|The Gough family owned Perry Hall from 1669, and it was Sir Henry
Gough who in 1711 restored Perry Barr Bridge : the preserved bridge
of today is his. The often impassable roads around Birmingham were
turnpiked during the C18th, one of the first being the Wednesbury
(Soho) Road in 1727. Real improvement was slow, only gradually were
the worst stretches re-routed, gradients reduced, and bridges provided..
For labour the Trusts still relied on the grudging efforts of local
parishioners. There was a tollgate on Soho Hill. From l752 stage-coaches
and fly-wagons used the turnpike, and there was a gradual spread of
build-ing along it from that time. The Walsall Road, which then followed
the line of Hamstead Road, Handsworth Wood Road and Hamstead Hill,
was turnpiked in 1788, and a new Tame bridge followed.
Between 1727 and '61 there were several enclosures for private
estates, the largest of these being 50 acres of Soho Heath on the
steep side of the Hockley Brook. Ruston and Eaves made Soho Pool
beside the brook and built a small mill for industrial purposes
in l759. That same year William Hutton, the bookseller and historian
of Birmingham built a windmill at Bristnall End to make paper :
the venture was not successful, and the mill was demolished in l794.
Hamstead Forge closed about that time and the mill reverted to corn-grinding.