Notable Madeley Characters: Madeley References in Peskin’s Diary (1897- 1936)


Charles PeskinCharles Peskin (1868-1948) was born and lived in Coalbrookdale all his life. He was employed as a pattern filer by the Coalbrookdale Company and kept a diary of events in the area during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Most of the diary is a day to day catalogue of deaths and burials but there are numerous references to other incidents such as outings, visitors to the area, earthquakes (!) and even heated correspondence with a mail order company.

There are occasional references to the Madeley area, a selection of which I have culled and present below. The diary is in the possession of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum,and I am indebted for permission to quote these extracts, to their librarian John Powell who is also co-author with Michael. A. Vanns of the pictorial collection “South Telford”.

The complete diary may be viewed at the museum library by arrangement with Mr Powell.

Although not directly connected with Madeley I have included one or two incidents such as the closure of the Iron Bridge in 1934 as being of interest to local people.

Fred Brian

1897 – Sept 25th
Went down Kemberton Pit

1900 – May 8th
Charles Yate (Vicar’s son), Madeley, returned (from Boer War) with wound in bowels (similar to General Symonds). Horses took out of carriage and carriage pulled by 40 or more men with a rope. A big crowd at Madeley. The Volunteer Band, bells, firing etc. going on.

1902 – Jan 13th
Thomas Beard – Landlord of the General Gordon (Werps) Coalport, and the last of the Severn bargemen died aged 84. Known as “Owner Beard”

1902 – June 30th
Coronation bonfires lighted all over the Kingdom to commemorate the King’s being pronounced ‘Out of Danger’. The fire on the Meadow Pit was not anything like as large as the one in 1887 which was in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee. The Wrekin fire seemed all right, counted about 18 fires from the Mount.

1904 – Jan 17th
Edward Hall died. The last man who drove the stage coach which ran from Shifnal to Salop via “Link-on-Hill”.

1904 – June 20th
A child killed on the Madeley road above Gorbys Bridge just as the teachers were coming out of school. He was playing at the back of a railway dray and somehow the hind wheel went over his head. His name was Turner but he was sometimes called ‘Small’ as his mother (Mary Hewitt’s niece) had married a man named Joe Small.

1904 – Oct 1st
Madeley Friendly Society’s Hospital Saturday Parade – Cycle Carnival – Madeley Band and the Ironbridge Glee Union. Collection over £20.

1904 – Oct 1st
Earthquake shock felt across our district. I was in the Park Inn and heard a low long rumble as though some very large heavy vehicle had passed by.

1905 – Oct 23rd
General Booth in Madeley Institute. (The Anstice Memorial Institute).

1906 – Feb 9th
John Harvey found dead in bed. His occupation, wheeling small amounts of coal out to people, was not what he was brought up to. His father was once in a large way of business in Madeley (and I think, Wellington also), but I remember the shop in Court St. Madeley.

1906 – Dec 5th
Robert Norton died at Madeley Union (Workhouse). Son of John Norton, ex-convict who was condemned to death and had his sentence commuted to transportation for life, through the influence of the late Dr Edwards.

1906 – Dec 3rd
John Taylor, sexton, Madeley Church, died aged 80. He had buried 5523 people in Madeley churchyard during a service of 40 years.

1907 – Jan 19th
Charlie Price died at Madeley Union aged 81, the man who put the last charge in Bedlam Furnaces 50 or 60 years ago (then a young man).

1908 – Oct 29th
Rev. George Yate, Vicar of Madeley for 50 years, buried aged 85. Will proved over £12,000 and he had sold the living to the Pastoral Aid Society for £2000, ostensibly to provide for his daughter.

1908 – Oct 30th
A young man named Scoltock knocked down at Madeley (Dabbley Lane), by a cyclist named Heighway, 11pm, causing concussion of brain. Died next day in Broseley Hospital. Leaves a wife and seven children.

1910 – May 4th
Re-opening of Madeley Church by the Lord Bishop of Hereford after the restoration.

