JOURNAL OF THE WILKINSON SOCIETY No 10 1982
Broseley Local History Society Journal No 10 1982
THE JOURNAL OF THE WILKINSON SOCIETY No. 10:1982
The Society was formed in 1972 to meet the need for an organisation to preserve the material and documentary evidence of Broseley's industrial past. Since an important part in this industrial past was played by John Wilkinson, who lived for a time at "The Lawns", it was decided that the organisation should be known as The Wilkinson Society.
The aims of the Society are :-
(i) to act as custodian of any relevant material and information and to make such material and information available to interested individuals and organisations;
(ii) to promote any relevant preservation activity and to assist individuals or organisations in such activity where deemed appropriate;
(iii) to provide a link with the community of Broseley for individuals or organisations undertaking local historical research.
Any available material will be added to the existing collection of Broseley and Wilkinson relics part of which will soon he on display at Broseley Hall.
Administration of the Society is by an annually elected committee. Membership is open to anyone interested in the Society's aims and activities. These activities include illustrated lectures, social evenings, researching and exhibiting the collection, field trips and coach tours. Members are kept informed by newsletters, and this annual Journal presents articles on the history of the Broseley area, John Wilkinson, and industrial archaeology in general.
The eighth Annual General Meeting was planned for Friday 24th October, 1980, but at the last minute it had to be postponed by Chairman's action owing to the unavoidable absence of the President, the Secretary and the Journal Editor. The talk, by Mr. Ralph Pee, describing discoveries made at the New Willey site during the summer of 1980 by Mr. & Mrs. Banks whilst landscaping part of the site, went on as planned and was extremely interesting.
The postponed A.G.M. was held on Friday 28th November, 1980 in the Church Hall, Broseley, as a prelude to the Joint Meeting with the Broseley Society. The Officers and Committee were re-elected for a further year, with the addition of Mr. C. Pointon and Mr. M. Pemberton, the latter representing I.G.M.T. as ordinary members of the Committee. The Joint Meeting took place immediately following, an illustrated talk by Mr. M. Stratton entitled"Broseley Tiles", which gave members of both societies a new look at this very popular subject and was highly appreciated.
The annual Joint Meeting with the Friends of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum took place at the Severn Warehouse on Wednesday 17th December, 1980. The films and slides were highly enjoyable and the mince pies and coffee went down well on a cold evening.
The Social Evening held at "The Lawns" on Friday 27th February, 1981 was not well attended, the weather that night being extremely wet and windy, but the dozen or so members who did turn up enjoyed the sherry and the examples of "Broseley Bygones" that were brought along by those who did brave the elements.
The Joint Summer Outing with the Friends of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum on 11th July, 1981 was, in contrast, a great success. The two Societies between them filled the coach that had been booked, and the trip to see S.S. Great Britain and the historic city of Bath was greatly enjoyed by all who took part, on a perfect summer's day.
In addition to the above, committee meetings were held on 14th October, 1980 and 24th September, 1981.
5th March (1982) Members' social evening in the Church Hall.
7th May A guided tour through the Tar Tunnel, Coalport.
12th June Annual summer outing: joint visit with either the I.G.M.T. Friends to the Black Country Museum, Dudley, or Telford Historical & Archaeological Society to the Welsh Folk Museum at St. Fagans, Cardiff.
9th July Visit to Maw's Tile Works, Jackfield.
15th October Tenth A.G.M.,followed by talk - "Wem Cow Club and Other Curiosities of Insurance in Shropshire" - by Mr. Chris Whall
9th November "Broseley Pipes and other interesting things" - talk by Mr. Ivor Southern.
8th December Joint meeting with the I.G.M.T. Friends at the Severn Warehouse - an oral history evening.
18th February (1983) Members' social evening in the Church Hall
18th March "The Parish Chest" - talk by Rev. L.F. Peltor.
June – July It is hoped to arrange a summer outing in association with the I.G.M.T. Friends or Telford Historical & Archaeological Society.
