The Centre of Broseley



The Wilkinson Society.


5th January, 2000, revised to 5.9.01.


Table of Contents
1) Frank Selkirk's house in Church Street.
2) 50 Church Street.
3) Cottages behind High St shops and pubs.
4) The Pritchard Memorial.
5) The Town Hall.
6) Barber's Row.
7) Instone Building.
8) The Pheasant.
9) New Road House (Bridgnorth Rd).
10) The National School.
11) Hockley Hall.
12) Mill House in Mill Lane.
13) The Workhouse in Workhouse Road, (now Woodhouse Road.)
14) Bank House (now Broseley Social Club).
15) Broseley Church.
16) Oakleys Stables, Swan Street.
17) Parr's Coal and Scrap Yard.
18) The Lion.
19) Bon Marche.
20) The Victoria Hall.
21) King Street.


1) Frank Selkirk's house in Church Street.

FS. Deeds go back only to c. 1932. Older deeds lost, probably when Potts Solicitors closed. Originally smallish brick house, 2 up, 2 down, late 18th C., added to c. 1814. Owner previous to Frank was Maurice Chidley, who said he had found backing paper on wall relating to Battle of Waterloo. Ownership in 19th C. not known.

MS. Mrs Charlton lived there in the twenties and thirties. Her maiden name was Potts, one of the three Potts sisters who had lived at the Deanery in Church St. May and Hettie never married.

EP. Miss Dingwall lived there. When she passed away she was not found for four days. Maurice Chidley bought the house and moved in c.1970.

BP. Miss Dingwall and her mother were Victorian ladies, always together, in black and very gracious, but after the death of her mother Miss Dingwall must have been lonely.

FS. The house had a cellar and outbuildings, but Maurice demolished some of the outbuildings and filled in the cellar with the bricks, having had trouble with the cellar flooding. Frank had discovered and dug out the cellar, installing a pump for drainage. Only problem the rat that had moved in. Derek Pountney had said the house used to be known as Prospect House.

MS. As a child I visited the house because my aunt used to work there, but I can't recall its being called 'Prospect House".

LO. It is said that the Prestages had lived there. Opposite used to be a row of very modest cottages, where the Uppercroft flats are now. Merediths the funeral directors lived near the bottom end of Foundry Lane.

MS. Their business was in Poole's Yard. I was born in Foundry Lane, and the ruins of a furnace were still there, on the right as you went down. The cottages in Foundry Lane had no water laid on and used a hydrant that stood by the furnace. A wide part of Foundry Lane was called the Bull Ring.

TI. Mr Clark had a shop in Church Street where he sold second-hand furniture and fireworks. He had a horse and dray.

2) 50 Church Street.

NC. Gerald Instone's house, why the very high wall so close to frontage ? Defensive ?

MS. But the back of Gerald Instone's house is like the front of Willey Hall, with columns. Mr Lee the dentist had his surgery there. He had another practice in Wellington.

3) Cottages behind High St shops and pubs.

JO. A lane ran parallel to the High St. Along it were small cottages with poor occupants. The lane was below the level of the High St by one floor's height. Where Catherine's Bakery is the actual bakehouse is one floor down from the shop, at the level of the back lane.

The present Post Office used to be Stephen Jones, grocers. Again there is a drop of one floor to the back room. JO used to play there with the Jones children, Moms and Beryl. The family had a smallholding at The Mines, where they lived, and where we used to play.

At "The Albion" a horse and dray brought the beer to the back door, at cellar level.

TI. There was a butchery at what is now The Butcher's Bar.

MS. You could say the occupants of the cottages were poor but generally respectable. Poaching was an occasional occupation.

4) The Pritchard Memorial.

JO. Demolition was a tragedy, for it was the most remarkable thing in Broseley. The railings had been taken for the war effort. The water in the well had been very irony, rather poisonous. A lad called Nock had drowned in it in JO's father's day.

Men used to collect their pensions from the Old Post Office, then jump over the low wall by the Memorial and into the betting shop. The Post Office then was in what is now Broseley News.

MS. My parents said that the well was there before the memorial. Although the water was not good the alternative for many of the people of Broseley was the horse-drawn water-cart that used to come round, and its water was charged for by each bucketfull.

When I was a child what is now The Guest House was the Post Office, kept by Mr Walter Davies. Mrs Davies' maiden name was Estelle Martin; she was the kindest lady in Broseley. Walter Davies was the Evacuee Officer during the war. Three nuns who were evacuated with their school from Liverpool lived with the Davies's and ran their school in the Town Hall.

