Please help: New Road, what do we know?

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New Road in Brownhills has an interesting diversity of dwellings from different periods. Imagery from Bing! Maps.

I know well that you readers love a good challenge, and whilst I’ve been too busy to get much done on the blog this weekend, I wonder if you could all take a look at this query from Verity Lane who’s just moved in to New Road, Brownhills and was wanting to know a bit more about the street.

Verity wrote:

Hi Bob,

I have stumbled across your blog and found it very interesting, you’re doing a great job.

My other half and I have just brought a house on New Road, Brownhills, and I would love to know a bit of history of this road if you were aware of anything, especially if you know anything about the head of the road or about the house opposite the nursing home? I have searched all over the internet and on the planning website to see if anything is stated on there but to no avail.

Thanks for reading this email & we would much appreciate your response.

Kind Regards

First of all, thanks Verity for your kind words.

I realised after reading the email that I don’t actually know a fat lot about New Road, either. We discovered the existence of New Street last year, which was in the same area, but that was lost when Warren Place was built.

As to the house opposite the old Vicarage, it’s a handsome building. For some reason there have been rumours about planning applications on that property for years, but none are outstanding.

When researching New Road, it’s worth bearing in mind there were several similar names locally over the years – there was not only a New Street in Brownhills, but Pauls Coppice in Walsall Wood was also called New Street.

Longstanding friend of the blog Julie Le Moine of course, asked the same question some time ago of adjacent Church Road, and some of the material in that post may be interesting to Verity.

If you know anything, please comment here, or send me a mail to BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

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24 Responses to Please help: New Road, what do we know?

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    What I’ve found is a bit odd.

    The 1884 OS mapping shows the road we know today as New Road, but does not name it.

    The censuses give patchy coverage: 1861 no mention; 1871 New Road, 2 records (Ogley Hay dist. 24 p11); 1881 & 1891 no mention; 1901 & 1911 have both New Road and New Street!

    1901. New Street, mentioned in description of enumeration district (Ogley Hay dist. 22 p1). pp44-41, 4 records New St and pp44-45 6 records New Rd. Between are several Chester Road and two Ogley Hay House.

    1911. Records 209-217 (image 418 onwards) New Road and (consecutively) 218-221 New St. The addresses are completed by both enumerator and resident. (Ogley Hay dist 20.)

    I’ve not checked 1841 or 1851.

    As I said, a bit odd. Do we know anything about Ogley Hay House?

    • Pedro says:

      Sep 1896….For Sale…Strong Spring Trap and harness, nearly new, cheap, apply Henry Jones Ogley Hay House, Brownhills

    • Pedro says:

      New Street, B’hills…1901…a nuisance caused by sewage existed at property at New St, to remedy which he suggested that a sewer be laid along New Street from Chester Road…

      …an address, 31 New Street, Paul’s Coppice, B’hills shown 1932..

      • Andy Dennis says:

        I found a Henry Jones in the censuses, born Cradley Heath about 1846. In 1881 general provision dealer and 1891 newsagent both not many records from the Station Inn / Hotel. In 1901 at High St, Brownhills in the Catshill area, not far from the canal. In 1901 his occupation was “General Sales & Shopkeeper”. Not there in 1911. (In 1871 he was a blacksmith living at Chase View Terrace, Watling Street – I think this was the row between the chapel and the wheelbarrow works.) None of these helps with locating Ogley Hay House.

        Given the progression in the 1901 census I wonder if Ogley Hay house stood at the corner of New Road and Chester Road. On one corner is a white residential-type building, but I think that has another name. Opposite is a patch of open space that could have accommodated a substantial house. Does anyone recall what was there before?

      • malcolm says:

        I had a girlfriend who lived at 31 New Street, during the sixties.I think the name New Street was dropped in about 1967 ! and it became just St Pauls Coppice. Am I right in thinking,that its actually in Walsall Wood.I may be wrong, but I thought that Brownhills boundary began just past the Anchor Public House?

