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Holy Trinity Church at Wordsley was built in 1831 although it was not until 1838 that it had its own organ installed. The first instrument was manufactured by Bevington & Son of London and cost £450, a very considerable sum in those days. Bevington organs were also to be found at St Martin In The Fields in London, St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin as well as the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
In 1951 Lower Gornal Athletic Football Club were taken to court accused of allowing bulldozers to damage the garden of a house in Garden Walk. Alice Nock said that substantial damage was caused to the ground at the side of her house during the work to construct the new stadium. Alfred Allen, the owner of the land, told the court that he had only ever given Mrs Nock permission to put a washing line on the land and that she was not supposed to have cultivated it as a garden. As far as he was concerned, therefore, the football club—having bought the land—had an absolute right to clear it. The judge also agreed and Mrs Nock’s claim was rejected.
The County Express of Saturday 6th February 1869 announced that the Wordsley Foundry had just won a major contract for the supply of around 15,000 axle boxes and 9,000 axle brasses from the East Indian Railway Company. This was at a time when business was particularly slow and was therefore a great boon not only to the company but also all its suppliers. The Foundry was owned by Benjamin Wood who also ran the Brettell Lane Ironworks which he acquired from John Wheeley & Co.
The first school in Wall Heath seems to have been a Catholic School run by a gentleman called Benedictus O’Neale. It is not known when it was first established but it is likely to have been around 1829 following the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act which allowed for the first time such establishments to be opened.
Coseley Train Crash Victims
In August 1858 a tragic railway accident in Brierley Hill had terrible consequences for a number of Coseley residents.The accident – which at the time was officially described as “decidedly the worst railway accident that has ever occurred in this country” – involved two specially chartered trains carrying children and their parents on a Sunday School excursion from Wolverhampton to Worcester. The trip was extremely popular and the train of 45 carriages carried no fewer than 2000 passengers on the outward journey.
It was decided that for the return trip the train should be split into two, the first with 29 carriages and the second with 16 carriages. Unfortunately when the first train reached Round Oak station at Brierley Hill 12 of the carriages became detached and started rolling back down the line towards Brettell Lane station. They had reached the area known as ‘Bughole’ when they smashed into the following train.
As the ‘Stourbridge & Dudley Messenger’ said “eleven persons were instantaneously killed, another died a few hours afterwards, several more were so severely injured that their recovery is despaired of, others are marred for life and a great number were more or less injured”. The dead were taken to the Swan Inn on Moor Lane, Brierley Hill awaiting identification. A number were from Coseley—including three generations from the same family and a pregnant woman. An inquest was later held at the Bell Inn in Brierley Hill before the coroner, Mr T.M. Phillips. The jury found that the guard who was responsible for ensuring the correct coupling of the carriages, Frederick Cooke by name, was guilty of manslaughter and that the operators of the train—the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway Co.—were guilty of gross mismanagement. The Coseley victims were returned home and a service was held for.
A Question of Balance
In 1843 Samuel Stone Briscoe, the Chief Magistrate in the Kingswinford area came up with a novel way of dealing with a squabble between two local brothers. They were arguing over who was to inherit their father’s three pigs.
He told them that they must settle their differences within 7 days or he would impose his own solution. When they returned the problem had not be resolved so he decreed that the brothers should have one pig each and he would have the other. One of the brothers objected—and Briscoe promptly changed the order so that he took all three pigs!
Briscoe was also renowned for holding court hearings at his home whilst still in his night attire!