VF. The Revd Jackson wanted the Pritchard Memorial pulled down; he was a socialist and against wealthy bankers like Pritchard.

LO. The rubble was used to pave Lodge Lane.

MS. Mr Jackson was nevertheless a very generous man, so that he died poor in The Beeches. He brought ordinary people onto the church council as well as the Potts, the Prestages and Captain Collins. Capt Collins lived in Church St, next to Dr Boon at Whitehall.

5) The Town Hall.

JO. Demolished c. 1965. Jack spoke to Percy Parr, Bill's father, about it in 1964. Percy was then living in what had been Ruston's, and subsequently Bert Jones's butchers shop. Percy had converted it into a house, with the coalyard at the rear.

The site of the Town Hall was redeveloped as the Spar Shop, built by Galliers and run by the Picken family. Mike Picken's parents had come to Broseley in the 20's, and had a grocery shop in Barbers Row. They used a BSA motorcycle combination for deliveries. After some years away they returned and took over Pat Thompson's men's outfitters, once again as a grocer's. Then they took on the Spar Shop, which is now run by Vicky and David Picken.

MS. The Town Hall was used for everything. The Police Court was there. There were dances, and social evenings which were run one week by the Girls' Friendly Society and the next week by the Sunday School or the Mothers' Union. The Church ran a super dance on New Year's Eve. The Tennis Club dance was high society. Major Prestage was dancing with Miss Hamilton when he, very sadly, dropped dead. The Church actually owned the Town Hall, not the Council.

JO. They also held song contests. I well remember when the song 'Peggy O'Neil" was popular, a lad called George Potts sang Peggy Cow Heel to the tune and we were all in stitches. Wrestling bouts were also held there. A German called Hacker Schmidt came and challenged all comers. Billie Osborne threw him out of the ring after a fight full of dirty tricks.

6) Barber's Row.

MT. Relatives used to live there. Mary has tape recording made c. 1950 of her grandmother talking about the building of the Lady Forester Hospital in 1896, and will copy it for us.

LO. The Picken family used to live on the left, next to Mrs Sankey and Jack. The shop next to Simon Gibbons was Patrick Thompson's gent's outfitters. There was a horsebreaker here in 1909.

MS. Mr Thompson's wife was found drowned in his well. My parents told me that the finger of suspicion pointed at him, but it was not proved.

7) Instone Building.

RK. Roland Smithieman married the Instones daughter. The building is now an estate agency run by Roland's great-great-grandson. The activities there were very visible from the school windows. Used to watch the rope hoist lifting sacks up to the fist floor store.

JO. The hoist was worked by a horse, driven by Stan Gallier. It had to walk forward down Bridgnorth Road to raise the sack, then back up to lower it. Although you could see all this from the school windows you got the cane if you were caught watching. Often the sacks brought by a steam wagon. As it pulled away up the High Street all the schoolboys would hang on the back.. Jack used to spend time at Instone's playing with John, Roland's son, in the domestic part of the building which was to the right of the shop, looking at the frontage from the square.

VF. Windows decorative with coloured glass "frieze".

EP. Has an almanac from Instone's, mentioning Bibby's animal feed.

LO. Moore's Stores, used to be Gas Showroom, now a house.

8) The Pheasant.

FS. Landlords used to be Hordley family.

MS. Before that it was kept by the Hargreaves who came from Birkenhead, and by the Kennedys. Mr Kennedy always had a shotgun on his shoulder; he used to go shooting in the Fiery Fields.

TI. My Dad, Thomas Henry Instone, used to shoot across the Fiery Fields, for rabbits and pheasants. He was a crack shot - at fairs he could shoot looking in a mirror.

EP. Ancient Order of Foresters used to meet there, in a meeting room to which the access was by very rickety brick steps. Also the Broseley Poultry Club used to meet there.

JO. And the room was also used for the Willey Estate rent collection.

MS. I remember when the Estate rents were collected at the Forester's Arms, where also there was an annual Dinner for the tenants. It comes to my mind particularly because I used to help with the washing up there, for half a crown and a bowl of trifle!

9) New Road House (Bridgnorth Rd).

FS. Hermione Baddeley lived there. The New Road was built by POWs. Which war?

SD. Road antedates First World War. Perhaps Napoleonic War.

JO. The Baddeley sisters were Hermione and Angela. They lived there with their mother, but didn't come to Broseley School.

Afterwards John William Price, Managing Director of Maws Tiles, lived there from the mid 20's to when Maws' financial problems began in the late 20's. Then the family moved to Duke Street, opposite the bottom end of Queen Street - the parents, Rhoda, Jack, Sid and Mary. Jack worked at Maws in the fitting shop, which should have been called the toolroom but if it had been the wages would have had to go up. JO started on 3d an hour, with an increase after 2 years.