  2. Pedro says:

    1838 Inclosure Act

    A certain Tract or Carriage Road, commencing from the Wyrley and Essington canal bridge, near to the New Warren House, and leading in a southeasterly direction and terminating in the said Walsall and Lichfield turnpike road, near to the New Road set out as aforesaid, leading from thence to Park Lane…

    • Pedro says:

      Names occurring in the 1838 Inclosure Act…

      Watling-street Road
      Old Chester Turnpike Road
      Old and New Warren House
      Walsall and Lichfield Turnpike Road
      Whittaker Lane
      Pouk Lane
      Bull Moor Lane End
      Muckley Corner
      Elder Lane
      Thornyhurst Lane
      New Road
      Park Lane

      • Andy Dennis says:

        In the Inclosure Act the “Carriage Road” is presumably the old turnpike now known as Barracks Lane. Is it right to infer from this that the New Road is now Cartersfield Lane and then Lynn Lane to Shenstone, where Park Lane continues?

        In any case the New Road between St James’s Church and Chester Road in Ogley Hay could not have been there in 1838. This New Road, though unnamed, appears on the “c.1860’s” map in Gerald Reece’s book, p77.

        The only other name not readily traceable on modern maps is Elder Lane.

        • WarsawPact says:

          Regarding Elder Lane, there is a road called Elderside Close, off Barnetts Lane, that was built around 20 years ago. On the land to the north of the Elderside Close (currently occupied by the cadet huts) a house is shown on the OS maps from 1876 to 1937. On those same maps, Barnetts Lane is not actually named as anything – but then, neither is the house.

          I suggest that the house was called Elder House, The Elders or similar, and the road leading to it was known as Elder Lane. This would explain the subsequent naming of Elderside Close.

          Circumstantial, I know – just putting the idea forward for discussion.

  3. Hi folks

    I’d just like to take the chance to thank Andy and Peter for their stunning work on this post. I know just how long it takes for to find stuff like they have, and the fact that they went out of their way to do so says so much about them.

    Cheers, both

  4. Pedro says:

    Just for the record…October 1848…

    LICHFIELD TURNPIKES. TOLLS TO BE LET BY AUCTION, the best bidder, for one year, from the first day of January next inclusive, at the home of John Joseph Cato, the Three Crowns Inn, in the city of Lichfield, on Tuesday, the second day of November next, between the hours of twelve and two of the clock of the same day. In manner directed by the Act of Parliament passed in the 3rd and 4th years of the reign of his late Majesty King George the Fourth, “for regulating Turnpike Roads” whose tolls are let the present year, ending on the 31st day of December next, for the sums after-mentioned, above the expenses of collecting them, and will he put up in parcels or lots, at such respective sums, or such other sums, as the Trustees shall think fit. vix:

    On the road from Burton to Lichfield and from thence to Wood End and Ogley Hay.

    Pipe Hill Gate, Including two Side Bars, and Ogley Hay Gate ………………„………………. 506 0 0

    Branstone Gate ……………………,……,……………………… 316 0 0

    Wood End Gate, Including side Bar…………………………. 265 0 0

    Streethay Gate…………………………271 0 0

  5. Andy Dennis says:

    There’s a long sequence of these in the press. Ogley Hay Gate was on Watling Street, just west of where Howdles Lane is now. I’m sure we’ve covered this before, but I can’t find it now.

