Part 2 out of 3
Some disagreement arising among the subscribers to the public library,
gave rise to this institution, which was established in the year 1796,
in a commodious room for the purpose, situated at the lower part of
Cannon-street, where there are about three thousand volumes.--From the
committee of this library I have received every assistance, and from
the librarian every information it was in his power to give.
_General Provident Society._
This society originated in the year 1800, for the benefit of the
working class; it consists of upwards of four hundred members, who are
aided by about fifty-five honorary members, who contribute annually to
the fund, which consists of three thousand four hundred pounds, funded
property. A member when sick receives eight shillings per week, and
when past the age of sixty-five, he receives four shillings per week
during his life. The dependant subscribers contribute no more than
four-pence per week, although, in addition to the foregoing, they
receive medical assistance gratia.
Under this denomination, the workmen assemble at the public-houses
they usually resort to, and by contributing a small sum weekly, they
raise a fund, from whence, if any member is afflicted with illness, he
receives a certain sum for his support, according to the rules of the
society to which he belongs; every separate club having rules and
orders peculiar to themselves.
In the year 1728, William Piddock devised his farm, containing about
nine acres of land, at Winson Green, in trust, for the purpose of
educating and putting out apprentice, poor boys belonging to the
parish of Birmingham, or other discretional charities. It is vested in
the constables, church-wardens, and overseers for the time being. This
estate now produces about I cannot learn what.
The baneful effects produced by spirituous liquors, which has made
such dreadful havoc among the populace in many other manufacturing
towns, is, to the credit of the working people, very little
To the credit of the inhabitants, the spirit of gambling is almost
unknown here; there being more of it practised in many small towns
than there is in this extensive one. The magistrates invariably
suppress those public houses where it is encouraged.
_Wilday's Royal Hotel, Temple-row._
As a proof how salubrious the air is in this neighbourhood, this
capacious and substantial pile of building was erected in the year
1772, upon the tontine principle; divided into fifty shares, at L100
per share, and there are at this time, October, 1818, forty-five of
the parties, whose lives were nominated, now alive.
It has an elegant entrance through a capacious saloon, at the
extremity of which there is a noble flight of stairs, leading to
an elegant and spacious assembly room, in length, including the
orchestra, wherein there is a handsome and fine-toned organ, eighty
feet, and in breadth thirty-three feet. It is fitted up in a tasteful
and decorative manner, with three rich cut-glass chandeliers, five
lustres, and six large mirrors.
This hotel is considered one of the first in point of comfort and
accommodation, and not being subject to the annoyance of stage
coaches, makes it a very desirable residence for families who think
proper to reside any time in the town, to inspect the different
manufactories and show rooms.
This hotel has been honoured with the presence of Prince William of
Gloucester, Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, the Grand Duchess of
Oldenburgh (now Queen of Wirtemberg, and sister of Alexander, Emperor
of Russia), the King of France, the Grand Dukes Nicholas and Michael,
&c. &c. This house is also considered one of the first in the kingdom
for the accommodation of posting, where an extensive supply of horses
and carriages are always in readiness.
_Statue to the Memory of Lord Nelson._
Nearly at the top of the market-place, and fronting St. Martin's
church, a statue of this never-to-be-forgotten hero was exposed to
public view, on the 25th of October, 1809; the day on which was
celebrated the jubilee of our august sovereign George 3d. It was
executed in bronze, by Westmacott, a statuary of the first eminence,
at the expense of L2500, which was raised by voluntary subscription,
to immortalize the memory of that much-lamented admiral. The attitude
of the figure is expressive of that dignity and serenity with which
the original was characterised, and the resemblance is upon the whole
admitted to be more than usually correct. The circular pedestal
whereon it is erected, is ornamented with figures in alto relievo, in
a bold and masterly style, the limbs being so disposed, that except
real violence is used, they are not liable to be injured. The relative
proportion of the whole is admirable, and the general effect it
produces gives the utmost satisfaction. As an artist, every praise is
due to Mr. Westmacott, for the admirable skill he has displayed, and
also for his unassuming conduct in presence of the committee, who had
been appointed to superintend its execution.
On the scaffolding being removed, and the statue exhibited to public
inspection, the following illustration of it was distributed by Mr.
"In this work, intended to perpetuate the greatest example of naval
genius, simplicity has been the chief object in the arrangement. The
hero is represented in a reposed and dignified attitude, his left arm
reclining upon an anchor: he appears in the costume of his native
country, invested with the insignia of those honours by which his
sovereign and distant princes distinguished him. To the right of
the statue, the grand symbol of the naval profession is introduced.
Victory, the constant attendant upon her favourite hero, embellishes
the prow. To the left is disposed a sail, which being placed behind
the statue, gives breadth to that view of the composition. Above the
ship is a facsimile of the Flag Staff Truck of l'Orient, which was
fished up by Sir Samuel Hood, the day following the battle of the
Nile, and presented by him to Lord Nelson; the same being deposited
at Mitford, as a trophy of that ever-memorable action. This group is
surmounted upon a pedestal of statuary marble; a circular form having
been selected, as best adapted to the situation. To personify that
affectionate regard which caused the present patriotic tribute to be
raised, the town of Birmingham is represented in a dejected attitude,
murally crowned, mourning her loss; she being accompanied by groups of
genii, or children, in allusion to the rising generation, who offer
consolation to her, by producing the trident and the rudder."
In front of the pedestal is the following inscription:--
IN HONOUR OF
INHABITANTS OF BIRMINGHAM
A. D. MDCCCIX.
The whole is inclosed by iron palisadoes, in the form of boarding
pikes, connected by a twisted cable. At each of the four corners is
fixed a cannon, erect, from which issues a lamp post, representing a
cluster of pikes, supporting a ship lantern.
The late Mr. Joseph Farror, of this town, at his decease, bequeathed
six-pence per week, to be paid for ever, out of rents arising from a
house in Bradford-street, for keeping the basement and statue of Lord
Nelson clean and free from dirt, which is received by the wardens of
St. Martin's church.
Although government have at all times a large store of fire arms in
the tower of London, yet, after the revolution had taken place in
France, and England was threatened with an invasion, the numerous
volunteers who offered their services at that time, to repel the
enemy, required such a profusion to be distributed among them, that
it became necessary to purchase large quantities from any part of the
continent where they could be procured; and the volunteers of this
town were supplied with muskets from Prussia. The words 'liberty' and
'equality', used by the French military, produced such an effect on
the continent, that England was necessitated to manufacture arms for
its own defence. Thus situated, application was made to the gun-makers
in this town, but the number of hands at that time employed in the
trade was so limited, that they could only supply small quantities;
but when war was renewed, after the peace of Amiens, great
encouragement being given by government, the manufacturers of arms
in this town were, in the year 1804, enabled to supply five thousand
stand of arms monthly.
At that time, so many workmen had obtained a knowledge of the trade,
that in the year 1809 the government were supplied with twenty
thousand stand of arms monthly, and in 1810, the number was increased
from twenty-eight to thirty thousand monthly; and that number was
regularly supplied until the peace of Paris.
In order to expedite the business, a proof house was established by
government, in Lancaster-street, under an inspector from the board of
An act of parliament was obtained in the year 1813, for the erection
of a proof house in this town, where all barrels of guns, pistols,
blunderbusses, etc. must be proved and marked, under a severe penalty;
and since that time, the manufacturing of fowling pieces has increased
to a considerable degree.
It is situated on the banks of the canal, in Banbury-street, and is
conducted under the direction of three wardens, who are annually
made choice of from the body of guardians and trustees, they being
nominated in the act of parliament. In addition to them, the Lords
Lieutenants for the counties of Warwick, Worcester, and Stafford, the
members serving in parliament for the said counties, for the time
being, respectively, and the magistrates acting within seven miles of
the town of Birmingham, are appointed as guardians.
John Heeley, Warden.
John Adams, Warden and Treasurer.
William Allport, |
Bartholomew Redfern, | Auditors of Accounts.
William Ryan, Warden.
Robert Wheeler John Oughton John Jones
Richard Sutherland John Smith John Mabson
Joseph Tarton John Olive Stephen Wallis]
The corn mill at the bottom of Snowhill was erected about the year
1781: the brick work of this extensive building, which is excellent
in its kind, was executed by Mr. Edward Jones, according to contract;
which was, for bricks, mortar, and labour, one guinea per thousand.
This mill, and also that adjoining, were erected by the late Mr. James
Pickard, and were the first steam engines that worked by a rotatory
motion, he being the person who first applied the crank to those
machines, and for which invention he obtained a patent, but I do not
know that he ever erected any others; for Messrs. Boulton and Watt,
in order to evade the patent, substituted the sun and planet wheels,
which they continued to use until the patent expired.
At the latter mill, where metal was rolled and other business carried
on, a pump was fixed, and a boy employed to work it, for the purpose
of keeping the machinery cool; but after some time, the youth being
inclined to play, fixed a pole from the engine to the lever of the
pump, which gave rise to the practise that was afterwards followed, of
making the engine supply itself with water for that purpose. The boy
for his ingenuity was afterwards employed withinside the mill.
There being a great scarcity of corn in the year 1795, the wealthy
inhabitants raised a subscription, and having purchased a large
quantity of foreign corn, at Liverpool, it was soon conveyed here,
but it very unfortunately happened that at the time, neither wind nor
water mills could be worked, to grind it. From this circumstance, Mr.
William Bell, a man who possessed a fertile genius, suggested the idea
of erecting a steam mill, and set on foot a subscription for that
purpose, there being about seven thousand subscribers, at one pound
each. It was for several years very doubtful whether this mill could
be supported or not; but having surmounted those difficulties, it has
for several years been a very profitable concern; shares being at the
present time eagerly sought after, at three pounds ten shillings per
This mill turning out so beneficial, and the boundaries of the town
being extended to a considerable degree, the same Mr. Bell projected
another, which he called _The New Union Mill._
Upon a more extensive scale than the former, which was in time
carried into effect; but like other things in an infant state, it has
difficulties to encounter. The committee having expended as much money
in superfluous buildings, as would have supported the mill in credit.
