- source: Family History Library Catalog
- the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia
Willenhall has been since 1974 a medium-sized town in the Black Country area of the West Midlands in England, with a population of approximately 40,000. It is situated between Wolverhampton and Walsall. Until 1974 it was in the county of Staffordshire. It lies on the River Tame.
The urban district of Willenhall (established by the Local Government Act 1894) was partitioned in 1966 between the county boroughs of Walsall and Wolverhampton (since 1974 the metropolitan boroughs of Walsall and Wolverhampton).
The northern border of Willenhall has always been adjoining green belt land, although Willenhall has expanded so much in the last 100 years that its northern border has been moved by about two miles. This is mostly due to housing developments in the Short Heath and New Invention areas.
The town is historically famous for the manufacture of locks and keys. As early as 1770 Willenhall contained 148 skilled locksmiths.
A 19th century description
A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Willenhall from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:
- "WILLENHALL, a town, a township, four chapelries, and a [registration] sub-district, in Wolverhampton parish and district, Stafford[shire]. The town stands on the Birmingham and Wolverhampton railway, near a branch of the Birmingham canal, 3 miles E of Wolverhampton; was known, at Domesday, as Winehalla, signifying "a place of victory; got that name, probably, from a great battle fought at it in 910; figured as a prosperous seat of iron-manufacture in the time of Elizabeth; rose from a population of about 3,000 in 1811 to a population of about 16,000 in 1861; carries on a great manufacture of all kinds of locks and padlocks, iron-founding, brass-founding, varnish-making, matting, and the manufacture of keys, hasps, bolts, latches, gridirons, ferrules, files, steel-straps, snuffers, wood-screws, box iron-stands, and curry-combs; publishes a weekly newspaper; is superintended by a local board of health; stands around a central, small, triangular market place; and has a post-office under Wolverhampton, a [railway] station with telegraph, a banking office, a police station, a market-hall of 1861, a literary institute of 1865, a church rebuilt in 1867 at a cost of £6,700, three other churches, a Baptist chapel of 1863, four other dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a public cemetery, seven public schools, and a weekly market on Saturday.
- "The township includes seven hamlets, and is all within Wolverhampton parliamentary borough. Real property, £28,290; of which £595 are in mines, and £448 in iron-works. Population in 1851: 11,931; in 1861: 17,256. Houses: 3,258. The increase of population arose from the extension of the iron manufacture, and of mining operations.
- "The chapelries are St. Giles, of old date; St. Stephen, constituted in 1846; Trinity, 1846; and St. Anne, 1861. The livings of St. [Stephen] and [Trinity] are vicarages, and those of St. [Giles] and St. [Anne] are [perpetual] curacies in the diocese of Lichfield. Value of St. [Giles]: £300; of St. [Stephen]: £300; of [Trinity]: £150; of St. [Anne]: £106. Patrons of St. [Giles]: the Inhabitants; of St. [Stephen] and [Trinity]: alternately the Crown and the Bishop; of St. [Anne]: Messrs. Jevons and Mitchell.
- "The sub-district includes also Wednesfield township, and comprises 5,588 acres. Population in 1851: 16,789; in 1861: 25,809. Houses: 4,966."