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Darlaston

"Darlaston is one of the largest villages in Staffordshire, situated near the Birmingham canal, one mile NW of Wednesbury, four and a half miles E by S of Wolverhampton and three miles WSW of Walsall. Its parish, which includes only 901 acres of land, increased its population from 3812 in 1801, to 8224 in 1841 and it has long been famous for the manufacture of gun-locks, stirrups, buckles, nails, bed & wood screws, bolts, latches, cast iron articles &c.
Here are also extensive coal and iron works, the largest of which are the Darlaston Green Iron and Steel Works, which employ nearly 1000 hands, and the Rough-Hay Works, which employ about 500 hands. Bar, rod and sheet iron is manufactured here, and steel is converted and refined at the first named works. The parish abounds in excellent beds of coal, ironstone and free stone. Amongst the ironstone are found great quantities of very hard limestone, called peldon, which, after being burnt, are ground down and used as Roman cement.
Lord Gower, Thomas Blakemore, Saml. Smith, Saml. Miles and David Jones, Esqrs., are the principal landowners, but there are about 400 small freeholds in the parish, most of which were enfranchised by Lord Crewe, a late lord of the manor, about 60 years ago, for an electioneering purpose, but his descendent, the present Lord Crewe, is still nominal lord of the manor"
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Parishes

INFORMATION RELATED TO ALL OF DARLASTON

Bibliography

'A History of Darlaston'
by FW Hackwood.
Published 1887, by Horton Bros, Wednesbury.
Reprinted 1998, by Darlaston Local History Society.

'Tipton, Wednesbury & Darlaston in Old Photographs'
by Robin Pearson.
Published 1989, by Alan Sutton Publishing, Stroud, Gloucestershire.

'Street Names of Darlaston & Bentley'
by Malcolm Timmins.
Published 1993, by Walsall Local History Centre.
ISBN No: 0 946652 30 9

'Memories of Old Darlaston'
by Tony Highfield.
Published 1999, by Darlaston Local History Society.

'Willenhall & Darlaston Yesterdays'
by Anon.
Published 1981, by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Archives Service.

'Darlaston, Moxley & Bentley (Britain in Old Photographs Series)'
by Ian M Bott.
Published 2000, by Sutton Publishing Ltd, Stroud, Gloucestershire.
ISBN No: 0 7509 2533 7

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Cemeteries

James Bridge cemetery register is held at the cemetery. A microform copy (1860-1971) is held at Walsall Local History Centre.
A transcript of the Monumental Inscriptions for St Lawrence, St George and the Wesleyan Methodist churches has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH.
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Census

The population of Darlaston parish was as follows:
1801 -- 3812
1811 -- 4881
1821 -- 5585
1831 -- 6647
1841 -- 8244
1851 -- 10590
1861 -- 12884
1871 -- 14739
1881 -- 13900
1891 -- 14777
1901 -- 15752

A full transcript and surname index of the 1851 census for Darlaston parish is included in the 1851 Staffordshire Census Vol 14, Walsall Part I index published by the Birmingham and Midland SGH.

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Church History

Anglican Church History
For Anglican church history see individual Parishes

Nonconformist Church History
"Here is a large Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1810, and enlarged in 1834, when nearly an acre of land was annexed to it as a burial ground. It will seat about 2000, and has large day and Sunday schools. Here is also a neat Primitive Methodist Chapel, and a small Independent Chapel, but the latter is disused. On The Green is a small Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1850. "
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

The Wesleyan Methodists first preaching room in the town was in Church Street, near the Bell Inn. Their next meeting house was built for the purpose in 1790 in Meeting Street, now called Bilston Street. The first chapel was built in 1810 in Pinfold Street and enlarged in 1834. It was eventually demolished and replaced by dwellings named Wesley Fold. The Wesleyan Chapel on The Green was built in 1844 but following destruction due to mining activity, was rebuilt in 1870 in Perry Street. It closed shortly after celebrating its centenary in 1970 and was eventually demolished in 1983.

