Wall Heath Village
It is now difficult to separate Wall Heath village from Kingswinford, they have both grown over the last 100 years or so to the point where they have begun to merge together.
The village still contains a number of older historic buildings and references to centres of village life such as public houses, shops, schools and the Church of Ascension.
The house is not as old as it appears from the outside. The block of numbers 22 and 23 is in fact a conversion of four older cottages, one cottage to number 22 and three cottages to number 23.
Exact dates are not know but the cottages were built around 1840 when most of the High Street began to be developed and the conversion took place around 1880.
Fowler's map of Kingswinford Parish in 1827 shows no buildings at all in the High Street except the Horse & Jockey Inn and a few scattered buildings around the village.
The Hawthorns originally belonged to the Earl of Dudley and was built for one of his tenant farmers in the late 18th Century. Another wing was later added in the late 19th Century.
Deeds to the property were not drawn up until it was split from the Dudley Estate in the 1920's when it was purchased by a Mr Himley Cartwright. The property then passed, much later, to the Phillips family who eventually sold off part of the garden for building purposes. In 1970 the house was purchased by Mr & Mrs Williams who have attempted to restore the property to its original style.
In 1976 the Department of the Environment declared that the house was a building of special architectural interest and it was made a Grade II listed building which means that the house can't be demolished or changed in any way which would detract from the original Georgian style.
The interior of the house has large vaulted cellars where the original ceiling hooks remain. These would have been used by the farmers wife for hanging hams as there would have been no forms of refrigeration in those days. Likewise the wine racking would have been used for home made wines such as Elderberry and Elderflower. The cellars are probably the most original part of the house since most of the other rooms would have been affected by various owners over the years.
The building has three stories. There are five bedrooms, three from the first landing and two from the second landing which is reached by a twisted staircase.
Heath End Cottage, Maidensbridge
In the first place this house was in fact two separate cottages dating from around 1838, in time they became derelict and several old Wall Heath residents have told how they used to play in them as children. The current owner has found several halfpennies and scores of marbles while digging the garden which would seem to point to it being used as a "play area".
In about 1915 a builder bought the land and rebuilt the house on the old sandstone foundations. All the doors and windows, with the exception of the front door, are those put in when the house was built which speaks well for the quality of timber used in those days.
Originally the house was lit with gas light but it was changed later to the new fangled electricity however the house still retains one of the original open fires.
The garden was once twice the size as it is now and was full of fruit trees. However it became overgrown with weeds and the brook which once flowed at the bottom of the garden was diverted to its present position when Maidensbridge School was built in the 1950's.
Yew Tree Cottage, Foundry Road
As with many of local cottages this building once belonged to the Earl of Dudley and formed part of his estate. It is believed that the house was a gift to a Miss "someone" and then he sold off all the grounds piece by piece, which led to the rapid development of houses in and around the village.
Over the years it has been used as a school room and by local scouts for their scout meetings.
The old pump, that still remains outside the building, was used for supplying water to the surrounding cottages. It drew water from the well which was just over 90 feet deep. The well has subsequently been filled in.
Pigs were kept on some of the land and, as with so many houses of this era, it had a number of pig sty's. The large cellar still has the original hooks from where the bacon was hung after it had been salted down to preserve it.
There is a large Yew tree at the top of the garden which, in common with many older trees, has a preservation order on it.
The (old) Prince Albert Public House
Before the second world war, The Prince Albert was a small building with private houses either side. These are now shops and the present Prince Albert, next door to the original public house, was a private house called The Laurels.
The old Prince Albert was kept by Jack Solari whose son, Philip Solari, is now a well known local potato grower along the Mile Flat.
In the 1930's when money was in short supply, any man who went in for a lunchtime drink he would also be given a large cheese and onion cob - great for the patrons at the time and almost certainly boosted trade when times were hard!
The Railway Inn Public House
This public house got its name from the mineral railway that ran from the old Baggeridge Colliery, crossing the main road in Wall Heath, towards Ashwood Basin which is now called Ashwood Marina.
The Wagon & Horses Public House
The Wagon & Horses stood at the corner of Enville Road and Swindon Road at the southeastern end of the village. It was converted into the "Christopher's Night Club" in the 1980's and subsequently demolished in the 1990's to make way for a small housing development.
There was a separate wooden building used as a dance hall, one of the few venues for local entertainment, and a small shop where you could buy sweets, chocolates and locally produced sticks of "rock".
The Yew Tree Public House
The Yew Tree was noted for its beautiful bowling green and gardens which attracted many visitors at weekends.
For a time the pub was run by Mr Alex Mason, an ex-army iffier, who reared and cured pigs to provide ham and bacon for people visiting the pub, it became well known for Yew Tree Ham & Eggs every Sunday morning.
Mr Mason was a well known local character dressed in his "plus fours" with a large waxed mustache. He lived at the pub with his wife and a local spinster by the name of Miss Cooling. Both Mrs Mason and Miss Cooling had silvery hair and it was always immaculate, with not a hair out of place morning, noon or night.
Miss Cooling was a very strict woman and what she said was obeyed! In those days there were no tills, just open drawers, when you paid for your pint of ale she would turn and pitch the coins into the draw several yards away. She never missed!
The public house was demolished during the 1990's to make way for a small housing development. However, several years previously during a refurbishment, a young lad working with the builders said he had seen a ghost and the description he gave matched that of Miss Cooling exactly. He was so frightened that he never set foot in the building again.