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Horseley Fields

The top of Horseley Fields with Piper's Row on the left. Courtesy of David Clare.
The Globe is where all the boaties used to go, because it was only 4 pence to get in. If you went to the Globe you had to tell your mother so she could put Keating’s powder in the bed, else you would have lots of fleas. They used to bite you and leave marks on you. If you wanted to see the film, you had got to go. I mean you’d missed it somewhere so you’d gotta risk it. You could get in for 4 pence, 9 pence or 1 shilling. Even if you paid 1 shilling you still had to use the same toilet as those who paid 4 pence, and so still catch the fleas.
The Globe was down Horseley Fields, opposite the Mount Zion chapel. Mount Zion was a Sunday school and church. It was a big hall full of chairs and a piano. I used to have to go there to pay a club, they used to run clubs for people who payed 1 shilling a week. I used to have to take the club money for my mother and her sister from Bilston.Horseley Fields had lots of little shops and remained unchanged for a long time. It was one of the last shopping areas to go. Kath used to go there because her mother said she couldn’t. 

Mount Zion chapel.

The buses for Willenhall and Walsall used to turn round in St. James Square. On the corner of Victoria Square was the old railway booking office, which closed when I was a kid. Behind it was a large petrol depot with big gates on the front for the entrance. The depot went across to Horseley Fields and was a great big area full of oil drums containing oil, petrol and paraffin. These were delivered by horse and cart. The Bilston tram used to stop outside the big gates in those days.

The Little Swan.

Another big well known fighting and elicit place was the Swan, at the top of Horseley Fields. It was situated in the corner of Piper’s Row and went down Horseley Fields, about the same distance down in both streets. The canal people used to come there from Broad Street Basin, where they would put up for the weekend. All the boats used to come there from Newport and that way, when they were horse-drawn. There were 21 locks from the top basin down to the bottom, where the canal went along to Tettenhall. They used to bring all the grain and stuff on those boats and they would unload them at Broad Street Basin. The big yard is still there before you come to the railway bridge. The boat yard was next to the canal warehouse, between it and the railway. The railway ran over the "Dark Bridge" at the end of Lock Street, where they had candles before they had gas. It’s where the nice ladies and gentlemen used to go. The ladies used to wait for the men on their way home from work and that’s where they used to go.

From there, there were 21 locks down to Tettenhall. It was the hardest work for the boaties when they were coming up as they’d got 21 locks to maneuver through before reaching the basin. The Union Inn at Broad Street basin was for the boaties.

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