Worcestershire – Pigots Directory 1842

Is reckoned among the middle counties of England and is bounded on the north by Staffordshire, on the north-west by Shropshire, on the west by Herefordshire, on the east and north-east by Warwickshire, and on the south and south-east by Gloucestershire. The shape of this county is extremely irregular, having upon almost every side small portions either detached or insulated by adjoining counties; and the boundaries form numberless indentures, resembling bays, promontories and peninsulas. The principal detached districts are those situated in the counties of Gloucester Warwick and Stafford, the latter county surrounding the town of Dudley. Without taking into account such separated portions, the length of the county, from about Stourbridge, on the north, to Tewkesbury (a border town in Gloucestershire), on the south, is thirty miles; and in breadth, from east to west, at its widest part, it is about twenty-eight. From the numerous abrupt angles which present themselves on its borders, some difficulty has arisen in computing its circumference: it may, however, be stated at two hundred and fifty miles, including the projecting points, and, exclusive of them, at about one hundred and twenty-five. The area of the county is stated, by government, to comprise 729 square miles, or 466,560 statute acres – but which, it is presumed, does not include those parts before referred to as lying in other counties. In Size Worcestershire ranks as the thirty-fourth English county, and in population as the twenty-fifth. Continue reading “Worcestershire – Pigots Directory 1842”

Worcestershire Soil and Climate Produce and Manufactures 1840

The soil of this county, though various, is generally rich and fertile; producing grain and fruit in the greatest profusion, and abundant pasturage. Between Worcester and the Vale of Evesham, the soil is composed partly of red marl, and partly of a strong loamy clay, – the beautiful valley of Evesham consisting of a deep rich earth. On the borders, and in the various parts of the Coteswold Hills, lime-stone predominates, particularly in the more elevated regions, while the lower are covered with a rich loam. From Worcester to the Malvern Hills, the surface is clay and gravel; westward, deep clay forms the upper stratum in some parts; in others, a loose stony soil. – The Air of this county is mild, warm and healthy, there being but few lakes, and very little swampy ground. The inhabitants enjoy a most salubrious and temperate climate; a circumstance which, conjointly with the beautiful, rich and picturesque scenery which they furnish, contributes not a little to induce multitudes of loungers to make the villages of Great and Little Malvern, situated upon the eastern side of these hills, the temporary theatres of their gaieties. – The principle Manufactures of this county are seated in its city; they consist in the making of gloves to a great extent, and beautiful porcelain and cabinet ware. In other towns in the county are considerable tanneries, glass and iron works; many hands are also employed in the combing and spinning of wool, linen weaving, the making of needles, nails, fish-hooks, &c. Kidderminster has longed been famed for its carpets, and also for the manufacture of worsted stuffs, and fabrics of silk and worsted. This county is also noted for its fine cider, perry and hops; and beautiful salt is obtained from the springs at Droitwich: the antiquity of the manufacture of this article here can be traced prior to the Norman Conquest, and at the present day it is its staple trade. At Dudley all kinds of ornamental and cut glass are got up in the most elegant style of workmanship. The iron works for manufacturing various descriptions of heavy hardware are very extensive; and the nail trade employs an immense population in Dudley and the neighbouring parishes: the stranger, approaching this district in the evening, is much struck with the innumerable lights seen in every direction issuing from furnaces, forges, collieries, &c.; giving not only to the face of the earth, but to that of the firmament also, an appearance of one universal illumination. The town of Redditch is almost entirely supported by the needle and fish-hook trade; there seldom being fewer than thirty flourishing establishments, employing numerous hands in the manufacture of these minute and useful articles.

Source: Pigot & Co.’s British Atlas comprising the counties of England with additional Maps of England and Wales, and London. 1840.