The Broseley Jitties




The Wilkinson Society.


4th September 2002.



DC Starting at Padman's Alley - who was Padman ? Botswell Lane then ?

VF It's Boss Well according to Jack - the biggest well

JC Yes, the Boss Well, two words, is in my garden.

DC Has it still got water in it ?

JO Yes, like a reservoir. It used to run down the hill by the Boss Well path. There was a tap so people could fill their buckets.

DC Did you own the land, Jack ?

JO It was common land. The tap was where the gulley went down.

RM It was a big tap the children called The Spitting Lion, it was the shape of a lion's head. It was on the left by Capacity. It served the pub called The Prince of Wales and the houses called Benthall View at the back of the Prince. They have all gone now. Woods lived at the Prince, the big house.

DC The house that's still there ?

RM No, its gone

? Mr. Wallbank lived second from the last house. Mrs Wild lived there.

DC Was there a water supply to the houses ?

? Only this tap

DC And sanitation was a shed at the bottom of the garden ?

? Yes, an earth closet.

DC And Ding-Dong steps are said to be named from the sound made by studs in boots. But Plant's Jitty was named after residents there, like some other jitties.

RJ The Plants came after the Cartwrights. They used to live by the church mission in Broseley Wood They were inveterate gamblers. And Cooper's Corner - Mrs Cooper came and lived in a cottage there, after Tommy Speke who cut his throat.

DC And Jews' Jitty ?

JO It was also called Quinns' Bank. The Quinns lived in a house halfway down until they moved to Jackfield. Then the Jewish family lived there. They bought a pottery at Benthall from John Rowe and his son Walter. The wheels were driven by a rope from a hit-and-miss gas engine.

DC Then there's Simmond's Jitty and Mission Jitty. Do people remember the Mission functioning ?

RJ I remember it

DC Was there a Sunday School there as well ?

MT Yes, they gave us picture shows there, and we had Christmas parties and so on

VF It went out of commission for a long time, didn't it ?

MP The old Legges Hill school was used as a church then. I used to take services in the mission school. I presume that after the mission was closed and the school had closed as a school it was taken over and used as a church for a considerable time.

DC Was there much of a congregation ?

MP Yes, about twelve. Gwen Jones was a strong member. The people from Broseley wood went there because it was quite a way to walk to the other church. I don't remember back to when the mission hall was the church.

IL What sort of church was it - Congregationalist ?

All  No, C of E

DC Was it common for churches to have offshoots like the mission church ?

MP Yes, to cater for people a long way from the main church, All Saints.

DC So it was run by the clergy from the main church.

JO The Plants lived in the corner by the mission. Their horse dropped dead there. They poured a pint of beer down its throat to try to revive it.

DC Gittins and Carters Jitties were named after folk living there.

RJ Jack Carter had a fish and chip shop there

DC So there were shops down some jitties, like a sweet shop at the top of Quarry Road.

RJ There was a Post Office in Simpson's Lane in 1942, previously Mrs Schofields the grocers.

DC Were there any more shops or pubs in Quarry Road ?

VF In the yard down Quarry Lane there was a pub.

? We used to call it the Red Jitty, because down to the Iron Plate it was red sand. It was also called Sandy Bank.

NM There was a mission there in the 50's, and a Sunday School.

DC When did you come here Michael ?

MP 1965

DC Jack, was the New Inn a coaching inn, for stage coaches. Didn't someone in your family see a stage coach there ?

JO Yes, my brother Albert, 10 years older than me, had seen the last coach drive away from the stables there. It had been kept there for some years.

VF We always used to call Bridge Road the coach road. It must have worn the horses out so they had to be changed at the New Inn.

DC Jack, you were born at The Mines ?

JO Yes at number 46. I've got my feet on both sides of the brook! My parents lived in Broseley Wood and I was started off there. Then they moved to The Mines where I was born.

DC And the stream runs all in a culvert now.

RJ I remember when it was open, very smelly with sewage.

DC Now there are steel ventilation pipes to the culvert, one in Speeds Lane.

JO Its complicated geology there. There was a mill pond and a mill to grind blacking for ironwork.

DC Do you remember the mill working, Vera ?

VF Yes, down at the bottom.

RJ Jack is talking about the mill by the iron plate.

AM There were a series of mills down the valley. The top mill was in my garden, opposite the New Inn, the foundations are still there. Below that there were 3 or 4 mills going back into the 18th century, including a boring mill. A Nuffield survey was done of the area and maps them out.

DC There is no evidence of a stream in your garden on the surface ?

AM Not now, but it still runs all year and you can hear it underground. It was the parish boundary.

DC  So the car park opposite the New Inn is what remains of a mill pond. Regarding the big waterwheel, what happened to it ?

VF  It was a Broseley joke that it went to The States to make a Yo-yo for Primo Camera, the American heavyweight

RJ It was sold for scrap

JO We used to say we were extra clever because we had an extra big overshot wheel.

