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Willenhall And History

Willenhall And History
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Willenhall is a market city situated inside the metropolitan borough of walsall, within the west midlands, england, with a populace taken at the 2011 census of 28,480. it is located between wolverhampton and walsall, traditionally in the county of staffordshire. it lies upon the river tame, and is part of the black country.[3]

Willenhall And History

The city district of willenhall (established via the neighborhood government act 1894) was partitioned in 1966 between the county boroughs of walsall and wolverhampton (seeing that 1974 the metropolitan boroughs of walsall and wolverhampton).

The northern border of willenhall has continually been adjoining inexperienced belt land, although the volume of willenhall’s growth has intended inside the remaining 100 years its northern border has been moved via about two miles. this is primarily because of housing developments inside the quick heath and new invention areas.

The city is historically well-known for the manufacture of locks and keys. as early as 1770 willenhall contained 148 professional locksmiths and its coat of arms reflects the importance of this enterprise to its boom.[4] it turned into home to the countrywide union of lock and metallic people from 1889 till 2004. its motto is salus populi suprema lex – the welfare of the people is the best regulation.

Willenhall And History


Willenhall has been described as “surely an area of splendid antiquity, at the evidence of its call it obviously had its origins in an early saxon settlement. the anglo-saxon shape of its name willanhale may be interpreted as ‘the meadow land of willa’ – willa being a private call.”[5] as a substitute, the name can also imply willow halh, the primary detail of it being the antique English wilgen ‘of willows’.[6] the antique English word halh which means “a corner or corner of land, frequently used of land in a hollow or river bend.”[7] the primary document of the settlement of willenhall is from the 8th century while a treaty changed into signed there by using king Ethelred of mercia, wherein willenhall was known as willenhalch.[5] in 996 the metropolis turned into known as willenhale, and as winenhale it changed into stated within the domesday eBook (1086) [6] as a completely small settlement, and it remained so till the increase of enterprise within the 18th century.during the tenth century, willenhall turned into in the shire of stafford and the hundred of offlow (unit of a one hundred villages), which include 30 households and a populace of around 120. in the center a while, willenhall changed into blanketed in the parish of st. peter’s collegiate church, wolverhampton. although there has been a church within the village, human beings might should journey to wolverhampton for weddings and funerals. it turned into no longer till 1840 that willenhall had a parish church. st. giles become the primary church to be built. the present church is the 1/3 on the web site, courting from 1867. the river tame flows via the churchyard and turned into till recent years one of the few places where the water surfaced.

Willenhall was a small agricultural village all through the middle a while. from tudor instances, the herbal mineral wealth began to be exploited with ore being sent out to charcoal furnaces in nearby cannock chase. the iron product changed into then returned to be changed into small metallic goods. nails were a commonplace product and by way of the end of seventeenth century willenhall had a healthful hand change, making grid irons, curry combs, bolts, latches and coffin handles. in keeping with the hearth tax returns in 1665, willenhall comprised 136 families and 894 individuals. the populace did not boom dramatically until the 18th century while iron and coal started to be fully exploited. the city grew up across the market vicinity and stafford road with many tiny streets crammed with houses, workshops and pubs. evidence of the city’s growing prosperity remains visible these days within the dale residence, once the home of the hincks circle of relatives, and 33 marketplace region, the house of the clemsons, each maltsters.

Willenhall And History

Willenhall suffered its very very own extremely good fireplace in 1659, while maximum of the city centre was devastated. most commonplace homes at the moment had been still manufactured from wattle and daub with glassless wind-eyes (home windows), properties without problems razed with the aid of fireplace. re-building wherein money allowed changed into in brick; the bell hotel public house being an excellent surviving instance from 1660, although now closed for enterprise and within the possession of a local history agree with (the willenhall townscape historical past initiative).

Willenhall’s first workhouse opened in 1741 adjoining to what is now top lichfield st; it was in operation for one hundred years before merging with wolverhampton. by 1801, the population changed into 3,143.

Terrible housing and lack of any right sanitation caused a cholera epidemic in 1849 when 292 humans died. many of folks that died had been buried in the cholera burial floor “on land at the bottom of medical doctors piece.” a commemorative plaque on the website reads:

The parish of willenhall was visited by means of cholera in 1849.the first loss of life by means of that disease took place on the seventeenth august, the final on 4th october. in forty nine days 292 men and women died, the churchyard of st giles being too crowded for in addition interment, this ground, a portion of the church property turned into (whilst but unconsecrated) first used for burials on the first of september. on 3 days the burials have been 15 day by day the complete number interred right here and in the churchyard being 211.[9]the epidemic stunned the metropolis into enhancing situations, and in 1854 the willenhall neighborhood board of health was based, a forerunner of willenhall city district council which took over in mirror a increase in civic pleasure, several municipal buildings have been erected: the metropolis hall and library constructing in clemson street in 1866, and a public baths in 1938. the clock inside the marketplace place become erected in 1892 through public subscription to the memory of joseph tonks, who was a doctor running in the metropolis put up-cholera. approximately the clock, hackwood writes:this become erected, as an inscription upon it testifies, as a memorial to the late joseph tonks, doctor. “whose beneficiant and unsparing devotion inside the purpose of assuaging human suffering” become “deemed worthy of public file.”[10]

Tonks introduced both health and sanitation to willenhall, however died at the age of 35.

20th century

By using 1901, the populace of “willenhall, minus brief heath” became 18,515.[11]

Football came to willenhall on 4 september 1905 while spring financial institution stadium became opened in temple avenue, serving willenhall swifts fc, whose first opponents in a friendly at the stadium had been the soccer league side birmingham metropolis. the membership merged with willenhall pickwicks in 1919 to form willenhall fc, who carried out speedy fulfillment as birmingham and district league champions in 1922. but, the membership soon fell into financial issues and went into liquidation in 1930. spring bank stadium became bought and transformed into a greyhound music, which remained open until 1980. it became demolished soon afterwards and replaced by means of housing.

Football back to willenhall in 1953 with the formation of willenhall city f.c., who play at a site on noose lane and play inside the nearby leagues.

Two warfare memorials were erected inside the city after global conflict i to commemorate the loads of men from the town who misplaced their lives inside the conflict. the memorial park changed into opened in 1922 in honour of these killed in global warfare i.

The enjoyment enterprise in willenhall turned into boosted in 1914 by the hole of the metropolis’s first cinema, the coliseum. it changed into followed a year later through the picture residence. a 3rd cinema, the dale cinema, opened in the metropolis in 1932. however, the closure of the dale at the cease of 1967 signalled the end of cinemas in willenhall after 53 years. the constructing changed into later converted into a bingo hall and since december 1999 has been a j d wetherspoon public house.

The growing populace of willenhall around the turn of the 20th century brought about expanded overcrowding and a want for new homes to be constructed. in 1920, the metropolis’s first council houses had been built in temple avenue. over the subsequent 50 years or so, hundreds of latest private and council houses have been constructed, broadly speaking expanding on trends up to 3 miles north of the city centre.

Most of the people of willenhall have become a part of walsall metropolitan borough in 1966. but, a percentage got here under the jurisdiction of wolverhampton town council, and still remains so.

With the aid of the overdue Nineteen Seventies, the local enterprise became in decline, and by means of the yr 2000 maximum of the city’s lock-makers had closed or relocated. the former Yale manufacturing unit turned into demolished in 2009 and changed with the aid of a morrisons grocery store which opened in january 2010.but, the town’s high avenue retains many of its old homes which have been nearby landmarks because the turn of the twentieth century or earlier.


“Plenty of the city centre is a designated conservation area and a £2.1 million bid for the historical past lottery funding is being organized … to fund upgrades to neighborhood buildings.” so, in the following few years willenhall town centre is ready to go through some regeneration.[14] currently the outskirts of the metropolis centre are covered with deserted factories, although most had been demolished and could get replaced with new flats. it now has a morrisons supermarket at the side of lidl, tesco and a spar inside its borders.