The United Methodist Free Church in Great Croft Street was built in 1852 with accommodation for 500 worshipers. It has now been demolished and replaced with a landscaped area.

The Primitive Methodist Chapel in Bell Street was built in 1836 and enlarged in 1879 to seat 900 people. In 1908 the building became unsafe due to a subterranean fire and the Olympia Cinema was established on the site in 1912. The chapel was replaced by Slater Street Methodist Chapel in 1910. This was demolished in 1979 and replaced by a smaller modern building in 1980.

The Independent or Congregational Chapel built in 1793 in Church Street was the first building in Darlaston to be lighted with gas. It eventually fell into disuse and was purchased in 1874 by the Roman Catholic Church to serve as the Saint Joseph's RC Church. This building was replaced in 1933 with a new church opposite St Lawrence, and this in turn was replaced by a new church on the same site built in the shape of a nut to symbolise the nut and bolt industry of the town.

Postcard of Slater Street Primitive Methodist Chapel c1935

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Church Records

Church of England Registers
For Anglican church records see individual Parishes

Nonconformist Church Registers
The original registers are deposited at the Walsall Local History Centre (WLHC) or the Public Record Office (PRO) as indicated below:
Wesleyan Methodist, Darlaston Green, Perry Street:
Baptisms 1851-1970 (WLHC); Marriages 1925-1969 (WLHC)
Wesleyan Methodist, Pinfold Street:
Baptisms 1822-1837 (PRO); Baptisms 1837-1850 (WLHC); Marriages 1889-1970 (WLHC); Burials 1833-1837 (PRO); Burials 1841-1892 (WLHC)
Primitive Methodist, Fallings Heath:
Baptisms 1866-1967 (WLHC); Marriages 1922-1967 (WLHC)
Primitive Methodist, Slater Street:
Baptisms 1844-1892 (WLHC)
United Methodist (Ebenezer), Fallings Heath:
Baptisms 1894-1935 (WLHC)
United Methodist, Great Croft Street:
Baptisms 1887-1983 (WLHC); Marriages 1927-1978 (WLHC)

A transcript of the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Pinfold Street Register, covering Baptisms 1832-1837 and Burials 1833-1837, prepared by Malcolm Cooper, has been published by the Birmingham & Midland SGH

The original registers of St Joseph Catholic Church for the period 1896-date (Bapts), 1923-date (Mar) & 1898-date (Confirmations) remain with the parish priest.

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Directories

'The Trades Directory of Wolverhampton, Wednesfield, Bilston, Willenhall, Sedgley, Tipton, Wednesbury, Darlaston & Moxley' was published by Jones & Co, London, in 1862.

'Cope's Wednesbury & Darlaston Blue Book and Directory' was published by EF Cope & Co, Walsall, in 1921, 1922, 1924 & 1927.

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Maps

A map showing the pre-1850 boundaries of Darlaston Parish

Newspapers

Walsall Local History Centre holds copies of the following local newspapers covering Darlaston:

Darlaston & Weekly Times 1882-1887
Wednesbury, West Bromwich & Darlaston Examiner 1872, 1874-1877

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Poorhouses, Poor Law etc

Darlaston parish workhouse, built in 1813 at Darlaston Green, was closed when the parish became part of Walsall Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.

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Voting Registers

Electoral registers for the parliamentary constituency of which Darlaston formed part are shown below together with dates and locations of the registers which are held at Staffordshire Record Office (SRO), Sandwell Archives (SA) or Walsall Local History Centre (WLHC)

South Staffs 1843-1867 (SRO)
East Staffs 1868-1884 (SRO)
Kingswinford Division 1885-1902 (SRO)
Wednesbury 1894-1915, 1920-1947 (SA)
Wednesbury 1931, 1938-1939, 1947-1948, 1954-1958, 1962-1970 (WLHC)
Walsall South 1971- date (WLHC)

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