Some history on Brierley Hill in the County of Staffordshire


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Bell Inn
Bird in Hand
Black Horse
Blue Brick
Board Inn
Brewers' Wharf
Bull's Head
Coach and Horses
Corn Exchange
Cross Guns
Dog and Lamppost
Dog and Partridge
Dolphin Inn
Dudley Arms
Exchange Vaults
Five Ways
Fortune of War
Four Furnaces
Fox and Goose
Golden Cup
Golden Eagle Inn
Golden Lion
Hen and Chickens
Holly Bush
Hop Pole
Hope Tavern
Horseshoe Hotel
King's Head
Market Vaults
Miners' Arms
Mountain Daisy
Mouth of the Nile
Nelson Inn
New Inn
New Talbot
Old Bell
Old Bush
Old New Inn
Potters' Arms
Queen's Head
Queen's Head Inn
Railway Hotel
Railway Inn
Red Cow
Red Lion
Red Lion Inn
Richmond House
Robin Hood
Rock Hill Tavern
Rose and Crown Inn
Round Oak Inn
Round of Beef
Royal Exchange
Royal Oak
Saracen's Head
Seven Stars Inn
Spotted Cow
Spread Eagle
Star Hotel
Swan Inn
Tenth Lock
Three Crowns
Three Furnaces
Town Arms
Travellers' Rest
Turk's Head Inn
Two Furnaces
Unicorn Inn
Vine Inn
White Hart
White Horse
Woodman Inn
Wood's Vaults

Growing up in Cradley Heath I used to hear the phrase "Well, I'll Goo ter Brierley Hill" because the letters corresponded with Bloody Hell, perhaps not far off those seasoned lines: "When Satan stood on Brierley Hill, And far around him gazed, He said: "I never more shall feel, At Hell's fierce flames amazed."

Brierley Hill was, up until the 17th century, a waste common land. It was once part of Pensnett Chase, first noted as a settlement in Kingswinford Manor's Court Rolls of 1619. Although the town became synonymous with steel, it was glassmakers that first brought industry to the area, largely because of the abundance of raw materials on and around the hill here.

Brierley Hill was also settled by squatters who worked shallow coal seams, dug the fireclay for brickmakers and started the town's association with metal manufacture by opening many small forges to work iron.

Until recently, there was a large glass factory shop in Moor Street. However, the nearby glass factories around the back of the church have long since seen their halcyon days. Likewise, the whole town has suffered serious decline since the construction of the adjacent Merry Hill Shopping Centre.

In an attempt to move with the times, the local council built the Moor Centre in 1985. It was partly built on the site of the old Marsh and Baxter factory. The company was started in 1867 at a small pork butcher's shop in the High Street but grew into the largest sausage and pie factory in the country. The modern visitor will find this hard to believe but the company's buildings once dominated the skyline here.

An even bigger factory complex called the Round Oak once stood on the site of the Merry Hill Shopping Centre, representing the shift from manufacturing to retailing en masse. This, along with counterparts in places such as Newcastle and Sheffield are Britain's new cathedrals where consumerism is worshipped. The Round Oak Steel works could be traced back to 1784 when blast furnaces were built on a site next to the canal. In 1788 Benjamin Gibbons started a rolling mills business on the site which was to last for two hundred years. Gibbons however moved down to Pensnett and the Round Oaks works was controlled by William, 11th Baron Dudley [later Earl of Dudley] who built the railways from his coalmines to feed the furnaces. This was the reason that locals called the plant "The Earls." At its peak, Round Oak employed over 3,500 people and the figure was not much short of this when the factories finally closed in 1982. The effect on the local economy was devastating. Inevitably, many visitors to the region head for the Merry Hill Shopping Centre. Call me an old traditionalist if you like, or even a dinosaur, but I rather liked the steelworks and the community spirit it cultivated.

The shopping centre is here to stay. Well, until everyone switches to online retailing. One of the good bits is the amphitheatre which seemingly always has an exhibition or display to take your mind off the surrounding homogeneity. Created by Anthony Stones, outside one entrance is a statue to John Northwood and the Portland Vase. In 1845 the original vase was smashed while on display and revived interest in the cameo process. Completed in 1876, Northwood completed his replica of the vase, a piece of work that stunned the glass-making world. Northwood went on to complete another seven cameo pieces and established himself as one of the great masters of the 19th century.

The parish church of Saint Michael stands on the highest point of Brierley Hill and commands a view over the surrounding industrialised regions and beyond. Originally built in 1765, the church has been altered over the years. Indeed, the West Tower was almost totally rebuilt in 1900. The interior is worth further investigation and features a chancel in the form of a modified apse. Built as part of a restoration in 1873-8, it is separated from the nave by a semi-circular arch on Ionic columns.

