There is nothing special about 40 Deepdale Lane, at least not as far as I know but it’s where I’ve lived since March 1990. When I paid off my mortgage in 2021 I received the deeds to the house and was surprised at the wealth of information contained within so wanted to know a bit more. The areas both sides of the road are riddled with mine workings with Roberts Street Primary school built over much of the mines in the late 90’s and new housing built on the other side of the lane a little later, part of the Milking Bank estate. The land at the time (2 acres 17 perches) was meadow and known as Little Meadow and The Croft. The road was known as Dibdale Bank. This land was however rich in both coal and clay and was owned by a family that owned much of the coal fields in Staffordshire. That family was the Ward family The quality of the underlying clay at Deepdale produced especially good fireclay, this would be used for producing bricks and other refractories which could be employed in furnaces and other industries where high temperatures were used. In saying there’s nothing special about 40 Deepdale Lane, upon more investigation the land before the house was built was owned by William Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley GCB, GCMG, GCVO, TD, PC (25 May 1867 – 29 June 1932). He was a British aristocrat, politician, and military officer who served as the fourth Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1908 to 1911. He was previously Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1902 to 1905, and also a government minister under Lord Salisbury. Dudley was born in London, the son of William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley, and Georgina, daughter of Sir Thomas Moncrieff, 7th Baronet. He was educated at Eton. His father died in 1885 and he inherited nearly 30,000 acres (120 km2) of mineral deposits in Staffordshire and Worcestershire, two hundred coal and iron mines, several iron works (including the Round Oak Steelworks) along with Himley Hall and Dudley Castle and a substantial fortune, as well as the Earldom. He visited Australia in 1886–87 as part of a yachting cruise. Dudley became part of the social circle of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), who attended his wedding to Rachel Gurney in 1891. He was appointed a deputy lieutenant for Worcestershire in 1893 and from 1895 to 1896 he was Mayor of Dudley. His son, William Humble Eric Ward, 3rd Earl of Dudley, set up Dudley Zoo. Deepdale Lane lay in the Manor of Sedgley (Once owned by Sir John Keeling) in the County of Stafford. Benjamin Gibbons, (1815-1863), ironmaster (son of William Gibbons 1782-1848 and Ann Every 1790-1851) developed fire-clay mines at Sedgley and leased the Hallfields furnace in Bradley near Bilston in the Black Country. He started the fireclay works at Deepdale Lane in 1834. The firm later became Gibbons Brothers and were located at Dibdale Works at the bottom of Deepdale Lane, their family business was one of the larger industries and major employers in the area. Gibbons purchased a large area of land sliced through by Bagleys Lane (later renamed Dibdale Road), this parcel of land stretched from the Dudley Road down to the Himley Road and was rich in both coal and clay. When he died in 1863 his widow, Emily (nee Watkin and originally from Neston, Merseyside), continued the firebrick business, in which her elder son, Benjamin, was employed as manager. The firm remained a family company for over 120 years and was for a number of years, world leaders in fire bricks and industrial ovens. The Dibdale works closed in 1987.

First transfer of the land

30th October 1884 By Deed of Enfranchisement (Transfer of the Land) Emily Gibbons (1830 - 1910) of Edgbaston was granted tenancy of the land 12th September 1891 Emily Gibbons was granted Tenancy for Life for the sum of £60 for parcels of land 2821 & 2822 - the area in Pink On 28th May 1900 Emily’s son William Pike Gibbons, her daughter Elizabeth Ada Gibbons and her friend Allen Edwards were made executors of Emily’s will. William lived in Ruiton House, Vale Street - one of the oldest houses in Gornal dating back to the 1700’s 5th November 1907 A further payment of £42 was made to William Ward to extend the land which included Blackberry Hill - parcel of land 2823 6th October 1910 Emily Gibbons Died. Her will was read on the 14th November 1910 and the executors took control of the land. 21st February 1911 William Pike Gibbons, Elizabeth Ada Gibbons and Allen Edwards sold the land to Benjamin Passmore the Elder (a foreman) for the sum of £400 19th February 1914 Benjamin Passmore the Elder (now a bricklayer) sold the land to his son Benjamin Passmore the Younger (aplater) for the sum of £30. Both lived at Dibdale Cottage which is around 100 yards further up Deepdale Lane The Land became known as 64 Dibdale Bank
40 Deepdale Lane
40 Deepdale Lane Blackberry Hill
The Right Honourable William Humble (Earl of Dudley) & Rachel (Countess of Dudley)
Emily Gibbons 1830 - 1910 (of Edgbaston) - tenant
William Pike Gibbons 1856 -1925
Benjamin Passmore (the Elder) (1826 - 1901) & Elizabeth Hickman 1828 - 1900
Benjamin Passmore 1858 - 1927 Sedgley
House Built
Joseph Charles Richards
Changed to 40 Deepdale Lane
Joseph William Hyde & James Hyde become executors
Mr & Mrs Ferguson
Grant from Dudley MBC for Home Improvements – DPC
Andrew Malpass & Tracy Lloyd
Eric John & Christine Shelley Bird
Andrew Philip Keeling
Bagley's Lane, Lower Gornal Dibdale Cottage