Willenhall History Society

Street Names - C



Caernarvon Close. Named after the Welsh town of Caernarvon, famous for its castle where the investiture of the Prince of Wales takes place.

Calstock Road. Named after the town of Calstock in Cornwall.

Calves Croft. A narrow thoroughfare leading from Temple Bar to Wednesfield Road which many years ago contained houses but is now uninhabited. It is believed that the last houses disappeared towards the end of the First World War. The origins of the name are unknown.

Cannock Road. A road leading from Willenhall to Cannock.

Cannon Street. It is thought that the name Cannon is derived from the name of a public house called The Royal Artillery Inn which stood in nearby Lower Lichfield Street for many years and was there for some years before Cannon Street was developed. It first appeared in Population Census returns for 1851.

Canterbury Avenue. Takes its name from the cathedral city of Canterbury.

Cardigan Drive. Named after the town of Cardigan in Wales.

Castle Drive. This street is named after Castle Bridge which spans the Wyrley and Essington canal at the point where it crosses the Lichfield Road. The Castle Bridge Colliery which stood alongside the canal also took its name from the same source and the site of the Colliery is now covered by two streets named Castle Bridge Gardens and Castle Bridge Road. The Colliery was opened about 1874 when Noah Blakemore and Richard Harper entered into an agreement with the Duke of Sutherland to work the Castle Bridge Colliery although they traded as the Perry Hall Colliery Company. The mine did badly and the partnership was dissolved and the pits closed in 1885. There are also a number of streets on the estate which have the names of towns which have a castle.

Cedar Road. All the roads on this 1930's development situated near the Memorial Park were given the names of trees.

Cedar Park Road. The name Cedar Park is fictitious but the name is derived the Cedar Tree, a large coniferous tree.

Cemetery Road. Was originally known as Back Lane until June 5th 1905 when the Urban District Council renamed it Cemetery Road because of its close proximity to the old Wood Street Cemetery. When their railway was being constructed the Wolverhampton and Walsall Railway Company approached the Local Board of Health with a view to "stopping up" Back lane, thus avoiding the necessity of building a bridge. The Board refused and insisted that the road be bridged and that the bridge be the full width of the carriageway.

Chapel Green. A Primitive Methodist Chapel stood on the Green early in the last century until it was replaced by a larger building in Russell Street which was opened on March 23rd 1850. The new Chapel served the community for more than 100 years but by the 1960's all the houses in the area were being demolished and the land was scheduled for industrial development. By then Russell Street was down to 137 members and could no longer survive alone. The last services were held on January 3rd 1965, following which they joined forces with Walsall Street Methodist Church which had dwindled to 88 members and Union Street Wesleyan Church to form the new Trinity Methodist Church based at Union Street. The Russell Street Church was then demolished and the land sold and turned into a car park for the Comet Superstore.

Chapel Street. An unadopted and unmade up road which once stood near to the Baptist Chapel in New Road. The houses were demolished and the area redeveloped during the 1960's as part of Willenhall's slum clearance programme. Modern houses now stand on the site and the street has been renamed Newlands Close.

Charlecote Rise. Named after Charlecote near Stratford on Avon in Warwickshire.

Charles Holland Street. Charles Holland Harper was the son of Alderman John Harper J.P. of Bruerton House Bilston, the founder of the modern firm of John Harper and Co Ltd. and the first chairman of the Company when it was formed into a Limited Liability Company in 1888.

Charles Street. This street commemorated the fact that King Charles the Second spent the night of September 9th 1651 at nearby Bentley Hall after his defeat at the battle of Worcester and before setting off for exile in France disguised as Jane Lane's manservant. A pub called King Charles in the Oak once stood in the street but this has been converted into a restaurant recently under the name Fontana's.

Chatsworth Close. Takes its name from Chatsworth House, a well known stately home in Derbyshire, the home of the Duke of Devonshire.

Chaucer Avenue. Named after Geoffrey Chaucer Circa 1345 - 1400 the writer famous for his "Canterbury Tales" which was written in 1387 and first published by William Caxton in 1487. In 1359 he was in the army of Edward the third when he invaded France and was taken prisoner. He married Philippa believed to be the daughter of Sir Payne Roet. He is buried in Westminster Abbey and a monument was erected to him in 1555.