RM The buckets were sold for scrap. In its last few years the mill drove a dynamo used for charging accumulators. Before that it was a corn mill.

DC So it never had any particular link to ironmaking.

JO My brother's first job was on a farm by Benthall Church. He had to take a horse and cart to collect coarse meal for cattle feed from the mill, which was still grinding corn. Later it belonged to the Bennets who did away with grinding corn and put in a generator which was used for charging accumulators. My brother had a radio and had rigged up a light in our bedroom, so I had to take our accumulator to be charged, and go later to pay 60p and collect it. My Uncle Walter did a

painting, that I now have, of the big wheel being dismantled. He was a great artist; he did a pencil drawing in 1905 of his granny, the lady with ironworks connections. She was a member of the Hill family, the last ironmasters to actually produce iron at Benthall.

RM It was a 60 foot diameter overshot wheel, a similar size to Daniel's mill. The brook is the boundary between Jackfield and Benthall, so Ironbridge Station was half in Jackfield, half in Benthall.

DC       So Broseley Parish started further up the hill. Now Maypole Jitty, by our historic Maypole erected in 1985 by Eric Cox and others. Anyone remember maypole dancing before that ? Was the maypole green an old pit mound ?

RJ I remember the clay there but I don't know where it was mined.

DC The cricket Club has been there for a long time.

NW I once bowled out the Reverend Jackson - I took 7 wickets for 22

DC Where does the name Stocking come from ? Why the Stocking pit and mound ?

NW A little girl got drowned there years ago, and they closed it.

JO They got ironstone there and stocked it there.

RM We had a Maypole in Jackfield school yard. Did you have one in Broseley ?

DC There was a Maypole pub, which suggests we did.

MT The carnival always started at The Maypole.

DC Did that go back a long way - before the second World War ?

MT Definitely. We had a little one during the war, with Dig for Victory floats.

NM There were floats and dressed prams, about Robin Hood and fairy tales, with dresses of silver paper and tissue paper.

EP So if it rained - oh dear !

DC And a torchlight procession in the evening ?

? Do you remember the stand outside the Town Hall for finding Miss Broseley ?

DC Who chose ? By a vote or by a committee of worthies ? Mr Wedge perhaps. Coming back down the map, to where the Wimpies are -

? There are the Dead Walls, by the Quaker graveyard and the tennis courts.

DC Any memories of the King's Head ?

RM The Napoleon, with stained glass above the door. 1907 was a very cold year when they started the construction of the Free Bridge. A worker from Cumberland froze to death.

DC Ferry Bank?

JO Geoff Garbett was a character; he worked for me at one time. He asked me 'Dust tha know Johnny the name of that up there T' "Yes, Ferny Bank" `Bloody hell, I didna think tha'd know that. How did tha ?" I told him "When I was a boy I had to deliver bread to Mrs Shaw there. Billy Darling always wrote on the parcel - Ferny Bank".

RJ Gough's Jitty had a different name in the postal address.

JL We walked the jitties and put them on the map as marked on the signs.

DC The signs were put up by way of job creation, might be right or wrong. Any station memories ?

RM It was Ironbridge and Broseley, and busy until axed by Beeching.

DC The haulage up Bridge Road was work for Mr Oakley

RM      And Ron Hall - lots of work for people. To get to Wellington you changed at Buildwas Junction. You queued at the cubby hole for tickets from the date stamp machine. If you wanted to go to Weston-super-Mare they had to write out your ticket. The station was always manned. With the piles of tickets and cash it was like Las Vegas. There was a big homing pigeon traffic to Nantes, and other continental destinations.

JO The special clock for timing the returning pigeons was kept at The New Inns. As I could run fast in those days I was often given the job of running with the ring taken from a pigeon that had got back to its loft, so it could be checked into the clock at The New Inns. My cousin Percy Beddoes was a pigeon-fancier, but when short of money he'd ring one of the pigeons necks and sell it to Mrs Goodall.

RJ Saturday evening it was 1/- return to Shrewsbury

RM There were lots of excursions, and lots of RAF traffic for Stanmore Camp.

DC Anyone remember commuting ?

? We had shopping trips via Buildwas and Cound, and went to Bridgnorth through the tunnel.

VF What's the origin of "jitty" ?

DC It's not unique to Broseley; there are the "shuts" in Shrewsbury

RJ I spoke to a lady in Madeley who asked me 'What is a jitty ?' In Yorkshire they are "snickets".

DC Dot Cox   

VF Vera Francis

JO Jack Owen

RM Ron Miles 

RJ Ray Johnson

MT Mary Tipton 

MP Michael Pope   

IL Ian Lancaster        

NM Neda Merrick

NW Noel Ward  

JL Jan Lancaster        

EP Elsie Philpott

AM Alan Morgan

Many thanks to all contributors. Please let me have corrections and additions - David Lake






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