You may remember that way back in February, I posted an article on the mysterious mortuary situated near Bullings Heath in Walsall Wood. The morgue in question had been mentioned by reader [CAZ], and subsequently spotted on a large-scale map of the area. Both myself and [Howmuch?] were intrigued to find out more about this odd facility and it’s curious location. You’ll see in the comments upon the original post that Paul Ford, top operative at Walsall Local History Centre, undertook a huge amount of research on the subject, which I wrapped up into a subsequent post paying tribute to, and thanking him for, his greatly illuminating work.
A couple of weeks ago, [Howmuch?] was leafing through the April 1st, 1905 copy of The Walsall Observer and came across an interesting piece on the mortuary. It seems that at the time, Brownhills Urban District Council were seeking tenders to build the thing:
It’s a bit tricky to read, but says:
WALSALL WOOD MORTUARY
For erecting a public mortuary on land adjoining the sewage farm at Walsall Wood, the following tenders were received – Robert Harris, Shelfield, £20 17s. E Cresswell, £28. Fred. Smith, 26, Blakenall Lane, Bloxwich, £22 10s. John Derry, Hednesford Road, Brownhills, £24 3s and Henry Twist & Son £22 10s. In reply to Mr. Bullock, the surveyor said the building would be 12ft. square and with a trifling exception all the materials could be found. – Mr Bullock said that a house could be built for the prices asked, and eventually it was decided to leave the matter to the surveyor to obtain lower tenders, or have the building erected on day work.
Keen eyed readers will spot that in Paul’s original research, he noted:
It appears that there was no provision within Brownhills until 1904, when the UDC decided they would have one on the site of the Sewage Farm in Walsall Wood – it may have finally been built in 1907, but it may have been the adaptation of an existing building. UDC minutes are vague and the Health Sub-Committee doesn’t seem to have survived.
So it seems that two years after this debate, they finally got a morgue for the area. Seems like councils were officious and slow, even then.
I thank [Howmuch?] for his usual dedication and sharp eyes – it’s because of dedicated readers like he and Paul that we’re gradually nailing things a little bit at a time. The capacity for you folks to just turn up brilliant material out of the blue never ceases to amaze me. Cheers.