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Book of the Month: The Borough Guide to Walsall

June 18, 2014 in Book of the Month, News by Stuart Williams

by Cath Yates, Local Studies Librarian

June 2014’s Book of the Month is a tiny, surprising and very attractive discovery found in the Local Studies Library at Walsall Local History Centre:

The Borough Guide to Walsall – a “Borough” pocket guide

Ref P942.46WAL

Click on the images below to view larger versions.


High St and the Carlton Hotel

High St and the Carlton Hotel


The Borough Guide to Walsall, which is one of the “Borough” pocket guides, was produced in 1909/10 as guide and street plan to Walsall Borough “under the auspices of the Walsall Town Council and the Walsall Chamber of Commerce.” The Borough Guides to towns were produced by Edward J. Burrow of Cheltenham and numbered 450. It gives us a glimpse of the town of Walsall as it was just over 100 years ago.


St Matthew’s Church, Walsall and advert for John More & Co.


The guide includes a street plan of Walsall showing tram routes and the sites of various local businesses. There are advertisements from local shops and businesses some of which have photographs as well. There are some lovely photos of shop fronts including Jay & Co. house furnishers of Digbeth, The Co-op on Bridge Street and Sammons Bros ., fruiterers and potato salesmen of Bradford Place. The shop fronts are very different from today, far more cluttered displaying goods for sale both inside and outside on the pavement or hanging up on the shop front.


Sister Dora’s original marble statue on The Bridge, plus advert for the Grove Steam Laundry.


There are some interesting photos of interiors including John More & Co. which show the bag (work) shop and trunk showroom, the Grove Steam Laundry and dry cleaners where a large room full of women ironing can be seen and the commercial room and garden of the Carlton Hotel, High Street, Walsall.


Ultra-rare pictures of local shops and businesses now long gone.


As with all town guides the Borough Guide has a section listing Walsall’s attractions which include the then new Council House, Town Hall and Free Library buildings which were on the newly developing Lichfield street.  The Council House was opened in 1905 and the library in 1906. The library benefitted from a donation from the American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.


These views and many others do not exist in any other form.


An article by Joseph Leckie leather manufacturer and politician on Walsall as a manufacturing centre encourages people to come to Walsall because of cheap fuel i.e. coal, iron and steel, cheap land and railway and canal facilities, abundant labour and cheap power.

Featured businesses include R. Dewsbury and Sons Ltd. Fancy and leather goods, Christie’s Saddle manufactory, Station Street and Joseph Joberns & Co. builders and general merchants of Wolverhampton Street.

This lovely little booklet is not on an open access shelf but it easily available to view on request in the Research Room – please speak to a member of staff when you visit, and quote the reference number and title above.

Cath Yates   

Walsall’s greatest pilot features in new article

June 18, 2014 in Articles, News by Stuart Williams

RAF Schneider Trophy Team at Supermarine's Woolston factory, 1927.

RAF Schneider Trophy Team at Supermarine’s Woolston factory, 1927. Webster 2nd left.

Walsall’s greatest airman, Sidney Norman ‘Pebbler’ Webster of Borneo Street, a noted test pilot and career aviator who flew an ancestor of the Supermarine Spitfire to world-wide acclaim in the Schneider Trophy Air Race of 1927 and concluded his long and distinguished RAF career as an Air Vice Marshal in 1950, is the subject of our latest article by staff member Stuart Williams.

To read the full story, with extensive photographs, click on the Articles menu above, or go direct via the following link: