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The Darkhouse Methodist Church in Coseley was formed in 1783 and the congregation met at a farmhouse owned by a Mr Wassall. However, by the following year so many people were attending that a hole had to be cut in the ceiling so that people upstairs could participate in the services being held downstairs. In 1785 a new chapel to accommodate them was built.

The Deepfields footbridge over the Birmingham-Wolverhampton canal close to Coseley tunnel was a “coffin way” providing a direct route from the Coseley area to All Saints Church in Sedgley.

Between 1905 and 1968 Jones’ Newsagents and Tobacconists in Abbey Street, Gornal Wood was a major distribution centre for the ‘Express & Star’. At its height 22 paperboys would arrive at the shop every evening to deliver more than 2000 papers to homes as far away as Pensnett and Coseley.

That Coseley-born Harry Eccleston OBE was the first full time banknote designer employed by the Bank of England.  He designed the ‘D’ series of notes and created several portraits of the Queen for them. The portrait on the right appeared on the £1 and £5 notes in the early 1980s. Also an accomplished artist he was President of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers from 1975 until 1983 and was awarded the OBE in 1979.

In 1893 Harriet Walters (16) of Tower Street, Sedgley died of lead poisoning whilst working in an enamel shop in Bilston. The death was debated in the House of Commons and Queen Victoria wrote to the Prime Minister, Mr Gladstone, that she was concerned about “deplorable conditions of the homes of the Sedgley poor.”

It was announced in September 1856 that Sarah Hosborn of Woodsetton had died at the age of 100. She had lived with the King family for almost 90 years during which time she had been “a faithful and devoted servant”.


Seisdon’s motor sport heritage

Photo: Brian Snelson

Thanks to one man—Jack Henry Turner—Seisdon became the unlikely centre for a successful, if somewhat short-lived, motor sport industry.

Born in Wales, Turner moved to the Old Smithy in Seisdon in the late 1940s where he looked after and tuned racing cars for a variety of wealthy owners. One of the most enthusiastic of these was John Webb, chairman of Stourbridge glassmaker Webb Corbett, who raced a ‘Turner’ (in fact a converted MG Magnette) for a number of years.

In 1953 Webb became a director of Turner Sports Cars Ltd. and the factory moved into Wolverhampton where larger premises had been found in which a new single-seater Formula 2 car could be designed and built. The car, which used a Lea Francis 1767cc engine, unfortunately suffered from poor reliability and it failed to finish in most of the races in which it took part.

The following year a new engine—an Alta—was fitted into the same chassis and the car was entered into various Formula 1 and Formula Libre races with the same disappointing result. As well as track races the same car was frequently used in hill climbs and sprints but its inherent unreliability was still a significant problem.

In 1955, having left behind competition cars, Turner turned his hand to producing small, open two-seater sports cars. Using a standard Austin A30 engine some 670 were manufactured and a number were still used until the mid 1970s. A number were exported to Australia where, for a short while, tracks around Melbourne saw “Turner Challenges” between the Wolverhampton-built cars.

Despite this minor success, though, the factory closed in 1965 when Jack Turner retired through ill-health.

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