Steam engines are erected in every direction round the town, they
being found to accelerate business, and abridge manual labour.
Of these there are three; one of them situated in Warstone-lane,
belongs to Forrest and Sons; another in Deritend, is the property of
Richards and Goddington; and the third is near Broad-street, conducted
by a public company.
The manufacture of flint glass, and the various methods of ornamenting
it, gives employment to a great number of people in this town; it
having within the last twenty years increased to a very considerable
degree; there being at this time, in the town and its immediate
vicinity, six glass houses in full work.
_Beardsworth's Repository for Horses and Carriages,_
Is upon an extensive scale, about sixty yards from the S.W. corner of
Smithfield, where there are always a variety of both on sale, and a
public auction takes place every Thursday in the forenoon.
Is situated about sixty yards to the S. of St. Martin's church. Neat
cattle, sheep, and pigs being exposed to sale, upon the identical spot
where the ancient barons of Birmingham were accustomed to hold their
midnight revels, and to feast their dependants. The hospitable mansion
having been demolished long since, the moat was filled up, and the
ground prepared in a very commodious manner for the intended purpose,
against Michaelmas Day, 1817, at which time the fair was proclaimed,
and it has since been used as a market.
_Inspection of Raw Hides._
Parliament having passed an act to prevent frauds from being practised
in raw hides, a very convenient situation was fixed upon for their
examination, in Park-street, where two persons are annually appointed
to inspect them.
A short distance from the statue of Lord Nelson, one of the beadles is
stationed every market day, with the public scales and weights,
where any person may weigh whatever articles of provision they have
purchased, free of expense, which is a very laudable institution, and
has proved of the greatest utility.
Within the last twenty years, the interior of the town has experienced
very considerable improvements; numerous houses adjacent to the church
yard of St. Martin have been entirely removed, and the space they
occupied is thrown open to enlarge the market place.
The entrance into several streets have been made considerably wider,
and by that means rendered more commodious; some of the streets have
been re-paved, and the water conveyed by culverts, instead of annoying
the pedestrian as it used to do. Some parts of the town are already
lighted by gas, and preparations are making for the general use of it;
but in those streets where it has been introduced, a great part of the
brilliant light it produces is obscured for want of clean lamps. Those
who have the care of them, either do not know how, or will not be at
the trouble of making a strong lie of ash balls and hot water, which
with a little labour and attention will remove the greasy particles
that adhere to them.--It having been customary to fix the lamps
adjacent to the houses, the same method is still pursued; but if light
cylindrical lamp posts of cast iron were fixed between the curb stone
and the water course, every part of the street would be benefited by
the alteration. The lamps should be made with a hole in the bottom,
similar to those used in halls, and fit into a socket at the top of
the lamp post.
This fashionable mode of producing artificial light, gives employment
to great numbers of people in this town, not only for the use of
public streets, but also elegant branches for the interior of houses.
There are four published in this town: Aris's Gazette, by Mr. Thomas
Knott, jun. on Monday morning; Swinney's Birmingham Chronicle, by Mr.
James Ferrall, on Wednesday evening; the Birmingham Commercial Herald,
by Messrs. Richard Jabet and Co. on Saturday evening; also, the Argus,
on the same evening.
Although there is not any shelter for the country people, yet in the
most stormy weather this town is abundantly supplied with provisions
of all kinds, every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. This being the
grand mart, the fertile vale of Evesham pours forth its fruit and
vegetables in great profusion; and as auxiliaries, the vicinity of
Tamworth and also of Lichfield send hither great quantities; in short,
whatever provisions of a good quality are brought here, the market is
The butchers in this town are dispersed over every part of it, where
they live and enjoy those comforts with their families that it is not
possible to do when they are congregated together in shambles; and in
this extensive town, no person is necessitated to lose much time, or
walk far from home, to provide for his family.
Considering the distance from hence to the sea coast, the inhabitants
are well supplied with fish of various kinds, and at a moderate price.
Opposite the quaker's meeting in Bull-street, there is, in front
of the house occupied by Mr. Standley, a most admirable piece of
brick-work, (the lock-maker's arms, under a most beautiful arch), such
as is very seldom seen, and does infinite credit to whoever executed
it; but some simpleton has defaced the arms to a considerable degree,
by colouring them to represent stone. This was about as necessary as
paint is for the faces of women:--to make them look worse afterwards.
This exquisite performance appears to have been done about one hundred
and fifty years; the house having been invariably in the possession of
a person eminent as a lock-maker during the above period.
In Moor-street, there is another specimen of the same kind, about one
hundred yards above the public office, which was executed in the year
1671, being arms, a chevron between three goats' heads, and a goat's
head for a crest. Such specimens of brick work as these are very
There is near the centre of the town, what is called the Square; the
buildings which surround it were uniform; but one eighth part was some
years back fronted with stone, and converted into a tavern, which is
denominated the Stork. This house of entertainment, from its private
situation and being near the centre of the town, is much resorted to
by travellers; there being capacious stabling behind, and in front
there are some shrubs, inclosed by iron pallisadoes. For those who are
at leisure, there is an excellent billiard table.
At the bottom of Digbeth, about forty yards from Deritend Bridge,
there is on the left a water course that receives a small drain from
Digbeth, and also from the adjacent lands; which stream separates
the parishes of Aston and Birmingham, and is known by the name of
John-a-Dean's hole, from a person of that name who is said to have
lost his life there.
_Baths, near Lady Well,_
Are always ready for the accommodation of hot or cold bathing, and
also for immersion or amusement, together with sudorific apartments.
The swimming bath is in length thirty-six yards, and in breadth
eighteen yards, containing more than 2000 hogsheads of spring water,
and gradually slopes from the depth of one to five feet; being
situated in the centre of a garden, wherein are twenty-four apartments
to undress and dress in; the whole being surrounded by a wall, ten
feet high, and fine lofty trees. There are also very decent baths in
Newtown-row, near Lancaster-street.
By an accurate survey, taken in the year 1810, it appears that
there were then 9196 front houses, and 8214 back houses, within the
connected streets of Birmingham, which, reckoning five and a half to
a house, makes the population 97,405. There appears to be about 400
houses erected annually, which will make the number at the present
time 18510, and the population 101,805.
The old Roman road, denominated Ikenield-street, that extends from
Southampton to Tyremouth, enters this parish near the observatory
in Ladywood-lane, crosses the road to Dudley at the Sand Pits, and
proceeding along Warstone-lane, leaves the parish in Hockley-brook;
but is distinctly to be seen at the distance of five miles, both in
Sutton park and on the Coldfield, in perfect repair, as when the
Romans left it.
_The Parsonage House_
Of St. Martin, situated near Smallbrook-street, is in all probability
one of the most ancient entire buildings in this part of the country;
it being a low, half-timbered erection, surrounded by a moat; in
front of which is, what was the tythe barn, being near sixty yards in
length, now made use of as warehouses.
By late regulations in the post office, an innovation has crept in
that is highly reprehensible, and ought not to be continued. Before
mail coaches were established, Coleshill was a place of considerably
more note then, as a post town, than Birmingham, it being very common
for people in the north to direct their letters for Birmingham, to
turn at Coleshill. This being the case, if the directors of the post
office think proper to change the route for their own convenience,
that is no reason why the public should be charged with the expense.
Dudley and Coleshill being both of them the same distance from
Birmingham, what reason can be assigned why a letter to Dudley should
be four-pence and to Coleshill six-pence?
The country for a few miles round the town is in every direction
studded with houses, belonging to the opulent inhabitants of
Birmingham, or of those who have retired from the busy scenes of life.
Whoever walks much about this town, will perceive one very remarkable
circumstance: at the top of a street you ascend into the houses by a
flight of steps, and in the lower part of the same street, you descend
into some of the houses; this is exemplified in Edmund-street, and
particularly in Newhall-street and Lionel-street.
There are two fairs in the year, one of them is held on Thursday in
the Whitsun week, and the other on the last Thursday in September:
the horses being exposed for sale in Bristol-street; the neat cattle,
sheep, and pigs in Smithfield.
The established market is on Thursday, but the town being so populous,
there is a very good market both on Monday and Saturday. Hay and straw
are exposed for sale every Tuesday, in Smithfield.
George Jackson, of Birmingham, mercer, gave certain premises, in
Deritend, for placing out two apprentices, annually; present rent, six
pounds per annum.
Some years back, the church of St. Martin being under repair, the
workmen discovered that the four pinnacles, (one at each corner of the
tower), were very much decayed, upon which, the powers at that time in
authority concluded, that they should be re-constructed, and to make a
finish, fixed a vane upon each of them, without considering, that,
the steeple being in the centre, it was not possible for the wind
invariably to act upon all alike; consequently, any other termination
would have been more appropriate.
In the jurisprudence of this town, there is one remarkable
circumstance; the chief constable of Hemlingford hundred, wherein
Birmingham is situated, is of course superior to the two constables
of this town; yet they, by virtue of their office, preside over the
common prison, and of course the appointment of prison-keeper is
vested in them; but, strange to relate, the chief constable of the
hundred is keeper of the prison, in Birmingham: consequently, although
he is their superior, he is at the same time subservient to them.
Within this town and its immediate vicinity there are more than fifty
carriages, of different descriptions, on four wheels, and upwards of
three hundred on two wheels, that pay the duty.
The number of hackney coaches that ply in the streets is twelve, under
the following regulated fares.
_Hackney Coach Fares._
Under one mile .................. 1 6
1 mile and under 1-1/2 .......... 2 0
1-1/2 mile and under 2 .......... 3 0
2 miles and under 2-1/2 ......... 4 0
2-1/2 miles and under 3 ......... 5 0
3 miles and under 3-1/2 ......... 6 0
3-1/2 miles and under 4 ......... 7 0
An extra half fare if carrying more than four persons.
For every forty minutes, one shilling, and for every twenty minutes
afterwards, six-pence in addition. If employed, or kept in waiting,
betwixt the hours of twelve o'clock at night and five o'clock in the
morning, double the above fares are allowed.
