Your guide to Walsall – 125 years ago


This is W. Henry Robinson’s Guide to Walsall – an illustrated handbook, written in 1889. Whether this copy is that old, I’m no sure. Whichever, it cost a shilling, and is about 100 pages.

Here’s one I’ve been meaning to do for ages, but the sheer labour of it has been off-putting; but now I have access to a professional scanner, it’s a lot easier to scan publications like W  Henry Robinson’s ‘Guide to Walsall – an illustrated guide’, which was published in 1889 and is a captivating gazetteer and document of a growing town and its life.

The book was given to me by a great friend a couple of years ago, and she obtained it from her late father’s personal effects. I know the book isn’t rare, as I know of at least three other copies, and I question if this copy really is 125 years old, or a later reissue; but the writing is clearly unaltered.

We have a historical, religious, architectural, economic, social and geographic tour of Walsall. Covered are important buildings, industries, clubs, places of worship, people and their histories. The very recent (then) story of Sister Dora is the book’s finale; there’s even a section on the geology of the town.

There are excellent drawings and photos.

It’s clearly and nicely written, and very, very comprehensive. I’ll not comment directly on the content, as I’d like readers to explore it for themselves, and then comment here, or mail me if you prefer: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

You can download a copy of the entire book at the link below. It’s near enough 30 megabytes, so may take a while on slow connections – note the text is searchable, and I’ve rotated all images for best viewing.

W. Henry Robinson’s ‘Guide to Walsall – an illustrated guide’ PDF download

Thanks to the donor for such a fine book, and please do comment what you find of interest.

Untitled 9

From the Guide: ‘Old buildings, Digbeth’ – so dereliction and decay in Walsall Town Centre is nothing new. I think it was bin day, too, by the look of those refuse sacks.

This entry was posted in Churches, Environment, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Council and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Your guide to Walsall – 125 years ago

  1. Pingback: Your guide to Walsall - 125 years ago | Gaia Gazette

  2. Pingback: Your guide to Walsall – 125 years ago | Chasestuff's Railway & Canal Blog

  3. Clive says:

    Very intresting book. Big thank you to the person that supplied the book and to Bob.

  4. Pedro says:

    Linley Caverns appear on the Blog…

    Like the way they are described in 1889…

    “The silent forsaken caverns, exhausted of their stores, are of considerable extent and very striking in their arrangement. The massy square columns regularly disposed give an Egyptian character to the labyrinthine halls and gloomy crypts of these once busy scenes.”

    Also the igneous rocks at Powk Hill Quarry…”assuming a columnar structure which in some instances become nearly as regular as the Giant’s Causeway.”

    Would have been quite a sight!

  5. PorkTorta says:

    This is simply wonderful – i’ll be downloading this and saving it for the NYC to Brum flight next Tuesday!

  6. I’m looking forward to reading the whole book when it’s quiet over Christmas.

  7. I’m still trying to work out where the racecourse was. 🙂

    • Pedro says:

      September 1866…Alarming fall of a stand on Walsall Racecourse…

      Yesterday afternoon, and alarming accident, similar in its nature to that which recently took place at Wolverhampton, Only happily much less serious, occurred on the Walsall racecourse…. A long stand had been erected, near the railway footbridge for accommodation as spectators, with a refreshment bar beneath….gave way and some 15 to 20 people fell into the bar below…

  8. Jan Hooper - nee Powell says:

    Thank you – still being downloaded in 2018. Very interesting. I was born in Manor Hospital.

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