  6. Colin says:

    Hi !
    Came across this by sheer fluke and couldn’t help but reply….. I live in Glenrothes Fife now but i was brought up on the Burntwood / Hammerwich border close to the hospital. It would seem from literature I have that the turnpike was run by my 3 times great granny , Ellen Cooper (nee Hawkins and widowed by her 1st husband Hezekia Potts) and her 2nd husband (believed Josiah Cooper) who was apparently a farmer/trader in the area round about the late 1800’s. This was her 2nd marriage and the resultant offspring followed their father into running a farm which started at the turnpike and eventually extended as far as Turnpike ,Wharf and Brooklyn farms with fields as far apart as Highfields (Chasetown), both sides of Wharf Lane, extending to the level crossing at Paviours Row and possibly as far as The Rising Sun area. Apparently, the land around the turnpike was owned by the MacPhersons of Little Wyrley Hall and an annual rent was paid from the Coopers to the MacPhersons at an annual dinner – dance which was held at the tithe barn in Little Wyrley. The turnpike also housed a succesful grocery business and general shop which apparently baked bread on the premises. They also had a “chaff cutting” operation (whatever that is) which used a gas engine which was seemingly named Gang Forward. The naming was kindly performed by Mrs MacPherson ! It is believed that the building itself disappeared in the 1940’s due in some part to the lack of official boundary and the demise if the family business due to one of the inheritor’s propensity to booze and gambling. Josiah succumbed to Dropsy and Ellen died around about the end of 1919 and is apparently buried in Brownhils Churchyard. I descend on my maternal grandmothers side from Ellen Coopers marriage to her first husband “Potts”.
    This information has come from anecdotal evidence which was written over a period of a few months by my grandmothers cousin who was great grandson to Ellen.
    Hope it helps.
    Colin Smith

  7. Andy Dennis says:

    I think you are going to have to help us a bit more. However, Cooper rings a bell. My Dad and brothers (alas all gone before) mentioned Stevie Cooper’s farm. I never really knew where this was except that he lived and kept pigs on some land that is now Brownhills School, Deakin Avenue. This was off Watling Street (A5) and the toll gate, Ogley Hay Gate (long defunct), was nearby. In the 1911 census is a record for Ellen Cooper b. abt. 1827 Cheslyn Hay with sons Stephen b. abt. 1871 and Charles. By then, of course, the Turnpike Act had been repealed. The 1911 census says she was a shopkeeper and the sons were farmers. Both, it says, were born at Norton Canes, which would fit with the toll house.

    In 1891 apparently the same Stephen Cooper, locomotive cleaner, lived at Turnpike House, Watling Street living with his father, also Stephen, grocer and mother Ellen. I this the right family?

  8. Andy Dennis says:

    I think the family associated with Little Wyrley Hall is Wallace.

  9. Colin says:

    Yes….. you’ve got the right family. The info i have says that when Josiah Cooper died he was survived by his wife (Ellen) and 3 children, Stephen, Charles and Nellie, along with 3 step children Benjamin Potts and his sisters Marinda and Polly. Stephen married a Nellie Borough at which point Charles left and went to live at and run the Brooklyn Farm part of the business. Charles then married someone called L Reeves. Nellie Cooper received schooling and became a teacher at Watling Street Girls School. This is where it gets complicated – Ellen Coopers only son to her 1st husband was Benjamin Potts. He married twice as well and produced 10 children in all one of them being my great grandma. It seems that it was family practice that as soon the girls had left school they went into service…………. running the family business and being general dogs’ bodies around the house and what transpires to be 2 other farms and a farm shop which was apparently situated at the top end of Chasetown High Street near to what used to be the main entrance to the recreation centre when I was a boy. If I remember rightly, there is/was a similar building which looked like 3 or 4 lock -ups next what was H&M Coaches. Wharf Farm was eventually run by the Joseph Wardle (previously a local pit sinker) and his wife Marinda (nee Potts) around about time of WW1. Before that i think that it was run by Charlie Coopers daughter and her husband Cartwright. Wardles’ child (also Rinda) met and married a man called Alfred Clinton who was from the 1st cottage on the right in Howdles Lane. It is rumoured that in total the business kept about 800 pigs. That seems a lot to me however, I do remember pigs still being farmed on a small scale at the top and bottom of Wharf Lane and beyond the scrambling course to the field where the houses start at the top of Highfields Hill. It may still go on – I haven’t been to the area for about 15 years. Other things I have come across which may interest you – Benjamin Potts went to Watling Street School and was taught by the headmaster Mr Atkins. Another family residence – Coppice View Cottage- which was apparently near the Rising Sun. Ellen Cooper (nee Hawkins) was born in Cheslyn Hay. The Hawkins family residence was at “The Park”, Cross Street. They were well conected in the area and seems her brothers may have laid the foundations of the Hawkins Tiles business along with Hawkins Colliery. Ellen and her 1st huband Hezekia Potts ran “The Dog” pub in Wyrley (may have been Cheslyn Hay). It burned down under seemingly suspicious circumstances, hence their move to the turnpike house A5 !!
    Immediate and 2nd generation descendants etc of Ellen, Hezekiah and Josiah are now flung as far apart as Oz, Oregon USA, Kent, Scotland and from Clayhanger to Lichfield!!

