King Street, Broseley




The Wilkinson Society.


6. 02. 2002.


JR Let's start from Cape Street then, where the old Cape of Good Hope was

NM The fish and chip shop was in Elizabeth Crescent.

JR Let's start from the Barratt's Hill end

JO Just in Cape Fold there was Teague's fish and chip shop - the shed's still there

EP My friend lived at what had been The Cape, we used to go down in the cellar. There were neighbouring houses, on Cape Fold. Mrs Burns had a fish and chip shop, another one. Opposite was Hill's paint shop, they were plumbers too. Then there was Padman's Alley on the other side of the road. Where the green is now was a little cottage where Mr Evans the chimney sweep lived, then the Braziers, the Molyneux and the Miss Burnetts. The Burnt House was said to have been a pub. They used to give us sweets, but we were not allowed to eat them. Annie Lloyd lived on the left, with her cats.

JO Cecil Harrison was a plumber, followed by the Hills. Cis Hill did major painting work, for churches for example, and also used to make stained glass windows, extruding the lead glazing bars himself.

VF Annie Lloyd had a lovely soprano voice. She got annoyed with her cat when it wouldn't come when she called it. She said "Oh bollocks" and the cat came! Ever after that she called "Come here bollocks" and it used to come.

BDS Padman House is next to Padman's Alley, where Alan Jones lives now. Broadhursts lived there. Annie Lloyd's was claimed to be the oldest house in Broseley.

JO John Broadhurst was Lord Forester's agent. Towper Aston's family lived in cottages at the bottom of Padmads Alley, where it joins Barratts Hill. He was just an odd job man, but a very loyal supporter of our school football team, which I was in and which Charlie Ashby trained. When we played Bridgnorth Boys Jim Oakley took us to their Love Lane ground in his Chevrolet lorry, but Towper and his wife, with the kids in a Dunkley, an old type of pram, walked there from Broseley to cheer us on. We beat Bridgnorth, and when we arrived home Broseley turned out to greet us !

EP Next door to Annie Lloyd's house were the old stables, attached to the house. Annie, her sister Maud and their parents lived there with relatives. Annie told me that when she and Maud were children they would lie in bed at night and listen to the horses stamping in the stables. She was quite a character, very talented, played the piano, was a marvellous dressmaker and keen on amateur dramatics. She was my godmother. They used to own properties by you, Vera.

VF Yes, they owned our house and two more in Hockley Road.

BDS Annie's was a truck house

NM A glazier used to be there

DC The Burnt House was derelict for years, then it was bought and done up by Frankie or Lennie Lowe.

JO Frank Lowe or his son Len. They were property dealers and restorers - they had the corner shop on the right at the bottom of Hockley Road. In the part of the Burnt House just in Queen Street the Goodhalls lived for quite a while - Les Goodhall, known as Barney, and his sister Mary, known as Polly. The part in Cape Street was a shop run by Darren Bullock. Len Morris of New Road is the expert here.

JR When was it burnt ?

EP That was before our time

JR Can anyone explain the numbering in King Street ?

DDS No - not even Einstein ?!

VF The houses were numbered in the sequence in which they were built

JO King Street started from Ferny Bank and was numbered from that end to Cape Street. Then they extended it from Ferny Bank round into Elizabeth Crescent and added more numbers there.

EP On Jack Owen's car park there was a row of 4 houses called Benthall View - known by the locals as 'back of The Prince", and also a house facing King Street occupied by Mr and Mrs W. Wood.

JR Where was The Prince of Wales ?

DC It was 45 King Street - there was Capacity Engineering, then the car park, then the Prince of Wales. Mr and Mrs Scott and their daughter Dorothy were there before the war, and until they died. Mr Scott was a bookkeeper at Maw's.

EP Mrs Farlow lived in the Kenyon's house, next to the bakery

Pauline? There was always a cat in the window with the cakes

JR Where was the bakery ?

DC At Jack's end of our house, right on the road

JR When did Capacity start ?

JO I took it over in 1964. It was started by John Smithemans, my friend's father. My friend used to wait for me after school and we'd go to his house. It might have been partly clay pipe making at one time. There were the three Smitheman sons, and Teddy Instone, who married Effie Garbett. He invented a spring frame for motorbikes, using a leaf spring. Teddy cut out the leaf spring and fastened it to a motorbike frame, extending it to carry the axle. I used to see him on this Norton, testing it out. He left a notebook in the works with a sketch of it, and with many references to Effie. I know that Capacity Engineering were doing war work in World War I.

