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In 1854 Sedgley—like most other areas in the Midlands—started a Patriotic Fund to provide support for the families of troops fighting in the Crimean War. By the early months of 1855 the Sedgley fund had raised £441/8s/6d which was forwarded to the Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation.

In April 1918 there was a long—and sometimes extremely heated—debate in the meeting of Sedgley District Council over moles. Councillor Southall enquired “Why are there more moles in Sedgley than in Coseley or Tipton?”  Councillor Quillam, the Chairman of the Council, refuted the statement, saying that as far as he was concerned there were equal numbers across the district. “Poppy-cock” retorted Cllr Southall and demanded that a full investigation was carried out to ascertain the numbers in each area. After some discussion it was agreed that a survey would be carried out. Thankfully, however, there is no evidence that this was, in fact, ever actioned.

There was a tragic accident in Coseley on Christmas Eve in 1945 when a lorry careered into a queue of people waiting at a bus stop. One girl—15 year old Edith Lemm—was killed outright whilst her three friends were badly injured and taken to hospital. The girls were on their way to Wolverhampton for some last minute Christmas shopping.

In April 1900 the postmaster at Lower Gornal, Mr J. W. Thomas, found himself in court at Sedgley after it was found that he did not possess a licence for his pet dog. He explained that he was particularly embarrassed about the charge as, in the course of his normal duties, he had issued thousands of licences to other people.

In November 1836 notice was given that an application was to be made to Parliament for permission to construct a canal from the Leys Iron Works at Brockmoor to the Birmingham Canal at Coseley. It was planned that the canal would pass through Kingswinford, Pensnett, Lower Gornal, the Straits, Upper Gornal and Woodsetton to Coseley. The technical problems with constructing the canal, however, meant that the costs involved were too great and the plan was later abandoned.



 Top teacher from Sedgley

Although generally thought of as being from Yorkshire, Mary Agnes Body—widely acknowledged as being among the leading educationalists of her time—was actually born in Sedgley.

At the time of her birth in April 1866 Mary’s father, George, was curate of All Saints Church in Sedgley. He had  married Louisa Jane, the daughter of William Lewis, the vicar of All Saints and had settled in Sandyfields.

In 1870 George and his family moved up to Yorkshire where Mary stayed until, at the age of 20, she went to Cheltenham Ladies College where she trained as a teacher. After passing her exams she stayed on at the College as an Assistant Mistress.

However, such was her obvious ability that in 1893 she was offered a position at a new school that was being established in Lincoln, not as a teacher but as headmistress. Despite starting “with no more than two dozen pencils” Mary set about establishing the Lincoln Christ’s Hospital Girls High School as one of the most respected girls’ schools in the country.

In 1899, as her reputation continued to grow, she was “headhunted” by the Woodward Corporation which was setting up a new school—the Queen Margaret School—in Scarborough. Again she did a wonderful job, developing it into a leading educational establishment (it’s badge is shown above).

This success, however, came at a price and Mary’s health started to suffer. For some years she lived in semi-retirement in New Zealand (where she became a Roman Catholic) before returning to England. She died and was buried in Torquay in 1952.  

Gornal’s travel kings

Although the business closed several years ago, in Gornal the name of Walter Mills will long be associated with coach travel.

Walter started young. Prior to the First World War his father was manager of a candle factory at Sandfield Bridge and Walter was employed to deliver them using a horse and cart.

When he was older he started his own haulage company and—being a particularly resourceful lad—he also acquired a set of seats that he could fix in the back of his lorry to turn it into an open top coach in the evenings and weekends.

Business boomed and in 1927 he moved to the garage on Himley Road that was to become the company’s headquarters for the next 80 years. Our picture (right) shows it as it is today, still empty after the company ceased trading in late 2005.

Alongside the garage he built a small factory for a tile making business, S & W Glazed Tiles, in which he was a partner whilst his wife, Gladys, ran ‘Bassetts’, a ladies’ and children’s wear shop in Louise Street, Gornal Wood. Walter Mills died in 1943