One famous name associated with Saint Michael's is the eighteenth century poet Thomas Moss. Born in Wolverhampton in 1738, he was appointed perpetual curate [he called himself minister] of the newly-built church after he had read at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He is known for his poem "The Beggar", published in the Gentlemen's Magazine. In 1828 an engraving was printed which depicted a beggar pleading for alms as he stood miserably beside the door of a small house. The engraving became enormously popular and could be found adorning the walls of many Victorian drawing rooms whilst the poem became a standard work for recitation by schoolchildren. The poem is mentioned by Jane Austen in "Northanger Abbey" and a printed calico version of the verse is mentioned by Charles Dickens in "Nicholas Nickleby."

In front of the church graveyard is the town's war memorial. The soldier on top is modelled on Stan Harley who joined the 1st Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment in 1914 when he was only 15 years-old. He won the D.C.M. in France and returned to Round Oak Works in 1919. The memorial was made by George Brown and Sons of Kidderminster. Below the memorial is a cannon, manufactured by Bailey Pegg who were based in Bull Street.

Silver End is the interface between Brierley Hill and Amblecote. An area with a long industrial tradition, it sort of starts at the western end of Delph Road. Many of Silver End's former works may have closed but it remains an industrialised area. The factories were served by both the canal and rail networks - a small station was located near to the old Chain and Anchor works. The factories were fuelled by the extensive coal workings on Withymoor south of Silver End.

The main road through Silver End is Brettell Lane, part of the busy old ridge road running from Dudley, through Brierley Hill, and down to the old glassworks industries at Audnam and Amblecote. The road was formerly a turnpike and designated as such in 1727. It was eventually made a 'free' public highway in 1871. Unfortunately, the attractive tollhouse which stood close to the Dudley Arms was demolished in the late 1960s. Whilst it is thought that the road may be named after the Brettell family, it is more likely that the name is derived from the fact that it passed through Silver End, a locale once known as Brettell, which, in turn, may be a corruption of Bredhulle - an ancient name for the hill or ridge on which Silver End stands. Certainly, the name Brettell [and Bredhulle] has existed in the area for many centuries. Indeed, it is recorded that in the reign of Henry V that a certain J. Bredhull was granted land and buildings in a field called Worthull in Swinford Regis [the parish of Oldswinford once extended up to Brettell Lane that acted as a parish boundary]. The name Brettell is also thought to be of French origin and can be traced to the Norman family de Bretiuil and Bretteville. The nearby house of the Brettell family was listed in William Camden's "Britannia" and the glass manufacturer, Thomas Webb, called his Amblecote ironworks the Bretwell Ironworks.

The area between Brierley Hill and Withymoor is known as The Delph. This is derived from 'Black Delve,' a reference to the early coal digging in the area. Many distinctive brickworks and tileries sprung up in piecemeal fashion in this area. The haphazard settlement pattern here occurred as a result of the coal miners who originally squatted on the waste areas around the extensive mine workings. Little wonder therefore that many pubs opened to serve the thirsty workers who grafted here.

Coal mining was just part of the heavy industry that dominated this area in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Stourbridge and Dudley Canals were built to transport the goods which fuelled these industries and the Delph Locks mark the point where these two canals meet. The Delph is a very famous landmark in the canal world because it is here that the Dudley No.1 canal makes a spectacular rise up the ridge on which Brierley Hill was built. This section of the canal is known as The Nine Locks which is, in fact, a misnomer because there are only eight following their rebuilding in 1857. The name is, in part, due to the name of the former local mine - The Nine Locks Colliery.

Today's line of eight locks replaced an earlier nine locks that were built in 1779 by the Dudley Canal Company. The original nine locks soon became a notorious bottleneck - I can imagine a few scuffles breaking out between boatmen who vied for the next available 'drop.' The locks also needed constant repairs due to subsidence. There is probably more space created by the tunnels under the ground here than there is soi;! By 1858 six new locks had been built to replace the middle seven locks. The original top and bottom locks were retained.

Although there are now only eight locks they are still known as the 'Delph Nine.' A series of numbered markers follow a route where remains of the original nine locks can be seen. These form a little haven for a diverse range of wildlife, not least frogs and newts who have some ready-made ponds in which to breed. The original flight, designed by surveyor Thomas Dadford Senior, followed the contours of the land. Each lock possessed a long 'feeder' pound at the side which curled around the flanks of the hill. The five middle locks were so close together that there was no space for boats to pass between them. Consequently, this caused serious congestion. The flight of 1858 cut straight down the hillside with large pounds between the locks to accommodate passing boats. The sophisticated design of these locks, built towards the end of the canal era, demonstrates how rapidly expertise in canal and boat-building developed.

Halfway down the flight of locks is a former stable block built in 1920 by the Birmingham Canal Navigation Company who had taken over the running of the Dudley Canal in 1843. The stable housed 14 horses and incorporated a sick bay and a forge for re-shoeing horses and making other canal ironwork. It is thought to be the last surviving canal stable block in the Black Country.

