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.
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