Broad Street Basin part 3
Shelton's Timber Yard

The area alongside Canal Street, next to the canal was occupied by Shelton’s saw mill and timber yard. The business is listed in Pigot & Company’s 1842 Staffordshire Directory as follows:

Richard Shelton, brick makers, Canal Street, and Richard Shelton, timber merchant (and slate), Canal Street.

In White’s Staffordshire Directory of 1851 the business is listed as Richard Shelton, timber merchants (and lead etc.), saw mills, Canal Street. Richard Shelton’s house is listed as being in Queen Street.

The directory listings show that although predominantly a timber yard, with timber arriving on canal boats, other items, including lead, slate, and presumably clay were transported here in the earlier years.

The listing in the 1908 Wolverhampton Red Book is as follows: Shelton & Sons, timber merchant, Canal Street.

In the 1930, and the 1938/39 Wolverhampton Red Books the listing is: R. Shelton & Sons, timber merchants, Broad Street.

It is not listed in the later books, so presumably the business closed around the time of the Second World War.

The remains of Shelton's timber yard are removed to make way for Ring Road St Patricks. Courtesy of David Parsons.

Another view of the site of Shelton's timber yard. Courtesy of David Parsons.

The site of Shelton's timber yard as it is today.

Joseph Evans & Sons (Wolverhampton) Limited

Joseph Evans, a charcoal merchant, founded the company in 1830. The firm was based in Culwell Foundry, on the corner of Southampton Street and Montrose Street. The buildings are marked on the 1871 Ordnance Survey map, although the factory may have been there in 1842, because three smaller buildings on the site, are marked on the Tithe map.

The company is listed in Pigot & Company’s 1842 Staffordshire Directory as Joseph Evans, iron founders and stove grate manufacturers, Railway Street, and also in the 1845 directory as Joseph Evans, iron founder, Culwell Iron Foundry, Railway Street. Presumably the company had an office in Railway Street and used one of the canal wharves.

In the 1880 Wolverhampton directory the company is described as follows:

Joseph Evans and Sons, hydraulic and general engineers, manufacturers of every description of pumps for steam, house, hand, or other power; steam engines, steam stamps, presses, brewery plant, hot water warming apparatus for conservatories, and  public buildings etc. Culwell Foundry, Southampton Street.

In the 1894 Wolverhampton directory they are listed as iron founders, engineers, and machinists.

On the 1901 Ordnance Survey map the Southampton Street factory is marked as disused, so by that time the company had moved to its later location; Culwell Works, Woden Road, Heath Town, where all kinds of castings, and pumps, both large and small were produced until the business closed in the mid 1960s.

Items from the company's 1911 'Pumps and Pumping Machinery' catalogue.

An Evans' Improved Centrifugal Pump.
An Evans' Treble Barrel Ram Pump.
An Evans' Portable 'Cornish' Steam Pump and Boiler.
An Evans' Compound Duplex Pumping Engine.

An Evans' Vertical Cross-Tube Boiler.


A Vertical 'Cornish' Steam Pump.

Herbert Street Goods Station

Victoria Basin was built by the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway Company in 1848/1849 as part of the canal and railway interchange facility at their new Wolverhampton goods station. Rail access was provided by a single track from the Shrewsbury & Birmingham’s main line, which crossed the Cannock Road over a bridge just west of the existing railway bridge. It became known as the Victoria Basin Branch.

The goods station consisted of a long wooden building that covered the basin and three sidings. The interchange facility became extremely important to the railway company because of its disagreement with the London & North Western Railway over the use of the Stour Valley Line to Birmingham. For a time it was the only way that the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway could get its goods into Birmingham.

As relations between the two railway companies deteriorated, the Shrewsbury & Birmingham decided to amalgamate with the London & North Western’s deadly rival, the Great Western Railway which arrived in Wolverhampton in 1854.

All that remains of Victoria basin is a short length of water that extends to the blocked-up bridge at the back.

The Great Western Railway had broad gauge track up to Wolverhampton, and standard gauge track to the north. As a result mixed gauge track was laid into the goods station so that goods could be transferred from broad gauge to standard gauge wagons.

In 1859 the buildings were rebuilt and a 3 storey brick warehouse for grain and sugar was added along with several brick built offices. In April 1869 the mixed gauge track was replaced with standard gauge track when broad gauge operation was abandoned. By 1901 many more sidings had been added along with a travelling crane. Wolverhampton had a thriving cattle market, and so every week a large number of animals would arrive at the goods station before being herded through the town to market. Many of them would return after being sold, for transportation to a new destination.

Next door by the canal, stood Junction Works, which had closed by 1919. The railway company acquired the site and used it to extend the goods station, presumably at the same time that Victoria Basin was filled-in.

In the early 1930s many of the slums on the western side of Stafford Street were demolished. This included houses in Herbert Street, Faulkland Street, Little’s Lane, and Southampton Street. The railway company acquired much of the land in order to extent the facilities at the goods station. In 1931 Victoria Basin was filled-in, and new buildings were erected including a larger goods shed with two platforms 500ft. long.

After nationalisation in 1948, the facilities remained much as before, until 1960 when automatic goods handling equipment was installed. The goods station finally closed around the time when the Low Level railway station was converted into a Parcels Concentration Department in 1970. It opened on 6th April 1970 and could handle up to 8,000 parcels a day. In the early 1970s the site was acquired by Carvers (Wolverhampton) Limited, builders merchants.

The Talbot Inn

Between the Victoria Basin and Littles Lane Bridge, opposite the cottages and the mission room, stood the Talbot Inn. It is marked on the 1842 Tithe map, and is listed in White’s 1851 Staffordshire Directory as follows: The Talbot, William Thatcher, Littles Lane. The pub can be seen in the background of an existing photograph from 1901, and is marked on the 1919 Ordnance Survey map.

Some of the the licensees were as follows:

1850 to 1851 William Thatcher
1855 to 1861 Thomas Hughes
1864 Jane Hughes
1870 to 1874 William Picken
1881 William Bacon
1884 to 1921 Josiah Edwards

On Tuesday 2nd March, 1875 an inquest was held at the inn following the death of a man whose body had been taken out of the canal near Top Lock on the previous Sunday. The man was Patrick McCall, a 45 years old labourer. He had been drinking heavily the previous evening and so the coroner returned a verdict of an uncertain means of death and said that “He was afraid this was another addition to the long list of fatalities resulting from drink.”

The view from Top Lock.

The Talbot Inn stood on the opposite side of the canal.

Top Lock and the cottages.
Top Lock and Littles Lane Bridge.

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