Brierley Hill : Former Delph Locks Toll House and Lock-Keeper's Cottage [2006]

Along the route of the original locks there is an old Lock Keeper's House. Built in 1779, the angled end of the building originally had many more windows so that the keeper could see easily when boats were approaching from either side. Another building dating from the time the original locks were cut down the hill is the Carpenter's House which was constructed in 1794. I have mentioned frogs and newts but the old flight is home to a diverse collection of wildflowers. Various birds, insects, fish and plant species can be found in and around the canal basins and pond.

One of the most famous Delph characters was Harold Thompson. A legend of the Delph Road, he was a famous figure here for over thirty years. He often carried a violin and would bang out a tune or melody. His favourite was "I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls." Harold would invariably sleep in a brickyard or stable on The Delph. He died in 1974 and local people raised money for his funeral.

I have read that Withymoor is an old-established name for a certain scythe blade but also that it is derived from 'the willow moor.' The latter sounds more feasible. It was here that a local spademaker issued his Withymoor penny token in 1813-4. Said to be one of the most informative tokens ever produced, it gives on the obverse side a complete picture of a powered forge shop of the day, the reverse depicting the products manufactured.

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Brierley Hill in White's History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire [1834]

Brierley Hill is 1½ miles north of Stourbridge, and two miles S.S.E. of Kingswinford, is a populous village and chapelry, consisting of several streets, and having in its vicinity extensive coal, iron, and glass works. It enjoys the benefit of the same canal, and strata of coal, iron, and clay, as its neighbour, Amblecote. By an old deed, it appears that coal and ironstone were got here as early as the 46th of Edward 111 [1373]. The main coal is about ten yards thick. The chapel of ease is a neat brick edifice, erected by subscription about 1767, and has 900 sittings, of which 388 are free. The rector of Kingswinford is the patron, and the Reverend Robert Harris the officiating curate. The first minister here was the Rev. Thos. Moss, B.A. author of the elegant little poem called the "Beggar's Petition," but he afterwards removed to Trentham, as domestic chaplain to the Marquis of Stafford. The Delph is a village on the canal, where there is a rise of nine locks. Hero are many nail makers, and a large fire brick manufactory.
Bartlet, William, Pipe Maker
Bent, John, Agent
Bowman, George, Clothes Dealer
Cole, William, Supervisor
Cresswell, Joshua, Agent
Gill, Eli, Currier
Greenfield, Mary, Confectioner
Hitchman, Thomas, Saddler
Hutchinson, Ann, Midwife
Onions, W., Fruiterer
Robinson, William, Engineer
Stinson, Benjamin, Spirit Merchant
Stevens, Mr. William
Storer, John, Dispenser of Medicine
Whitehouse, John, Farrier

Brierley Hill in the Post-Office Directory of Staffordshire [1850]

