Willenhall History Society

Street Names - D



Dartmouth Avenue. Named after the Earl of Dartmouth, who on September 30th 1920 unveiled the Portland Stone obelisk which formed the first part of Willenhall's War Memorial programme.

Darvel Road. Named after the town of Darvel in Ayrshire.

Davis Road. Named after Councillor Jack Davis who was for some years, following his election in 1946, a member of the Willenhall Urban District Council. Mr Davis was a tradesman in the town.

Delamere Road. Named after a small town in Cheshire. but the road stands on the site of the former land sale wharf belonging to the old Hilton Main and Holly Bank Collieries. For many years coal was brought down from the collieries by mineral railway, traces of which can still be seen, either to the land sale wharf from where it was collected by coal merchants for delivery to customers in the area or to the Coltham Basin across Wesley Road where it could be loaded into barges for onwards transmission. The collieries ceased production on January 31st 1969 and shortly afterwards the site was sold for housing development.

Derwent Close. Named after the River Derwent in Derbyshire.

Devon Road. Named after the County of Devon.

Dibble Close. Named after Councillor Enoch Dibble member of Willenhall Urban District Council from 1949 until 1958, who served as Chairman for the period 1956 to 1958. Councillor Dibble died on October 7th 1960.

Dilloways Lane. The name is an indication of the name of the person or persons who once owned the land. The 1841 Tithe Map of Willenhall shows the land in the surrounding area as being called"Dilloways Slang" and" Dilloways Piece", meaning a piece of land belonging to someone called Dilloway.

Dimminsdale. The name suggests a hollow or valley and no doubt refers to the nearby valley along which the River Tame flows. The road once connected the New Road at a point near the Dale Cinema (Now bingo hall) with Railway Lane. Reginald Tildesley's garage stood on the corner of Dimminsdale and New Road for many years. With the building of the Gateway Supermarket the road was stopped up in the middle, the Railway Lane end provides access to factories which stand in the street. The other end, which still contains a small number of houses and business premises has now been renamed Ensdale Row.

Dingle Lane. A lane which once led to Mumpers Dingle, described in George Borrows "Lavengro" as follows, " The Dingle is a deep, wooded, and consequently somewhat gloomy hollow in the middle of a very large desolate field. At the lowest part of the Dingle are discovered a stone and a fire of charcoal, from which spot a path ascends to the plain. On either side of the fire is a small encampment. One consists of a small pony cart and a small hut shaped tent, occupied by the Word Master. On the other side "the Tabernacle" of Isopel Berners. A short distance off, near a spring of clear water, is an encampment of Romany chals and chies. The Petrolegros and their small clan". This was written in July 1825 before the coming of the Bentley branch of the Birmingham Canal Navigation which was opened in 1843.

Doctors Piece. Was once a piece of land belonging to Doctor Richard Wilkes, which eventually passed into the ownership of the Chapel of Ease Estate. In the 1840's, following the Tithes Act, they planned to use a part of the land at the junction of Doctors Piece and Lower Lichfield Street (now gardens) to build a new National (Church of England) School and then to sell off the rest as one lot for development. However the onset of the Cholera epidemic in 1849 caused them to change their plans. Before the epidemic had been going long it became apparent that the churchyard at St Giles, as it was in those days, could in no way cope with any more burials, and the Parish Vestry considered the implications of extending it but when the cost was made known the scheme was rejected. In desperation the Vestry turned to land in Doctors Piece, still at that time in the hands of the Chapel Estate and a burial ground was hastily prepared at the bottom end at the junction with Church Street which still exists today and is known as the Cholera Cemetery. Something like 211 victims of the epidemic are believed to have been there and a plaque on the wall tells the story. The National Schools were opened in 1854 and served until it was closed in 1908 on the opening of the present school in Walsall Street. The rest of the land was eventually sold for development.

Dooley Close. Arthur Dooley was born in 1929 and was said to be the most colourful of post war British sculptors. He was born in poverty in Liverpool and seemed to remain in that state for most of his life. He studied art by taking a job sweeping up at St Martins College of Art in London in 1953. He was full of scorn for St Martins,where he was given his first one man show in St Martins Gallery off Charing Cross Road in 1962. He had given up a job shovelling carbon dust at Dunlop's Liverpool factory only months before. He was often compared with Brendan Behan the roaring Dublin playwright. He was born into a rigid Protestant family who, he said, used the Union Jack as a bedspread. He joined the Irish Guards in 1945 and while serving in the Middle East and Germany came under the influence of Father Michael Casey and was converted to Rome. Dooley had a string of marvellously disarrayed studios, the first was in a former Chinese laundry near the Anglican Cathedral, the next was in a former public house in Woolton and finally, because of the size of some of his work he took over the former Bear Brand tights factory in Woolton. Once when asked to do something for the outside of the Cavern Club he went into Woolworths and bought four cheap plastic baby dolls and gilded them. He called it " This four that shook the world". They were put up and he thought they were very funny but it did nothing for his reputation. He had several long standing relationships with women, one of whom he saw yawning with boredom behind the dolly mixtures counter at Woolworths and who packed in her job on the spot when he asked her, without even knowing her name, to come and live with him. Dooley died in January 1994 and is survived by one son Paul, who he said was named after the Pope, because of the Catholic ban on the pill. It is believed that one of his works is in the Walsall Museum and Art Gallery.

Dorchester Close. Named after the well known London Hotel of that name.

Dorchester Road. See Dorchester Close.

Douglas Davies Close. Named after Councillor Douglas Davies member of the Willenhall Urban District Council from 1958 until 1966 and Chairman for the year 1964-5. In 1966, following the take over of Willenhall by Walsall Mr Davies was elected as a member of the newly constituted Walsall MBC and along with Councillor Fred Watkins,was immediately elected to the now defunct office of Alderman, thus being the first representatives from Willenhall to be so honoured.

Dovedale Avenue. Named after Dovedale the well known Midland beauty spot.

Drancy Avenue. Drancy is a town near Paris in France with which Willenhall set up twinning arrangements after the Second World War. As a result of this arrangement all sorts of Cultural and Educational exchanges have been arranged to the mutual benefit of the people of both towns. Each year a party of schoolchildren from Willenhall travels to Drancy where they spend time in the homes of French children learning about life in France and the French children do likewise when they come to Willenhall to spend time with their counterparts here.

Dryden Close. Named after John Dryden 1631-1700. Poet, Writer and Playwright. Born at Ardwinkle All Saints vicarage in Northants. In 1663 he married Lady Elizabeth Howard, eldest daughter of the Earl of Berkshire. Was the first Poet Laureate in 1668 but had the title taken from him when he refused to sign at the reformation. His most well known works are "The Ancient Mariner", "Kubla Khan" and "Christabel". He is buried in Chaucer's grave in Westminster Abbey and a monument was erected in 1720. His wife survived him until 1714.

Durham Avenue. Takes its name from the Cathedral city of Durham.

Dursley Close. Takes its name from the town of Dursley in Gloucestershire.

Willenhall History Society Website 29/1/00