There have been plans to reopen willenhall bilston avenue railway station, which changed into one in every of two antique railway stations inside the metropolis (the other being willenhall stafford avenue railway station), however lately investment for the line which the station could have served has been given the inexperienced mild and the service changed into that turned into withdrawn in december 2008 can be reinstated to serve willenhall. consequently, plans for the reopening of the station have presently been discussed

Parish churches

The metropolis of willenhall is the house of four unique parish churches of the church of england: st. giles’, st. stephen’s, st. anne’s, and holy trinity. st. giles’ did not at the beginning have its personal ecclesiastical district: “earlier than 1846 it changed into a chapel of ease to the mom church of” st. peter’s, wolverhampton.[15] the chapel turned into for folks that couldn’t afford to go to wolverhampton to worship, baptize or giles’ chapel become the most historic chapel in the town of willenhall. it changed into considered a chapel of ease earlier than 1846 and turned into probably constructed “at the graduation of the 14th century.”[16] “the medieval church become demolished in 1748” because it started to decay from old age.[17] the brand new church changed into completed in approximately two years and in 1750, the new church was once more open for worship. in 1848, it have become a parish church of the church of england in willenhall. st. stephen’s and holy trinity had been completed in 1854, and st. anne’s changed into constructed about 10 years later.[18]

The parish church of st. stephen’s is named after st. stephen the martyr. the church sign in started in 1848, but it took six years to fund the building of the church. after funds had been raised, it changed into constructed after which consecrated on 31 october 1854. within the 2d half of the twentieth century, the church began to go to pot because of dry rot, and it changed into demolished in 1978. due to the deterioration of the church, paintings began on a brand new church in january 1977, and it changed into devoted on 8 september 1979. some of the statues from the unique church were introduced into the brand new one.[19]

St anne’s church become additionally built as a chapel of ease in 1858, but it have become a parish church in 1861. “inside the 1970s the church indoors was became round through 90degrees, a raised dais being built on the south wall, with a brand new altar, the old sanctuary turning into the woman chapel.” however, after recovery within the 21st century, maximum of the lead changed into then stolen from its roof.


Willenhall is famous for the manufacture of locks, and the locksmith’s house (the lock museum), courting from victorian times, demonstrates how one specific circle of relatives of lockmakers lived and labored on the very starting of the twentieth century. this small museum is controlled by means of the black usa residing museum and is open for pre-organized group visits, which includes instructional programmes for schools. the locksmith’s residence is situated in new street.

To make buying and selling less complicated, the brand new avenue (a toll road) changed into built earlier than 1820, performing as an effective bypass for the primary excessive avenue. outdoor the metropolis itself, settlements grew up around local industries. the place around lane head and sandbeds had a thriving mining community and portobello grew across the brickmaking industry. there has been quite a few coal mining in the willenhall area until the 19th century when the enterprise got here to a dramatic halt after a strike while the mines were flooded and lost for all time. lockmaking started out in the location in elizabethan times particularly in wolverhampton, willenhall and bilston. finally it became focused in willenhall, in which lock making had started as a cottage industry with many households generating locks and components for locks in sheds or outhouses on the rear in their houses. due to the fact lengthy hours bending over their paintings tended to provide employees with humps on their backs, the city became known domestically as ‘humpshire’ [21] and remains seemed as such with affection by way of many locals.

As past due as 1956 there had been still nearby guys who had humps. a few public houses even had holes in the wall behind the wood bench seats to permit their patrons to sit down readily with their hump inside the hole. almost all examples of such pubs were lost. the bell lodge in marketplace road is an instance of the sort of pub with curved holes in the walls to allow hump sponsored drinkers to sit up straight. rushbrook’s become a bakery in market road, willenhall. in 1853, rushbrook’s struck their personal “rushbrook farthing”,[22] a tradesman’s token widely in use in the region. within the early Sixties the spring vale tavern in st anne’s street changed into renamed the rushbrook farthing in remembrance of this unusual practice.

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