Ashton James, British Oak, Hart's Hill
Aston John, beer retailer, Dudley Street
Attwood Charles, Vine and butcher, Delph
Austin George, grocer & tea dealer, High St.
Bache Benjamin, grocer, High St & Moor Lane
Bailey, Pegg & Co. Iron & Gun Founders
Bailey Michael, shopkeeper, Dudley Street
Baker E. & Co. fire brick manuf., Moor Lane
Baker Daniel, shopkeeper, Hill Street
Baker Job, fruiterer, Mill Street
Baker Joseph, Bull's Head, Brettell Lane
Baker Josiah, confectioner, High Street
Baker Samuel, potato dealer, Moor Street
Banks Thomas & Son, Bankfield Colliery
Barker Jesse, Spread Eagle, Church Street
Barker Thomas, blacksmith, Brettell Lane
Barker Timothy, shopkeeper, Brettell Lane
Barlow Josiah, engineer to canal company
Barlow William, beer retailer, Brettell Lane
Bartlett Josiah, tobacco pipe maker, Church Hill
Batchelor William, shopkeeper, Moor Street
Batham William, shoemaker, Dudley Street
Bate Jeremiah & Solomon, brick makers
Bate Job, brickmaker, Brettell Lane
Bate John [Mrs.], milliner, High Street
Beckley Benjamin, maltster, corn dealer & baker
Beckley Charles, boot/ shoe maker, High St.
Beckley Daniel, grocer/tea dealer, Dudley St.
Beckley Daniel, jun. boot/shoe mkr, Dudley St.
Beddard Samuel, beer retailer, Park Street
Bennett & Morris, linen drapers, High Street
Bennett Simon, builder, Hill Street
Bent Edwin, accountant, Bent Street
Biddle George, wheelwright, Dudley Street
Birmingham Canal Co. [Wm. Blades, manager]
Bishop James, tea dealer, Dudley Street
Bissell William, beer retailer, Mount Pleasant
Blossom Rich., Royal Exchange, Brettell La.
Bolton John, Foley Arms, Brettell Lane
Bott Henry, carpenter, Bank Street
Bourne Joseph, glass cutter, Brettell Lane
Boyd William, beer retailer, Fenton Street
Bradley John & Co. ironmasters/manufacturers
Bradley James, blacksmith, Old Level
Bradley Simeon, coal master, Moor Lane
Brecknell Samuel, wheelwright & beer retailer
Breeze Edward, grocer, Mill Street
Brldgens Joseph, beer retailer, Brettell Lane
Brookes William, hairdresser, Round Oak
Brooks William, beer retailer, Fenton Street
Brown John, coffee & eating house, High Street
Brown William, beer retailer, Moor Street
Browning Brinton, confectioner, High Street
Bullock James, fruiterer, High Street
Bullock Samuel, carter, Level Street
Carroll William, tailor, Mill Street
Cartwright Dudley, Bridge Inn, Bank Street
Caswell Joseph, grocer, Hart's Hill
Chapman Geo., chemist & druggist, High St.
Clulow Thomas, lime burner/brick manufacturer
Condell Samuel, shopkeeper, Hart's Hill
Corbett John, Talbot, & farmer, Brettell Lane
Corbett Walter, tailor, Brettell Lane
Cotteriill William Henry, butcher, Brettell Lane
Court John, confectioner, High Street
Cox Joseph, greengrocer, High Street
Cook Edwin & Henry A. ironmongers, High St.
Cook Hy. Addenbrook, pork butcher, High St.
Cook John, beer retailer, Moor Street
Cooper Elias, beer retailer, Bank Street
Cooper William, boot/shoe maker, Dudley St.
Cooper William, shopkeeper, Brettell Lane
Crannage Esther, shopkeeper, Vine Street
Crannage William, confectioner, Fenton Street
Crew Thomas, coal master, Moor Lane Colliery
Crowder Ann, beer retailer, Wallace Street
Crump John, grocer, Brettell Lane
Davies Joseph, Swan, High Street
Davis Benjamin, pattern maker, Brettell Lane
Daws William, boat builder, Brettell Lane
Deaville John, grocer, Round Oak
Detheridge Henry, auctioneer/furniture dealer
Dixon John, tobacconist, High Street
Dowson William, painter/glazier, Church Street
Drake Robert, surveyor of roads, Delph
Duggan Geo., boot/shoe maker, Brettell La.
Dunn Thomas Major, chemist, Dudley St.
Dunn Thomas, Old Bush, Moor street
Dunn William, painter/glazier, Chapel Street
Edwards Thomas, Fortune of War, Dudley St.
Elcock Edward, miller/baker, High Street
Elcock Thomas, shoemaker, High Street
Elcocks Richard, boot/shoe maker, High Street
Elwell Benjamin, Whimsey, Church Street
Emery Chas. Alfred, furniture dealer, High St.
English Henry Robert, Star Hotel, High Street
Evans Benjamin, glass cutter, Brettell Lane
Evans Edward, blacksmith, Round Oak
Evans John, inland revenue officer, Dudley St.
Evans Joseph, Unicorn, Brettell Lane
Evans Samuel, wheelwright, Dudley Street
Fellows Benjamin, tailor & draper, High St.
Fellows William, Vine, Fenton Street
Fennell Sidney, M.D. surgeon, Hill Street
Fennell William, Railway Hotel, Fenton Street
Fereday Thomas, herbalist, High Street
Finney Joseph, relieving officer, Church Street
Firmstone William & George, iron/coal masters
Fisher Elijah, Rose & Crown, Bank Street
Fletcher John, butcher, High Street
Ford Geo., printer/bookseller/stationer, High St.
Fox John, blacksmith, Brettell Lane
Fox Samuel, shopkeeper, Moor Street
Freeman Joseph, grocer, High Street
Fullwood Joseph, Reindeer, Hart's Hill
Gardener Joseph, greengrocer, High Street
Geary Geo. druggist & furniture dealer, High St
Geary John, haberdasher, Church Street
Geary William, linen draper, High Street
Gill Daniel, builder, Church Hill
Gill William, builder, Dudley Street
