A History of York's Bridge

The White Hollies

Photograph courtesy of Mr A Weller, Pelsall History Centre

The Wyrley and Essington Canal was completed in Pelsall in 1794, making it more accessible for the transportation of minerals and coal to other areas.

Mr Richard Fryer, wealthy banker and first member of Parliament for Wolverhampton  developed land and properties in the area including Pelsall Coal and Iron Company. 

Friar Bridge was dedicated to Mr Richard Fryer, but as you can see the word Fryer was spelt incorrectly

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

Mr Fryer later sold his land and developments on to Mr Davies and Mr Bloomer and Pelsall Coal and Iron company became the largest prosperous company in the area.  Mr Fryer's son stayed in Pelsall running coal mines and other industries with local businessmen.

By 1832 further coal pits in the area were established.

The Royal Oak (now known as The Fingerpost) was owned by the York and Willner families.

In 1843 Robert York owned a house, shop, warehouse, boiler yard (York's Foundry) a public house and land on Pelsall Common.

Part of York's Foundry and an unknown lady

Photograph courtesy of Mr A Weller, Pelsall History Centre

The York family, Richard and Mary and their five children, Robert, Richard, Jane, Susannah and Mary were all born in Rugeley.  Richard senior and Robert were Blacksmiths who had arrived in Pelsall in around 1827.

Robert York became a local employer and victualler.  He lived at The Royal Oak (now The Fingerpost) with his family.

He also formed a partnership with Fearn and Ball (millwrights, engineers and boilermakers) who employed 22 men and boys at York's Foundry in Lichfield Road, near the canal.

He also owned farm land on the common and served on local committees and boards.

York's Bridge built in 1866

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

In 1854 Robert's daughter Harriet married William Willner.

The family lived at The Royal Oak.  Robert and Harriet had nine children, Frederick, Harriet, Jane, Mark, John, Clara Elizabeth, William, Alice and Rosa.   In 1870 two of the children died of diphtheria within days of each other.

To supplement their income, William became a butcher and farmer.

By 1861, Robert York was living at the Turf Tavern in Norton Canes as a victualler and iron founder while he had a house built next to The Royal Oak, (as seen in the first photograph) where the pub car park is today.

He called his house The White Hollies and lived there until his death in 1881. 

In 1901, Richard, Robert's son went to live at The White Hollies next to The Royal Oak.

Outside The Royal Oak, Harriet with walking stick and Frederick behind her

Photograph courtesy of Mr A Weller, Pelsall History Centre

Painting of William Willner

Photograph courtesy of Mr A Weller, Pelsall History Centre

Frederick and his son Frederick

Photograph courtesy of Mr A Weller, Pelsall History Centre

The White Hollies was demolished in the 1960's

The Royal Oak car park replaced the house and the garden and small holding were restored back to the common.

The White Hollies and York's Bridge can be seen behind the cyclist in the photograph above

Photograph courtesy of Mr A Weller, Pelsall History Centre

York's Bridge today, seen above with The Fingerpost Public House to the rear

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

Above and below, The Fingerpost and York's Bridge as they are today in 2019

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times