Membership          Secretary



Journal Editor

Newsletter Editor

Co-opted Member

John Freeman

Dot Cox

Steve Dewhirst

David Lake

Janet Robinson

26 Coalport Rd

Broseley, TF12 5AZ

01952 882495

Neil Clarke

Jan Lancaster

Michael Pope


Newsletter of the Broseley Local History Society

Incorporating the Wilkinson Society


November 2001


Meetings of the Broseley Local History Society are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 7.30 pm. Venue is the Broseley Social Club, High Street, unless otherwise announced. Car parking is available at the back of the Club. Members are requested to be seated by 7.30 to allow speakers a prompt start.



7 Nov   Paul Luter will be talking on Local 18th Century Ironmasters, including John Onions of Broseley and John Wilkinson Snedshill partners. Paul, who is a member of the Society, has lectured on previous occasions.

5 Dec   Christmas Dinner will be held at the Woodbridge Inn, Coalport. Details p2.

2 Jan     More Memories of Old Broseley, this time focusing on King Street and Broseley Wood.

6 Feb    Both sides of the River; slides and anec­dotes from the inimitable Ron Miles.

6 Mar   Industries and People of the Clee, by All Jenkins. All, who was born at Clee Hill, has been researching the parallels between the respective developments of Clee Hill and Broseley.

3 Apr    Janet Doody will be talking on The Irish Community in Broseley in the second half of the 19th century.

1 May The Annual Wilkinson Lecture. The

Spirit of the Age - John Wilkinson’s

Cultural Background, given by Diana


5 Jun    Summer Soiree, at Rivendell, 2 Dark

Lane, Broseley, by kind invitation of Michael and Gillian Pope. Artefacts will be on display and a light supper is to be provided courtesy of the Popes.

3 Jul      The Wilkinson Trail in Telford - Part II Summer walk led by Neil Clarke.

For further information, contact Neil Clarke

(01952 504135).


Annual General Meeting

The Society’s AGM was held on 3 October and one of the more important items on the agenda was the election of a new Committee for the forthcoming year. With the exception of two members, the existing Committee declared themselves willing to stand again. Both Frank Selkirk and Nick Coppin, however, have stepped down. In their place, the meeting elected John Freeman as Chairman and Jan Lancaster as Editor of this Newsletter.


The new Committee is:






Of the two new Committee members, John Freeman has worked in the area since the early 1980s and has been a member of the Broseley History Society and the former Wilkinson Society since moving to Broseley in the late 1980s. He runs an engineering and plant hire business in Halesfield, Telford.


History particularly of an engineering and industrial nature, has always been of major interest. This interest dates back to his school-days, when his father was a founder member and Engineering Director of the Severn Valley Railway, and was heavily involved in its restoration.


He has, for the last 14 years, lived at Rock House, Ironbridge Road, a house that has associations with the Brodies and Exleys. No sooner had he moved in than a number of people, including Ron Miles, made him aware of the history of the house itself, of the Red Church immediately behind the house and of the enormous importance of this area in industrial history


John became Vice Chairman of the Society last year and says that as Chairman he hopes to continue the good work of the Committee and of his predecessor Frank Selkirk in continuing to develop and broaden the appeal and interest of the Society to more local people.


The second new member, Jan Lancaster, has only been in the area for just over two years. She and her husband chose to settle in Broseley on their return to the UK after 30 years abroad because ‘they liked it’. Having moved in, how­ever, they found there was a lot more to Broseley than meets the eye and are busy learn­ing all they can about it.


Christmas Dinner

Venue:              Woodbridge Inn, Coalport

Time:                7.30 for 8.00 pm

Cost:                 £12.50 per head

The menu will cover a choice of leek and potato soup, honeydew melon, prawn cocktail or garlic mushrooms. This will be followed by turkey, sirloin of beef, poached fillet of salmon or pasta bake, topped off with traditional Christmas pudding or a selection of sweets.


The guest speaker will be The Revd David Shinton, a local man who was born in Jackfield. Fr David has recently become Non Stipendiary Priest in the Broseley Group of Parishes, hav­ing already had a career in the Civil Service, with postings in London, Bath, Didcot, Liverpool and elsewhere. He and his wife Diane are long standing members of the History Society. His monograph is to be “The Inns and Ale Houses of Broseley and District”.


Tickets are available from Janet Robinson, 26 Coalport Rd, Broseley, TF12 5AZ, tel: 01952 882495, and must be booked by 30 November. Cheques, which should accompany your book­ing, to be made payable to the Broseley Local History Society. Please indicate your choice of starter when booking.


Shropshire Lych Gates


Those members who didn’t make the October meeting certainly missed a very interesting evening. Ron Penhallurick, who has been researching his subject for many years, took The meeting through a pictorial tour of lych gates in the Broseley area, the nearest of which is actually in Benthall.


Memory Meetings

Transcripts of these meetings are now available and orders for copies may be placed at meet­ings. Cost is 50p per copy.


South West Shropshire Historical & Archaeological Society

Broseley Local History Society members Neil Clarke and David Lake have been asked to give a talk on aspects of the work of the BLHS at the South West Shropshire Historical & Archaeological Society’s AGM. This is to be held on 21 November in Bishop’s Castle.