Cheapside. A name of no special significance but one which is in common use in town centres throughout the country. Until the middle of the last century it was a part of Cross Street and formed part of the main road through the town before the New Road was cut, probably takes its name from a street of the same name in London.

Cheniston Road. Once part of the Hilton Main and Holly Bank Collieries land sale wharf. See Delamere Road. The name has no special significance.

Chester Close. Named after the city of Chester.

Cheswick Close. Named after the town of that name in Northumberland.

Chetwynd Close. Chetwynd is a small village near to Newport in Salop and it is also an old county name. As early as 1491 Walter Chetwynd of Ingestre Hall was returned as Member of Parliament for Stafford and many of his descendants frequently represented the borough until the late 18th century when their influence in the county declined. Nailmaking had become a staple industry for the south of the county by the 1580's and the earliest slitting mill recorded in the Midlands was that recorded as being worked by Thomas Chetwynd in 1623, probably at Rugeley. Today the village of Slitting Mill stands near Rugeley, probably the site of the mill. Chetwynd Talbot is also the name adopted by the Earls of Shrewsbury as their family name.

Church Road. Takes its name from the parish church of Holy Trinity which stands in the road. At a meeting of the Willenhall Vestry held on December 4th 1845, attended by all who had lands of inheritance held on that day, it was resolved unanimously that the draft scheme proposed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the constitution of two districts out of the Chapelry of Willenhall to be called respectively the district of St Stephens and the district of Holy Trinity be approved and consented to. Shortly afterwards the Reverend James Leckie came to Short Heath to begin his ministry. There was of course no church and services were at first held in a room at the Jolly Collier Inn, with Sunday school being conducted on barges at the Coltham Basin. By 14th December 1847 a room in the village was licensed for Divine worship. We do not know where the room was but it was said to provide free sittings for 300 people. The church census for 1851 showed the average attendance on Sundays as - Mornings 60, Afternoon or evening 100. In addition attendances at Sunday school were given as morning 140, and afternoon 80. Sadly The Reverence Leckie died in 1853 and he was succeeded by the Reverend W.L. Rosedale who eventually saw his church built and consecrated on Trinity Sunday July 25th 1855. Financial assistance was provided by Daniel Bagnall a local ironmaster and proprietor of the Coltham Iron and Coal Company and also Mr Barnabas and sons and Joseph Samuel Junior. Shortly afterwards the vicarage was built and also a day school for the education of the poor children of the parish. The day school closed in 1930 and the vicarage has since been replaced by a more modern building.

Church Street. Takes its name from nearby St Giles church. Church Street achieved notoriety however for the fact that no fewer than three murders have been committed within its confines. The first took place on Tuesday April 30th 1872 when 34 year old Christopher Edwards battered his wife Rosanna also aged 34 to death in the bedroom of their home at 17, Church Street in a fit of drunken rage. He was hanged for his crime at Stafford gaol on Tuesday August 13th 1872 by George Smith the Dudley hangman. The second took place on the evening of Saturday September 11th 1920 when Samuel Westwood aged 26 of Bentley Lane, Short Heath stabbed his wife Lydia aged 24 to death in the road outside the Prince of Wales Inn at the junction of Church Street with Walsall Street following a domestic argument as a result of which she had left him and returned to the family home. Westwood was hanged at Winson Green prison on Thursday December 30th 1920. The third incident took place on Thursday November 13th 1980 when a Securicor van which was delivering œ11,000 in wages to the works of Messrs Lowe and Fletcher Ltd. was held up by armed raiders and one of the guards, George Smith aged 32 was shot dead as he attempted to protect his charge. After a motorway chase a number of men were arrested and charged with the crime. They were sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment.

Circuit Close. Built on the site of the former Spring Bank Stadium. For further information see Stadium Close.