  10. Andy Dennis says:

    I think I can clear up your uncertainty over Josiah Cooper.
    But first the 1861 England census has: at Pinfold Lane, Cheslyn Hay –
    Hezekiah Potts, Head, Mar[ried], 28, Miner & Beerhouse keeper, [born] Salop, Broseley
    Ellen Potts, Wife, Mar, 26, -, Staffordshire, Cheslyn Hay
    Marinda, Dau, -, 4, Scholar, ditto
    Hezekiah Wm, Son, -, 1, -, ditto
    The beerhouse is not named, but the next record is “boats”, suggesting it was close to the canal. Hezekiah died in 1867 (General Registry Office index).
    In the 1881 census Ellen, now Cooper, is recorded at Watling Street, in about the right place for the turnpike. Her husband was Stephen Cooper, 37, grocer. They had children: William Potts, 21, butcher, (the same Hezekiah Wm?), Benjamin Potts, 19, Mary A Potts, 14, Stephen Cooper, 9, scholar (this would be the Stevie Cooper who kept pigs), Ellen Cooper, 8, scholar, and Charles Cooper, 6, scholar.
    The turnpike, which was known as Ogley Hay Gate stood west of Howdles Lane where the first house with access off Watling Street is today. There was also a building on the south side, but any remains are now under the westbound carriageway. I belive the turnpike was wound up in about 1875, though I have no hard facts. I tried to find out who the toll collectors were and I recall a reply to Brownhills Bob ages ago, but I can’t find it now.
    In 1891 the Coopers were recorded at Turnpike House, but something I had not noticed before is that two records away is Turnpike Cottage, which I believe was on the north side of the road. The 1884 OS mapping indicates a building that could accommodate a family on the south side. Judging by the order of records the enumerator did not simply proceed in an orderly fashion, so working out which was which would need some other information.
    In 1901 the address was simply Watling Street. In 1911, Ellen, again widowed, with sons Stephen and Charles, both farmers, were at Watling Street, but it might not have been the same house.
    Opposite the end of Howdles Lane stood some flats / maisonettes. Behind them was a rectangular field where there were shelters for pigs and at the eastern end was a cluster of buildings, which I recall being Stevie Cooper’s farm. This disappeared in the late 1960s, I think. If I remember correctly, the school that now occupies the site was built in about 1972-73.
    In 1901, on the same page, were Josiah Cooper, 50, farmer, born Brownhills, and his family. His wife’s name was Edith M Cooper. Could it be that Stevie took over the farm from Josiah? That could have led to the assumption of parentage. It appears Josiah died in 1910 (GRO index).

  11. Andy Dennis says:

    From a public tree on Ancestry Stephen (Stevie) Cooper’s father and grandfather were also Stephen.

  12. Colin says:

    Thanks very much for this information!… I’ll amend my records accordingly.

  13. Michelle Leonard says:

    Just out of interest reading the above regarding the Potts/Hawkins family, my Dad (recently deceased) left me his house in his will – this happens to be the house that Arnold Hawkins (Tile manufacturer) left to his gardener in his will and is listed as such.

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  15. Martin Potts says:

    This is all very interesting as it seems that Ellen Cooper (nee Hawkins) was my Great Great Grandmother. I too have a copy of the ‘Potts Saga’ which is what Colin is referring to. It is stated that Ellen Hawkins came from a family of tile manufacturers and that she went to a boarding school in Stafford until she was 18. I can’t find any trace of such a school in Stafford in that time period which would have been about 1841 to 1854. Can anyone help with that? I’m not from the Brownhills area and find the locations all a bit confusing – they seem to all run from one into the other!

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