1910 – Sept 1st
John Randall of Madeley, artist, geologist, archeologist, journalist, editor and author celebrated his 100th birthday (or rather completed his hundred years).

1910 – Nov 16th
John Randall, author, F,R.G.S, died at Madeley Post Office aged 100 years and 2 months.

1910 – Dec 4th
‘Sunday’- terrible pit accident at Kemberton Pit, Madeley, causing the deaths of 5 men and 2 boys. The first draught down on the night shift at 10pm were only a short distance down the shaft (which is over 900 ft deep), when the wire rope broke right through, precipitating them all to the bottom. The remains were a horrible sight to see. Some of the bodies were buried at Madeley on Thursday Dec 8th by the Rev Bulstrode Price. The funeral was most impressive, crowds witnessing the sad cortage. All shops and public houses closed and muffled peals on the church bells.

1911 – Sept 4th
Bostock and Wombwell’s Wild Beast Menagerie in Webster’s Field near the Lane Pit Mount, Madeley Rd.

1911 – November
Mr William Fox died, Madeley Wood, organ blower at Madeley Wood Chapel for many years. Born in 1824 he had the Cholera in 1832 when it raged here and he died to all appearances and was put in his coffin but he was only apparently dead for he was noticed to move and he actually got all right again and lived to a great age.

1912 – July 9th
Lord John Sanger brought his 3 part Circus to Hill Top, Madeley, occupying Websters Field. 4 performing seals (wonderful!).

1913 – Sept 24th
George Baguley, landlord of the All Nations, Dabbley Lane, Madeley died. Military Funeral, Madeley, Sept 27th.

1913 – October
Fred Ward gassed at Kemberton Pit in the old working called the Jubilee Working, having gone to make experiments and not taking sufficient oxygen to last the time.

1914 – Jan 17th
William Bagnell Madeley Wood aged 62 died in Broseley Hospital from injuries received in Meadow Pit about 3 days previous. Back broken. Buried Jan 20th.

1918 – Oct 9th
Joe Richards died aged 49, Horseshoes Inn, Madeley, Pneumonia following Spanish Flu’. Buried Madeley Oct 12th.

1919 – May 26th
Mr Riggs, pastor of Congregational Church, Madeley, died, falling down stairs the previous day (Sunday) when getting ready for the anniversary sermons, the shock proved too much as he was 92 years old.

1922 – Jan 2nd
Poor old Dr Gibbs and his wife, taken to the Beeches (the Madeley Union Workhouse).

1925 – Jan 30th
Tommy Rogers, eccentric old fisherman, died at Ironbridge aged 81. Buried at Madeley February 3rd.

1925 – March 8th
Will Colley, landlord of Barley Mow, Madeley, died suddenly. Taken ill on calling “Time Gentlemen Please” at 10pm on Saturday night.

1927 – December
Tom Dorset, Ironmonger, Madeley (married Miss Shingler who died some years ago) died aged 67.

1929 – April 11th
Benjamin Aston, late cricketer and comic singer died at Madeley aged 89.

1929 – Sept 2nd
Harry Jeffries, late butcher, Madeley, cut his throat in the field coming from Madeley Church. He had been an inmate at the Beeches.

1930 – Nov 11th
Joe Clarke, late deputy and chartermaster, Madeley Colliery, Kemberton, died aged 75. Buried Nov 15th Madeley Church.

1930 – December
Charlie Evans met with an accident which proved fatal, near where the old washing house was at Lane Pit Mount. A motor cycle ran him down and broke both his legs and an arm and fractured his skull. He died a few days after in Broseley Cottage Hospital.

1930 – Dec 19th
Tom Jones Madeley, found drowned in water tub. Son of Dick Jones, waggoner, killed by falling off rick.

1934 – June
Iron Bridge closed to traffic with the exception of pedestrians. Barricaded at Tontine end of bridge.

1936 – Mar 18th
John Jones (Ham Jack), Madeley newsagent, killed cycling on motor cycle near Sutton with papers, collision with lorry, aged 63. Verdict – accidental death – he was on his wrong side.