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The Starkey's

A Family Business

In their time, the Starkey’s owned or managed Pelsall Hall Colliery, Grove Colliery, Bentley Colliery, Norton Colliery and North Walsall Colliery which was a serious business.

From the mid 19th century health and safety became a big issue resulting in certain aspects to be enforced or changed.  Inspections and penalties could be enforced which would bring about changes to various Acts.  Managers were not doing the job that they were employed to do and so the legistation of 1872 required Managers to pass a series of examinations.  The Act included the first comprehensive code of regulation to govern legal safeguards for health, life and limb, e.g. Safety Lamps to be compulsory, explosives regulated and the shaft roof to be properly secured at all times.


Members of the Starkey family obtained Certificates of Competency and service at Pelsall Hall Colliery.

James Starkey    7th February 1888

Thomas Starkey 7th February 188

William Starkey  14th Jan 1888

Certificate of Service 2nd Class as an Under Manager of Mines


Reported by London Gazette on 18th July 1879

Notice is hereby given that the partnership between the undersigned Isaiah Millington Morgan, Coalmaster of Goscote in the parish of Bloxwich, and John Starkey, Coalmaster of Pelsall Hall Colliery under the firm of Morgan and Starkey from this day been dissolved by mutual consent.  In the future the business will be carried on by the said John Starkey, on his separate account, and will pay and receive all debts owing from and to the said partnership in the course of regular trade.

John and William Thomas Starkey took out a lease for Goscote Colliery for a 20 year period in 1891 at £60 p.a. plus royalties

In addition to their collieries, the Starkey's lived in and owned a number of properties in Pelsall including Victoria House, Station Road Pelsall, Riddings House, Wolverhamton Road, and Starkey Buildings.


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The photograph above shows what was known as Slate Row, known as such as most of the people who lived there were 'on the slate'.  Slate Row which was situated on Church Road, Pelsall was demolished in the early 1970's.  Today, new build properties occupy the exact location of Slate Row.

Directly adjacent to Slate Row, according to the 1881 census was Starkey Buildings.  Based on the 1881 census Starkey Buildings must have been quite extensive since they were occupied by 13 families.

Scrolling through the inhabitants of Starkey Buildings it is interesting to note the surnames Cash and Ball, whose family members were employed at Pelsall Hall Colliery.

Where the Starkey's Lived

As said by Mr Done earlier, the Starkey's were a big family in lived in and around the village centre.

Taking a look through the 1881 census, I noted that a Starkey family lived in the 'Town', 'Bickley Buildings', The Laburnums, Heath End and on the Common. Interestingly the Starkey family who lived on the Common, Charles Starkey and Emma Starkey had a 22 year old German called Edward Kranth living with them.


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Starkey family members also occupied status properties in the village as seen and described below.

Above and Below:  Properties which once existed on the Common

Victoria House (later known as The Oaklands), Station Road, Pelsall as seen above was owned by John Starkey and his wife Keziah.  The 1871 census shows that there were also seven children and a servant girl called Emily Tonks living at the property

                                                          Victoria House

Another splendid Victorian house, this one being aptly named.  It is was situated on the apex of Station Road and the common and close the Pelsall village.  John Starkey and his wife Kezia owned it. The 1871 census shows he was living there with seven children and a servant girl Emily Tonks from Bilston.

One of his children called John married Sarah Barnett, daughter of William Barnett who owned Ridding House.  John was a colliery proprietor who lived in and later owned the house. 

Victoria House was demolished in the 1960’s and a community centre was built on the land.  To this day, part of the house still remains.  If you look to the left of the double gates, a brick pillar can be seen and this is all that is left.

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Riddings House, Wolverhampton Road, Pelsall was also once owned by members of the Starkey Family

Riddings House was built in the 1870’s by Boaz Bloomer, who was owner of Pelsall Ironworks.  It was situated on a lot of land on the corner of Wood Lane and Wolverhampton Road Pelsall.  In 1900 it was purchased by John Starkey, a well known businessman.

The property was a typical Victorian House, quite grand with its walled orchard and what was referred to as the ‘Coach House’.  The Coach House stood for many years as a separate dwelling and remained as such long after Ridding House was demolished in 1975.  Some of the materials were used to build a bungalow which was sited at the rear of the original house and a petrol station was then erected facing the main road.  Having spoken to the owners of the property, the main reason for demolishing the house was due to the fact that the petrol pumps were not allowed to be so close to it.

John Starkey, coal proprietor, live in the house with his wife Sarah Jane and his mother and father in law William and Mary Barnett.  Ann Bentley was a 19 year old servant girl from Rugeley who lived and worked at the house.

Riddings House was generally regarded as being the best built residence in or near Pelsall.  With fourteen inch outer walls and nine inch inner walls.  It contained 7 bedrooms, bathroom (hot and cold), upstairs wc, entrance hall, 2 staircases, drawing and dining rooms, with bay windows and marble mantlepieces, breakfast rooms, kitchen complete with range, fitted pantries and larder, and

2 arched cellars.  It had greenhouses with heating apparatus, carriage house, harness room, stabling for three horses with loft above, outside wc, pigsty, coal house and yard.

The house was supplied with soft water and S S Waterworks water.  The gardens were beautifully laid out, having lawn, finely grown trees and a variety of shrubs.  There was also a well stocked kitchen garden.  It had 75 apple and pear trees.  The property was well fenced in.

The coach house, which still stands today, stood at right angles to Ridding House and had a long driveway at the side leading to the courtyard.  The entrance was situated in Forge Lane. 

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