Green Judith, Black Horse & pottery, Delph
Greenfield Benjamin, beer retailer, Chapel St.
Greenfield Peter, tobacconist & stationer
Greenfield Thomas, Old Bush, Level Street
Greenhouse Thos., beer retailer, Brettell La.
Grieves Ann, china & glass dealer, High Street
Griffiths John, stonemason, High St & Level St.
Griffiths Mary Ann, butcher, High Street
Griffiths William, grocer & tea dealer, High St.
Guest Edward, boot/ shoe maker, Brettell La.
Guttery Daniel, clothier, High Street
Guttery John, carpenter, Mill Street
Haddon Wm., Queen's Head, Dudley Street
Halburton John Lidstone, solicitor, Albion St.
Halfman Gorhard, hairdresser, Brettell Lane
Hall Joseph, pork butcher, High Street
Hallchurch Eli, saddler/ harness mkr., High St.
Hammersley Wm. James, pawnbroker, High St.
Hampton Jos., earthenware manufr., Brettell La.
Hancox Richard, shoemaker, Hart's Hill
Hand John, grocer, Delph
Hanley James, grocer, Brettell Lane
Harley Edward, saddler, Mill Street
Harley William, Bell, Delph
Harris Henry, hairdresser & perfumer, High St.
Harris Peter, commission agent, fire brick maker and coal master, High Street
Harrison Charles, Saracen's Head, & butcher
Hawkins William, Commercial Inn, & auctioneer
Hicklin Eliza, haberdasher & milliner
Hickmans Daniel, shopkeeper, Hill Street
Higgins Edwin, shoemaker, Brettell Lane
Higgs David, butcher, High Street
Higgs David, Duke William, & maltster, Delph
Higgs John, beer retailer, Mill Street
Higgs Joseph, Golden Eagle, High Street
Higgs William, butcher, High Street
Hill Ann, hosier & milliner, High Street
Hill Rich., builder & glass/china dealer, High St.
Hill Walter, bootmaker. Mill Street
Hingley Edward, tailor, Hart's Hill
Hobson William, butcher, Brettell Lane
Holcroft William, general carrier, Dudley Street
Holds John, jun. beer retailer, Dudley Street
Holland James, carrier, High Street
Holloway Joseph, greengrocer, High Street
Holloway William, pork butcher, Fenton Street
Holt Daniel, bricklayer, Hill Street
Holt Sarah, beer retailer, Dudley Street.
Homfray Jeston, solicitor, Albion Street
Hopkins Wm. Davies, painter & glazier, Park St.
Homer Joseph, solicitor, High Street
Horton Joshua, steam engine boiler maker
Humphries Jeremiah, shopkeeper, Fenton St.
Husselbee Hy., pattern maker/joiner, Dudley St.
Hyrons Joseph, shoemaker, Park Street
Instone Samuel, Noah's Ark, High Street
Insull Samuel, tobacconist, High Street
Jackson Joseph, boot/shoe maker, Church St.
James Benj., currier/leather seller, Bank St.
James Charles, Travellers' Rest, Church Street
James John, boot & shoe maker, Bank Street
Jarrett Jones, printer, bookseller & stationer
Jenkins William, milliner & haberdasher, Mill St.
Jobber Sampson, boot/ shoe maker, High St.
Jones John, tailor, Dudley Street
Jones Wm., tarpaulin manufacturer, Church St.
Kean Miles, corn and hay dealer, Delph
Kell Joseph, grocer, Dudley Street
Knowles Thomas, rate collector, Brettell Lane
Lane John, wheelwright/beer ret., Church St.
Langford Job, poulterer, Mill Street
Langford Richard, shoemaker, High Street
Law James, leather cutter, Dudley Street
Lawton Noah, pawnbroker, High Street
Lay Jn., grocer, maltster & corn dealer, High St.
Leedham John Baxter, clock and watch maker
Leneh Elizabeth, Fox & Goose, Level Street
Levi Jos., glass cutter/linen draper, Brettell La.
Lewis George, beer retailer, Albion Street
Lilley George, bootmaker, Mill Street
Lovett Daniel, butcher, High Street
Lowe Ann Elizabeth, milliner, Fenton Street
Lowe Daniel, greengrocer, Mill Street
Lowe Edwin Henry, saddler, High Street
Lowe Oliver, Waterloo Inn, Mill Street
Ludlam Luke, plumber & painter, Dudley St.
Lycett William B. surgeon. Church Street
McMallan James, grocer, High Street
Male Joseph, shopkeeper, Moor Street
Mallen Daniel, beer retailer, Brettell Lane
Mallen George, grocer, High Street
Mallen Jos., spade manufacturer, Round Oak
Mallen William, shopkeeper, Level Street
Matthews Robt., wheelwright/smith Hart's Hill
Miles James, Vine, Hart's Hill
Miller Daniel, grocer/provision dealer, High St.
Miller James, beer retailer, Chapel St, Hart's Hill
Millichap Thomas, tobacconist, Moor Street
Mills Williams, police superint., High St.
Millward Abi'aham, crate maker, Hart's Hill
Moore Richard, Swan, Moor Street
Moreton Benjamin, butcher, Brettell Lane
Morrell Daniel, boot & shoe maker, High Street
Morris Callow, beer retailer, Brettell Lane
Mould Samuel, pawnbroker, Brettell Lane
Mountford John, Red Cow, Church Lane
Mullett John, beer retailer, Moor Street
Muse Joseph, butcher, Hart's Hill
Nayler William, beer retailer, High Street
New British Iron Co., Brierley Hill Ironworks
Norris William Lascelles, surgeon, High Street
Norwood Alfred, butcher, Dudley Street
Oakes John, Three Furnaces, Level street
Oakes Williams, Britannia, Hart's Hill
Oates, Baylie & Co. patent solid brick manuftrs.
Onions William, surgeon, Round Oak
Owens William Warren, grocer, High Street
Page James, tailor, Brettell Lane
Pagett John, White Horse, High Street
Pagett Joseph, butcher, High Street
