This is an extract from the Black Country Geological Society newsletter number 210, December 2011. It investigates how glacial erratics have been used as a local resouce in the Black Country.
Each area of the Black Country has always been associated with its own specialised trade and Bloxwich is no exception, having long been a supplier of metal components to the Leather Industry of Walsall. In particular a small area to the north of Bloxwich known as ‘The Short Heath’ or ‘Bloxwich Green’ was associated with the production of awls, (a needle type tool used to punch holes through leather), plus bits and tackles used in the production of horse harnesses and headgear. What is not generally known is that Glacial Erratics collected from local fields were used by these metal workers as mounts for the anvil on which items were forged and honed. This association is commemorated in the collection of Glacial Erratics displayed in the park at the north end of the High Street just before The Bell public house where the Wolverhampton to Lichfield road crosses the A34.
These Erratics clearly show the chiselled holes into which the anvils would have been mounted, and presumably by their weight and mass added extra stability to the anvil as it was used to form the metal components required by the leather trade.
Today these Erratics are preserved in an almost ‘Gaudi-esque’ sculpture and are yet again a reminder of the fact that for the Black Country industrial endeavour cannot be separated from its geological past.
For further information see: http://www.thebloxidgetallygraph.com/anvilstones.htm
Written by Mike Williams