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Steelway Article E & S 28.01.10 Carl Chinn


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Article on Steelway by Prof. Carl Chinn - Express and Star

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Steelway Article E & S 28.01.10 Carl Chinn

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MotoringExpress Hundreds of new & used cars, motorcycles, caravans & commercial vehicles every Friday. Express & Star For further information contact the Motoring Manager on 01902 319620 A fEW weeks ago, kenneth J Wilmot, of Wolverhampton, was reading the feature on the “Stafford Road Sheds, in par- ticular the poem to the memory of John Cuss. “I was amazed to realise that I knew a lot more about him. “Between family and friends he was known as Jack. He was born in fair- ford, Gloucestershire, on March 5, 1883, the youngest of seven children. On May 28, 1898, he joined GWR serv- ice as a call boy at Victoria Basin, Wolverhampton. His starting wage was 10 shillings per week. “He remained as a call boy, receiving annual increments of 1/-, until May 28, 1901, when he was appointed ‘man porter’ at Halesowen, on 18/- per week, but in July 1901 he removed to Can- nock Road as ‘under shunter’, on £1 per week. Then, in July 1901, he moved to Oxley as an under shunter on £1 1s per week. Allotment “In June 1903 John became a ‘brake- man’ and remained a brakeman until 1907, still receiving annual increments of 1/- per week. He was then promoted to goods guard, and again he received 1/- per week increment until 1910. In that year his 1/- per week increment was deferred for three months because of absence through illness in 1909. “He continued as a mainline guard working long hours and ‘double homers’ until 1923, when while he was off work with a long bout of influenza and pneumonia, he was appointed sta- tion master of Dunstall Park. However, as stated in the poem, he died on feb- ruary 23, 1924. “He had married Mary Ann flowers in 1908 and rented a house in Dunstall Avenue, where he tended a double al- lotment plot producing fruit and veg and, of course, caring for his two or three hives of bees. “Jack and Annie worked hard for Bethesda Methodist Chapel in Water- loo Road, and Jack was a bass soloist, much in demand by choirs and for con- certs in the Black Country area. “They never had children of their own, but in 1914 a five-year-old, Lavinia Mary Cuss, the daughter of Harry, Jack’s brother in fairford, ar- rived for a week’s holiday, but never re- turned. They brought up Mary as their own, providing a far better upbringing than she could possibly have had in fairford. “Lavinia Mary Cuss was my mother, and in 1924, there really was a widow left to face the world alone, and care for Mary, then 14 years old. They worked together, Annie as a ladies’ dressmaker and milliner on Stafford Road near to five Ways, and Mary, eventually working at Courtaulds. “Together they kept the home until June 1938 when Mary married ken- neth William Wilmot of Red Cross Street, and in June 1939, I was born. “Like Jack, Annie was a very in- volved and caring lady becoming the Secretary of the Railway Widows Benevolent fund, and during the late 1920s until 1933 she took classes at Brickkiln Street Centre four evenings of the week, for young boys 9-13 years of age, catering for boxing, art, handi- craft and fretwork. “When she left, the boys presented her with a bound autograph book con- taining their signatures, some ad- dresses and riddle or verse. Upon the outbreak of the war she volunteered to work in the Ministry of food Office in Waterloo Road, monitoring ration books and coupons presented by shop- keepers ,and remained at the office until the late 1950s. “I hope these few facts will entertain and jog someone else’s memory and they may add to the history of GWR Stafford Road Sheds or the Cuss family in the early part of the 20th century.” Express & Star, Thursday January 28, 201016 The Carl Chinn page Black Country Memories Dr Carl Chinn Face behind on loss of a The photo that drew Graham’s attention, of a stretcher being assessed for use B ACk in November, Black Country Memories featured the history of the long-es- tablished and important Wolverhampton firm of Steelway on the Bilston Road. This pioneering company manufactured the Uk’s first pedestrian safety barriers, which were installed at the busy junction of Prince’s Square in July 1934. They had been designed after long and careful exper- iments and with the assis- tance of Mr Edwin Tilley, the town’s chief constable, and Mr HB Robinson, the borough engineer and sur- veyor. The barriers stopped pedestrians walking off a blind corner into the path of motorists and they quickly gained attention elsewhere. On March 19, 1935, Mr Hore-Belisha, the Minister of Transport whose name is recalled in the Belisha bea- con, inaugurated London’s first pedestrian safety barri- ers at Britannia Crossing, Camden. They were also supplied by Steelway. After this launch, a second installation was carried out on March 22, 1935, at Whitechapel Crossing for the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney. Two years later the inno- vative Wolverhampton com- pany manufactured the sockets and detachable up- rights to form crowd control barriers for the 1937 corona- tion of king George VI – parts of which were used again for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. A pioneering enterprise in industrial metalwork access, Steelway became well known and highly regarded for its flooring, ladders, stairs, handrails, guardrails and platforms. Presented During the Second World War, it went over to war work and was involved in the manufacture of stretch- ers for injured personnel. One of the photographs used in the article showed a metal stretcher being presented to the St John Ambulance Brigade. This drew the at- tention of Graham Speller. Graham recognised “these stretchers very clearly as they had an interesting use after the war years. “My family is from South East London and around the Brockley and New Cross area there are numerous blocks of council flats and maisonettes built in estates separated from the rest of the world by brick walls and metal fences. “The metal part of the wall was made up of the aforementioned stretchers filling the gap between brick pillars and on top of a low brick wall. “My dad, who used the stretchers in his work dur- ing the Blitz, pointed them out to me as we made our way between various homes of our extended family. “I now live in the West Midlands but am quite cer- tain that some of those stretchers can still be seen performing their original task if you ever journey through that part of the world.” A copy of Jack Cuss’s GWR serv- ice showing his increments, per- haps written in his own hand Unlikely role played by the Steelway stretchers