Waterloo in the West Midlands: Places to Visit

How were the lives and fortunes of many West Midlanders affected, both for the better and the worse, by Napoleon’s relentless empire-building.  It was a fascinating point in history in the West Midlands, as local industrialists grew rich on the proceeds of the gun trade, and families waited anxiously for news of loved ones who had gone to war. This new research also tells some of the little-known stories about this period, most notably that of Napoleon’s brother, Lucien Bonaparte, whose own fluctuating fortunes of war saw him exiled from France before he took up residence in Worcestershire.

The places to visit explore the Napoleonic period and the historical links between France and the West Midlands. The strength of these connections became obvious to Emma Tyler in her former career as a genealogist, during which time she researched the history of Thorngrove House, the residence which belonged temporarily to Napoleon’s younger brother Lucien. 

Birmingham became an important centre for the production of weapons, as local manufacturers supplied many of the guns and swords that Wellington’s men carried onto the battlefield. The gun industry in particular helped to transform Birmingham into a global economic centre, but also provoked conflict and tension at home, not least with influential communities such as the Quakers, who found the profits made from war incompatible with their own pacifist beliefs.

Visit these places of interest:

  • The Queen's Own Hussar's Museum
  • The Shropshire Regimental Museum
  • Lord Hill's Column, Shrewsbury
  • The Birmingham Gun-Barrel Proof House
  • Lucien Bonaparte in the West Midlands
  • The Waterloo Churches

To find out more download the pdf below.

KEYWORDS: Places to Visit, Napoleonic Wars, Waterloo, Gun Making, Museums

Download the Full Article (PDF)

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