Book and CD reviews


John Wilkinson, Ironmaster Extraordinary, by Ron Davies, reviewed by Rex Key


Mad - or a genius? Whichever way you look at it, John Wilkinson was certainly a colossus among men of iron and it is difficult to ascribe his inventions and achievements to being the work of only one man. Certainly he suffered setbacks and failures, but these were dwarfed by his monumental successes, often in the face of almost universal scepticism.


John Wilkinson had an innate ability to make things - things which had not yet been invented, things which people said could not be made. In his book, John Wilkinson, Ironmaster Extraordinary, Ron Davies has chronicled some of the factors and influences which drove him on, building bigger, more elaborate foundries and ironworks to the pinnacle of his endeavours, the Bradley works near Wolverhampton. This earned the sobriquet “the second wonder of the age”, Coalbrookdale being the first.


The book, which runs to 27 pages, with an additional 24 pages of line-drawing illustrations by the author, places Wilkinson’s epoch-making achievements in an industrial context and details his links with such other pioneers as Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Abraham Darby II and James Brindley. Ron has dug out what appears to be his earliest link with Broseley when in 1752 he was buying coal from the Weld Estate, following through as one of the protagonists of the Iron Bridge.


An 18th century adventurer and pioneer worthy of international acclaim, most schoolchildren have hardly heard of John Wilkinson. This book should be compulsory reading for every youngster who, while he may have full finger-

mouse-cursor co-ordination, is in danger of leaving school with no idea what happens to a lump of iron if you heat it and hammer it.


This is a compact, but authoritative, work on Wilkinson and, additionally, is an enlightening snapshot on the social, domestic and commer­cial world of the late 18th and 19th centuries. It is invaluable for serious scholars and local his­torians - and for computer-infected youngsters as well.


Copies are available from:

David Lake, Stocking Lane, Nordley WV16 4SY.

Tel:  01746 762813


Price:    Special members’ introductory offer

£5.50 for orders placed before

31 December 2001.

£6.95 after 1 January 2002.

£6.95 to non members.

P&p:    £1.50 (free within a 10 km radius of Broseley).

Cheques should be made payable to the Broseley Local History Society


‘Broseley and Its Surroundings’ by John Randall. reviewed by Nick Coppin


This classic Broseley history has been out of print for some time and is now available in CD ROM format. it is the original 1879 edition with additional notes. The work has been painstakingly carried out by Steve Dewhirst and copies are available from him.


I have used the CD ROM and it is a very handy way of looking for items of interest. It is in a .pdf format and if your computer does not have Adobe Reader, a copy is included on the disc. It is then a simple matter to 1ook through page by page or search for that par­ticular reference of personal interest - railways in my case!


For non-computer people, it should be a simple job to get a firm or a friend to print out a paper copy of the book.


Steve should be complimented for his valuable contribution to Broseley’s local history in the publication of this book.


Copies are available from:

Steve Dewhirst, 9 Maypole Road, Broseley         TF12 5QH.

Price:    £6.00 plus £2.00 post and packing.

Cheques should be made payable to the

Broseley Local History Society.


A Fragment of Music

Geoffrey Bird brings to life some hitherto

unsung Broseley music


During the year several bound volumes of music have come to light in Broseley belonging to Mr Ray Johnston, BEM. This miscellaneous collection appears to have been printed and published during the first half of the 19th cen­tury and contains a variety of piano pieces, dance arrangements and songs, all carefully bound together.


Two of the pieces have a particular reference to Broseley, a set of dances for the piano called “The Broseley Quadrilles” and, perhaps more interestingly, a fragment of choral music, a Kyrie Eleison and a Sanctus, written for the Anglican Service of the Eucharist.


The composer was a Henry Knight, about whom nothing is know at the moment, but the purpose for its composition was very inter­esting. The title page of the original published musical score contains a dedication to “The Honbie. and Revd. Orlando Watkin Weld Forester, A.M., Rector of Broseley” and states that the proceeds of the sale of the music were in aid of funds for building (the present) Broseley Parish Church of All Saints. The cost of the piece, incidentally, was 2/6d in old money, very expensive indeed in those days for a few pages of music.


The date is somewhere around the mid 1840s and a note on the score states that it was per­formed in Lichfield and Peterborough

Cathedrals. It was probably never sung in Broseley, perhaps because of a lack of choral resources.


Any other conclusions would be speculative, but one might assume that there was some connec­tion between the Rector, Orlando Forester, and the composer, and also some reason why this music for the Eucharist Service is incomplete.


In the mid 19th century published music with a particular reference to an English village church was very rare indeed, which makes the existing fragment for Broseley very special.


I was fortunate enough to be given the oppor­tunity to read through the music some months ago, with a tentative idea that the local group of singers, “Take 6”, might perform it at one of their concerts. On closer examination, how­ever, it soon appeared that there was enough existing material to construct a complete set­ting of the music for the Eucharist, using Henry Knight’s themes and motifs, and following closely the traditional harmonies of mid Victorian England.


What emerged was a complete “Short” Service that is Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei, but leaving the Creed to be said traditionally by the priest and congregation.


When the music was completed it was dis­cussed with the present Rector, Mike Kinna, and it rapidly became apparent that the way to perform it was not as a concert piece, but with­in the context of the Anglican Service of Eucharist, i.e. in its normal and rightful place, and how the original fragment would have been sung anyway.


Now, hopefully, that will take place some time in 2002 at a service in All Saints, Broseley and this music, which was written for Broseley, and which has most likely lain unknown and unperformed for 150 years, will have the unique chance to become alive again.