A History of Old Town Lane

Old Town Lane, Pelsall 1955

Photograph courtesy of A Weller, Pelsall History Centre

According the to the 1841 census, the area around Pelsall Hall was known as 'The Town'.  By 1940 Kelly's directory calls the area 'Old Town' suggesting how the village has changed particularly due to the industrial revolution in the 19th century which swept through the village.

Most of the land around 'The Town' was owned by the Heath family in the 16th and 17th century.  Much of this land was later sold to the Hussey family of Little Wyrley and then acquired by Abraham Charles.

Old Town Lane, Pelsall in 2002

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

Old Town Lane, Pelsall 2019

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

Old Town Lane, Pelsall 2002

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

Old Town Lane, Pelsall 2019

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

William Farmer, Pelsall's first historian describes what Old Town Lane used to look like in his book Pelsall  Early Years of the 20th Century.

At the junction of Paradise Lane and Old Town Lane there once stood two houses and an old cottage which had stone floors and a well between them.  There was a large boulder in front of the houses which was used as a seat by the old man who lived in one of the houses.

The green in front of the houses was once bounded by three narrow roads forming a triangle of grass.  As children, William says that he and his friends spent hours playing on it.  William goes on to say that the area was also used as clothes drying ground by the local housewives where it was a constant battle between them and the children who wanted to play there.

On the left of Old Town Lane going towards the village once stood Shortlands Cottage which is where William and his family once lived for a while.

William describes the cottage as having two bedrooms, living room, parlour and large brewhouse with a bread oven and pantry.  The old earth closet was halfway down its long narrow garden which stretched from Shortlands Lane to what is now Clarendon Place.  At this time it was a narrow stiled path with a hedge and ditch on one side and open field on the other crossing to Wolverhampton Road.  

Then followed three old cottages (he goes on to say) built close to the roadway having no front gardens only a narrow paving and a red ash footpath.

Next came the old houses still standing and by an entry in the middle there was an old thatched cottage.  At the far end a single storied building was at right angles to the road.  Then followed a garden and another four cottages, the last being about where the school gates are today.

 

Above and below, the car repair garage which once occupied the area where the new build houses are today.

Photographs above and below copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

The car repair garage in Old Town Lane in 2002

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

New houses in Old Town Lane in 2019 in place of the car repair garage

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

Old cottages in Old Town Lane

Photograph courtesy of Mr A Weller - Pelsall History Centre

Above and below, older cottages heading toward Pelsall Village School gates

Photographs copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

Opposite to the four cottages was Stanley's Farm buildings as seen above.

Heading back towards Paradise Lane, on the opposite side of the road, there once stood the 'Pound House'.  Again, William Farmer describes in detail how The Pound House operated in the village.

The Pound House was a solidly built house which is where animals were impounded for damaging someone's crops until the owner of them agreed to pay for the damage done. 

The key to the pound was obtained from the house next to it and the plaintiff handed in a piece of broken stick or platter.  When damages were agreed, the owner of the animals received the other half of the broken token.  This he then took to the keeper of the pound who matched the piece with his own possession then provided the key to the pound so that the animals could be taken away.  A small fee was charged for the use of the pound which went to help with the rates of the village.

The Pound House, Old Town Lane

Photograph courtesy of Mr A Weller - Pelsall History Centre

The Pound House, as seen above, was demolished in 1952 and Pelsall Evangelical Church was later built in its place

Photograph above courtesy of Mr A Weller - Pelsall History Centre

Pelsall Evangelical Church, Old Town Lane

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

Next to The Pound House, William goes on to say that here were two ancient cottages one which had a well cut through a seam of coal which shone blackly at water level.

On the corner of Old Town Lane and Pelsall High Street was 'Cookery Corner'.  In the 1920's and 1930's a single storey building was used to teach girls from local schools, cookery and domestic subjects. A popular preserve made at Cookery Corner was stewed prunes which William Farmer remembered distinctly.

This area was also fondly known as Silvers Corner as the School Master's sister Anne Silvers had kept a millinery shop there for many years.

Houses and occupants of Cookery Corner, also known as Silvers Corner

Photographs above and below courtesy of Mr A Weller - Pelsall History Centre

Gladys Dunn of Cookery Corner

Photograph courtesy of Mr A Weller - Pelsall History Centre

If you would like to share your memories of Old Town Lane

why not drop me a line, I would be delighted to hear from you and so too would other readers