It stands at 777 ft above sea level and, in 1887, was used to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Since being built in 1846, Sedgley Beacon has been an instantly recognisable feature of the town and holds an iconic place in Black Country history.
Now, with Queen Elizabeth about to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee after 60 years on the throne, a group of Sedgley residents is working hard to restore this majestic Grade 2 listed monument back to its former glory.
After a lot of hard work and perseverance the group, known as Friends of Sedgley Beacon, is working closely with Dudley Council conservation and preservation officers and other departments.
Members have also enlisted the help of local police in setting up action plans so they can apply for funding to get Sedgley Beacon and the Grade 2 listed tower which sits on the highest point of the beacon restored and protected for future generations to enjoy.
Friends of Sedgley Beacon is also in the process of having a gate fitted to the entrance to the beacon on the Sedgley to Wolverhampton Road to stop off- road bikes and vehicles gaining access and causing damage. Once this is completed, the group can then start all the other work its members feel is so urgently needed.
Group spokesman, Tony Cowell, says: “Sedgley Beacon is an area of outstanding natural beauty in urban surroundings with fantastic views to the east and west.
“To the east, you can see areas of manufacturing going out to Lichfield, Cannock, West Bromwich and Birmingham – the next highest point to the east is the Ural Mountains in Russia!
“To the west, there are vast areas of countryside including the Malvern Hills, The Wrekin and the Welsh Mountains. In fact, it has been suggested that on a good clear day from the highest point of the beacon, you can see the Bristol Channel.”
There is a quarry on the beacon which supports Limestone grassland – of extreme rarity in this region – with rare plants including greater knapweed, carline thistle and quaking grass.
There are also many different kinds of butterflies in the summer which are beautiful to see on a stroll across the beacon.
For budding archaeologists, a wide variety of fossils can also be found at the quarry.
However, despite being such an asset to anyone in the Black Country, the years have sadly not been kind to Sedgley Beacon.
Tony explains: “Both the beacon and tower are in a very bad state of neglect. This has gone on for years – despite the hard work and dedication put in by The Beacon Hill Tenants and Residents Association who have worked tirelessly over the last 14 years to get this done.
“The tower needs an immense amount of work both inside and out, from top to bottom, along with the immediate surrounding area which is part of the tower itself. Due to neglect, it is going to take longer and cost more to complete this project, but our group is dedicated to getting this done.”
The tower, which is built of Gornal Stone, stands 50ft high and is 7 ft in diameter. Reputedly, it was constructed for Lord Wrottesley of Tettenhall, Wolverhampton – a keen amateur astronomer.
However, other sources suggest it may have been built as a folly by a local landowner known as Mr. Petit.
Tony adds: “Once the action plan is complete, we can start applying for funding from the Lottery and other organisations. Then, we can start getting the beacon and tower looking good again, so people can go and visit and appreciate what we all have on our doorstep.
“Our group would appreciate any support and backing from anyone who is interested in our project and we’d like to thank everyone who has helped us so far.”
Friends of Sedgley Beacon works closely with the Queen Victoria Centre in Dudley and holds all of its meetings there.
For more information, visit the group’s website or its Facebook page or call 01384817490.