The late Mr. Baskerville, whose printed works are in such high
estimation, both for paper and print, resided at a place called Easy
Hill, at that time quite distant from the town; the house being
encircled by an extensive paddock. At this place he erected a mill
for the making of paper, in which article he excelled all his
contemporaries, as he also did in the formation of his types, which,
to the disgrace of this country, were permitted to be sold into
France. This once delightful spot is now surrounded with buildings,
the house wherein he resided is converted into a manufactory, and the
land into wharfs.
About twenty yards above the statue in honour of Lord Nelson, there
was within memory the market cross, from whence the roads in every
direction were measured; but from some cause or other, that custom has
been altered, and it is difficult to say from what part of the town
some of the roads are now measured; for example, the road to Walsall.
This road having been considerably shortened and improved, is now
considered to be eight miles distant: (it was some years back, ten
miles); but from the centre of one town to that of the other, will
measure nine miles; and whoever travels that road must very justly pay
for that distance.
The road to Stourbridge and Kidderminster is another instance where
the mile stones are not to be depended upon; for the one mile stone on
that road is considerably more than that distance from the centre of
The horse roads round this town were, within memory, from the rains,
constant wear, and no repair, worn into such hollow ways, that in some
instances, particularly in Bordesley, a waggon, when loaded with hay,
the top of it was not so high as the foot path on the side: it was at
one time fifty-eight feet below the surface. There are still remaining
two specimens of the old roads, but they have been for many years
useless, except in going to the adjacent grounds. One of them is
situated a little beyond the sign of the Bell, on the right hand side
of the Worcester road, and leads towards the Five Ways. The other
begins at Edgbaston church, and continues till you arrive at the
toll-gate, on the Bromsgrove road; but, thanks to the trustees of
the turnpikes, the roads in every direction are now upon a par with
others, and in one respect surpass most of them throughout the
kingdom, by having on the side of every one, a foot path, for the
accommodation of pedestrians.
This town, not being restricted by any charter, strangers from
whatever quarter they may come, here find an asylum, and pursue
their avocations with as much freedom, and are no more subject to
molestation, than a native inhabitant. Trade of every kind may be
exercised here, and let a person's religious opinions be whatever they
may, he is at liberty to exercise them; there being in this town eight
places of public worship, according to the establishment, one for
the society of friends, two for protestant dissenters, three for
calvinists, two for Roman catholics, four for methodists, four for
baptists, one for Swedenburgians, one for jews, and one for the
followers of Lady Huntingdon.
The buildings in this town extend to the distance of near three miles
in every direction, reckoning from the top of Camphill, and it was
some years back, upon a certainty, the largest town in the kingdom.
This was ascertained by actual measurement; for soon after Mr. Aikin
published his history of Manchester, Mr. John Snape, a very accurate
surveyor, drew a plan of this town, upon the same scale as Mr.
Aikin's. Since that time, I cannot say which of the two towns have
encreased the most; but, if Manchester has extended its buildings with
more rapidity than Birmingham, it is a very extensive place.
Notwithstanding the extent of this town, there is very little
distinction between it and a village; all the difference is, its fairs
and market, for the smallest town has a constable to preside over
it, and this, although so extensive and populous, is governed by two
Although this town is of such considerable magnitude, and one of the
principal thoroughfares between London and Dublin, there are no more
than three places where the superior class of travellers can be
accommodated with horses and carriages; the Royal Hotel, near St.
Philip's church; the Swan Hotel, in High-street, and the Hen and
Chickens Hotel, in New-street.
For the accommodation of the next class, there are the following
taverns and inns: the Stork, in the Square; the Nelson, opposite
the statue of his lordship, in the market-place; the Union, in
Union-street; the Saracen's Head, in Bull-street; the George, and the
Castle, in High-street; the Red Lion, the George, and the White Hart,
in Digbeth; the Rose, in Edgbaston-street; and the, Woolpack, in
From the Nelson, the Swan, the Hen and Chickens, the Saracen's Head,
the George, or the Castle, those who travel by public carriages may be
conveyed to any part of the kingdom. The principal avenue leading
to and from this town is Great Hampton-street, which, as its name
imports, is on the road to Wolverhampton, but it is also the road to
Walsall and likewise to Dudley. In this capacious road several
streets concentrate, but I would recommend a stranger to proceed down
The next avenue, in point of importance, is Camphill, on the road to
Stratford, where several streets and roads are united.
It is deserving of notice, that however large or small the houses
are, the partition walls are uniformly brick and mortar, and with few
exceptions, the floors of small houses are laid with quarries, which
in a great degree accounts for there being so few fires of any
consequence within this extensive town.
There is not any thing in this town, or its immediate vicinity, that
can attract the attention of an antiquarian: it appears that
there once was a castle, encircled by a moat, situated near the
Icknield-street, or Warstone-lane; the foundation of which is still
perceptible, and covered an area of twenty square perch; but the
ground whereon it stood has been so frequently turned over, that it is
only by the difference in the verdure that it can be discovered.
The present occupier of the land has at different times taken up about
four thousand of the bricks, which were burnt very hard, and resembled
those now in use, but were not so large.
About four miles distant there once stood Weoliegh castle, which was
surrounded by a moat; but the site of the castle is now a garden, and
not a vestige of the building remains, except a small part of the
foundation, which may be discovered at the edge of the moat, that
Having concluded my observations respecting the public concerns of
Birmingham, I cannot restrain myself from remarking, that there is
at Warwick castle a most magnificent marble bacchanalian vase, of
astonishing dimensions, it being seven feet in diameter and twenty-one
in circumference, which is encircled on the outside with fruit,
leaves, and branches of the vine, the latter being entwined so as to
form two massive handles, with grotesque masks at the end of each; the
whole being in exact proportion to the magnitude of the vase. This
unique specimen of ancient sculpture was discovered in the baths of
the Emperor Adrian, and presented by the Queen of Naples to Sir
Wm. Hamilton, the British ambassador at that court, by whom it was
forwarded as a present to the late Earl of Warwick; who, when it was
unpacked, and he had taken a survey of it, immediately gave orders for
the erection of a splendid green-house, wherein it is now deposited.
Mr. E. Thomason, of this town, who had been a pupil of the late Mr.
Boulton, at Soho, no sooner saw this remarkable production of the fine
arts, than he conceived the idea of forming one of the same magnitude
in metal; and accordingly solicited permission to make models from it,
which his lordship in the most condescending manner permitted him to
do. Mr. Thomason without delay made preparations for the undertaking,
and the metallic vase has been under the hands of different artists
above four years, and is now nearly completed. This unique performance
in metal, is in every respect a perfect resemblance of the original,
and weighs several tons; the ground of it is bronzed, and at the
present time highly relieved in light and shade; but I understand
it will, when complete, be considerably more so, by two novel and
distinct processes of oxydation, that will endure for ages.
This sumptuous metallic vase may be seen at Mr. Thomason's, who
manufactures an endless variety of articles, for several of which he
has obtained letters patent. The royal series of medals, and various
others, are exclusively of his manufacture. Persons of rank who are
curious may there see the art of chasing, or sculpturing in basso
and alto relievo, together with various operations in the art of
Bankers Draw upon, Taylors and Lloyds, Dale End: Hanbury and Co.
Woolley, Moilliet, and Gordon, Cherry-street: Lubbock and Co.
Attwoods, Spooner, Goddington, and Co. New-street: Spooner and Co.
Smith, Gibbins, Smith, Gibbins, Goode, and Co. Union-street:
Esdaile and Co.
Freer, Rotton, Lloyd, and Co. New-street: Hanbury and Co.
Galtons and James, Steelhouse-lane: Barclay, Tritton, and Co.
* * * * *
UNDER THE SUPERINTENDANCE OF MISS GOTTWALTZ.
All letters intended to be forwarded by the same day's post, should be
put into the box one hour before the time mentioned below.
Every morning, at nine o'clock; which takes all letters for Lichfield,
Tamworth, Atherstone, Uttoxeter, Rudgley, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire,
Gainsborough, Brigg, Barton, Kirton, Caister, Coltersworth, Grantham,
Grimsby, Lincoln, Market Raisin, Sleaford, and Stamford, in
Lincolnshire, Rutlandshire, Sheffield, Barnsley, Wakefield, Leeds,
Halifax, Rotherham, Bradford, Huddersfield, Keighley, Otley,
Doncaster, Ferry-bridge, Howden, Bawtry, and Selby, in Yorkshire.
Every morning, at half past nine o'clock; which takes all letters for
Walsall, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Stone, and Newcastle,
in Staffordshire, Cheshire (except Malpas), Lancashire, Scotland,
Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Yorkshire
(except those places which go by the Sheffield mail), Conway, in
Carnarvonshire, Flintshire (except Overton), Denbighshire (except
Rhuabon, Wrexham, Llangollen, and Chirk), Woore and Market Drayton, in
Every day, at eleven in the forenoon; which takes all letters for that
town and its delivery.
Every day, at eleven in the forenoon; which takes all letters for
West-bromwich, Wednesbury, Willenhall, Bilston, Wolverhampton,
Shiffnall, and the intermediate places, Shrewsbury, Oswestry,
Ellesmere, Whitchurch, Bridgnorth, Merioneth, and Montgomeryshire,
Rhuabon, Wrexham, Llangollen and Chirk, in Denbighshire, Malpas, in
Cheshire, and Overton, in Flintshire, Ireland (except the south-west
part, which goes by way of Bristol), Anglesea, and Carnarvonshire
Every day, at half past eleven o'clock; which takes all letters for
Tipton, Dudley, Stourbridge, Kidderminster, Stourport, and places
Every day, at ten minutes before three o'clock; which takes all
letters for Henley-in-Arden, Stratford-upon-Avon, all Oxfordshire,
Abingdon, Farringdon, Wallingford, Wantage, and Lambourn, in
Berkshire, Cricklade, Swindon, Highworth, and Wootton Bassett, in
Wiltshire, Bourton-on-the-Water, in Gloucestershire, Shipstone, in
Worcestershire, High Wycombe and Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire,
Uxbridge and Southall, in Middlesex.
