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whhs bushbury 18th cent  March 6, 2017 – 02:52 pm
Car Locksmiths in Rainhill - Emergency Lost Keys or Locked out Service

BUSHBURY IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

The coming of industry

In the first few years of the century to the south and east of Bushbury a trace of smoke was appearing in the sky as the small cottage industries of nail, chain and lock making expanded and the first steam engines started to drain the pits and allow deeper working for coal. As the century progressed more and more people would gain a larger proportion of their livelihood from the metalworking and coal mining industries, although in Bushbury the proportion of income from industry was small in comparison to parishes to the south and east. No doubt many young men left Bushbury to seek a better living in the industrial parishes of what was to become in the next century the "Black Country".

No records exist for the parish as a whole, but in the Catholic community one householder, Richard Smith, is listed as a locksmith among nearly twenty engaged in rural occupations in 1705 and 1706. The proportion would probably have been similar among the rest of the community, although it is unlikely that many labouring families existed solely on income from either industry or agriculture alone. No doubt Richard Smith had a pig and a few chickens, and the agricultural labourers were adept at nail making or filing a few locks to eke out a living in the hard winter months.

In the late 1720s the epidemic which afflicted many parts of England probably affected Bushbury. We do not know what the illness was, possibly influenza or even some sort of plague. The Bishop's Transcripts of the Parish Register for that period are missing and, following the fire at the Vicarage, we do not know even if the Parish Register was kept at this time. The vicar, Thomas Hall made his last entry on June 29th 1726, and the Transcripts recommence in July 1730 with the new vicar Seth Shepperd. Perhaps Thomas Hall was one of the victims.

New roads

The development of industry was felt in many ways. The old road system was proving totally inadequate for the transport of the products of the expanding industries of iron in the south of the county, and pottery in the north. By 1747 a "Petition of the Gentlemen, Freeholders, Tradesmen and other Inhabitants of Wolverhampton" was presented to the House of Commons complaining about the state of the roads, including that from "The Town of Stafford, to and through the same town of Wolverhampton and to a place called Seven Stars in the parish of Kingswinford." A further petition followed in 1760, and by 1770 the new turnpike, "from Green Gate on the south side of Stafford, through the towns of Dunstan and Penkridge to a road called Streetway (i.e. Watling Street) in the road to Wolverhampton, and from the road called Streetway through the town of Wolverhampton" was constructed. Not all of this road was cut across the fields and commons; some was made by the improvement...

The weir in the lower right corner allows surplus water from the canal to flow into the Smestow Brook, which once fed Gorsebrook Mill on the other side of the canal. This brook, long since culverted beneath Dunstall Park race course, emerges in Tettenhall parish to cross the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal on James Brindley's little aqueduct, the Tunstall Water Bridge.

Source: www.historywebsite.co.uk

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