Pagett Mark, butcher, Dudley Street
Pargeter John William, corn merchant, Delph
Parker Geo., grocer & seedsman, High St.
Parkes James, Bell Hotel, High Street
Parkes Joseph, druggist & grocer, Round Oak
Parry Frances, Cock & Trumpet, Chapel Street
Partridge John, boat builder & timber merchant
Pearsall Ann, Old Bell, Bell Street
Pearson George, wool repository, Round Oak
Pearson Issachar, butcher, Moor Street
Pearson Thomas, maltster and cab proprietor
Pearson William, cooper, High Street
Pearsons & Cartwright, coal mast., Brettell La.
Penn Mary, greengrocer, High Street
Penn Thomas, beer retailer, Moor Street
Perry James, joiner & carpenter, Dudley Street
Pitt Sophia, Queen, Old Level
Pitt William, butcher, High Street
Plant Daniel, butcher, Round Oak
Plant Peter, builder, Brettell Lane
Pope William, White Hart, Hart's Hill
Poyser Richard, tailor, High Street
Poyser Richard, jun. hairdresser, High Street
Preston Frederick, beer retailer, Dudley Street
Price & Son, general carriers, Round Oak
Priece Thomas, bricklayer, Brettell Lane
Prior Joseph, marine store dealer, Round Oak
Pritchard William, printer & stationer, Mill Street
Pugh John, hairdresser, High Street
Radford Joseph, beer retailer, Delph
Randall Chas., dealer British wines, Fenton St.
Rawlings John, printer & druggist, High Street
Raybould Ellen, butcher, Brettell Lane
Rees David, linen draper, High Street
Richards Isaac, New Star, High Street
Richards John, manager at gasworks, Delph
Richards Joseph, Robin Hood, Merry Hill
Roberts John, Rock Tavern, Hill Street
Robinson Charles, timber merchant
Robinson Elijah, beer retailer, High Street
Rollason Fernando, Hart's Hill Tavern, Hart's Hill
Rollinson Joseph, Castle Inn & builder, High St.
Rooker Thomas Fletcher, chemist & druggist
Round Isaiah, shoemaker, Chapel St, Hart's Hill
Round David, stationer/newsagent, Dudley St.
Round Thos., grocer/provision dealer. High St.
Rowley Samuel, inspector of nuisances
Rowley Sarah, butcher, High Street
Salmon James, grocer, Brettell Lane
Schriber Hieronimers, clock and watch maker
Scoltock William, blacksmith, Round Oak
Scriven Geo. & Hy., glass bottle warehouse
Scrivens Benjamin, butcher, Moor Street
Sedgley Sarah Dudley, spirit vaults, High St.
Shakespeare Joseph, beer retailer, High St.
Shakespeare Josiah, Cock, Moor Street
Shaw David, butcher, Mill Street
Skidmore Sarah Ann, Malt Shovel, Hart's Hill
Smart Edward J. pork butcher, High Street
Smith & Hodnett, roman cement makers/potters
Smith Arthur, bookseller/stationer, Dudley St.
Smith Edward H. blacksmith, Mill Street
Smith James, beer retailer, Park Street
Smithyman Edward, Royal Oak, Round Oak
Sproat William, pawnbroker, High Street
Stevens James, general dealer, High Street
Steward John, chemist & druggist, High Street
Stringer Rich., dealer in British wines, High St.
Summerhill Mrs., milliner, Dudley Street
Talbot Daniel, furniture broker, High Street
Taunton Richard, civil engineer, Rock Hill House
Taylor John, boot & shoe maker, High Street
Thomas Edward, shopkeeper, Fenton Street
Thorney Ephraim, tailor, Hill Street
Timmins David, shopkeeper, Bank Street
Timmins James, Unicorn, Dudley Street
Tulk John, tailor, Fenton Street
Turley John, Lion, High Street
Turner Levi, cooper, Moor Street
Turvey Henry, carpenter, High Street
Underwood John, grocer, High Street
Waldron Edward, beer retailer, Mill Street
Walker Henry, M.D. surgeon, High Street
Walters Thomas, Falcon, Mill Street
Ward William, beer retailer, Mill Street
Warr Joseph, grocer, Bank Street
Warren & Lloyd, painters/glaziers, Moor Street
Warren Thos., plumber/painter, Church St.
Warrender Aaron, boot/shoe maker, High Street
Warrington Edward, furniture broker, Brettell La.
Wassell George, Vine, & brickmaker, Brettell La.
Wassell Joseph, maltster, Brettell Lane
Weaver Hy., grocer/provision dealer, Church St.
Webb Elizabeth, King's Arms, Brettell Lane
Webb Jane, aurelia wool repository, High Street
Webb Thos., grocer, provision dealer & butcher
Weller George, grocer/provision dlr., Brettell La.
Welter Thomas, grocer & tea dealer, Dudley St.
Wenwood Mary, shopkeeper, Brettell Lane
Weston Joseph, New Inn, High Street
Wheeler James, spirit vaults, High Street
Whittaker Benjamin, butcher, High Street
White Henry, butcher. High Street
White James, Swan, Brettell Lane
White John, chemist & druggist. High Street
Whitehouse Ab., jun. pawnbroker, Dudley St.
Whitehouse Ed., ale/porter agent, Dudley St.
Whiting George, tailor, High Street
Willetts John, chainmaker, Church Lane
Williams George James, accountant, Dudley St
Williams Jas., grocer/tea dealer & postmaster
Winchurch Thomas, beer retailer, Brettell Lane
Wise Edward John, ironmonger, High Street
Wood Edward, coffee & eating house, High St.
Wotton John, butcher/beer retailer, Church St.
Wright David, beer retailer, Church Street
Wright Edwin, Old Crown, Brettell Lane
Wright Henry, beer retailer, Dudley Street
Wright Josiah, furniture dealer, Fenton Street
Wright Robert, Round Oak Inn, Round Oak
Young Thomas, clothier, High Street

