bit of a distraction for some. Although not all. Good news hit the town again 1780, when a firm called Izon's, managed, after many fruitless attempts, to finally cast good quality Holloware.  The Iron cooking pot had at last arrived. The town expanded when Coal was discovered, but this was offset by the Window Tax, which caused a few to brick up a few openings, return to a darker era, just to save a few bob.Help was hand though, for down the road in sunny Handsworth, William Murdoch had perfected coal Gas, and West Bromwich, in 1825, aquired it's own gasworks, although it was owned by those sneaky Brummies. It was reported by someone, possibly the local Tax collector, that in 1832, the Town had 60 coal pits. This, on he other hand, may just have been a warning to watch where you were walking on a dark night..



A Council report in 1865, further illuminated the citizens to how well the Town was doing. There were, 84 Public Houses, 216 Beer Houses, 10 Grocers selling Wines and Spirits, 7 people hawking beer from door to door, and, not surprisingly, 21 Pawnshops. The Earl of Dartmouth opened, after spending a great deal of money, Sandwell Colliery in 1870, and to honour one of the towns more generous citizens, Farley Tower, ( called by the locals "The Pepper Pot ") was erected in 1875. The year before, work had also begun on a new Town Hall, and it was indeed a mighty ediface, today a Grade II listed building. The old Earl opened his last Colliery in 1900, The Jubilee, and gave the Town a magnificent Park and grounds, All in all, not bad for a Town that started  over a mile away from where it is now. Anyone with anything they want to add, to click the Blue Button.

May 20, 2013 at 4:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Like most places around the Black Country, which saw rapid expantion of the population, West Bromwich began to experience another sort of growth, Crime. Many apects of law enforcement were left to the Magistrates, and what became known as Vestry Committee's. As the name implies, these were composed of the great and good of the Parish, upholders of a religious life, and observers of the strict codes of Sunday Observance. In 1765, the fledgling Town was somewhat overwhelmed, with a series of Highway Robberies, and prompted a reward of 10 guinea's, for the capture and successful prosecution of those responsible. It possibly failed to work, for in 1773, " The West Bromwich Association for the Prosecution of Felons " came into being. Among the many things it instigated was the inspection every Sunday afternoon of the Towns many Beer Houses, and the suppression of " Sabbath Breaking ". With even more robberies and house-breaking to contend with in the 1790s, the Vestry Committee chose several men to act as " Sunday Constables ", whose task was not only to inspect the beer houses, but the many lodging houses as well



They were required to clear the streets, and prosecute, numerous Vagabonds and Rogues that had infested the Town. Between 1807 and 1814, they petitioned the Magistrates to strictly control the granting of any new licences to sell beer and spirits. In 1819, the voluteers who had acted as Sunday Constables, were paid to do the job, which had expanded to include the dispersal of crowds, ( outside the drinking establishments ) close the pubs during Church services, and clear all the drunken loiterers from the Churchyard. The role was further widened in 1825, to include combatting the many shopkeepers, who continued to break the Sabbath by staying open. The growth of the Town, mainly by the law abiding, put more pressure on the Vestry Committee to improve the upholding of the law. They had identified a class of people it seems, who had no visible means of support, other than robbery and theft. In 1831, a steering Committee was set up which, in 1840, resulted in the formation of a section of the County Police Force. The first station was in Seagar Street, a new one appeared at the corner of High Street and Overend Street in 1851, and remained in use until a new one was built in New Street, in 1972. Thats now been replaced, as have the old Sunday Trading Laws, much to the disgust of the older members of society, who remember that Sunday, was always a day of rest, and quiet contemplation.

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

June 13, 2013 at 11:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

The Partridge Family have played a part over the years in the industrial growth of West Bromwich. It's believed that one member of the family owned the now demolished Lyttleton Hall. They also had land at Hill Top. In the 1840s, times being a bit hard, Mr Partridge decided to sell off some of his holdings. He sold at Auction, from his public house, The Hare and Hounds, Holloway, Wednesbury, four dwellings with gardens at Hill Top, together with the Mines and Minerals at The Crab Mill, later the site for at least three other Collieries. It must have been a bit dusty and noisey for the tenants of those four dwellings.

On the other side of West Bromwich, in Great Bridge, about the same time, the Brickhouse Estate was also up at auction. It consisted of 49 acres of land, on which were several mines, bringing up both Coal and Ironstone. There were several more shafts that had been dug, but not yet used, a Steam Winding Engine, and other installed machinery. The site had the Birmingham Canal running through it, with a branch to the mine, and two wharves. The land, said the brochure, was also ideal for house building, which was a bit prophetic, because that's exactly what it's been used for today.

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

November 4, 2013 at 2:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

From now on, and for the next four years, there will be no escape from stories of  World War 1. You will read of brave deeds, and self sacrifice, that will bring many tears to the eyes of present day relatives, as it should be of course. But what about those who tried, and failed, through no fault of their own, to do their bit for King and Country. Here are a couple, from West Bromwich, Staffordshire.


Just before the War began, Charles Edward Chew, was a lowly Tram Conductor in West Bromwich. He had been born in Bilston, in 1893, the family having moved first to 43, Slater Street, Great Bridge, and then to 44, Dudley Street, West Bromwich, after the death in 1910, of Charles Mother. His father John, re-married shortly afterwards, but it was not a happy union, and in early 1914, she up-sticks and left. By this time, Charles was working on the trams, but a dark cloud was looming. On the 11th June, 1914, he was walking up the stairs of the vehicle, ( they were all on the outside of the early Trams) when it stopped, on the way to Handsworth, near George Street, to pick up a passenger. Not anticipating a swift start, he was flung over the rail, head first, and suffered injuries which were treated at the local Hospital. Quickly discharged, he was soon back at work. On the 11th December, 1915, he received his call up papers, was accessed as fit for service, and put into the reserves. Here he remained still doing his job on the Trams, until March, 1917, when he was mobilised. Sent to an Army camp at Bovington, he was soon found to be totally unfit for active service, and discharged on 5th April, 1917. ( How had he then been passed as fit in 1915 ) He was discribed as "a frail and poorly developed young man, with a dodgy Heart, shortage of breath, and a terrible stammer".  He would have been fairly typical of some at the time, who had suffered from a poor diet and living conditions, since he was born, indeed exactly the same thing happened to his brother, Frank Chew, when he enlisted on 27th August, 1914. He was discharged on 10th October,1914, having served just 44 days. Charles Chew applied for an army pension in 1918, which, not surprisingly, seeing that he hadn't been injured through any War Service, the request was rejected. He did though get a Gratuity of £25. Number 69487, Gunner Charles Chew, of the Machine Gun Corps, ( Heavy Division ) never got to see any action, but theres no doubt, that if he had, he would have done his best, as would his Brother Frank. He didn't of course get a penny in compensation for being flung off that Tram.

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

August 14, 2014 at 11:45 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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