MS. Later in life Angela Baddeley took the part of the cook in "Upstairs, Downstairs" on TV. Rhoda Price had a private infants school at New Road House.

10) The National School.

VF." Pattern boys" and "model girls" with 100% attendance records. Boys had the "library" end of the school, girls the "surgery" end. Legges Hill was an infants' school, and there were infants' classes at the Big School also.

LO. This was where physiotherapy now takes place. In 1901 Miss Alice Wilkinson taught there.

JO. Jack as a boy lived at The Mines, and so he attended Legges Hill School until he was 7 in 1921. Then he went to to National School for 7 years, leaving in 1928 at 14. The Headmaster was Charlie Ashby. The wall dividing the boys' and the girls' playgrounds was 7 feet high and you got the cane if you tried to climb it. The boys played football and if your ball went over the wall you never got it back. The ball was usually rolled up socks or rags bound with string, and the playground was earth, not tarmac. When wet, it was a quagmire and you didn't want to get hit by the ball. Boys wore shorts, winter and summer. Some wore clogs, some hob-nailed boots. There was no school uniform as such. The school inspected shoes and hands for cleanliness.

Billy Bright was in JO's class. He had to walk from The Wyke to school and used to bring horse beans from the beannck. He and JO would sit side-by-side chewing beans. Anything that could be eaten got eaten!

JO's parents bought 46 The Mines from the Willey Estate in 1924. JO has the receipt for the deposit. The Estate kept the mineral rights of course.

EP. You could get a scholarship to move to Walker Technical College or Coalbrookdale High School.

JO. Nelly Bill taught standard 1, Mrs Ashby 2 and 3, Mr Jordan 4 and 5, and the Headmaster 6, 7 and X7..

Arthur Bagley was a good lad who passed to go to Coalbrookdale High, and subsequently passed to go to Oxford. But his mother was too poor to afford this and Arthur started work at Capacity Engineering, and then worked in the lab at Craven-Dunhill's. Wilfred Howells who owned Craven Dunhill used to preach at the Wesleyan Chapel in Duke Street, now the Methodist Chapel, but he gave Arthur his notice and gave the job to Walter Bachelor.

?    Adrian Miles' dad took over as Deputy Headmaster.

LO. Bill Miles. Another teacher, Miss Jaques, married Mr Brooks, Headmaster at Jackfield School. Blanche Kenyon used to teach standard 3; she was the daughter of a baker in King Street.

YW. Bill Miles' daughter Yvonne was my friend at Coalbrookdale High School. She had a great crush on a boy called Neil Clarke. After a sixth form outing to Rhyl, where a ride on the waltzer gave her an excuse for clinging on to Neil, she told us that it had been the happiest day of her life. We thought this rather pathetic, but we were not so fond of Neil. I was rather flat-chested, and did not appreciate his nick-naming me Sabrina after the busty model of those days, and a rather plain friend was not happy to be nick-named Marilyn.

MS. Miss Kenyon later became Mrs Wase. Her husband worked at the Forester's Arms Garage, which is now the Wheatland Garage.

JO. James Davis had the garage built.

JR. The men taught the boys and the women taught the girls, generally.

EP. The infants' classes were mixed, at Legges Hill and at the Big School.

TI. Enoch Brown came after Mr Jordan. He lived in the Broseley Wood area, and had lost a leg in the War. With this he had to change from his motor-bike to a 3-wheeler, but he could catch you

very quickly and efficiently with his crutches when necessary. He was well-liked, but eventually moved on to Stottesdon.

Usually a teacher used one room. Mrs Ashby who taught standard 2 and 3 had the flat-roofed section.

The room for standards 4 and 5 had two coke-burning stoves, and a chimney-breast at the far end. Sixty years ago the "babies' class" (just starting school) was taught by Miss Smitheman. The next class of infants was taught by Miss Smallwood, and the third class by Miss White who became Mrs Garbett upon her marriage. Miss Smitheman used what is now the physio's room, and the other two teachers shared one room divided by screens

11) Hockley Hall.

VF. 3 story, tall, lived in by some actors - we didn't see much of them. Maurice Chidley owned the land. The garden wall had arched gateways, with 'Dieu et Mon Droit" carved over the arch.

JO. There had been a dispute over the ownership of the land and the man who won had the inscriptions carved.

MS. The house had a very big chimney with steps going up inside which were used in the days of boy chimney sweeps.

LO.  At one time a Mrs Ford from Liverpool lived there. She taught the Catechism.

