Ups And Downs On The Broseley Jitties

Ding Dong steps 2

The Broseley Jitties are quiet these days. On our early evening rambles we meet only a now-and-then walker with their dog. And then perhaps a stray chicken. Or a watchful cat in a cottage gateway. The atmosphere is somnolent; a sense of falling back through time. There’s the subtle scent of cow parsley along the verges,  of garden flowers wafting over the walls and hedges.

Yet a hundred/two hundred years ago there would have been no quietness (or cleanly odours) here. Only the shouts and chatter of working men, women and children; rattle of clogs as the folk of Broseley Wood went about their day – to the mines and quarries, to the pot and pipe factories, to the taverns, to the chapels, to the wells.

Ding Dong Steps


Botswell Lane Jitty down and up – and as the name denotes, a main route for fetching water from the well in the valley bottom. Hard work fetching washing and cooking water, especially in the winter.

Botswell Lane

Botswell Lane up


Another water source was the spring on Spout Lane, not far from the bottom of Jews Jitty where the Wolfson family lived and ran their pottery factory.  The daughters of the house apparently carried out the ritual bathing rite of mikvah at this spring – a somewhat public spot.

spout lane spring


Jews Jitty up…

Jews Jitty up


And Jews Jitty down …

Jews Jitty sepia


And a final up on Gittings Jitty yesterday evening, the cow parsley in full flourish…

Gittings Jitty

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: steps or ladders

32 thoughts on “Ups And Downs On The Broseley Jitties

  1. Fetching water is a thing I have thought of often. I do have a spring down the hill but being 1/4 mile or so over rough lant does present a problem should I need to fetch water. But we never know what we will be called to do. I do like your new location..very quite and relaxing it seems.

  2. Wonderful pictures.

    I’d like to think that maiden Wolfson had a guard to protect her from intrusive eyes. A mikvah is usually very private — and fast. You go into the water, quick dip down, then out again into a big towel or robe and off you go. I’ve never heard of one being “public” except to others involved in managing the mikvah. There are usually older women there to make sure you are properly “doused” all the way to the ends of your hair and thoroughly cleansed, though they are more particular if you are getting married when it’s a whole “thing. ” Yes, I did it and I remember. Those other older women are pretty good at making sure your mikvah is done properly and I can’t imagine them allowing straying eyes, so I’m guessing they made sure that this was done quickly, privately — in, out, dip, and off to get your hair fixed.

    1. The access to the water spout is down quite a deep dip from the lane, so although close to the road, I imagine it was possible to screen the rite from observers. Thanks for all those further insights, Marilyn.

      1. I’m not religious, but when you live in Israel, are Jewish and want to get married, you are required – LEGALLY – to do all this ritual stuff. It wasn’t awful or offensive, but it was certainly very far out of my usual wheelhouse. AND, I learned a lot. You actually have to hand in a card from the Mikvah that everything was properly done.

      2. I don’t know much about the Wolfson family, only that they had arrived and set up business by around 1930, The Local History Society’s notes say they ran a pottery factory porducing plain wares. Their daughter married a German (perhaps a refugee?) who opened another factory nearby making porcelain dolls’ faces, but also supplying the national Woolworths chain with products. They were apparently very good employers and well regarded, but in Broseley Wood they were living in the midst of a traditionally working class community of non-conformist Methodists. The German son-in-law was interned during WW2 and the business failed.

  3. These shots look great in monochrome, especially that last one with the frothy cow parsley! I enjoyed the historical insights into life there in the past too 🙂

  4. You have captured a real sense of history in the words and photos, especially using monochrome. You will be getting very fit with all those steps to go up and down, no need to go to a gym.

  5. We think of our modern life as so permanent, but only a couple of hundred years ago, everthing, everywhere, was different … make one think what it will all be like in a couple of hundred years going forward. 🙂

      1. Knee is still going strong 🙂 … the rest of me is taking a bit of time adjusting to not having to compensate for it. 🙂 … the cycle continues. 😀

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