Wildfire Through Staffordshire – The Bilston Cholera Epidemic

Wildfire Through Staffordshire – Where Are the Graves is the first of a series of films presenting the work of Ian Henery, Walsall Poet Laureate.

The Bilston Cholera Epidemic had been covered in the narrative of the book, Wildfire Through Staffordshire with an accompanying poem. Ian had also written an article on the subject, with accompanying photographs of Sandfields Pumping Station for the Black Country Bugle newspaper, when he was asked by David Moore to write a poem to celebrate the lives of the people who died in the cholera epidemics of the mid ninetieth century.

These films are inspired by the book that presents Osborne’s Map of the Grand Junction Railway. The book contains many thought provoking poems have been specially created by Ian, adding a new dimension to Osborne’s observations.

Osborne’s Map of the Grand Junction Railway was the first of an increasing number of maps, guides and handbooks, which were produced as new railways opened across the country.

All were eager to expound the virtues of their great railways, and the marvellous feats of the Victorian engineers. A similar publication, Bradshaw’s guide is the subject of a recent television series; however it was in fact a set of timetables, and did not contain any tourist information as did Osborne’s Map. The Bradshaw’s Handbooks for tourists in Great Britain and Ireland was not actually published until 1860 and were a rival publication to Osborne’s original Railway guides.

The map showing the route of the Grand Junction Railway in this version of Osborne’s guide, has been completely and painstakingly re-constructed and restored by Mapseeker Publishing in full colour over a period of nearly three months. The work contains many attractive engravings, contemporary to the period, showcasing the line and surroundings areas, in splendid detail. This guide is keen to illustrate the achievements of the Victorian engineers and the Grand Junction Railway company, from the unadulterated splendour of the first class coach, to the ten arch viaduct bridging the London line. This is indeed the ultimate armchair guide.


Mapseekers Archive Publishing;

David Moore – Historian, filmmaker, photographer

Sandfields Pumping Station;

Ian Henery;

Wildfire Through Staffordshire;

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