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In the 1920s families from Kingswinford and Wordsley would often travel to Bewdley during the late summer to participate in two unusual harvests.  The first was peppermint which was refined at a small factory in Bewdley which  produced peppermint essence for use throughout the world. The second harvest was blackberries—not to eat or make jam but to be used as the basis of a dye for the Kidderminster carpet industry. The only problem was that the juice from the blackberries would stain the fingers of the pickers who would then suffer from “blackhand” for several weeks.

Most cases of bigamy reported involve men marrying more than one woman at a time. In January 1893, however, a Sedgley woman—Sarah Williams—appeared at Bilston Police Court accused of bigamy by “marrying” Joseph Sharratt whilst her husband Ishmael Williams was still living. The evidence showed that she had wed Williams in November 1859 but had also gone through a marriage ceremony at Ettingshall Church with Sharratt in October 1892.

In April 1892 the final of the Sedgley Cup took place between Coseley FC and Wolverhampton Dudley Road Excelsior FC. The match took place in Sedgley and attracted about 1000 spectators. By mid-way through the second half Excelsior were winning 2-0 when a fight broke out amongst some of the players. Members of the crowd joined in and the match had to be abandoned.  

An inquest jury  in 1889 was  forthright about the poor service from a surgeon in Gornal who failed to attend a  patient (PC John Brown) for more than 18 hours. He had suffered a number of fainting fits and died as a result. The inquest heard that he had died of ‘syncope’, a non-specific term that includes fainting and that if the surgeon had responded quicker his life may have been saved. John Brown was just 40 years of age.


 Best known for playing Edward VIII in the highly successful  television series ‘Edward and Mrs Simpson’ Edward Fox has close connections with Himley and the real Edward VIII.

Edward was married to Tracy Reed, the daughter of film director Carol Reed and his wife Penelope Dudley Ward. Her mother was Freda Dudley Ward who had been the long-term mistress of none other than Edward VIII. Indeed, Freda’s marriage to William Dudley Ward failed as a direct result of her dalliance with the then Prince of Wales.

William Dudley Ward was the grandson of William Humble Ward, the Earl of Dudley who, of course, lived at Himley Hall. Dudley Ward was an Olympian who took part in the 1908 Olympics and won a bronze medal as part of the yachting team. He had a reputation, however, for being “one of the lads” and on more than one occasion would attend training still dressed in his suit from the night before.

Edward VIII spent the last weekend before he abdicated at Himley Hall and it is often said that he wrote most of his abdication speech whilst there. He was  certainly a regular at the ‘Himley Arms’ whilst a houseguest of the Dudleys and was said to have a definite eye for the ladies whilst there.

Remember “Jack on the mopstick”?

A favourite in the school playgrounds around the Black Country, this involved the children gathering around like a rugby scrum and then take it in turns to run and jump on the top of the scrum. Those in the scrum would then try to shake off the ‘Jack’ whilst everyone counted. The ‘Jack’ who lasted longest on top won.

Himley’s “Royal” connection

Edward Fox, his wife Tracey Reed and William Humble Ward, the Earl of Dudley.