Divine water?

Cottages like this were once the constituent in Walsall Wood. Go on: hands up those of you who thought Streets Corner was named after the crossing of two streets? From 'Memories of old Walsall Wood' by Bill Mayo and John Sale.

Reader and top Walsall Wood history wonk David Evans recently wrote in and asked this rather excellent question. I think this is worthy of much more exploration. Of course, with a lot of this of this, we’re way before a decent mapping record, so most anything will be conjecture… But I think all of you are aware of my interest in drains, sanitation and the provision of services in out area.

What does everyone think? BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com, or comment here.

Hi Bob

Thanks to your kindness in publishing the old various maps of Walsall Wood and Brownhills, which are always a source if great interest, it may be a worthwhile exercise to try and plot where the very old houses’ wells were. For example, the Fold in Friezland Lane, Jenny Langford’s recollection of the well construction or repair, helped to locate this settlement..

A very recent chat with an old friend, using the question about where the well was, has helped to bring to light very good information about the very old Walsall Wood, along Hall Lane and around green Lane. Buildings that have been demolished, people who lived there, including the gypsy caravans and the two farms in Hall Lane. One was only a farmhouse in the 1920s, but this may indicate the presence of a (lost) farm before the canal was cut.

Lindon Road is a good example of development. The older houses had wells, and those built after 1900ish had no wells. Hence we can see how the provision of piped tap water spread through the locality, and the wells were no longer needed.

Finding the wells may help to plot and confirm where the original houses and settlements were, in fact. . Present-day residents may not know about a well in their garden.

The disappearance of the older houses’ outhouses and privvies from successive editions of maps indicate the installation of mains drainage .

We tend to take these necessary services for granted.

I wonder how many of your readers remember the telegraph poles, festooned with many wires, in the local roads, or the gas street lamps, both indicators of an increasing provision of those services. All these services’ visible presence is disappearing and going underground.

The gas lighter with his long pole, the night-soil men, the oil lamps on kitchen tables, the loads of coal tipped in the roads, the newspaper delivery boys, the dustcarts, the milk floats and their horses… images of an older village life.

The recent astonishingly productive and informative investigation into Goblins Pit has revealed so much; another thatched cottage, a detailed description of the people and their way of life, an unexpected and amazing connection with the USA , and an early railway line project… all many years before the coalmine opened.

If readers can help to locate the many old wells, we may be in for a few more surprises, to say the least.

with kind regards

David

They used to make real telegraph poles in theses days: real rats-nests. But what lay beneath? From 'Memories of Old Walsall Wood' by Bill Mayo and John Sale.

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11 Responses to Divine water?

  1. Neil says:

    The recently-demolished Miners Arms in Rushall had a well; when the pub was refurbished about 10 years ago they made a feature of it, with a glass plate over the top and lighting inside the well, so that the full depth was revealed. I presume the well has been filled in now that the pub has been demolished.

    • I never actually saw that, sad I didn’t. The health centre is extending onto the site, and in the PR puff they sent round the press they made a thing about possibly making a feature of the well, so it may survive.
      Interesting that the building burnt down, was demolished and then the health centre announced it’s expansion in such a compressed timescale.
      Best wishes

      Bob

      • stymaster says:

        Yes, I thought that too. How very convenient.

        I remember the well: quite a feature. The Miners was a little “colourful” but I did used to call in for the odd pint.

  2. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    another cup of tea and a chat…..the photo of Walsall Road..the shop was owned by Hulse and the petrol station was owned by Willdig. The “night soilers” did their duty on friday nights and took their loads of sweetness along Hall Lane to the “proper place” in Green Lane. They used a horse and cart whose sound was un- mistakable.
    I notice the photo shows clearly the Stafford Blue Kerbstones, another feature which has gone.
    cheers
    David

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  7. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    from Walsall Wood, by Margaret Brice..1982 I think..Memories of Mrs Proffitt( born 1927);-
    “Where a bunglaow now stands(since demolished;was les Jackson’s..now flats;David ) I can remember a thatched cottage that had a ladder instead of stairs going up to the bedroom. A family by the name of Morgan lived there but they moved acrss the road to near the end of Holly Lane. The thatched cottage had its front door facing Lichfield Road not Brownhills Road”
    Mrs Proffit was born at 101 Lichfield Road, by the Ivy House off-licence.
    David

  8. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    In God we trust article, the photo; Trustees. I think Mr Morgan is on the back row, on the far right as you look at the photo.
    David

  9. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    1841 census..staffs/walsall/aldridge/district5/sheet6 lists;-

    John Street, aged 60, nailer, Turnpike Road……its his cottage in the photo..(not the gentleman in the photo,) but the first Mr Street to live in that cottage .
    David

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