The Broseley Local History Society


Incorporating the Wilkinson Society


Newsletter                                                           September 2001


Chairman:                 Frank Selkirk

Secretary:                 Dot Cox

Treasurer:                 Steve Dewhirst

Curator:                    David Lake

Membership Sec.:     Janet Robinson, 26 Coalport Road,

                                Broseley, Shropshire, TF12 5AZ.

                                01952 882495

Journal Editor           Neil Clarke

Newsletter Editor:     Nick Coppin; see note below.


Meetings usually take place each month on the first Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm (unless announced otherwise).  Please ensure you are in your seats by 7.30 to allow speakers a prompt start.  Indoor meetings will be held at the Broseley Social Club in the High Street unless announced otherwise. Car parking at the back.


Web Site:               Email:


Programme for 2001:

Wednesday 5th September:    Broseley’s memories of the Second World War

Wednesday 3rd October:       Broseley Local History Society AGM.   Followed by a talk on 
Shropshire Lych Gates (focusing on the Broseley area) 
by Ron Penhalluric.

Wednesday 7th November:   Local 18th Century ironmasters including John Onions of Broseley and John Wilkinson’s Snedshill partners by Paul Luter.

Wednesday 5th December:    Christmas Dinner; details to follow.


For further information, contact Neil Clarke (01952 504135)


Newsletter Editor

After a few years of editing first the newsletter of the Wilkinson Society and then of the combined Broseley Local History Society and Wilkinson Society, I wish to relinquish the post.   If anyone would like to take over, please let the Committee know.   If you have a home computer and a telephone, there is nothing too arduous to the job!

Nick Coppin

Republishing ‘John Wilkinson’

We have six in our Company of Adventurers backing the republication and so we have been emboldened to give the go-ahead for the printing and look forward to seeing the result.


I am very aware that immediately after appealing in the last Newsletter for your support, I disappeared for a month; not the cleverest of timing.   If you would like to join our Company you would be very welcome.  Please phone 01746 762813.

David Lake, Hon Curator


For Sale: A unique opportunity to buy a piece of Wilkinson history!

Willey Furnace Cottages are for sale.   The ‘blurb’ states that they once formed part of the historic New Willey Iron Works where in the late 18th century John Wilkinson built the first ever iron boat.  



From time to time we receive e-mails about family history.  The following may be of interest to our members:


From Janet White:

I have an very particular interest in Darley -firstly it was only this week that I found out there had been a Darley in Shropshire and have spent week trawling Darley Dale and Darley Abbey in Derbyshire [what a waste of energy that was!!]

I am reliant on family gossip which is a bad starting point and am having real  d difficultly is finding my ancestors. The old tales have been corrupted over the years. Supposedly wealthy ancestors have turned up in the Workhouse! Boys said to have been sent to public schools turned up at Workhouse schools!! etc etc

Now my GGGrandfather was Stephen or Stephen Henry Nerding. But this could have been spelt Nurden/Nerden/Nerdin/Nirdin/Nurding. He was said to have married Ann Bridgeman from Darley Shropshire - the Birmingham Registrar supplied come records for Elizabeth Bridgewater. Mother of Rose Ellen Nerding b. 15 May 1865 and John Henry Nerding b. 3 April 1867. And the husband Stephen Henry Nerding was a 'fender fitter'.

So I am seeking Elizabeth Bridgewater said to be from Darley, Shropshire with children born at Vine Place, Cheapside Birmingham in 1865 and 1867. Unfortunately I don’t have her birth date or date of death!

The children Rose and John appear on the Aston Union Workhouse Census in 1881. Elizabeth was said to die in Birmingham in a Smallpox epidemic and they were supposed to have sent the children 'Boarding' at The Blue Coat School Harbourne Birmingham



From Mrs Jill Blackburn.

I live in West Bromwich, West Midlands and perhaps you may like to know my connections with Broseley, and anyone who is connected is welcome to write to me, or to help me.


