1832 map of Dudley Parliamentary Constituency, also depicting Cradley.
The map is a steel engraving from Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary.
"Map of Dudley, from Samuel Lewis`s Topographical Dictionary of England, drawn by R Creighton and engraved by J & C Walker" --- our thanks to Paul Martin for providing a copy from a steel engraving.
This map is of the new parliamentary constituency of Dudley, after the Reform Act of 1832 which re-drew the constituency boundaries. The 'new' boroughs had to adopt an elected council structure, based on resident ratepayer franchise, with mayor, aldermen and councillors, and responsibilities for markets, police, street lighting and by-laws. The 1831 edition of Lewis's Dictionary was based on English parishes and chapelries, identifying every place, even the most obscure ones, in relation to a parish and in most cases to a specific church. The later editions from about 1834 onwards chronicled the new industrial towns and population centres.
The map is of Dudley, rather than Cradley, although a location purporting to be Cradley is depicted. It is interesting to note that the basic road pattern is remarkably reminiscent of todays, and yet places names have evolved. Lady Wood has long been more commonly known as Saltwells Wood (which we refer to by this old name in an article on "Cradley Spa"), and where it says "Cradley" at the "four ways" crossroads this is most certainly the location of today's far newer town of Cradley Heath rather than Cradley as we now know it. In fact, the road leading north towards Netherton from that crossroads is named Newtown Lane. Cradley Heath grew up on the heathland to the north of Cradley, in Rowley Regis parish, in a part of Staffordshire county that separated the "island" of Dudley from the rest of Worcestershire to the south.
The 1830s in England were a period of great political change, reflecting, or rather catching up with, the changes brought about by the industrial revolution. This was the decade of central and local government reform, with the 1832 Reform Act and the 1835 Municipal Corporations Act being the principal instruments. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 removed from the parish its responsibility of poor law relief. In 1837 the Civil Registration Act replaced parish registers of births, weddings and burials with government recording of births, marriages and deaths as the definitive record of these vital events. The General Highways Act (1835), the Metropolitan Police Act (1829), the Lighting and Watching Act (1833), the Municipal Corporations Act (1835) and the County Police Act (1839) each superseded parish responsibilities with new local government ones.
The map is a steel engraving from Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary, drawn by R. Creighton and engraved by J & C Walker. The map reflects the boundary changes introduced on the enactment of the Reform Bill which received Royal Assent on June 7th 1832.
Cradley Links wishes to thank Paul Martin for his generosity in providing the image of this map, which was taken from his personal copy of the original steel engraving