and Its Surroundings by
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 Broseleys local history in the publication of this book.
Copies are available from:
Steve Dewhirst, 9 Maypole Road, Broseley
Price: 6.00 plus 2.00
post and packing.
Cheques should be made payable to the Broseley
Local History Society.
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 Wilkinsons 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
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 -
computer-infected youngsters as well.
Copies are available from: David Lake, Stocking Lane, Nordley WV16
P&p: 1.50 (free
within a 10 km radius of Broseley).
Cheques should be made payable to the Broseley Local History Society