Broseley Local History Society Journal No 4 1976




The Year's activities

Programme of Events for 1976-7



COAL, IRON AND CLAY . . AND THE LAW!   by N. J. Clarke



JOSIAH J0HN GUEST, 1785-1852 by N. J. Clarke



   Editor  .. N. J. Clarke


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 interestedindividuals 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 at ‘The Lawns’, Broseley. This collection is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays (2 to 4 pm) and by appointment.

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 a Newsletter, and an annual Journal presents articles on the history of the Broseley area, John Wilkinson and industrial archaeology in general.


The Year's activities

The third Annual General Meeting was held at "The Lawns" or. Friday 24th October 1975. The serving committee was unanimously re-elected for a further year.

It was agreed after a good deal of discussion that most subscrip­tions should be raised for 1975-6 and that at the same time a new rate for married couples should be introduced. The subscriptions agreed were:­

Adult - £1.00

Husband and Wife - £l-50

Senior Citizens - £0.50

Junior - £0.25

 It was also agreed that the price of the Journal to non-members would have to be raised to 20p (plus postage)

A Museum Committee was set up to look at the problems involved in running the museum.

After the formal meeting, our Secretary, Mr. Maurice Hawes, gave an illustrated talk which he called "One Man's View of the Severn Gorge"

On Friday 21st November Mr. Barrie Trinder paid his second visit as a guest speaker, his subject being "L'Ecomusée at Le Creusot in Burgundy". His informative and scholarly talk was greatly appreciated.

'Members' Evening’ was held on Friday 6th February, following the pattern of the previous year. By an odd coincidence, three different members between them brought along a considerable number of items relating to the Benthall Potteries, and. this made the evening most successful. Sherry was provided, and two 1917 Coalport floral-decorated saucers were won in a raffle by Mrs. Morris of Tollgate Cottage, Coneybury.

On Friday 12th March Mr. Stuart Smith was our visiting speaker and his subject "Art in the Severn Gorge" proved highly entertaining and enlightening.

During the months of March, April, May and June a small party of members, led by Chris Pointon, set about the task of redecorating and reorganising the Museum. This tremendous effort is described in more detail elsewhere in this Journal

The Annual Outing planned for Saturday 5th June 1976 to the Gladstone Pottery Museum had to be cancelled because of lack of support.  This was the first time a Society function had suffered such a fate.

However, the Weekend Trip to the Backbarrow and Lindale areas of Cumberland was esteemed a great success by the 12 members who tool part, on Saturday/Sunday 26th/27th June 1976.

The Second Annual Celebrity Lecture., in association with the Broseley Gala Committee, was held in the Church Hall on Friday 2nd July. Mr. Neil Cossons, Director of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, spoke on "Preserving our Industrial Heritage" to a large and enthusiastic audience, who were stimulated into a lengthy question and answer session after the lecture proper. This was a most successful event on a, very pleasant summer evening and refreshments, provided as usual by Mrs. Pee and Mrs. Hawes, were enjoyed outside the Hall in the sunshine after the talk.

During July and August a Brochure was produced to publicise the newly-decorated and reorganised Museum. The credit for this really belongs to Mr. Ralph Pee, whose brain-child it was. Your secretary, with the expert help of Mrs. M. Rees-Boughton, acted as Midwife when it came to the typing and printing.

The last event of the year was the Official Opening of the New Museum on Saturday 4th September 1976. The ceremony was most capably and elegantly performed by County Councillor Mrs. Natalie Hodgson, who had clearly done her homework on John Wilkinson. Her address was warmly received by a gathering which comfortably filled the Museum and included most of the members who had helped with the work and a number of distinguished guests.

In addition to the foregoing, Committee Meetings were held on 7th January, 20th February and 22nd July, 1976.

Programme of Events for 1976-7

 22nd October  Fourth Annual General Meeting followed by a 'blow-by-blow' account of the Weekend in Cumbria., given by Messrs. Chris Pointon, Howard Griffiths, and Maurice Hawes.

12th November  Dr. Ivor Brown - "Old Mines, Miners and Mining Machinery on the Banks of the Severn Gorge".

