IAlfred Baldwin 1840- 1908

 

 Alfred Baldwin was the 12th child of George Pearce Baldwin, born a few months after his father’s death. The Baldwin family owned various companies including carpet manufacturing works at Bridgnorth and Tinplate works at Wolverhampton. Alfred Enoch Baldwin took over the Wilden Iron and Tin Plate Co in 1840 and ran the business with his nephews, Pearce and William trading as "E.P. & W. Baldwin of Wilden". At the age of 21, Alfred started work under his brothers, half-brothers, uncle and cousins. In 1864 two half brothers died and the control of Wilden passed in to the hands of the two elder brothers who through mismanagement brought the Wilden company close to bankruptcy. In September of 1870 at the age of 29 Alfred took control, dissolved the partnership, brought out his two brothers and by business acumen and hard work put the company back into profit.

In 1866 Alfred married Louisa MacDonald, and in August 1867, while they were living at their first home in Lower Park, Bewdley, their only son Stanley was born.

 In 1870 Alfred and his brothers dissolved the partnership and Alfred took sole charge changing the name to Baldwins Ltd. Alfred and the family moved from Bewdley to Wilden so that he could be near his employees to whom he became a father and benefactor, most living in company houses.

 Wilden House lay just across the lane from the forge and when the wind was from the west the smoke would have blown into the windows of the house. The forge, as so often in those days, was set in a pastoral landscape as can be imagined from a walk about in Wilden today.

 When the church commissioners gave a site for a church and a portion of land for burial, Alfred offered to erect a suitable church.

  On May 3rd 1879, Alfred Baldwin laid the Foundation Stone for Wilden Church, which he generously built for the community at a cost of £3,000.

 Alfred also built the village hall and the school and playing fields where the Baldwin Works' cricket team played were also provided. In 1888, Alfred's 21year old son Stanley joined the company as a partner. He was to spend twenty years in the business before following his father into politics and ultimately becoming Prime Minister (1923, 1924-29,1935-37).

 

 

The Baldwin Family and Wilden

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The grave of Alfred and Louisa  Baldwin in Wilden churchyard.