Episode 36

Halloween Special: Thomas Thorneycroft & Tettenhall Towers

Halloween Special: Thomas Thorneycroft & Tettenhall Towers

Season: 4 Episode: 36

In this special seasonal episode, we explore Tettenhall Towers in Wolverhampton and find out more about it's most famous resident, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Thorneycroft.

We also hear from well known and very well respected Paranormal Investigator, Karin Beasant. She tells us about an investigation she did at the building as well as her other spooky encounters.

Here's a complete list of Thomas' inventions...

Thomas’s Inventions:

1. Application of a stream of air to blow up large sitting-room or hall fires in houses. 

2.Elastic dancing floors. 

3.Burning sewer gas (in which microbes are found to exist), at a temperature of 400 degrees. 

4. Cascades, as applied to his theatre. 

5.Windows at the back of the stage in his theatre, thereby utilising one or two acres for a stage on his pleasure grounds, where river scenes and forests are arranged almost naturally, with lime, electric, and Bengal lights; real water is also used in these scenes, the cascade having a drop of 44ft. 

6.Apparatus for warming clothes, boots, awl shoes in his dressing-room, which apparatus runs through his boot-case, thus keeping these articles of clothing in good condition. 

7.Washing stand and dressing table in one. 

8.New roof for racquet court, where there are also Turkish, swimming, and saltwater baths. 

9.New water closet, where the lid lifts up, thus making it into a urinal.

10.New hot water and gas stove for his business room, which also warms shoes, boots, and socks.

11.Two mechanical horses trotting, with carriage behind.

12.New glass door wardrobe invented in 1846 (the year before he married), and now used in nearly all countries.

13.New corkscrew box for ladies' use, there being no danger of the cork bursting.

l4.A warship made of bar iron, each side, with wood in the middle, so that at most cannon balls can only make a small hole, which can easily be plugged up.

15.A new apparatus that can steer a balloon to the extent of 250 yards in a drop of a mile, the idea being to avoid falling on trees or houses. This was invented by Colonel Thorneycroft after his experience of ballooning on the 11th September, 1882.

16.New mangers, to contain a supply of hot or cold water.

17.New Victoria-Clarence carriage. When open no glass can be seen; when shut it resembles a perfect Clarence.

18.New hansom brougham, invented in 1867. Now regularly used as a Court brougham.

19.A new charabanc, where a small brougham can be arranged behind the driver, if wet, and another sort of mail phaeton hood fitted up in two minutes behind. A staircase is also fitted to this carriage, so that ladies can get up safely and easily if the carriage is on the move.

20.An alteration in the stage coach, where the last seat but one is turned round, and an opening thus made in the roof for the legs, so that passengers ride facing the horses when they wish. Can be altered into its old state in two minutes. Also a set of steps for ladies to get up inside the coaches. A glass window fits in the front boot, so that the inside of the coach really forms a comfortable Court brougham, in which the view of the horses is not interrupted, while a good view of the country beyond can also be enjoyed.

21.Picnic wagon where 14 can dine comfortably. Under some canvas wings more can dine. Often used with three cobs abreast.

22. A small ash shovel, made of wire, to preserve the small ashes, yet allowing the dust to fall through, thus affecting a great saving in coals.

23. A new ballroom for moderate sized houses in London or elsewhere, on carriage wheels. Can be enlarged at pleasure, put up in the street in front of the houses in two hours, and taken down in two hours, only covering the area, footpath, and 10 feet of the street. It is necessary to obtain permission to use this. Usual size 50 by 20ft.

24. A fire escape of network on wheels. can be placed in front of houses on fire, for people to jump into, or be thrown into safety. Above 100ft. high.

25. A house canal boat, with a new sort of deck; a 72ft. long boat with deck, dining, bandsmen's rooms and kitchen, as well as two cabins. Gas is used from cylinders to cook and warm the rooms.

26. A brake that horses can, and do work themselves when going downhill, and take off when going along the level road or uphill. It applies to a one-horse cart or a pair-horse carriage or coach.

27. A galvanised thin sheet of steel in boot and shoe soles, to keep feet dry and warm, as no wet can get through.

28. A galloping horse, life size, on a magic lantern slide, with jockey.

29. Composed 16 songs, words and music, one march, two waltzes; all the words and parts of the music of an opera called the "Thorneycroft Cousins," which was performed for three nights at Tettenhall 'rowers, before 1,400 people.

The image used on the advert is a drawing by Tettenhall Tower's former groundsman Alex Poile.


This podcast has been specially edited from a Bradley Stoke Radio show in Bristol, England. 

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So, thankyou for listening and until next time guys, take care and look after each other.


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Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society


Black Country History


Sound Effects by zapsplat.com

Intro music by The Model Folk 

Back In The Day music by Freesoundmusic


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Alice The Backtracker

Hello there! My name is Alice and this is The Backtracker History Show Podcast where I ask you to join me on a meander down through the archives to find out more about the people, places and events from the past.

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