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Brierley Hill : Moor Street Council School Sports Teams [1924]

Featuring several cups and a large shield, this photograph of the boys' sports teams at Moor Street Council School was taken in 1924. The images shows players in the football, cricket and athletics teams. Three members of staff are stood at the back of the group. At this time the headmaster of the school was William Bache. Miss E. L. Horton was the girls' mistress.

Brierley Hill : Moor Street Council School Football Team - Winners of the Alliance Cup [1924]

The football team of Brierley Hill Council School proudly show off the Alliance Cup, a competition they won in the season of 1923-4. These matches were well-supported clashes. In the previous season 4,000 spectators turned up at the Alliance Ground to watch Brockmoor Council Schools play Quarry Bank Council School, the latter winning the game, completing a league and cup double. In that year Moor Street Council School were runners-up in the league. 1924 was celebrated as the Moor Street School Jublilee, the buildings having been opened on October 19th, 1874. The school buildings were later absorbed by Marsh & Baxter, following which it served as a staff canteen. The site of the school was later used as a car park for the Moor Centre. Is it me or does the teacher on the right look like a dead-ringer for the actor Charles Dance?

Brierley Hill : Moor Street with Technical School and Library [c.1913]

The Council School would have been to the left of the photographer in this image showing Moor Street. On the corner of Bell Street is the Technical Institute and Library. This facility came about as a result of a new Urban Council with a proposal that it should be erected to celebrate the Coronation year of King Edward VII. The foundation stone of the brick and terracotta building was laid on April 22nd, 1903. The local builder, Charles Horton, worked to the designs of the town surveyor, J. Lewis Harpur, using red bricks supplied by the Ketley Brick Company. The corner of the edifice featured a dome, both imposing and ornamental. Draped symbolic figures, modelled by Arthur Gibbons, master of the school, and Albert Oakden, assistant master, occupied the niches. The opening of the building in February 1904 was marked by an art exhibition. In the 1960s the building was taken over by Dudley College who, in conjuction with the local crystal glass industry, established a training centre for apprentices in glass-blowing and decorative skills. In later years the building housed the International Glass Centre.

Brierley Hill : Dudley Road Post-Office [1911]

Not a sharp image as it is taken from a printed postcard rather than a real photographic period piece. However, it does show quite an early view of the High Street, captured around 1904. Consequently, it affords a fascinating glimpse of life at the commercial heart of Brierley Hill in the early Edwardian period. The most prominent of the shop signs is the one for Baker's Boots. This was the premises of James Baker & Sons Ltd., a firm that had many branches throughout the Black Country up until relatively recent times.

Brierley Hill : Dudley Road Post-Office [1911]

A superbly detailed photograph of the post-office on Dudley Road at Hart's Hill. The newspaper headlines point to a date of September 1911, particularly with the board for the Birmingham Gazette & Express announcing the "Death of Russian Premier." It was on September 14th, 1911 that the Russian prime minister, Pyotr Stolypin, was assassinated in Kiev. Another headline covers the story of the Board of Trade's preparations to intercede in the Irish railway strike. The shop window is packed with comics and the post-box itself is a King Edward VII type. A young man or teenager is stood in the doorway and a small girl is proudly showing off her pram. This sub-post office was located at No.283 Dudley Road in Hart's Hill. The postmaster for many years was George Taylor. However, at the time of this photograph it was his daughter, Elizabeth, who tended to run things. That may be her younger brother Horace stood in the doorway. In this period the post-office was open from 8am to 8pm and the letters were cleared seven times per day.

Brierley Hill : Round Oak Ironworks [c.1910]

Although steel had been produced for almost two decades before this photograph was taken, this site was still referred to as the Round Oak Ironworks. The site had been producing pig iron since the 18th century but it was William Ward who developed the works from 1857. Here railway trucks can be seen outside the main works. In the background is the office block erected in the 1870s.

Brierley Hill : Organ Grinders [c.1931]

Considering this was supposed to be a fun event there are some serious faces looking at the camera. The image dates from the early 1930s, the Round Oak Organ Grinders playing their part in the annual Brierley Hill Carnival which helped to raise funds for local hospitals, nursing and other charitable institutions. Due to the depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s it was quite a job for the council committee to organise the carnival. With around 2,000 men signing on at the Brierley Hill Labour Exchange in 1930 the council almost scrapped the event.