NM How many Broseley men went to war? My husband was a tail gunner until the doctor certified that he got airsick

JO Eddie Garbett was Effie's brother, and was a Poor Law official. I asked him if he wanted the notebook for Teddy, who had gone to work for Bristol Engines

EP Mr Snow's grocery was opposite Annie Lloyd's, and Mr Eric Lloyd had the Capacity Engineering Works in 1932. Mr and Mrs Lloyd were friends of my parents.

? Where were you born, Elsie?

EP At number 48, nearest to the new house, I lived there for many years. There were two cottages where the new house is now, then a yard, then two cottages sideways on to Orchard House, facing Capacity. When they were demolished a well was found inside. Perhaps they had been stables originally.

FS Was there a forge there, a little low building ?

EP Bill Thomas's shed?

VF The place opposite Kiln Cottage was another shed belonging to the Thomas brothers.

JR Who was at Orchard House?

EP Mrs James Davies, then Mr and Mrs Horne. She had been Miss Burton from Burton's in Bridgnorth, and she ran the tennis club. Then there was Miss Wiggin, another character. She stopped me in the street one day and said 'Tm selling some of my Coalport and would like you to have some."

MS Her brother was a bit odd

EP Her mother was headmistress at Legges Hill School. My granny's brother used to garden for her, where Jean Jones now lives, between Orchard House and the pipe works. Then there was the barber Mr Langford, then the old Cumberland.

JR Now, the Cox's house

EP When it was two cottages the left-hand one was empty for a time.

DC After that Stan Pountney lived there. He put in a new fireplace in 1960, from Maw's, where he worked. In the right-hand cottage were Mr and Mrs Bob Thomas, decorators, then there was their wallpaper store, then Mr Bill Thomas's house

VF Mrs Bobby Thomas, Irish Thomas as she was always known, came from Lurgan.

NM Why was the Town Hall demolished ? They had wonderful dances there.

VF It never should have gone. It's these parsons !

DC Another family who had lived in our cottage before it was empty was the Jones family, with nine children

EC Norman Jones went to fetch Mrs Thomas from Birmingham Airport, but couldn't find her at first. Eventually he found her walking along the north runway !

VF Elsie Bradburn's sister used to live in the building at the back of your house, Dot.

?        One sister was Enid

BDS And there was Rhona.

JR        So the old Duke of Cumberland was on the corner by the pipeworks, where a new house is now.

VF I had some quartered oak flooring from the Duke of Cumberland and used it for my woodwork. They were throwing the street nameplates in the skip - we rescued "King Street" and its now on the wall outside my house.

JR Between Mr Bill Thomas and Holly House there are three houses

VF They were all shops. There was a grocers next door to us. Next to that Tommy Broadhurst had a shop where they had dolls' cups and saucers, Coalport, under the counter. There was the shop in The Square in Broseley kept by two unmarried sisters, the Misses Taylor. They sold baby clothes and so they kept a check on the calendar from when people were married ! My uncle Tom Green kept the grocer's shop when we came to Holly House. Then it was some folk called Clews and then Ted Hancox until he died, when it became a private house, as it still is.

EP In my childhood days the shop nearest Mr Thomas sold Coalport, the middle shop sold paraffin, and the third shop was a grocers.

JR Three shops then. How long have you lived in Holly House, Vera ?

VF Getting on for fifty years - we were married in '55, wasn't it - I can remember my first time was 1942

JR Who had Holly House before you, Vera ?

VF A Mr Irvine, an engineer with Guest Keen and Nettlefold's in Wolverhampton, and his wife. He said "In the spring this patch in the garden will be covered with beautiful yellow flowers" And do you know what they were ?

All   Dandelions

VF   No - celandines! His wife was quite a beauty, out in the sticks here, and she wanted to be where there was more going on, theatre and things like that. So they went to live in Wolverhampton, where his firm was anyway. And it was funny because John Guest once lived in our house. One of the Maws once rented it, and another owner was Joseph Nicklin, manager of Lloyds in Broseley.

JM John Guest rented it.

NM You had two cinemas, one in Ironbridge and one on the way down to Ironbridge

JR So next to Holly House there's the old butcher's shop, the one that's absolutely covered in tiles

VF They used to put the throw-out tiles in big piles at Jackfield and anyone could go and help themselves to them. They weren't brought in any order, just fetched and put on the walls, like at Matthew Davies's butchers shop next door.