Every day, at four o'clock (except Saturday); which takes all letters
for Coventry, Nuneaton, Coleshill, Rugby, Southam, Leamington, and
Warwick, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire (except High Wycombe and
Beaconsfield), Wooburn, Dunstable, Bedford, Silsoe, Leighton Buzzard,
Tempsford, Potton, and Biggleswade, in Bedfordshire, St. Alban's,
Berkhampstead, King's Langley, Tring, Watford, and Barnet, in
Hertfordshire, Wokingham, in Berkshire, Arlesford, Gosport,
Basingstoke, Fareham, Havant, and Petersfield, in Hampshire, Great
Bedwin, in Wiltshire, Surrey, Kent, Suffolk, Essex, Sussex, Norfolk,
Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Middlesex (except Uxbridge and
Southall), which go by the Oxford mail.
Every day, at five o'clock in the afternoon; which takes all letters
for the intermediate places: Worcestershire, (except Shipstone and
those parts sent by the Bewdley mail), Stow, Bourton-on-the-Water, and
Moreton-in-Marsh, in Gloucestershire, South Wales, Herefordshire and
Monmouthshire, Ludlow and Bishop's Castle, in Shropshire, Reading,
Hungerford, and Newbury, in Berkshire, Somersetshire, Wiltshire
(except those parts which go by way of Oxford and London),
Dorsetshire, Devonshire, Cornwall, south-west parts of Ireland, and
Hampshire (except those places sent by way of London).
The various posts arriving so early in the day, the office is shut at
eight in the evening.
Overcharges allowed from eight in the morning to half past ten in the
forenoon, and from five to eight in the evening.
Bristol, at eight in the morning. London, at twenty-five minutes past
ten. Bewdley, at twelve at noon, Oxford, at one. Manchester, at two.
Holyhead, at three. Sheffield, at a quarter past four. Walsall, at
half past five.
This account of the post is corrected up to the 29th of May, 1819.
_From the Nelson Hotel, (late the Dog Inn.)_
Bridgnorth, the Union coach, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
mornings, at nine o'clock. Dudley, the royal Defiance, every
afternoon, at four.
Holyhead, the Union, a light post coach, every morning, at nine.
London, the Oxford royal mail, every afternoon, at three.
------, the Union, a light coach, through Oxford, every day, at half
------, the original post coach, through Oxford, every evening, at a
quarter past six.
------, a coach, every morning, a quarter before six, and arrives in
London at nine in the evening.
Shrewsbury, the Union, a post coach, four insides, every morning, at
Stourbridge, the royal Defiance, every afternoon, at four.
_From the Swan Hotel._
Bath, a light coach, through Worcester and Glocester, every morning
(except Sunday), at six o'clock.
Bristol, the Hero, through Worcester, Glocester, &e. every morning
(except Sunday), at half past six.
Cambridge, a coach through Coventry, Stamford, Stilton, &e. every
morning, at eight.
------, the Rising Sun, through Coventry, Dunchurch, and Northampton,
every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, at five.
Chester, the Prince of Orange light coach, through Wolverhampton,
Shiffnal, Salop, Ellesmere, and Wrexham, every morning (except
Monday), in twelve hours, at half past six.
Coventry, coaches every morning, at five and eight, and afternoon, at
one, two, and four.
Dudley and Stourbridge, a coach every afternoon, at four.
Holyhead, the royal mail, through Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury, &c. every
morning, at eleven.
------, the Prince of Wales, through Salop, every morning at ten,
(passengers booked throughout.)
Kidderminster, a coach, every afternoon, at a quarter before four.
Leamington, a coach, through Knowle, every morning, at eight.
Leicester, the Alexander, through Coventry, every morning, at eight.
------, a coach, through Bedworth, Hinckley, &c. every day (except
Sunday), at one.
Lichfield, the Cobourg, every afternoon, a quarter before four.
Liverpool, the Regulator, through Wolverhampton, Stafford, Stone,
Stoke, Hanley, Burslem, Lawton, Sandbach, Middlewich, and Northwich,
every morning, at six.
London, the royal mail, through Coventry, &c. every afternoon at four.
------, a light day coach, carrying four insides and ten out, every
morning, at four, in fifteen hours.
London, the Royal Balloon, four insides, every afternoon (except
Sunday), at a quarter before three, and on Sunday at one.
Manchester, the royal mail, the same as from the Hen and Chickens.
------, the Eclipse, through Wolverhampton, Stafford, &c. every
morning, at seven.
Nottingham, the royal mail, the same as from the Hen and Chickens.
------, a coach, through Derby, every morning, at seven.
Oxford, a light coach, every morning (except Sunday), at eight.
Sheffield, the royal mail, the same as from the Hen and Chickens.
------, the Blucher post coach, through Lichfield, Uttoxeter, &c.
every Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday morning, at six.
------, the royal Telegraph, through Lichfield, Burton, Derby, &c.
every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday morning, at seven.
Shrewsbury, the Prince of Wales, every morning, at eleven.
------, the royal mail, every morning, at eleven.
Stourbridge and Kidderminster, every morning, at half past seven.
Warwick, a coach, through Knowle, every morning, at eight.
Worcester, the True Blue, through Bromsgrove, every afternoon, at
_From the Hen and Chickens,_
Bath, a light post coach, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
morning, at six.
Bristol, the royal mail, every evening, at five.
Cambridge, the royal pilot post coach, through Coventry, Leicester,
&c. every day, at half past twelve, except Sunday.
Cheltenham, the royal post coach, through Bromsgrove, Worcester, &c.
to the Plough Hotel, every morning, at eight.
Holyhead, the Prince of Wales post coach, through Shrewsbury, &c.
every morning, at ten.
Lichfield, a coach, four times every day.
London, the Prince of Wales post coach, through Oxford,
Henley-on-Thames, &c. to the George and Blue Boar, Holborn.
Manchester, the royal mail, every morning, at a quarter past ten.
------, the Express post coach, through Uttoxeter, Leek, Macclesfield,
&c. to the Moseley Arms Inn, in twelve hours, certain, every morning,
Nottingham, the royal mail, every morning, at a quarter past nine.
Oxford, the post coach, through Henley, every evening, at six.
Sheffield, the royal mail, every morning, at a quarter past nine.
------, the royal Telegraph coach, through Lichfield, Derby, &c. every
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday morning, at seven.
------, the royal Telegraph, through Lichfield, Uttoxeter Ashbourne,
and Bakewell, every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday morning, at six.
Wolverhampton, a coach, four times every day.
Worcester, the new True Blue post coach, every afternoon, at three.
------, the royal Defiance post coach, every morning, at eight, and
returns in the evening.
------, a coach, four times every day.
_From the Castle and Saracen's Head Inns._
Aberystwith and Barmouth, a coach, every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday
morning, at eleven.
Alcester, a coach, every morning, at eight.
Banbury, the Regulator, through Warwick and Leamington, every morning,
Bath, the Star coach, through Evesham, Cheltenham, &c. every Tuesday,
Thursday, and Saturday morning, at half past six.
Bilstone, coaches six times a day.
Bridgnorth, a coach, through Wolverhampton, every Monday, Wednesday,
and Friday morning, at eleven.
Bristol, the Duke of Wellington, through Bromsgrove, Worcester, and
Glocester, every morning, at seven.
Cambridge, the Rising Sun, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
morning, at half past five, through Daventry, Wellingbrough, and
Huntingdon, in one day; carries four insides.
Carlisle, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, a coach, by way of Preston and
Lancaster, every morning and evening.
Cheltenham, a coach, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings.
Chester, the Prince of Orange, carrying four insides, every morning,
at six, (Mondays excepted.)
Coventry, coaches every day, at a quarter before one and half past
Daventry, coaches, every morning, at five, and every afternoon, at
half past two and four.
Dudley, coaches, every morning, at seven, and every afternoon, at four
Exeter and Plymouth, a coach, every morning, at seven, (Monday
Holyhead, the royal mail, every morning, at eleven, through Salop and
------, a new post coach, every day, at eleven, sleeps at Shrewsbury,
and arrives the following day in time for the packet.
Liverpool, the Bang-up post coach, in fifteen hours, carrying four
insides only, through Wolverhampton, Stone, Knutsford, and Warrington,
every morning, at six.
------, the Defiance, a light coach, through Lichfield and Rudgley, on
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and through Walsall, Cannock,
and Stafford, on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, every afternoon, at
London, the royal mail, every afternoon, at four.
------, the Crown Prince day coach, in sixteen hours, every morning,
------, the royal Union, through Coventry, every afternoon, at half
past two, (except Sunday), when it goes at one.
------, the Defiance, a light coach, through Warwick and Leamington,
every afternoon, at half past two, from the Saracen's Head.
Manchester, the Eclipse, a post coach, through Wolverhampton,
Stafford, Stone, Newcastle, and Congleton, in twelve hours, every
morning, at seven.
Northampton, a coach, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning,
returns the same day.
Nottingham, the royal Dart, a post coach, through Tamworth and
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning, at
half past eight.
Oxford, the Bang-up post coach, every morning, at eight.
Shrewsbury and Chester, a post coach, through Ellesmere, every
morning, at six.
------, the Prince of Wales post coach, through Wolverhampton and
Shiffnal, every morning, at eleven.
------, the royal mail, every morning, at eleven.
Walsall, the royal mail, every day, at twelve, and returns the same
------, a light coach, every afternoon (except Sunday,) at five.
Warwick and Leamington, the Regulator, every morning, at eight, and
returns the same day.
------, the Telegraph, every afternoon, at three.
Wolverhampton, seven coaches every day.
Worcester, the True Blue, a post coach, every afternoon, at three.
_From St. George's Tavern._
Bristol, a coach, every morning, at seven.
Cheltenham, ditto ditto, at seven.
Chester, ditto, through Wolverhampton, every morning, at six.
Coventry, ditto, twice everyday.
Dudley, ditto, every day.
Holyhead, ditto, through Wolverhampton, every morning, at nine.
Kidderminster, ditto, every day.
Lichfield, ditto, ditto.
Liverpool, ditto, through Wolverhampton, every morning, at nine.
London, ditto, through Coventry, every afternoon, at three.
Shrewsbury, ditto, through Wolverhampton, every morning, at nine.