Clarkes Lane. The name Clarkes Lane appeared for the first time in the 1851 population census but the lane is much older than this.As early as 1834 it was known as "Little Island" and there has been much speculation over the years as to how this name first came about. Some historians have suggested that it was because the road was bordered at one end by the River Tame and at the other by the Bentley Canal making it a kind of island. This is unlikely to be true however, as the canal did not open until 1843 and was not even on the drawing board then. A more likely explanation is that the area was,in its early days, populated by a number of Irish Emigrants and thus earned the name of "Little Ireland" which, bearing in mind how it would be pronounced in those days by a largely illiterate community, soon became "Little Island" a name which stuck although it sometimes was referred to later on as "The Island". To the locals it will always be "The Island" . The name Clarke possibly derived from a well known resident or land owner in the area in those far off days.

Clemson Street. This street which is now entirely covered by Car Parks on both sides, once housed the local Fire Brigade and the Free Library and in addition the old Town Hall once stood on the corner of Clemson Street and Upper Lichfield Street,until it was replaced by a more modern building in 1934. Neat Victorian terraced houses also covered both sides of the street. The Clemson family are believed to have arrived in Willenhall about the time of the Commonwealth or possibly even earlier. John Clemson, whose home at 33, Market Place still stands to this day, was a prosperous Miller and Maltster and the shop adjoining the house, known today as Davey's Locker, was his malthouse. He also owned one of the windmills which once stood where the Rose Hill Estate stands today. John died in 1750 .

Clift Close. Named after Councillor Richard Clift J.P. C.A. who was a member of the Short Heath Urban District Council from 1928, until its amalgamation with Willenhall in 1934, following which he was elected as one of the five members to represent the Short Heath Ward on the enlarged Willenhall council, where he continued to serve until 1937. Mr Clift died in 1963.

Clothier Gardens. See Clothier Street.

Clothier Street. The 1841 Tithe Map shows Clouthers Piece, described as a meadow, situated where the present Clothier Street housing estate stands. Also shown is Clouthers Homestead which presumably refers to the farmhouse which once stood near the junction of Wellington Place with Thorne Road. The owners were given as Thornycroft, Perks & Co. Mr Tildesley in his " History of Willenhall" advances the theory that the land may have been in the ownership of the Cloth Workers Company of the City of London and that this may also have some bearing on the name of nearby "Little London". It could also be the name of the original owner of the site. In the middle of the last century the Clothiers Colliery was sunk and the area mined extensively. The mine was owned by Messrs Fletcher, Solly and Urwick who also owned the Willenhall Furnaces Ltd in the Sandbeds. Coal from the mine was used to fuel the furnaces and was transported by means of a tramway which crossed Temple Bar on its way to the furnaces. The trucks were at first pulled by horses but these were later replaced by two locomotives as trade grew. The firm also owned several other pits in the area which were used for the same purpose but by 1880 they were mostly drowned out and the furnaces, badly affected by recession, went into liquidation in 1881.

Colliers Close. Commemorates the many miners from the district who earned their living from the collieries which abounded during the last century and the early part of this one.

Coltham Road. Takes its name from the nearby area of Coltham which stood between Straight Road and the Wyrley and Essington Canal, and stretched from Lane Head to Coppice Lane. it was once the site of the Coltham Ironworks and also the Coltham Colliery, both of which were owned by Daniel Bagnall, a local ironmaster.No doubt the coal from the Colliery was used to feed the furnaces of the Ironworks. The Ironworks was in operation shortly after the construction of the Wyrley & Essington canal and had ceased operations by the middle of the last century. Before the Wyrley and Essington Canal was constructed between 1792 and 1794 Coltham Road formed part of the ancient highway between Willenhall and Bloxwich. The route lay via Sandbeds Road, Haley Street, Ezekiel Lane, Coltham Road and Wood Lane. The Canal Company, ever mindful of the need to reduce costs, were reluctant to build two bridges across their canal where one would do so they stopped up Haley Street and bridged the canal at Lane Head, a short road originally known as the Straight Lane but now called Straight Road was then constructed to link Lane Head back into Coltham Road. Coltham Road was originally known as Front Lane.