February            Members' evening (details to be announced)

March  Talk (to be arranged)

Spring/Summer            Coach Trip (to be arranged)

The Journal

Despite increased costs of stencils and duplicating papers, we are able to maintain the price of the Journal to non-members at 20p We are grateful to Mrs. Rees-Boughton for the typing of this issue.

Copies of this issue of the Journal and back numbers can be obtained from the Secretary, Maurice Hawes, Salop Street, Bridgnorth (25p including postage).

Contributions to further issues of the Journal would be welcome and should be sent to the Editor, N. J. Clarke, Cranleigh, Little Wenlock, Telford.







The following list is the entry for Broseley and its neighbourhood in William Bailey's "Western and Midland Directory" of 1783 (pp. 365-6). The original spelling has been retained.

"Broseley, Shropshire, and Neighbourhood. Market Day, Wednesday.

Banck,;Wm. and Co., Iron-masters., Benthall.

Bill and Thirsfield, Potters., Brosley.

Blakeway, Edward, Esq., ditto.

Bradley, George, Pipe--makers, Benthall.

Ferriday, Wm., Iron-master, Medley.

Firmstone, Joseph, Potter, Brosley.

Goodwin, Wm. Esq., Coal-owner, Coalbrookdale.

Legg,, Richard, Pipemaker, Brosley.

Legg, Richard, ditto,    ditto.

Legg, Benj., ditto, ditto.

Matthews, George, Iron-founder, ditto.

Parry, John, Attorney,  ditto.

Rathbone, Joseph., + Co., Iron-masters, Coalbrookdale.

Reynolds, Richard, + Cal, ditto, Ketly

Roden, Samuel, Pipe-maker, Brosley Wood

Simpson, Aaron, Potter, Brosley.

Simpson, Richard, ditto, ditto.

Stanley, John, Attorney, Coalbrookdale.

Turner and Gallimore, Porcelain Manufactory, Brosley.

Wright and Jepson, Iron-founders, ditto

An interesting omission is John Wilkinson and the New Willey Company.

N.  J. C


Local readers will be aware that the name selected for the new primary school in Coalport Road, Broseley, is that of John Wilkinson. In view of the fact that his name was also selected a few years ago for one of the, "houses" in the Secondary school at Much Wenlock, it must be concluded that some sort of breakthrough has at last been achieved to balance the Victorian prejudices against J.W. Whether this is a result of the Society's activities or not, we can only be pleased at this turn of events, which is bound to make local children curious about our hero, and may well lead some of them to take an interest in our activities.



"Strike while the iron is hot" could well be considered an appropriate motto for the Society, and it can most certainly be applied to those members who, under the dynamic direction of Chris Pointon, took up where last year's Annual General Meeting left off on the question of reorganising; the Museum.

After two lively committee meetings examining the highly professional plans prepared by Mrs. Claire Morley, it was decided to go ahead along the lines suggested by her. Messrs. Pointon, Cragg, Whall; Burns, Silvester and Hawes put on their overalls and started stripping and making good the walls and ceiling; of the main room.  Meanwhile, Mr. Pee had organised the provision of new electrical wiring.  At this time the weather was exceedingly cold and the party were extremely grateful for the copious hot coffee supplied by Mrs. Pee.  After several Sunday mornings, the preparation was complete and the painting commenced. "Sandtex everywhere" and the transformation was well under way.

The next stage was to erect the frameworks for the new stands, using "Handy Angle" material most generously donated by the manufacturers through the good offices of Mr. G. Whittaker. To do this, the volunteers were given a crash course by Chris Pointon, covering the intricacies involved! Thanks to this instruction, none of the party lost any fingers, though once or twice it was a near thing.

The stands were then clothed and fitted with fluorescent lamps. Meanwhile., the woodwork was painted and the huge kitchen range was re-blacked. The floor presented quite a problem, but in the end, thanks to the prodigious efforts of Ralph Pee, all was well.

