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THE BLACK COUNTRY MEMORIES CLUB

Coal Head Winder  Black Country Memories Club
‘The Coal Mons ere’
Wednesday 22nd May 2013
Town Hall Bilston
Coal Head Winder

It is said that mining was already underway by 1401 here in Bilston and by the 17th century coal mining was quickly expanding. If you take a look at the Ordnance Survey map of 1887 you will see more than 30 coal mines, pits and shafts.

Although coal played a massive part in our heratige we must not forget that Stone quarrying also played its part. Ever wondered how ‘Stonefield’ school got its name, or should I say its original name, (recently demolished). Bilston town hall is made from Bilston stone, so is St Marys Church, Oxford St, there were many old buildings made from this stone all now sadly demolished.  

 John (Iron mad ) Wilkinson chose Bradley, Bilston to plant the seed for his iron industry, he brought employment and wealth to the area but at what cost, our rural green landsacpe was turned black. It is said that the coal was of such good quality here and by 1827 the annual production had reached 316,740 tons, thats a lot of coal. Although we may complain of the destruction to our landscape, where would have been with out the black stuff.

Bilst Town Hall  A Grind Stone Quarry Men Pose for a Photo
Town hall made from Bilston Stone     A Grind Stone Quarry Men Pose for a Photo
A Chimney sweep was once a regular sight.   Brass Plaque   our guest speaker Mr Alan Dean
A Chimney sweep was once a regular sight. Angela Russell brought in the lovely brass plaque shown above Our guest speaker Mr Alan Dean
The picture below shows the town hall supported by
timbers after  subsidence was discovered in 1906

Below: A piece of coal dug out by Mr G.W. Hallet, 21st May 1906
 taken from approximately 40ft below the surface ,
this coal was part of the roof of a 12ft seem of coal.
Town Hall supported by timbers 75 members and visitors came along to todays event.
Several of them were retired coal merchants, including
 Mr Grew, Mr Mason, Mr Smallwood, Mr Holloway, and Mr Jones.
 Everyone seemes to enjoy reminiscing about coal, chimney sweeps and soot.
Stories of fetching coal in the babies pram and memories of chimney sweeps
getting brushes stuck kept us all amused.
 A lump of coal
Raffle prizes 75 Members and guests
After much tea and chatter the afternoon was brought to a close with our usual raffle.
Thanks to all those that loaned photographs/memorabilia.
Special thanks to Alan Dean for keeping us entertained.
More raffle Prizes
For more history on mining in Bilston go to: www.wolverhamptonhistory.org.uk/work/industry/mining
A further selection of photos  from the event here     

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