JR Mrs Lil Oakley has told me she used to see cattle being brought along to the field opposite

EP Where the bungalow is now used to be the slaughterhouse

VF There was a field opposite our house when we went there. They wanted £200 for it, but we'd just raised the money for the house

DC Was the button factory actually making buttons when you were first there ?

VF No, no - first it was a garage and paint shop. Cars used to come from Austins in Birmingham to be painted by hand with nine coats of paint. Then they'd be driven back by way of Coalport Bank to test the brakes out. After that it was a factory for all sorts of things. It was a button factory years and years ago, and then a factory that made badges and little nameplates. Some were thrown out in the yard and we used to go and pick them up. Now its divided into factory units.

JM Joe Harvatt used to store wood there, treetrunks

EP The Button Factory was next to the garage owned by Mr Davies. The Button Factory itself had been the garage showroom and had a tiled floor and glass doors. During World War II it was the storage depot for St Johns Ambulance Brigade who were evacuated from London because of the Blitz. Their headquarters were at Willey Hall.

VF That would be before I came to live down there

NM How much did Lord Forester have to do with Broseley in those days ?

EP In days gone by he owned a lot of the town but then he sold quite a lot

MS He owned nearly every house, and a lot of the Wrekin; he still has land at the Wrekin

VF Death duties took a lot when the present Lord Forester's grandfather died

EP The Maypole and the cricket field belonged to them

NM Were you allowed into Willey Park once a year ?

JR Let's get back to King Street. When were the council houses built on the right in King Street ?

NM 1954 ? Not the Wimpeys. They did some bungalows before they did the Wimpeys.

DC There was a field where they had a fair occasionally, and there were the Dead Walls

VF - opposite Owen Terrace in Duke Street, which goes off to the right, past the Button Factory.

JR There are more properties after Holly House and the butchers

EP There was the butchers house, then the malt house, then a bungalow, then Walter Williams the insurance collector's house, with the old Globe public house next door at the top of Legge's Hill.

BDS Does anyone know about the malthouse, still with the arm for lifting the bags ?

VF It used to be used as a depot by the pigeon fanciers - there were a lot of them in Broseley.

JR So then it's Legges Hill school.

NM My two went there until seven. A teacher came from Much Wenlock - Mrs Grainger

JR Did you start there at five ?

EP At four actually

JR What sort of education did you have there ? Was it formal ?

EP A proper education - there were two classes in the big room where you went until you graduated to the top class. I had a lovely photograph of class 1 and class 2, and also a separate one of the Infant's class.

JR Did you have Miss Pardoe ?

EP I was before Miss Pardoe's time. It was Miss Maggie Scott the headmistress and Mrs Roberts, (nee Miss Lamont), a nice Infants teacher

VF She married Jim Roberts and they lived in what was known then as "back of the Delph", now Delphside. The Delph was the boggy, stinking old coalpit long ago, where the Town Garden is now.

EC What was the lower part of the school used for? As it goes downhill there's a sort of lower basement part.

EP Well, I don't remember anything about that. There used to be a cloakroom at the back, and the toilets were earth toilets and they were outside in the school yard. There was the top yard over King Street. We used to go there in a crocodile, two by two

DES I remember where we used to play. There were mature trees.

VF I never went there to school, but there were trees round where Ian Beddow now has his bungalow, and it was used for the afternoon playtime.

EP And there used to be little gullies across Legges Hill in those days - it wasn't straight down as it is today, little brick gullies across. It was small red shale; if you fell down you had awful knees

Pauline ?  My mum when she was in labour had to walk up Legges Hill; she lived at the bottom. She was in labour having me, it was January '47, and they came to fetch her. The taxi said "I can't go down there, I'll never get back up", so she had to walk up Legges Hill to get to Broseley Hospital for me to be born on a Sunday afternoon, 26 January.

VF Were there pieces of timber running across the hill ?

EP No, they were bricks Vera, brick gullies

DES I always remember Miss Pardoe, probably because she so terrified me !

EP She was headmistress afterwards

MS A maiden lady with earphones I seem to remember

Pauline? Was there a lady just down Legges Hill who had no hair ?