Stourbridge, ditto, twice every day.
* * * * *
Atherstone, a coach, by Samuel Smith, from the Cross Guns, Dale-end,
Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Darlaston, a coach, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday,
from the Saracen's Head, Snowhill.
Dudley and Stourbridge, a mail cart, from the Warwick Arms, Snowhill,
Sutton Coldfield, a coach, by Charles Smith, from the Cross Guns,
Dale-end, Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, Warwick, a coach, by
Wm. Barrows and Co, from the liquor shop, Monmouth-street, every
afternoon, at three.
Wednesbury, Bilstone, and Wolverhampton, a coach, by Joseph Boddison,
every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, at five.
Willenhall, a coach, by John Alexander, from the Barrel, Snowhill,
every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
* * * * *
_Carriers by Water._
Bird, George Ryder, three cranes wharf, Crescent, loads fly
boats daily, to Bristol, Dudley, London, Stourbridge, Stourport,
Wolverhampton, Worcester, and all parts of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire,
Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Northamptonshire,
Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and all parts
of the united kingdom.
Bradley and Co. Broad-street wharf, load fly boats daily, to
Liverpool, Manchester, and all parts of the North.
Crocket and Salkeld, wharf, Great Charles-street, load fly boats
daily, to Liverpool, Manchester, and all parts of the north.--N.B.
No other firm conveys goods all the way to Liverpool by their own
Crowley, Leyland, and Hicklin, Crescent wharf, load fly boats to
Bristol, Coventry, Derby, Gainsborough, Hull, Liverpool, London,
Manchester, and Oxford.--N.B. Wine and spirits are conveyed in boats
secured by locks.
Danks, Samuel, and Co. Broad-street wharf, and also
one in Gas-street, load boats to Bath, Bridgnorth,
Bristol, Gloucester, Kidderminster, Shrewsbury,
Stourport, Worcester, and all the western parts of
Heath, Tyler, and Danks, Great Charles-street, load
boats daily, for Dudley, Stourbridge, Wolverhampton,
etc.; also Chester, Derby, Gainsborough, Hull,
Liverpool, Manchester, &c.
Jackson, Thomas, wharf in Holt-street, loads boats to
Atherstone, Coventry, Fazeley, Hinckley, Stourbridge,
Pickford and Co. wharf on the Warwick canal, load
boats daily, and convey goods to London, Liverpool,
and Manchester; which they deliver on the fourth
day at each place; and to all other parts of the kingdom
with the greatest expedition.
Robinson, Corbet, and Co. wharf in Broad-street, load
fly boats to London, Stourbridge, Stourport, Wolverhampton,
Worcester, and all intermediate places;
also to Bristol every spring tide.
Skey, R. S. Worcester wharf, loads boats daily for
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Worcester, and all
Smith, Joseph, and Sons, load boats at Worthington
and Co.'s wharf, Great Charles-street, for Burton
and Gainsborough, from whence the goods are forwarded
by a steam vessel of their own, in one day
certain, to Hull; they also convey goods to Nottingham.
Swaine (late Thomas), Friday-bridge wharf, loads boats
three days every week, for Derby, Leicester, Lincoln,
Lichfield, Nottingham, Shardlow, Tamworth,
Webb, H. and Co. Aston-Junction wharf, load boats to
Atherstone, Coton, Coventry, Fazeley, Hinckley,
Wheatcroft, N. and G. Crescent wharf, load fly boats
every Tuesday and Friday, for Barnsley, Derby,
Leeds, Leicester, Sheffield, Wakefield, and all parts
of the north.
Whitehouse and Sons, Crescent wharf, load fly boats to
London, and all the intermediate places, every Tuesday
and Friday; and slow boats daily.
Worthington and Co. wharf, Great Charles-street, load
fly boats daily, for Chester, Liverpool, Manchester,
&c. and deliver goods to responsible and regular carriers
to the north of England, and Scotland.
To enumerate a long list of carriers by land, would not be in the
least interesting to strangers, nor can it be of any use to the
inhabitants, they being published in the Birmingham almanack, and also
in the directory.
The number of boats specified above, are sufficient to convince
any person, that the manufactures of this town are of the first
importance, they being laden with goods manufactured in this town and
_Selected by permission of the Author from a manuscript_,
Birmingham, a Fragment
WHICH IS INTENDED FOR PUBLICATION.
They are supposed to be part of a prophetic oracle, delivered by the
priests of the god Woden.
Had we, Oh Birmingham, for thee design'd
A trade that's partial, and a sphere confin'd,
Thou'dst been a city, near some stream or shore,
To bless some _single_ district and no more;
But thou must minister to thousand wants,
Of cities, countries, islands, continents:
Hence _central_ be thy station--thus thy town,
Must make each port around the coast her own.
Let bright invention rove where no one awes,
Unfetter'd by dull, narrow, civic laws,
Which shut out commerce, ingenuity.
Where bloated pride, in sullen majesty,
And drowsy pomp sits notionally great,
While she on every stranger shuts her gate.
Let ingenuity here keep her seat,
For works minute, or works immensely great,
We to thy native sons the gift impart,
Of bright invention, and of matchless art,
Skill'd to devise, to reason, to compute,
Quick to suggest, and prompt to execute;
What some have but conceiv'd, do thou amend,
Mature and perfect, to some noble end.
Let fertile genius' bright, inventive powers,
In all their vigorous energy be yours.
Let savage nations who thy stores behold,
Give Britain in return, their useless gold,
Their gems, their pearls, their diamonds impart,
And boast the change, and prize the gift of art.
Thus shall thy polish'd wares of choicer worth,
Gain all that's rare, from ev'ry clime on earth.
Thy skill superior let our monarchs own,
And deem thee _a bright jewel in their crown_.
Made during an Excursion
_To Wednesbury in Staffordshire, distant eight miles, on the road to
Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury_.
You proceed down Snowhill, and having passed the one mile stone, there
are a few trees close to the road side, and opposite to them there
is an extensive view over Barr-beacon, and the adjacent country,
including the lofty trees in Aston park; over whose tops, the elegant
spire of that church is seen. In descending the hill, when you have
passed the buildings, the eye is delighted, on the right hand, with
an extensive view over Hunter's nursery grounds, and on the left is
Hockley abbey: this building was erected upon a piece of waste, boggy
land, about the 1779, by Mr. Richard Ford, an ingenious mechanic of
Birmingham, who, among other things, invented a one-wheel carriage,
which he constructed entirely of iron; and for his ingenuity in the
formation of that vehicle, the society of arts presented him with
their gold medal. As he employed a number of hands, several of whom
expended nine or ten shillings each week at the alehouse, it occurred
to him, who was not given to drink, that he would lay aside two
shillings every day; and having done so for a considerable time, as
his business required him to keep a horse and cart; when they were at
leisure, he sent them to Aston furnace, to bring away large masses
of scoriae, usually termed slag or dross, that lay there in great
abundance. Having collected together a large quantity of it, he
began to erect this building, to represent ruins; and to add to the
deception, there is in the front of the house, in small pebble stones,
the date, 1473; and all this was done, as he informed the writer of
this article, without advancing any other money than the fourteen
shillings per week. It is now nearly overgrown with ivy, and if no
account had been given of the materials with which it is erected,
posterity might have been at a loss to know what substance the walls
were built with. Hubert Galton, Esq. now resides there, who pays rent
for the house, and about fifteen acres of land, more than L100. per
annum, exclusive of the enormous parochial taxes of Birmingham, which
for these premises, from Michaelmas, 1816, to Michaelmas, 1817,
amounted to the astonishing sum of sixty-one pounds and ten shillings,
viz. thirty-six levies for the poor, at 30s. each, three highway
levies, at 30s. each, and two levies for the church, at 30s. each.
In the back ground, beyond this, is seen a glass-house, belonging to
Messrs. Shakespear and Fletcher.
[Footnote 5: A blast furnace, for the making of pig iron, very near at
You now cross the Bourn, a small stream of water, that separates
Warwickshire from the county of Stafford, and passing by Mr. Boulton's
plantations on the left, when you are about half way up the hill,
there is on the right hand, Prospect-house, where the late Mr. Eginton
carried on his manufactory of stained glass.
At the two mile stone, on the left, is the entrance to Soho, where
Matthew Robinson Boulton, Esq. resides, who is proprietor of the _Soho
The road leading to this magnificent pile of building is on the left,
when you have passed through the turnpike. The spot upon which it is
erected, was, in the year 1764, a sterril, barren heath, and so it
continued until 1793, when it was inclosed by act of parliament. The
late Mr. Boulton, in the first instance, expended more than nine
thousand pounds in the erection of buildings, exclusive of machinery.
He soon after removed his manufactory from Birmingham; and then
this enterprising genius established a seminary of artists; men of
ingenuity being sought after, from all parts of Europe, and patronised
with the greatest liberality: thus fostered by his benevolence, they
soon produced an imitation of the _or molu_.--These metallic ornaments
in the form of vases, tripods, candelabras, &c. found a ready sale,
not only in this kingdom, but in France, and almost every part of
civilized Europe. This business being established, silver articles
were manufactured in such profusion, that it became necessary to make
application for an assay office to be established in Birmingham;
which was carried into effect in the year 1773. About this time, a
mechanical process was discovered of copying pictures, in oil colours,
which was brought to such perfection, that the most experienced
connoiseurs were sometimes deceived. The process was chiefly under
the direction of Mr. Francis Eginton, who afterwards commenced the
business of staining glass.
Mr. Watt having obtained a patent for the improvement of steam
engines, came and settled at Soho, in 1769, where he erected an
engine, upon his own principles; which answering the intended purpose,
he in 1775, obtained from parliament a prolongation of his term for
twenty-five years. A partnership being now formed between Mr.
Boulton and Mr. Watt, an extensive manufactory of these engines was
established at Soho, and conveyed from thence to most of the deep
mines and extensive works, where great power was requisite.