Brierley Hill : Church Hill [c.1922]

Does this photograph represent the start of parking problems in Brierley Hill? The tram drivers heading towards Amblecote might not have been too impressed with the driver of this car. The main road here is Church Street and the narrow thoroughfare fronted by the tall buildings is Church Hill. Three well-dressed women are walking down the hill having perhaps attending church. They certainly are not weighed down with heavy bags of shopping. In the bushes seen above the car is the outer wall of the recently-erected war memorial. It was unveiled on November 12th, 1921. The man on the right is in the shadow of the Travellers' Rest, a hostelry on the corner of South Street.

Brierley Hill : Entrance Gates to Marsh Park [c.1922]

Residents of Brierley Hill, along with those passing along Delph Road in recent times, have become familiar with the sight of a tank used as an eye-catcher for an industrial park. However, there is history of tanks being deployed in the town. Here one can see a tank sited just inside the entrance to Marsh Park, a recreation area formally opened on September 17th, 1921. There was no room for sentiment at the outbreak of the Second World War and the tank removed for scrap metal. So, in some form it was used in a second conflict. The park was created on land owned by the Marsh family, of the famous Marsh & Baxter butchery firm that operated a large sausage, bacon and pie factory further up the hill. As usual there was much pomp for the opening of Marsh Park. Gathering on waste land next to the Technical Institute, there was a large procession through the town in which dignitaries, public officers and children marched behind mounted police in time with music by the Brierley Hill Town Band and the Round Oak Works Military Band. On arriving at the gates George James, vice-chairman of the Council, presented a gold key, made by a local jeweller, to Elsie Marsh. After a few words she unlocked the gates to the park, the dignitaries heading to a platform to conduct the speeches. The children marched to their respective schools where they were treated to tea and cakes.

Brierley Hill : Children's Play Area in Marsh Park [c.1922]

A number of children are playing in this area whilst two women are watching over them. This section of the Marsh Park was officially called a "Kiddies Sand Play." I note on Victorian maps there was a depression on this former pit mound on which the park was created. It would seem that this was retained and landscaped. The trees were planted in Victorian times and appear on a map surveyed in 1882. There are sheep to the left of the photograph. I hope that they were not destined for the Marsh & Baxter factory! On November 6th, 1926, there was another ceremony in the park when the bandstand was formally opened by Alfred Marsh. In those days most things were made locally and the bandstand was manufactured by Messrs. Hill and Smith Ltd. of Brierley Hill. The foundations and base was the work of George Allen and Son, another local business based in Moor Street.

Brierley Hill : Glassworks of Stevens & Williams Ltd. from Marsh Park [c.1924]

Taken around 1924, this photograph captured the view from the recently-opened Marsh Park. The photograph offers a fascinating glimpse of the landscape of 1920s Brierley Hill. The camera is pointing northwards towards The Leys. The thoroughfare seen here is North Street. To the left is the former glassworks of Stevens & Williams Ltd. Moving from the Moor Lane Glassworks, this factory was built around 1870. The business name changed to Royal Brierley Crystal in 1968, though the name had first appeared on products following the First World War. The business continued until 1999 when it was sold to Epsom Enterprises. This company went into receivership in 2000. Note the large house close to the entrance to the site. This was once the home of John Northwood II, chief designer at the works until the 1950s. He was the son of John Northwood, the glasscutter famous for the Portland Vase. The house has been retained for historical interest within a modern housing development.

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Related Newspaper Articles

"The memorial to the Post-master General from the inhabitants of this place, praying that Brierley Hill be made a post-town, we are gratified to state has to some extent succeeded. We hear that the Post-master General has recommended that this place should have the privilege of granting and paying money orders, but not at present to have all the benefits of a post town."
"Post-Office Arrangements"
Worcestershire Chronicle : July 28th 1847 Page 5

"Mr. Joseph Francis Woodcock was yesterday summoned before J. Leigh, Esq. and the Rev. F. J. Clarke, for the non-payment of £1. 3s. 9d., as wages due to a workman named James Holding. Mr. Woodcock told the Magistrates that he ought not to have been summoned as defendant, because he was merely the agent of Mr. Stephen Hipkins, for whom the defendant had been employed. He also said the work charged for had not been done. The defendant informed the Bench that on the 14th of November he and others received fourteen days notice to leave, and that during that time he was only allowed to make six days and a quarter, the manager not permitting him to go on for a longer time. The claim was therefore for work not in reality performed. There were two other similar cases, the complainants being George Terry and Benjamin Hammond, one of whom said there was work to be done the whole time. Mr. Leigh said the complainants were undoubtedly entitled to their wages for the whole time. The law of the case was clear, that the men could not leave without giving fourteen days' notice, and that the master could not discharge them without giving them notice for a similar period. Unfortunately, the Magistrates had no power to make an order for work not actually done, and the complainants must summon their master in the County Court. He, however, ordered the expense of the summons to be returned to them."
"Important to Workmen"
Birmingham Daily Post : December 6th 1857

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