Dawley: Public services

Pages 126-127

A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.

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The Dawley Gas Co., formed in 1848, (fn. 1) built a works at the southern end of Chapel Street. (fn. 2) It supplied street lighting in the central built-up area around Dawley Green, the capital cost having been raised by subscription among the ratepayers in 1849. (fn. 3) In Old Park, Dark Lane, and Hinkshay, which were not served by gas mains, the streets were lit by oil lamps from c. 1922. (fn. 4) Mains electricity reached Dawley c. 1934 (fn. 5) and electric street lamps replaced the gas ones in 1951. (fn. 6)

In the later 18th century street soil in Great Dawley was taken away by a contractor for use as manure on his land. (fn. 7) The rapid and haphazard growth of housing in the early 19th century resulted in poor sanitary conditions, which in 1865 were said to be worse than those of Madeley. (fn. 8) In the 1890s sewerage was rare and watercourses were often polluted. In 1896 c. 40 per cent of the population obtained water from public wells, often far from their homes. The rest drew water from wells or pumps on their premises, supplies that were liable to contamination. The urban district council considered that a piped supply from outside the parish would be prohibitively expensive. (fn. 9) A scheme sanctioned in 1904, to supply Dawley with water from a well in the Weald Moors near Buttery Farm (in Edgmond), appears to have come to nothing. (fn. 10) In 1909 the U.D.C. arranged for a supply from the Madeley & Broseley Water Co. Water was piped from Madeley to Little Dawley and pumped thence to two reservoirs at Dawley Bank and Lawley Bank, from which it was distributed by gravity to most of the parish. (fn. 11) Nevertheless 48 per cent of all houses in the urban district were without a private piped supply in 1951. (fn. 12) By 1961 the number of such households had dropped to 10 per cent. (fn. 13)

In 1930 the U.D.C. drew up a sewage disposal scheme, and by 1934 sewers led from the central built-up area to lagoons at Castle Fields and Stirchley pools, where the effluent was clarified. (fn. 14) A more comprehensive scheme was introduced when a sewage works was opened near Moor Farm in the south-east corner of the parish in 1950. Initially it served only the central urban area but in 1955 sewerage was extended to drain the Horsehay and Doseley areas. (fn. 15) As a result the number of houses in the U.D. without exclusive use of a water closet dropped from over 53 per cent in 1951 to 23 per cent in 1961. (fn. 16)

There was a post office in High Street by 1840, (fn. 17) and by 1856 sub-offices had opened at Dawley Bank, Horsehay (across the boundary in Little Wenlock), and Little Dawley. (fn. 18) Further sub-post offices were opened at Dark Lane in the 1890s and at Old Park c. 1903. (fn. 19)

There was a lock-up at Dawley Green by 1843 (fn. 20) and a police station in the parish by 1856. (fn. 21) The lock-up was sold in 1872. (fn. 22) Dawley had one constable in 1840. (fn. 23) A police sub-divisional H.Q., within the Wellington division, was established in Malinslee House (opened in 1976). (fn. 24)


  • 1. S.R.O. 2070/2.
  • 2. P.O. Dir. Salop. (1856), 43; P.R.O., HO 107/1988, f. 155 (mention of gas man in Chap. La.).
  • 3. S.R.O. 1560/7, 28 Dec. 1849.
  • 4. S.R.O., DA 8/100/1, p. 406; /100/3, p. 224.
  • 5. Ibid. /100/3, p. 430; /100/4, p. 147.
  • 6. Ibid. /100/6, p. 741.
  • 7. S.R.O. 2374, box 4, papers in Corbet and D'Avenant v. Slaney, examination of A. Jones (folded in letter of 7 Mar. 1781).
  • 8. The Builder, 4 Mar. 1865, p. 159.
  • 9. S.R.O. 119/10, M.O.H. Rep., Dawley U.S.D., 1896; cf. S.R.O. 1242, box 2, corresp. re pollution of Horse Leasow pond.
  • 10. Oakengates and Dawley Joint Water Bd. Act, 1904, 4 Edw. VII, c. 238 (Local); cf. S.R.O. 3129/16/1, plans of proposed supply (copies).
  • 11. Kelly's Dir. Salop. (1909), 83; A. H. S. Waters, Rep. on Water Supplies (S.C.C. 1946), 20.
  • 12. Census, 1951, Co. Rep. Herefs. and Salop. 65.
  • 13. Census, 1961, Co. Rep. Salop. 62.
  • 14. S.R.O., DA 8/100/2, p. 382; /100/3, p. 428.
  • 15. Ibid. /100/6, f. 494v.-p. 1153.
  • 16. Census, 1951, Co. Rep. Herefs. and Salop. 65; 1961, Co. Rep. Salop. 62.
  • 17. W. Robson, Dir. Salop. (1840), 47; S. Bagshaw, Dir. Salop. (1851), 376.
  • 18. P.O. Dir. Salop. (1856), 43.
  • 19. Kelly's Dir. Salop. (1891-1905).
  • 20. At O.S. Nat. Grid SJ 6852 0745: L.J.R.O., B/A/15, Dawley Magna, no. 914. Cf. S.R.O., q. sess. Const. Cttee. rep. bk. 1839-53, p. 440; 1854-65, pp. 19, 22.
  • 21. P.O. Dir. Salop. (1856), 43; Kelly's Dir. Salop. (1941), 86.
  • 22. Orders of Q. Sess. iv. 203.
  • 23. S.R.O., q. sess. Const. Cttee. rep. bk. 1839-53, p. 76.
  • 24. Inf. from W. Mercia Constabulary; above, Econ. Hist. (Telford Town Centre).