The editor wishes to apologise for the delay in the appearance of this issue.
Further copies of the Journal and back numbers can be obtained from the Assistant Secretary, Mrs. Freda Spickernell, 11, High Street, Broseley.
Contributions to future issues would be welcome, and should be sent to the Editor, N.J. Clarke, 'Cranleigh', Little Wenlock.
Congratulations to Dr. Neil Cossons on his appointment as Director of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich! Neil has been at Ironbridge for almost 12 years and the high reputation the Museum has achieved has largely been due to his vision as Director.
The following is the introduction to the 'Report on the current state of the Wilkinson Monument at Lindale, Cumbria - and some suggestions for its restoration' by Cyril McCoombe in 'Foundry Trades Journal', 1981. There is a copy in the I.G.M.T. Library.
The cast-iron obelisk commemorating the death of the notable iron master, John Wilkinson, is a remarkable memorial to a flamboyant individual's lifetime faith in the application of cast-iron to a wide range of engineering and decorative uses. It also played no small part in the astonishing saga resulting from Wilkinson's determination to be interred in a cast-iron coffin. The obelisk was erected, subsequent to his death in 1808, over a grave in the grounds of Castlehead, the family estate in Cumbria. Upon the later sale of the estate, the monument was dismantled and, apparently after many years of neglect, re-erected in 1863 on its present site to the south of the village of Lindale in Cumbria. The monument occupies a prominent position on a rocky knoll, the triangular site being flanked by the public roads and a farm lane.
To-day the cast-iron obelisk is in need of restoration, especially remedial attention to halt the effects of rust behind the several memorial plaques and within major cracks.
What follows is a report on the current state of the exterior of the monument and some suggestions for its restoration. The document also includes an Appendix showing details of the obelisk's deterioration.
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Proposals to restore navigation on the River Severn between Stourport and Shrewsbury would involve the construction of 13 weirs and their associated Locks (the majority at sites proposed by William Jessop in 1785), and would raise the level of the water by about 5 feet.
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It is with regret that we record the death in October of Frank Turner, who was an active member of our Society.
Frank Bertram Turner was born in Madeley in 1906 and spent the first half of his working life in local industry; at the age of 13 he began work in the fitting shop at the Court Works; in 1921 he moved to Kemberton Colliery where he worked as a blacksmith; and from 1935 to 1940 he was winding engineman at the Blists Hill mine. Six months after the outbreak of the Second World War Frank moved to the G.K.N. Sankey Works at Hadley and spent almost 30 years in the tool room there before his retirement in 1971.
For the greater part of his life Frank lived in Madeley, although, when they were first married, he and his wife Olive (who died four years ago) lived for a very short time in Much Wenlock, and later in 1961 they moved to Wellington. Wherever he lived Frank led a very active life, being particularly involved in the work of the Church and in sport. He was a keen cricketer and played chess for the county. In later years he travelled widely by rail.
Frank belonged to a number of local organisations, including the Friends of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum and the Wilkinson Society. Because of his actual working experience in the area and his remarkable memory, he provided much valuable information when Blists Hill mine was reconstructed in the early 1970s. Frank's own account of the working of the mine before its closure in 1940 was published in the Society's Journal in 1975 (and later reprinted in the Shropshire Mining Club Journal), and fortunately we also have some of his reminiscences on tape. He got much pleasure from taking a turn on demonstrating the winding engine to visitors to Blists Hill.
More recently Frank was a valued member of the I.G.M.T. Transport Advisory Group, providing information on the railway siding at Blists Hill and train working on the Coalport Branch.
Frank's enthusiasm and knowledge will be sadly missed by all those who knew him. He was preparing notes on various local industrial topics at the time of his death and, when sorted, these will be deposited in the I.G.M.T. Library. An article by him on the Meadow Colliery, Madeley, will be published in a future issue of the Journal.
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The 'Spry', last of the Severn Trows, is to be moved from Worcester to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum by road during the last week-end of March. Restoration of the vessel will be undertaken at Blists Hill.
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