Walsall in 1817


Description from A Topographical History of Staffordshire by William Pitt (1817)


This ancient borough is pleasantly situated on a branch of the river Tame. The town gradually rises from the eastern bank of the brook, and stands on the side of an eminence or cliff of limestone, on the summit of which the church is built: Walsall is considered the second market-town in the county.

The government is vested in a mayor, recorder, twenty-four aldermen, a town-clerk, two serjeants at mace, and a beadle. The mayor, with the senior alderman, and late mayor, are in the commission of the peace, and hold a Court of Quarter Sessions, and award judgment in cases of petty larceny and similar offences.

Walsall consists of twelve large and regular streets: the houses are in general well built and convenient, and the population very considerable.

According to the returns in 1811, Walsall contained, males 2686, females 2855: total 5641. The foreign of Bloxwich then contained, males 3009, females 2639: total 5648. Grand total 11,189.

The staple manufacture of Walsall was formerly shoe-buckles and chapes; but that trade has declined. Considerable manufactories of bridle-bits, spurs, stirrups, and all sorts of hardware connected with saddlery, are now carried on, and the town has enjoyed its full share of prosperity. The market, which is held on Tuesday, is well supplied with provisions.

The parish of Walsall is large, including the foreign of Bloxwich, Harden, Birch-hills, Walsall-wood, Windmill, Caldmore, and Lime-pit Bank.

Limestone of excellent quality is found in the hills near the town. A canal has been made to the town, communicating with the lower level of the Birmingham canal, and iron mines opened on its banks. The Wyrley and Essington Canal also approaches within a short distance of Walsall.

There are several places of worship in Walsall appropriated to dissenters. There is also an excellent Free Grammar School.