In 1788, a mint was erected at Soho, to be worked by the steam engine;
from the rolling of the copper into sheets, afterwards passing it
through steel, polished rollers, and then cutting out the blanks; all
which was performed with the greatest ease and regularity by girls,
instead of employing able men. This was not the whole, for the coining
machines were worked with greater rapidity and exactness, by boys,
from twelve to fourteen years of age, than could be done, by the
former process, by a number of strong men, and their fingers not being
in the least endangered; the machine depositing the blanks upon the
dies, and when struck, it displaced one piece and deposited another.
To facilitate the manufacturing of steam engines, they erected an iron
foundry, at Smethwick, on the banks of the Birmingham canal, where
nearly all the laborious part is consigned to the engine. Engines
are here manufactured from one horse to two hundred horse power, all
acting together. Handsworth common being inclosed, enabled Mr. Boulton
to extend his grounds to a considerable degree, which form an
agreeable separation from his own residence, and forms a much admired
scene of picturesque beauty.
A person wandering through these secluded walks, or on the banks of
the various lakes and water falls, which adorn them, may here enjoy
the sweets of solitude and retirement, with equal composure, as if he
was far distant from the busy scenes that are close at hand.
What is here enumerated are all of them manufactured or carried on at
the Soho, at the present time:--steam engines of every description,
and for all purposes, where great power is requisite; coining of
medals, or medallions, of any size required; silver and plated
articles, of every description, such as tea urns, vases, tureens,
dishes, candelabras, and every necessary article to decorate the table
or the drawing room; metals of every description are here rolled, to
any length or breadth required; patent copying machines; fine polished
steel fire irons; steel buttons; ornaments for stove grates; fenders,
or any other article in steel, where taste and elegance are necessary.
_Handsworth, in Staffordshire, distant two miles and a half_. Leaving
Soho, you come to the elegant village of Handsworth, where, the common
lands of the parish being inclosed by act of parliament, in 1793, they
have probably been as productive, if not more so, than others of a
similar nature in any other part of the kingdom; for there are now
at least one hundred and fifty respectable houses erected upon the
ground, which, before it was inclosed, lay entirely waste; and plots
of the same land have been sold from two hundred pounds to a thousand
pounds per acre.
About one quarter of a mile distant from Soho, is the residence of
Miss Boulton, whose house is secluded from public view, by a lofty
brick wall; and half a mile farther, going down a lane, by the sign
of the Queen's head, a landscape of considerable interest exhibits
itself; including Soho, Birmingham, and the intermediate country, to
the monument. In the grounds, on the right, opposite the three mile
stone, is a grand picturesque view of the whole country, including
Barr-beacon, Aston church, and the lofty trees in the park. About half
a mile farther, you arrive at the verge of Sandwell park, a, seat
belonging to the Earl of Dartmouth, and opposite, on the left, is a
grand panoramic view of the country, including the ruins of Dudley
The church is an ancient gothic stone building, dedicated to St. Mary,
with a square tower, of grey-stone; the body is of an irregular form,
the workmanship being rude and tasteless. It appears to be much
neglected, and out of repair, both inside and out; and neither in
respect to size or decorations, does it bear any analogy to the number
of the population, or the wealth of the parishioners. Indeed, if the
structure of the church should be a criterion to judge of the opulence
of the inhabitants, a stranger would certainly conclude, that they
were most of them tenants at rack rent, and greatly burdened with
poor. The only objects deserving of notice, are two monuments; one in
the inside, and the other on the out. The one erected to commemorate
the late Matthew Boulton, Esq. is the work of the celebrated Flaxman,
and adds another wreath of laurel to the brow of that classical
artist. If is of white and blue marble, and is surmounted by a bust,
which is the best representation extant of that enterprising and
deserving man, to whose memory it is sacred. The other is an humble
tomb-stone, remarkable as being one of the last works, cut by his own
hand, with his name at the top of it, of that celebrated typographer,
Baskerville, but this, being neglected by the relations of the
deceased, has been mutilated, although the inscription is still
perfect, but so much overgrown with moss and weeds, that it requires
more discrimination than falls to the lot of many passing travellers
to discover the situation of this neglected gem. To those who are
curious, it will be found close to the wall, immediately under the
chancel window. This precious relic of that eminent man is deserving
of being removed, at the expense of the parish, and preserved with the
greatest care, withinside the church. Mr. Baskerville was originally a
stone-cutter, and afterwards kept a school, in Birmingham.
[Footnote 6: Since writing the above, the Rev. T. L. Freer, who is
rector, and the wealthy parishioners have entered into a liberal
subscription, and being aided by government with the sum of five
hundred pounds, they have undertaken to rebuild the body of the
church, according to an elegant plan, designed by W. Hollins,
statuary and architect, of Birmingham, without making any rate on the
There is only one more of his cutting known to be in existence, and
that has lately been removed and placed withinside the church, at
Edgbaston; to which place please to refer.
_West-Bromwich, in Staffordshire, distant five miles_.
The church is an old tower structure of stone, dedicated to St.
Clement; the body having been of late years rebuilt, has two side
aisles, handsomely pewed, and galleries all round. The officiating
clergyman is the Rev. Charles Townsend.
The waste lands in this parish being inclosed by act of parliament in
the year 1804, has produced a very beneficial effect; for, by the side
of the main road, which scarcely produced a blade of grass, there
are now numerous houses erected, and the lands about them are very
productive. The new inclosed lands now let from three pounds to five
pounds per acre, and a great part of it is in tillage.
In this extensive parish, the new inclosed land has been sold from
one hundred to eight hundred and forty pounds per acre; and the
neighbourhood is now become so populous, that it is in contemplation
to erect a new church, there being in the beginning of October last
more than three thousand pounds subscribed for that purpose.
The following works of considerable magnitude are, already
established, and now in full work:--
Birmingham brass company, in Spon-lane.
James Taylor, cast steel manufactory.
Archibald Kenrick and Co. iron-founders.
Samuel and John Dawes, iron and steel-masters.
Izons and Whitehurst, foundry for kitchen furniture.
Elwell and Hortons, iron-founders.
Thomas Price, iron-master.
Bagnall and Son, iron-masters.
William Bullock and Co. iron-founders, and manufacturers
of kitchen furniture, improved coffee mills, &c.
Charles Bache, manufacturer of bar and sheet iron, old
William Chapman, grinder and polisher, Burstelholme mill.
Samuel Elwell, iron-master, Friar-park forge,
---- Tickell, iron-master.
Isaac Horton, boiler-maker.
Edward Fisher and Co. iron-masters.
John U. Rastrick, manufacturer of steam engines.
Before you arrive at the six mile stone, the road divides, and you
proceed on the right hand for another mile, when, on a sudden, the eye
is highly gratified with a view of _Wednesbury_. Which is erected on a
declivity; and on the summit, the church, with its lofty spire, makes
a very unusual and respectable appearance. This church is a beautiful
gothic edifice; the body and tower of which is coated with Parker's
cement, but the chancel remains as before. Tradition says, that on
this spot there was, in former times, a Saxon castle. Withinside the
church there are numerous ancient monuments, and an inscription,
signifying that William Hopkins, yeoman, Richard Hawkes, and Robert
Carter, caused the chimes of this church to be made and set up, at
their equal and proper cost and charges, A. D. 1635. The clock, which
is represented to be a remarkable good one, has a pendulum upon an
unusual construction, the rod being fourteen yards in length, and the
ball of it weighs 100 pounds.
Here are eight musical bells, the two trebles being fixed in 1558; the
sixth has an inscription, "William Comberford, lord of this manor,
gave this bell, 1623."--"On the seventh is, Sancta Bartholomew, ora
pro nobis." And on the tenor is inscribed, "I will sound and resound
to thee, O Lord, to call thy people to hear thy word."
The church yard is of considerable extent, and being in such an
elevated situation, those who profess to delineate panoramas may here
find ample scope to display their abilities; for there is not only a
view of the following churches, but the towns and villages wherein
they are situated, are several of them under the eye of the spectator
from this lofty eminence, viz. Walsall, Willenhall, Darlaston,
Wolverhampton two churches, Bilstone, Sedgley, Dudley, two churches
and the ruins of the castle, West-bromwich, Tipton, Wednesfield,
Brierly-hill, and Rushall; in addition to the above, by ascending the
roof of the church, you command Birmingham and Aston, together with
numerous engines that are at work in its vicinity; the whole when
combined form such a rich and variegated scene as probably cannot be
equalled in any other situation.
In the vicinity of Wednesbury there are numerous mines of coal,
wherein great numbers of people are employed, whilst others pursue the
different branches of gun-making; springs, steps, and other articles
used by coach-makers, are also manufactured here, together with wood
screws, hinges, and of late, apparatus for the gas lights.
In the year 1742, when the methodists were spreading their doctrines
through the kingdom, some disturbances took place here on that
account; and soon after, Mr. Wesley, the preacher, was waited upon by
Sir John Gonson, one of the Middlesex justices, who notified to him
that he and his brethren had received orders from above to do justice
to him and his friends, whenever they should make application; his
majesty being determined, that no man in his dominions should be
persecuted for conscience sake. Posterity will scarcely credit, that
in Britain, and at so late a period as 1742, justice was not to be
obtained but by an order from court; and that such order was issued,
reflects infinite credit on the sovereign, George 2d, who commanded
it. This mandate was not by any means premature; for it became
absolutely necessary, to quell the increasing tumults. In
Staffordshire, the populace rose upon their employers, from whom they
demanded money, and if that was not complied with, they threatened
to serve them as they had done the methodists. A quaker, when riding
through Wednesbury, was attacked by them, pulled from off his horse,
and dragged to a coal pit, where it was attended with difficulty to
prevent their throwing him in. This gentleman, not being so much
attached to his principles as to refuse the protection of the law,
prosecuted them at the assizes, which caused those tumults to subside
This place, being only one mile distant, I went there; but neither on
the road or in the village could I perceive any thing deserving of
attention; the inhabitants being employed in the same pursuits as at
_Walsall, in Staffordshire, distant nine miles, on the direct road to
You proceed down Snowhill, and having passed the buildings, you
perceive on the right hand Hunter's nursery grounds, from whence there
is a good prospect of the town of Birmingham, in a clear day. On the
left, Hockley abbey, and the plantations of Mr. Boulton, present a
rich scene in front, with a glass-house in the back ground. At the
bottom of the hill you cross a small stream of water, which separates
Warwickshire from the county of Stafford. In ascending the opposite
hill, on the right hand is Prospect-house, where the late Mr. Eginton
carried on his manufactory of stained glass. Soon after the road
divides, when, turning to the right hand, it leads you by a row of
respectable houses, and when through the toll gate, you leave what
was once Handsworth common, and immediately on the left is a handsome
house, with a beautiful avenue of lime trees; once the seat of the
ancient family of Sacheverel, but now the property of Joseph Grice,
A little farther on the right is a simple though tasteful lodge,
leading to Heathfield, the elegant mansion of the celebrated James
Watt, Esq. who is well known to all scientific men, for the great
improvements he has made in steam engines, and various other useful
works. A few years back, the adjacent ground was a wild and dreary
waste, but it now exhibits all the beauty and luxuriance that art
assisted by taste can give it. Woods and groves appear to have started
up at command, and it may now vie with any seat in the neighbourhood,
for rural elegance and picturesque beauty. Descending the hill, the
parish church of Handsworth presents itself to view, and a short
distance before you arrive at it, is the parsonage-house, where the
Rev. Lane Freer resides.--It is a very excellent house, and possesses
more conveniences and luxuries than are usually to be met with in the
habitations of the clergy. About a mile farther on the right is the
elegant residence of N. G. Clarke, Esq. one of the king's counsel; a
gentleman highly distinguished for acuteness and perspicuity in his
profession, and thorough hospitality in his house. Still farther on
the left, as you descend a steep hill, there is a fine view, at a
considerable distance, of the domains of Hamstead hall. It is a very
elegant and modern-built mansion, the old one having been taken down
some years since, which was for many generations the seat of the
ancient and respectable family of the Wyrleys, who possessed the manor
and very large property in this parish. On the demise of the late
John Wyrley, Esq. the whole of this estate was left by will to George
Birch, Esq. at whose decease it devolved upon his only son, the
present Wyrley Birch, Esq. It is difficult to conceive a more
beautiful residence than this, as it contains all that hill and dale,
wood and water, aided by extensive views, can do, to make a place
delightful and desirable: these seem here to have been combined in
the most beautiful manner; for the river Tame meanders through this
enchanting and extensive domain; on whose banks are numerous groves
of trees, and from a solid rock there arises a lime tree, of unusual
magnitude, whose branches spreading in an horizontal direction became
so heavy, and injured the trunk to such a degree, that in order
to preserve the body, it not only became necessary to lop off the
principal branches, but to bind it together with iron in different
ways, by hooping of it, and passing a bar of iron through it, in the
same manner as buildings are frequently done, to preserve them. At the
height of three feet, it girths twenty-three feet and rises to the
height of seventy feet. The rock upon which this tree grows, is of
such a nature, that there is a grotto of considerable size cut in
it, wherein the roots from this tree spread themselves in different
directions. This inestimable estate, although for so many generations
the patrimonial possessions of the family, has been lately transferred
by the proprietor to the Earl of Dartmouth, and is now in the
possession of William Wallis, Esq.
In the valley is a corn mill, worked by the river Tame, over which
there is a substantial bridge. Near the summit of the opposite hill,
the road passes close by the residence of Mr. Wren, who is well known
in Staffordshire, as an agriculturist. Near half a mile farther on the
left is an ancient white house, which has been occupied as a school
for a number of years. From the green opposite, if you face about,
there is an extensive view over the country; two of the Birmingham
churches and the monument being conspicuous objects. A very short
distance farther is a gravel pit, opposite to which is a rich and
luxuriant view for a considerable distance. At the finger post, two
miles before you arrive at Walsall, there is a beautiful landscape,
and when you approach near the town, by looking the contrary way,
there is a rich and variegated view over the country. A little before
you enter the town, there are two respectable houses, one on each side
of the road; that on the left is the residence of Mr. Richard Jesson,
an attorney, and at the other, which is built of stone, Mr. John
Adams, a merchant, resides.
This road to Stafford is nearer by five miles than going through
Wolverhampton, and the accommodations are in every respect equal:
independant of that circumstance, whoever travels this road is not
incommoded by the numerous colleries and engines that are adjacent to
This town, being considered a borough, by prescription for a number of
years, was incorporated by letters patent, bearing date 22d February,
in the 13th year of King Charles 2d; the government thereof is vested
in a mayor, with the assistance of twenty-four capital burgesses, who
are authorised to sue and are liable to be sued, by virtue of a common
seal. William Webb was appointed the first mayor, whose successor is
to be elected and sworn into office on the feast of St. Michael. The
mayor and his brethren are authorised to fix upon a recorder and town
clerk, who are empowered to hold a court of record, whenever it is
requisite, to determine any actions or pleas, for sums of money
exceeding forty shillings, and not more than twenty pounds. There are
also two serjeants at mace, who are under their directions; the late
mayor, and one other capital burgess, being in the commission of
the peace for the borough and foreign, they have authority to take
cognizance of all crimes committed within their jurisdiction, except
conspiracy, murder, felony, or any thing touching the loss of life.
They are also empowered to have a common prison, where all offenders
may be detained, until discharged by due course of law. By this
charter, the mayor, recorder, and twenty-four capital burgesses are
exempt from serving upon any juries at Stafford.
The seal of this corporation is three fleur de lis and three lions
quarterly, with two lions as supporters; over the arms is a crown
without an arch, and over the rim of the crown there are five fleur de
lis. It is nearly the size of a crown piece, with a latin inscription,
in very ancient characters. It is deposited with Joseph Stubbs, who is
town clerk, and steward of the manor to Lord Bradford. The arms of the
town appear to be a bear with a ragged staff.
The guildhall is situated in the High-street, one wing of which is
the Dragon inn, and the other is a large room where the corporation
assemble to transact business, and is called the mayor's parlour,
under which is the prison for the town.
The ancient wooden staves belonging to the corporation are still
deposited in the hall, and are curious relics of antiquity, being
ornamented with heads of various animals, rudely carved.
The sheriff of the county, by his deputy, holds a court in this town,
at the Castle inn, every third Monday, for the recovery of debts,
under forty shillings; but the expenses are excessive to both debtor
and creditor, and if the latter loses his cause, his expenses alone
will amount to six or seven pounds.
In the year 1452, Thomas Mosely, of Moxhull, in Warwickshire, being
then lord of Bascote, in that county, gave it in trust to William Lyle
and Thomas Magot, for the use of the town of Walsall. In 1539, the
inhabitants were summoned by the bellman to repair to the church,
where a dole was distributed, amounting to the sum of seven pounds,
ten shillings, and nine-pence. Some time after, an attempt was made
to discontinue this dole, which caused the populace to assemble, who
forced the same to be continued; at which time it was distributed to
about fourteen thousand people, nine thousand of whom were supposed to
reside in Walsall.
The church is a vicarage, dedicated to St. Matthew, or All Saints: it
is an ancient pile of building, singular in its appearance, being in
the form of a cross, the transept of which is composed by large side
chapels, whose roofs lie east and west, parallel to the body of the
church. The tower, which is situated at the south-west angle of the
west front, is strong, plain, and far from inelegant, being built with
coarse lime stone, on which a new spire was erected since 1775, when
a set of eight musical bells were fixed there, by Mr. Rudhall, of
Glocester; the weight of the tenor being more than twenty-three
hundred, and the key note E flat.
The following inscriptions are round the bells:--
1. "When us you ring, we'll sweetly sing."
2. "Fear God, honour the king."
3. "Prosperity to the parish."
4. ditto ditto.
5. "The Rev. John Darwall, vicar."
6. "Thomas Rudhall, Glocester, founder."
7. "Thomas Hector, Edward Licet, Thomas Overton, Deykin Hemming,
8. "I to the church the living call, And to the grave do summon all."
The font of this church is alabaster, of an octagon form, with
shields, richly sculptured.
On each side of the chancel are eleven stalls, very entire, the seats
of which, being lifted up, exhibit a series of grotesque figures,
curiously carved, in bas relief; no two of which resemble each other.
Over the communion table is a large painting, representing the last
supper.--The vicarage, where the Rev. Philip Pratt resides, is in a
delightful situation, being on an eminence, and encompassed with lofty
and majestic trees.
There are three fairs in the year, viz. February 24th, Tuesday in the
whitsun week, and the Tuesday before St. Michael; at which time the
races take place, and have been for a number of years both numerously
and genteely attended; as a proof of it, the inhabitants in the year
1809 expended the sum of thirteen hundred pounds in the erection of
a grand stand; in the lower apartments of which is a billiard table,
where they resort for recreation. The fair at whitsuntide is not held
by charter, but being market day, at that holiday time is considered
a fair by prescription. There is in this town a charity school for
twenty-four boys and sixteen girls, who are all cloathed in blue: they
are instructed and cloathed gratis, but neither lodged nor boarded.
The expenses attending this school are defrayed by subscriptions,
donations, and sermons preached on the wake Sunday, which is the
Sunday before St. Michael. The school-room is near the George hotel.
There is also a free grammar school, near the church, founded by Queen
Mary, in the first year of her reign, which she endowed with certain
lands that are vested in trustees. The High-street is spacious, and
therein are some respectable shops, and a conduit for the use of the
inhabitants.--Park-street is also a wide one, but there are numerous
low houses in it.
The town has a singular appearance; its situation being upon a bold
eminence, from whose summit arises a fine old gothic church, with a
lofty spire, the streets and houses descending in every direction. In
the vicinity are numerous lime stone quarries, some of which are open
from the surface, and from others it is drawn up through a shaft,
similar to coal mines.
Mr. Siddons, the husband of the celebrated actress, was born in
Rushall-street, in this town, whilst his father kept a public-house,
known by the sign of the London apprentice, whose death was occasioned
by sparring or wrestling with a person named Denston. The present Mr.
Siddons was originally a barber, but having an inclination for the
stage, he joined the itinerant company of Mr. Kemble, and married one
of his daughters, who afterwards proved the heroine of the stage.
