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Handsworth, Staffordshire

Historical Description

Handsworth, a town, a township, a parish, and a parliamentary division in Staffordshire. The town stands contiguous to Warwickshire, on Hoddey Brook; is suburban to Birmingham, about 2½ miles NNW of the centre of that borough; partakes of the industry and general character of Birmingham, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office (T.S.O.) under Birmingham, and two stations on the G.W.R., Handsworth and Soho, and a station at Hamstead on the L. & N.W.R. The parish is governed by a local board, includes also the townships of Perry Barr and Birchfield, and comprises 7752 acres; population, 35, 066. There are five livings- Handsworth St Mary with St Paul's, Hamstead, Handsworth, St James, Handsworth St Michael, St John the Evangelist (Perry Barr), and Holy Trinity (Birchfield); the first is a rectory, the others vicarages, in the diocese of Lichfield; value of St Mary, £800; of St James, £300; of St Michael, £220; of St John the Evangelist, £370; and of Holy Trinity, £330. Patron (except St John the Evangelist), the Bishop of Lichfield. St Mary's Church is ancient, was restored and partly rebuilt in 1877, includes a modern chapel with a statue of Watt by Chantry, and contains a bust of Boulton by Flaxman, and several old monuments. St Paul's, Hamstead, is a chapel of ease to the parish church of St Mary. Population of the ecclesiastical parish of St Mary, 5256. St James' Church was built in 1840, and a separate ecclesiastical parish was constituted for it in 1854; population, 13, 298. St Michael's Church was built in 1858, and is in the Decorated English style. A separate ecclesiastical parish was formed in 1861; population, 5706. Perry Barr was constituted an ecclesiastical parish in 1862; population, 3377. The church of St John was built in 1833. Christ Church is a chapel of ease. Birchfield was formed into an ecclesiastical parish in 1863; population, 7429. Trinity Church was built in 1864. There are Roman Catholic, Baptist, and Wesleyan chapels, and a convent of sisters of mercy; also a Wesleyan Theological College. The Victoria Park, about 20½ acres in extent, is th& property of the local board, and has been laid out as a recreation ground.

Handsworth Parliamentary Division of Staffordshire was formed under the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, and returns one member to the House of Cpmmons. Population, 84, 782. The division includes the following:-West Brom-wich-Handsworth, Harborne, Smethwick, West Bromwich (part of); Wednesbury-Darlaston, Tipton, Wednesbury, West Bromwich (part of); Rnshall-Rushall, Aldridge, Great Barr, Pelsall, Walsall Wood and Sheffield; Walsall, municipal borough.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyStaffordshire 
Ecclesiastical parishHandsworth St. Mary the Virgin 
Poor Law unionWest Bromwich 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Handsworth from the following:

Land and Property

A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Staffordshire is online.


Online maps of Handsworth are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Staffordshire newspapers online:

RegionWest Midlands
Postal districtB21
Post TownBirmingham