Conway Crescent. Takes its name from the Welsh town of Conway, famous for its castle.

Coppice Lane. Takes its name from the Sneyd Coppice which once stood on the west side of the lane between Knightsbridge and the junction with Cannock Road. It was not until 1935 that the lane was extensively developed following the amalgamation of the Short Heath and Willenhall Urban District Councils.

Coppice, The. See Coppice Lane. This is a narrow lane which once led to the coppice.

Cornwall Gate. Like other streets on this estate is given a name with royal associations. In this case to commemorate the birth of Prince Charles Duke of Cornwall.

Coronation Avenue. Commemorates the coronation of King George the Sixth and Queen Elizabeth on May 12th 1937.

Corsican Close. Named after the Corsican Pine to fit in with the tree theme of this area of Short Heath.

Cotswold Close. Named after the Cotswold Hills.

Council Crescent. This street was so named by the Short Heath Urban District Council to commemorate the completion and allocation of their first thirty two council houses on 12th December 1921. The houses ran from the junction with Mill Lane to the junction with Spring Lane and had been previously referred to as the Sandbeds site.

Cowper Close. Named after William Cowper, well known writer 1731 -1800. He was the son of the Rector of Great Berkhampstead and was educated at Westminster following which he was called to the bar in 1754. He wrote some well known hymns among them "Hark my soul it is the lord" and "God moves in a mysterious way". He also contributed to Olney Hymns. He lived with Mary Unwin at Olney after the death of her husband and in later years suffered with depression and tried to commit suicide.

Crab Lane. This lane was originally known as Crab Tree Lane after the type of tree which was to be found in the vicinity. Crabtree eventually got shortened to Crab by common usage. The name Crab Tree first appeared in the Population Census for 1871.

Cranleigh Close. Named after the town of Cranleigh in Surrey.

Cranmer Avenue. Walter George Seymour Cranmer came to Willenhall in November 1897 as a young man to take up his appointment as Manager of Willenhall Gas Company in succession to Mr J.C. Belton, who had held office for the previous three and a half years. Mr Cranmer had come from Exeter where he held a similar appointment and was the son of Mr J.S. Cranmer the Manager of the Stratford on Avon Gas Works where he had originally learned his trade.He spent the rest of his working life at Willenhall and was for some years President of the Midland Association of Gas Engineers. He entered public life in 1919 when he was elected to the Short Heath Urban District Council, a body to which he gave great service over many years and on which he served as Chairman from 1923 until 1925, and again from 1928 until 1934 when Short Heath was taken over by Willenhall. Mr Cranmer stood for election to that body in 1934 but was unsuccessful. He did however secure election in 1937 and continued to serve on that body until the end of the Second World War.

Crantock Close. Named after the town of Crantock in Cornwall.

Crescent, The. Probably so called because the road once took the shape of a crescent.

Crescent Road. See Crescent, The.

Croft Street. So called because Tinkers Croft once stood where the present Little London School stands.

Cross Street. The street is so called because it once lead to the old Market Cross which stood in the Market Place. It is said that during the Reverend William Moreton's time he used to meet the children at the cross before accompanying them to Sunday school at St Giles church. The cross was surrounded by stone steps and many years age bulls were baited on the site. The Reverend Thomas Capp,the Minister of Union Street Church used to ascend the steps to harangue the crowds about the evils of bull baiting and it was he who finally put an end to the barbaric sport when he stormed up the Market Place with some of his colleagues from chapel and untethered the bull. He then summoned the parish constable and insisted that he put an end to such practices.

Croxley Gardens. Named after the town of Croxley in Hertfordshire.

Crown Street. This street once stood on the west side of Bridge Street and although the properties dated from the 1830's it was not until June 2nd 1913 that approval was given for the road to be made up and named Crown Street at a cost of œ110.4s.5d. The origins of the name are not known. The area was cleared shortly after the Second World War as part of the town's slum clearance programme.

Culmore Close. Nothing is known of the origins of this name. The street stands on the Furzebank Estate.

Cumberland Road. Named after the county of Cumberland.

Willenhall History Society Website 29/1/00