EP Yes, Mrs Denstone perhaps - she used to pull her hat right down, you could tell she hadn't any hair, it was quite sad really. She lived on the bank, on the right hand side

BDS  Can I just say a word about The Globe? I was delighted someone mentioned The Globe, because in the Ironbridge Gorge Museum study of Buildings in Broseley Wood it is claimed that The Globe has been demolished.

EP It hasn't, it's still there - I came past it last night

JR Which one was The Globe ?

EP The cottage right on top of the bank, on the left-hand side as you turn down for the school - that was The Globe in days gone by. I remember Mrs Archer lived there. She fell out with Edith Smith because there was a play on at the Town Hall, Annie Lloyd was in it, and there had to be a schoolgirl. Edith Smith wanted to be the schoolgirl and she could get into gymslips, but Mrs Archer wanted the part and she was furious. I was only a little girl, I remember tittering about all this.

VF Mrs Archer became very fat as a lady - she had dropsy and couldn't move

DC Could people have dinner at Legges Hill School ?

EP No, not in those days, not in wartime. I went home

DES     There was a canteen, I never went through the door but some people stayed for dinner, this was in the fifties.

EP Not in my day

DC So did people all go home at lunchtime ?

EP I think they'd take sandwiches in those days

BDS And did you have milkbottles with cardboard tops ?

EP Yes, oh dear! It froze in winter and was put by the stove to thaw .

JR I had hoped we'd get as far as The King's Head

DC Anything on the way to The King's Head ?

VF On the right-hand side of Legges Hill there was a cottage, and then there was a row of cottages. One was a shop; Mr Bowen kept it

DC That's entirely gone now with the new houses ?

EP Bowen's shop's still there - Barbara Johnson's

DC So that was Bowen's shop ?

EP        Yes, but then the other houses - the one at the top of Legges Hill is still there, isn't it ? In between there were four houses

DC So The King's Head, in the deeds, was owned by Lord Forester until 1890

EP The cottages after The King's Head, they haven't altered - well, they may have done inside

JR Can we throw any light on The Kings Head ?

EP It was always Southorns' in my time

EC It was sold in about 1900 to a woman named Cerutti, an Italian name. She managed to sell it a year later to what became the Wrekin Brewery. She made a profit of about £1000, which in those days was colossal

DC The landlord who lived there, his name was George Keay, pronounced Key

EC His only claim to fame was that as a councillor he tried to get some handrails put up Legges Hill, which wouldn't have been a bad idea

DC He kept The Napoleon pub, and The King's Head. Tina was born there, Jean Jones's mother

EC About 1930; they were there 15 years

DC We've taken Tina round there

EP Ive heard my parents talk about them, but I think it was before I was born. It was Southorns in my time

VF I remember the Keays

EP Yes I remember them - they went to Workhouse Cottage, over by The Mines

VF Just down The Quarry there was a house across a yard; did that used to be a pub ? After the terraced houses at the top

DC The white one that was The Bells, or The Five Bells; where Coppins live now

EP I don't remember that.

EC Where the fish-and-chip shop was used to be The Seven Stars

BDS Do you know anything about the bowling green ?

EP Vaguely I can remember - where the bungalows are - opposite the old chip shop

DC Did it belong to the pub ?

EP The King's Head

DC How far along did that go - to the shed that's Ivor Southorn’s ? All Southorn territory, wasn't it, and the dairy

EP Ivor used to deliver milk out to Astley Abbotts

EC Mention the chip shop

EP Harold Williams lived there, and kept the chip shop at one time

BDS Did Harold start the chip shop ?

EP No, it went back before that

?  I have a list of the owners

DC Was yours the chip shop ?

No, next door

DC Some of the family kept a sweet shop along there, before the top of Quarry Road

DDS There was a pub called The Star in Lower King Street. Looking down there is an L-shaped house. Pubs would try to get one up on each other, so The Star came first. King Street turns to the right before the Quarry, past Southorn's bungalows and down past the council houses to the road where the prefabs are. It joins Edinburgh Road by Pat Hurdley's shop.

JR Janet Robinson

NM Neda Meyrick          

EP Elsie Philpott

VF Vera Francis

EC Eric Cox

BDS Dave Shinton

DES Diane Shinton

MS Mary Smith   

DC Dot Cox   

JO Jack Owen

FS Frank Selkirk

JM John Mepham          

NW Noel Ward

Our thanks to all contributors to this very productive meeting. Please let me have additions and corrections - David Lake.






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