VF.  The inscriptions were in a cement rendering, not in the actual stone. Mrs Crawford lived in the Hall and later in the adjacent bungalow. She said "Keep your clothes for 20 years and they'll be back in fashion".

MS.  I used to go to keep Mrs Crawford company. The hall should never have been demolished as happened in the sixties.

LO. Mrs Crawford was the daughter of an Attaché in Turkey.

12) Mill House in Mill Lane.

EP.    Ivor Correll with a long white beard lived there. It was demolished in the 1940's.

JO.   The base of the windmill survives as a garden shed with a corrugated iron roof; you can see it from Mill Lane. There had been another windmill on Ferny Bank before my time.

JO.   Mrs Thomas - Cis Thomas's wife - lived next to Mill House.

13) The Workhouse in Workhouse Road, (now Woodhouse Road.)

JR.   Were there two workhouses ?

SD.   No, each parish had to have one.

JO.   There was another one at The Mines in Benthall. It is now a private house, The Croft.

TI.   The Hand and Tankard pub was in Workhouse Road, owned by Frank Benbow who used to breed spaniels - not cockers, a heavier type.

14) Bank House (now Broseley Social Club).

VF. The Pritchard family lived there, and then the Potts the solicitors.

15) Broseley Church.

NM. Why is the church so big in a small town ?

SD. It was built to replace a church that had not been big enough for its congregation.

16) Oakleys Stables, Swan Street.

JR. Used to be where Dave's Garage is now.

JO. It became William Oakley's garage in the 20's. William was Lol Oakleys uncle.

17) Parr's Coal and Scrap Yard.

JO. Percy Parr had come from Wenlock living first in Foundry Lane and then at Benthall House. Later he had an office down the Ironbridge Road, on the old C. R. Jones tilery site past The Summerhouse, Ladywood Tileries.

MS. When Bill Parr was a child, and his brother John, I used to take them out.

18) The Lion.

FS.   Once a coaching inn. The landlady was Mrs Oswell.

LO.   Mrs Oswell's daughter was Mrs Dixon, later the widow of the postmaster. She also taught at Broseley School.

TI.   I was born at The Lion in 1916.

19) Bon Marche.

         Run by Miss Meadow in the 1930's

EP.   Used to be where Nick Downes has his greengrocery now.

JO.   The proprietor was James Davis.

VF.   The man next door made a way through the party wall and stole stuff from Bon Marche.

20) The Victoria Hall.

LO.   Was once a Gospel Hall for the Plymouth Brethren.

JO.   Percy Parr thought it ought to be demolished and replaced by flats.

VF.   There used to be the Victoria Players, in the 60's and up to the mid 70's

21) King Street.

LO.   Legges Hill School - nursery and infants. A Miss Wiggins was governess there and lived in one of the big houses in King St.

Davis's butchers' shop - owned by Matthew Davis, who had grazing land on opposite side of the road. The slaughterhouse was at the back of the premises. Many Maws tiles were, and still are, in the shop. A drover used to walk the cows from Bridgnorth market to Davis's.

A pub called "The Corner House" and one called "The Prince of Wales" were in King Street.

A French family called de Sortois, mispronounced by the locals as de Sort Eyes, lived in a big house in King Street, possibly Orchard House.

JO.   Miss Wiggins lived at The Laurels. Joe Nicklin lived at Orchard House, then later at Holly House.

22) Cape Street.

LO.   "The Cape of Good Hope" pub was owned by Mrs Brazier. It was divided into two houses, later demolished.

23) Benthall Hill.

LO.   Leo Farm. The Leopard Farm, owned in the 20's and 30's by farmers called Gwyn.

JO.   It had been occupied by John Rose, the veterinary surgeon. Bobbie Gwyn lived at the Vineyards Farm at Wyke, but later had a wooden bungalow built just above the Leopard.

24) Ironbridge Road.

LO.   Rock House owned by Exleys, the brick- and tile-makers. Ernest Exley lived there. "Three Stile Piece" - fields near the Red Church, owned by Mr Oakley.


FS. Frank Selkirk.

MS. Mary Smith.

EP. Elsie Philpott.

BP. Bill Parr.

LO. Lilian Oakley

TI. Tom Instone.

NC. Nick Coppin.

JO. Jack Owen.

VF. Vera Francis

RK. Rex Key .

SD. Steve Dewhirst.

MT. Mary Tipton.

JR. Janet Robinson.

NM Neda Meyrick.

YW. Yvonne Williams.


Many thanks to all contributors ! This memory map is an ongoing thing - please let me have corrections and additions.            David Lake.







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