Whilst the main party concentrated on the large room, Ralph, when not otherwise engaged, performed small miracles on the two smaller rooms and the cellar to complete the scene. Last but not least, Neil Clarke organised most effectively the labelling of the newly arranged exhibits.

Thus, after six months' hard work, the Museum was ready for the official reopening in early September.

I know that all members of the Society will agree that this effort for which thanks are due to all concerned., must now be backed up by a readiness on the part of every member to help as much as possible with the day-to-day manning of the Museum. Help is needed not only to staff the museum on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, but also to assist in the general tidying and cleaning and in looking after the exhibits. I am sure that this will be seen as an opportunity for everyone to take an active part in our effort to stimulate interest in Broseley, in its place in the industrial history of the Severn Gorge, and in the special contributions of John Wilkinson to the iron industry.



The adventures of a party of Broseley morris dancers in the time of the Commonwealth are thus detailed in the sessions records of Wenlock:

'August 9th 1652. To the Wor'full the Baylife and Justices of the Towns and lybertyes of Much Wenlock certifying:

That all wee whose names are subscribed Inhabitants of the Parishe of Astley Abbots doe certifye that upon Munday in Whitsunday week bein`g the 7th of June last past there came a Morrice daunce forth of the Parish of Broseley with six sword bearers and a rude.companye of followers throwe ye whole bodie of this our said Parish being uninvited or desired by any one within the said Parish that wee doe know of. And coming to Nordley unto the house of Richard Pensham a lycensed ale seller calling for what drinke they pleased left most party thereof unpaid and nott onely inseulted the people of the house butt also al the rest of the neighbors and people there present with sour that were absent that have bine aproved frendes and servants to ye Parliament of England as likewise Mr. Crowther who desircing they  to pay ye poore woman for their drinke they there upon presentley called her bad names many tymes and in this way misbehaveing themselves in letting theire tongues run at large that yf there had bine a considerable partye to have mashed them yt is beleeved there would have bine a Create fray and blood shed yf nott murder comitted many of those rude persons haveing borne armes against ye Parliament as will be mad to apeare to your worships.

Subscribed with our hands ye day and yeare above written





Many other witnesses might be presented butt conceive these to be sufficient.

The leader of them or lord of misrule was William Homes junior; the vice called the lord's son was John Johnson junior.

The most abusive were Thomas Lee sword bearer who formerly and also in ye last service att Worcester bore armes against ye Parliament: John Eavens badger of flanen a revolted Parliament souldier as hee confesseth and sayes hee will now continue a cavelleire as long as he lives, and William Neve a trayned souldier being upon the states service upon the 7th of October last past was forelaid upon the high way by the said John Eavens being armed with a very large pike.'



The re-opening of the redecorated and re-designed. Museum was unfortunately too late in the. year to assess the effect of the new layout on the visiting public.

The few late season visitors we did have after the re-opening-were very enthusiastic and we can, I believe, look forward to a successful season in 1977.

The job is now to keep it bright and attractive, improve the exhibits, sell it to the public as something worth seeing; and lastly to keep it manned during opening hours.

We' now have a very welcome and enthusiastic assistant curator, Mr. Peter Mugridge, but it seems likely that more help will be required when the season opens.

Mr. Mugridge has brought some welcome additions to our collection of tiles and pipes. Some five specimens of tiles have also been obtained from among the effects of Mr Jim Roberts of Delphside, an enthusiastic and knowledgeable member who died recently.

Also from these effects we have obtained a fine specimen of a disappearing tool, a tinman's blow pipe; a few augers, important tools not represented until now in our collection. These items have come to us by courtesy of Mr F. Ball who has also renewed the loan of the models made, and previously owned, by Mr Roberts.

Two outstanding items have been given by Mr J. Horley, a brass tilemaker's stamp from the Tileries and a unique little photographic tile from Craven Dunnhill depicting one of the Chamberlain brothers.

Mr E. H. Pee has started a scrap book to be kept in the Museum for the collection of newspaper cuttings, etc. dealing; with events and places in Broseley and district. It is already very interesting, but as the maintenance of a scrap book is a continuous process it is hoped that members will contribute items of interest.










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