Broseley Local History Society  
Incorporating the Wilkinson Society

Newsletter June 1999

Chairman: Tony Mugridge
Secretary: Frank Selkirk
Treasurer: Steve Dewhirst
Curator: David Lake
Membership Sec.: Diane Shinton, ‘Gestiana’, Woodlands Road,
Broseley, Shropshire, TF12 5PU.
01952 882765
Journal Editor Neil Clarke
Newsletter Editor: Nick Coppin, 01952 884398

Meetings usually take place each month on the first Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm (unless announced otherwise). Indoor meetings will be held at the Broseley Social Club in the High Street unless announced otherwise. Car parking at the back.

Web Site: Email:

Programme for 1999:

Wednesday 7th July: Steve Dewhirst will lead a gentle evening stroll from the Social Club; c.3 to 4 miles.
No August meeting.

Wednesday 1st September:

Memories of old Broseley
Wednesday 6th October: AGM followed by Neil Clarke, "Celebrating 150 years of East Shropshire mainline railways."
Wednesday 3rd November: John Powell, "Products of the Coalbrookdale Co."
Wednesday 1st December: Dinner. TBA

Michael Stratton 1953-1999

Michael Stratton passed away on 29th April. He was born in North London and was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Barnet and Durham University where he graduated in Geography. At Leicester University, he took an MA in Victorian Studies and later studied for his doctorate at the University of Aston. In 1980 he became a lecturer at the Institute of Industrial Archaeology; a joint venture between Birmingham University and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum. It was during this period that Michael came to reside in Broseley. Not long after taking up residence he produced the Broseley Town Trail which helped to bring about a new perception of the town and its buildings.

His output was phenomenal, his best know works being ‘The Terracotta Revival’ and ‘The British Car Factories’. In 1994 he produced ‘Ironbridge and the Electric Revolution’ the story of Ironbridge ‘A’ and ‘B’ power stations. His publications were numerous, appealing to architectural historians, industrial archaeologists and anybody with an interest in 20th century society.

His enthusiasm for his subjects were infectious and long will he be remembered by those of us who were privileged to walk with him on his tours of Broseley where the artefacts and buildings of the town came so vividly alive under his guidance.

Our thoughts at this time go out to his wife Annabel and two young sons, Andrew and Timothy.

Ken Jones

Design Competition for a new Pritchard Memorial.

Members may well have seen the impressive display of entries for this Competition. The overall winner was James Slater. Congratulations to him and to all those who took time to enter the Competition. There will be a presentation on the site of the Pritchard Memorial at 11am on Saturday 26th of June.

Annual Wilkinson Lecture.

This new event which maintains the Society’s strong interest in John Wilkinson was given this year by Ron Davies. ‘John Wilkinson and Bradley’ took us on a fascinating tour of this Black Country village, which certainly had some similarities with Broseley. Due, no doubt to its proximity to the West Midlands conurbation, it has not been left alone and much of the old Bradley has been swept away and replaced with modern housing. However, Ron showed us evidence of features remaining from Wilkinson’s time and his own attempts to keep Wilkinson’s name alive there.

Nick Coppin

Working Women of Broseley

An Open University dissertation formed the basis for this talk by Mrs Harvey. It was a fascinating account of the lot of the working woman in Broseley and elsewhere around the time of the 1881 census. It was obvious that a great many local women worked and by no means were they all in ‘service’. We saw a variety of OHP slides and what caused the most discussion: a list of women’s jobs in Wenlock and Dawley for 1881. The occupation listed as ‘Fancy business’ caused some discussion! As always there were various comments from the audience including Benthall Pottery being referred to as the ‘Mugus’; the ‘mug house’ in Broseley dialect. Mrs Harvey herself, was working after the War at Coalmoor Refactories. They had bought up Prestage and Broseley Tileries and were using the drift mine at Caughley. The owner, AJ Allen of Dudley drove an Austin Princess!

(If this seems a somewhat piecemeal account, I apologise; I have discovered that if I am to enjoy the talks, I cannot take notes as well. In future, I may approach likely looking members to write the account of the evening’s talk for the Newsletter.)

Nick Coppin