Robert Matthews born c. l775 Wales, died 29th September l858, Hill Top West Bromwich married Ann Jones born l773-4 Broseley, Salop, died 1st  November l859 Hill Top West Bromwich  married 23rd May l805 Broseley.

Elizabeth Matthews born l8th Feb l806 Broseley, died 28th September l884 Hill Top West Bromwich Staffordshire, married Thomas Pennington.



I know this is not a Shropshire name, but in l794, my g g g g grandfather from Bilston, Staffordshire went to Broseley as a Tinman, and married Sophia Latham at St. Leonards Broseley Salop 1st Jan l794. They lived in a house on the Delph. It was, I think, above a shop. My g g g grandfather Henry Pountney Brierley came back to Birmingham, and married an Elizabeth Pitt Searle from Wolverhampton. His son then came into West Bromwich.   Although Latham is a Shropshire name, I think, it is possible that her father may have been (i.e. Sophia Latham), Joshua Latham, who kept the Swan Pub in Wolverhampton. As you know, coaches went daily to Shropshire from Wolverhampton.

Maybe a Brierley stopped there.

Thought you may be interested, as one side is my mother’s and one side is my father’s.   Could you get in touch if you have any info or anyone of your members is interested.


From George Skinner

Recently we received an email from George Skinner who has put up for auction a letter to John Onions of Broseley:


43 Bedford Row London
       19 March 1840

Direct Birmingham, Oxford, Reading and Brighton Railway


We are instructed by Mr George Alexander the Engineer to this Company to apply to you for the sum of £1500 being the balance due to him for surveys of this projected line and we are requested to say if the amount be not paid to us forthwith we shall be compelled to proceed against you for its recovery without further notice.

We Have the honour to be


Your Obed Humble Sevts

Kell and Chaffers


Onions was a well known Broseley name being usually associated with the iron trade.   The John in the letter would be John Onions Jun. who died in 1859.  He was an ironfounder and brickmaker as well as owning land in Broseley.  His brickworks were inherited by his daughter on his death in 1859.


He lived at Whitehall and in 1822 sold an ironworks at Brierley in the Black Country.  In 1819 his father’s two ironworks (including Brierley) were valued at £33,646.  Why he should be dabbling in railways is difficult to explain but it was probably the “dot com” of the time.  The question remains as to why he was paying for the survey and was the railway actually constructed as Birmingham, Oxford and Reading was then taken by the  Great Western Railway.

Steve Dewhirst


Apedale Heritage Centre

David Lake has forwarded to me a leaflet about this former colliery near Newcastle-under-Lyme.  Perhaps a visit there might be organised in the future.


Le Creusot

The great John Wilkinson’s new technology in iron-making was used in 1781 by his brother William in the building of the new French Royal Cannon Foundry at Le Creusot.  The history of the industry of those early days and of the two subsequent centuries, is preserved by the Academie Francois Bourdon at Le Creusot.


The director of the Academie, M. Ivan Kharaba was my most helpful and generous host when I visited there on your behalf in early July.


The Academie is based in the Chateau de la Verrerie which also houses two remarkable industrial museums.  The first: ‘Metal, the Machine and Man’ tells the story of iron, steel and engineering in the town from its Wilkinson origins through the 130 years and four generations of the formidable Schneider dynasty.  The Schneiders took technology from the earliest steam railway locomotives to nuclear power generation and the Train a Grande vitesse, by way of the Schneider Trophy which led to Supermarine and the Spitfire.  There is a breathtaking collection of models of the products of the works, the results of millions of hours of work by generations of apprentices.


The second museum is the ‘Ecomusee’, visited and described by Barrie Trinder soon after it was set up in 1975.  It now chronicles the industry from the perspective of the Schneider family, who were very properly proud of it.  There is a very vivid film of steelmaking in the 1920’s.


If your holiday route takes you through Burgundy by the A6 or N6 between Beaune and Macon or indeed by the TGV line, you are close to Le Creusot and would find interesting a visit to this town with its links to Broseley.  Park in the Place Schneider where you have a choice of restaurants and the Chateau de la Verrerie is just beyond the church.

David Lake.