Another well-known character was also a native of this town, viz,
Thomas Haskey, the celebrated ventriloquist, who was by trade a bridle
bit maker; but whilst an apprentice he left his master, and entered
into the army, where he lost a leg and obtained a pension. When young,
he did not know the abilities he possessed, but hearing O'Burn,
he endeavoured to imitate him; and when Mr. Stanton's company of
performers were at Walsall, he repeatedly from the gallery entertained
the audience by sham dialogues, in two voices, between himself and
Tommy. He was an ignorant man, but possessing this unusual faculty, he
was frequently sent for by Lord Dudley, to entertain the company at
Himley, upon which occasions, he always hired a post chaise to convey
him there. He afterwards went to London, and performed at Sadler's
Wells in the year 1796, and when his benefit came on, he cleared L200.
About one mile from the town, on the road to Wolverhampton, is a
strong chalybeate water, called Alum well.
About one mile and a half from Walsall, near to Bentley hall, at a
place called Pouck hill, as some workmen were opening a quarry, they
discovered numerous basaltic columns, some of which are from four to
five feet in diameter, of various lengths, some singularly waved,
others straight; some of the joints short and others extend to the
length of five or six feet: they lie nearly in an horizontal position,
and resemble at a distance large trees piled one upon another.
The chief articles manufactured in this town and its vicinity are
bridle bitts, stirrups, spurs and other articles either used or sold
by the saddlers.
_Barr Park, distant five miles, on the road to Walsall_.
The hospitable mansion of Sir Joseph Scott, Bart, is surrounded by a
park of considerable extent, wherein there is the greatest variety
of undulating hills and dales, wood and water, together with such
extensive views, as can only be found in this part of the kingdom. To
this park there are three entrances, and at every avenue the worthy
proprietor has erected an elegant lodge, from whence there are
capacious carriage roads to the mansion. One of these lodges is about
five miles on the road to Walsall, to which you approach by taking the
right hand road, opposite a house of entertainment, the Scott's arms,
and then taking the second turning to the left conducts you to the
lodge. On entering the park, a circular coach drive leads to the holly
wood, through which you proceed by a serpentine road near half a mile,
when a beautiful sheet of water presents itself to view, along whose
banks you pass near a mile before you arrive at the mansion.
The situation of the building is low in front of the water, but being
screened by rising ground and lofty trees, it must be very warm in
the winter. On the left of the house, a walk leads you to the flower
garden, which is laid out with great taste, containing flowers and
small shrubs of the choicest and rarest kinds, together with a
fountain in the centre. From hence there are delightful views, and
among others over the adjacent country, Birmingham is distinctly seen.
At the distance of about two miles farther, towards Walsall, there is
another lodge, which is the entrance from Walsall, and leads you by a
spacious serpentine road through the Marrian wood, which is composed
of various shrubs and evergreens, and conducts you to a most elegant
chapel, with a beautiful and well-proportioned spire, underneath which
you enter into one of the most sumptuous places of worship in the
universe. There are in the whole eleven lofty windows, and seven of
them are ornamented in the most elegant manner with stained glass, by
Eginton: they are all full length figures, large as life, with
their proper attributes. The first represents Fortitude, the second
Temperance, the third Justice, in the fourth, which is over the
communion table, is the apotheosis of a child, after the Rev. Mr.
Peters, the fifth represents Hope, the sixth Charity, and the seventh
Prudence. The pews and every other part correspond, there being a
sumptuous organ, with a gallery in front of it, which extends on each
side, before two windows. In a spacious cemetary there are some tombs,
much more elegant than are usually met with; there is also a yew tree
of large dimensions, which is grown much higher than trees of that
species do in general, and also some venerable elms, together with the
village school. Close adjoining is another lodge, and the road from
it conducts you over an elegant bridge, on the right of which is a
There is also another lodge, at a place called the Quieslet, about six
miles on the road to Barr-beacon, where a spacious road conducts you
for a considerable distance, by a plantation of oaks, and so through
the park, wherein there are fixed numerous seats, which command
delightful and comprehensive prospects, and among others may be seen
the extensive sheet of water in the vale, backed by a grand screen of
venerable oaks and verdant hills; at same time, from amidst the nearer
trees and shrubs, the house appears to emerge, and adds considerably
to the scene. From the various knolls with which this park abounds,
there are several that command a view of Birmingham, and also of the
woods in Sandwell park.
There is also a view of the ruins of Dudley castle, and from another
eminence the churches of Wolverhampton and Wednesbury are seen, with
the elegant spire of Barr chapel in front. From the lodge at the
approach from Walsall there is an extensive view over the country,
bounded in the horizon, to the left by Dudley castle, the Rowley
hills, &c. and to the right by the Wrekin and other mountains in
_To Dudley, in Worcestershire, through West-bromwich, ten miles on the
road to Stourbridge_.
You proceed down Snowhill, pass by the Soho, through Handsworth and
West-bromwich, and along the Wolverhampton road, near six miles, when
the road divides, and you take to the left, having the ruins of Dudley
castle full in view. After crossing the Birmingham canal, you come to
_Tipton, eight miles_.
In this parish the following works are carried on in an extensive
Blair and Stevenson, soap and lead.
Harrison, Oliver, and Co. Horsley iron-works.
Walker and Co. Gospel-oak iron-works.
Dixon, Turton, and Co. have three furnaces.
Round, Caddick, and Co. Old church forge.
Messrs. Parkers, iron-masters.
Zephaniah Parkes and Co. iron-masters.
Messrs. Willets, iron-masters.
Birmingham Co. iron-masters.
Bagnall and Co. iron-masters.
New Church ditto.
Glebe Land ditto.
Puppy Green ditto.
Dudley Port ditto.
Birmingham Co. ditto.
The church is dedicated to St. Lawrence, of which the Rev. James Bevan
is perpetual curate. From hence you pass by the Dudley brewery, and
having ascended the hill, arrive at _Dudley, ten miles_.
In this town there are two parish churches, one of which is dedicated
to St. Thomas, and is now rebuilding in a magnificent manner, to which
a lofty spire is attached; it being in height 170 feet, and therein
are ten musical bells: of this church the Rev. Luke Booker, L.L.D. is
vicar. The other is dedicated to St. Edmund, wherein a free gallery
has been erected by subscription; over which the Rev. Proctor Robinson
The different sects of presbyterians, baptists, quakers, methodists,
and independants, have each of them their respective places of
There is a free school, founded by King Edward 6th, two national
schools, on the plan of Dr. Bell, and one Lancasterian ditto. The
inhabitants who have a taste for reading, have established a library,
wherein there are more than three thousand volumes.
There are here five glass houses, two of which belong to Messrs.
T. and G. Hawkes, where the most superb articles are manufactured;
another to Mr. John Roughton; a fourth to Price, Cook, Wood, and Co.;
and the fifth is at Holly-hall, belonging to Zephaniah Parkes and Co.
There are also the following iron-works established:--
Zephaniah Parkes and Co.
Messrs. Attwoods, three furnaces.
Glazebrook and Whitehouse.
Salisbury, Hawkes, and Co.
Wainwright, Jones, and Co.
At the priory, there is a powerful steam engine, belonging to Mr.
Benson; and on the road to Birmingham is a brewery, belonging to a
public company. In the environs are numerous mines of coal, ironstone,
and lime; which land, where the mines have not been worked, sells
in general for about one thousand pounds per acre.--Nails and heavy
iron-work employ a great part of the population.
The ancient castle, of which there still remains the keep and the
gateway, is said to have been erected about the year 700, by a person
named Dodo, from whom the name of the town is derived. Underneath the
hill, whereon the castle was situated, there are stupendous caverns,
from whence the lime stone has been conveyed away, which are truly
august, being of considerable extent, and proportionably high; the
roof being supported by rude pillars of vast dimensions, which have
been left by the miners for that purpose. There is one tunnel that
perforates the hill entirely, being in length near two miles: it is in
height thirteen feet, in width nine feet, and in one part sixty-four
feet below the surface.
These enormous subterranean works, with the method of procuring the
stone, are highly deserving the attention of strangers, who have there
an opportunity of seeing this useful article forced from its natural
situation by means of gunpowder; raised from the bowels of the earth,
and conveyed through the country by means of inland navigation, to
serve the purpose of the agriculturist, and also the architect. In
these rocks there are numerous marine productions, and among others,
one which the miners denominate a locust, for which they have been
known to refuse its weight in gold; it being understood that there is
only one other place in the kingdom where they are to be found.
The mines of coal in this vicinity are from ten to twelve yards in
thickness, which circumstance it is said does not take place in any
other part of the kingdom. A stranger approaching Dudley after it
is dark, will be astonished to see the numerous fires in different
directions, which proceed from the furnaces, forges, and collieries;
the latter converting their small coal into coke.
The noble proprietor of these extensive mines and the ruins above
them has for several successive years planted innumerable trees of
different kinds around the castle hill, and during last summer
(1818) he caused avenues to be cut through them, which form the most
romantic, picturesque, and diversified shady walks, extending over
numerous hills and dales, that can be imagined; the views that
occasionally present themselves when least expected, are enchanting,
and when you arrive at the summit, there is a most extensive prospect
over the counties of Worcester, Stafford, Derby, Leicester, Warwick,
Salop, Hereford, and part of Wales: it is not only extensive, but full
of variety, comprising hills and dales, woods and villages, populous
towns, and busy seats of manufacture; a scene that may be justly
termed, of various view, warm and alive with human habitations.--From
this eminence eighteen churches are discernable; viz, those of Dudley,
Birmingham, West-bromwich, Walsall, Rushall, Wednesbury, Darlaston,
Tipton, Bilston, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, Sedgley, Briery-hill,
Oldswinford, and Pedmore; also the fine obelisk and castle at Hagley;
the elegant seat of Lord Westcote; Envil, the admired seat of Lord
Stamford; and part of the woods at Himley, the spacious and beautiful
seat of the humane, generous, and noble proprietor of these ruins. The
stupendous mountains of Malvern (though near forty miles distant),
bounding the horizon towards the south, are grand and noble features
in the scene; as are also those of Clent, Abberley, the Cleys, and the
"Mountains, on whose barren breast
The lab'ring clouds do often rest."