2020 – Autumn Teaser Answer
Street names are often very informative. Some indicating the next town on the journey (Bilston Street), others reflecting the area through which they past (Darkhouse Lane) and many carry a person's name (Robert Street). We asked if anyone knew the Wilkinson story.
John 'Iron Mad' Wilkinson was born in Cumberland in 1728. He was already an established ironmaster when he started to build his Bradley works in 1766 on the Sedgley Manor boundary. Eventually two main sites evolved - Upper and Lower Furnaces, both served by canals.
He refined cannon making using a solid casting and then boring the barrel. This technique attracted Boulton and Watt who engaged him to produce accurate cylinders for their steam engines.
Wilkinson died in Bradley in 1808 and was buried in an iron coffin under an iron obelisk on his Lindale estate in the Lake District. In a series of bizarre events the coffin was moved several times and his final resting place is 'somewhere' in the local village churchyard!