Have you ever wondered about the past history of your street, your area? Who lived here, what they did, or what it was like 200 years ago?
This is a modern-day picture of Penns Lane near Erdington. 200 years ago, it was a narrow country lane with dense trees either side, and a scatter of cottages. To the west stood a wire-rolling factory: a very small enterprise then, but one which would eventually have a huge role to play in laying telegraphic cables across the Atlantic. To the east, came a junction with another lane leading into the village of Erdington. All around, the landscape was a patchwork of quiet fields. Nothing of any note had happened here in all its history - nothing that had made national headlines at least. Nothing that became an enormous scandal.
But all that was about to change in May 1817. Why ? What could possibly have happened here that was about to divide the community and make their names notorious?
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