One and a half centuries


Chase Wakes in years past. Image from the Old Burntwood Tumblr, original source unknown.

Here’s a film I’ve been keeping an eye out for for a while, and it was finally uploaded to YouTube last week by David Harper, for which I’m very grateful.

This is, I believe, the film shown in a loop at St. Anne’s Church in Caasetown early in the year, and I’m afraid I don’t have much information on it’s composition, or who worked on it.

I have a feeling that social wonder Steve Lightfoot may know a fair bit – if you’re passing, please share the knowledge old chap.

If any of the authors or those involved are passing, please do comment with details so I can tell the full story and give everyone the credit they deserve for a wonderful, warm and beautiful film that’s very well made indeed.

My thanks t0 the irrepressible Wendy Jones for drawing this to my attention via her excellent and respectful Burntwood Chase Heritage Group on Facebook.

If you have anything to add, please do: either on this post, or mail me…  BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

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New Hall Mill open this Bank Holiday Monday – come and get crafty!


New Hall Mill is a splendid place, restored and run by wonderfully dedicated volunteers.

Theres a lovely thing to visit locally this Bank Holiday Monday (31st August 2015), that’s close by, free and absolutely fascinating

New Hall Mill is open again this Monday for their Arts and Crafts Day and I can heartily recommend the place. It’s fascinating and I had a great time there on Spring Bank Holiday Monday – not enough people know about this wonderful building.

It’s free to enter too (although donations are welcomed).

Alan Dawson, Friend of the mill, wrote to tell me all about Monday’s event:

Hi Bob & Friends of the Blog,

We are going to be Arty and Crafty at Newhall Mill on Bank Holiday Monday. Why not take a look? There are only two more open days this year when visitors may visit this restored 18th century working water mill that’s not too far away.

Come along to our Arts and Crafts day when the mill will be fully operational and see what we do to produce flour and look after a piece of history. You could become a friend of the mill as we are always on the lookout for new members.

There will be demonstrations and displays of traditional arts and crafts by :

The Walsall Handspinners

The Sutton Lacemakers

The Sutton Coldfield Society of Artists

The Sutton Coldfield Trinity Quilters

Traditional woodturning

Entertainment will be provided by The Side-by-Siders, a ukulele ensemble.


I totally geeked out over this wonderful place.

Entrance to the mill and car parking is free. The times of opening are 10.00 – 16.00 and this year’s remaining open days are as follows –

  • Bank holiday Monday August 31st – Arts and Crafts day
  • Sunday September 13th – History day

Although there is no charge for car parking or for admission to the mill or gardens, collection boxes are positioned at various locations. Donations from visitors are very welcome as the mill depends upon these to assist towards the costs of maintaining and running the mill for your pleasure and enjoyment.

Access to the mill is off the Wylde Green road, Sutton Coldfield, B76 1QU, some 200 metres from the National cycle route.

More details can be found on our website –

Best regards,
Alan Dawson – A friend of New Hall Mill.

This is certainly one worth visiting – please do pop along if you can. It is truly fascinating.


It’s not just the Mill, although that’s a gem itself – but the wonderfully tended grounds – plus a fine teashop!

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Walsall Wood under 18s flatten Kidsgrove

Since the main team are on a layoff today, both I and the young David Evans thought it might be good to highlight last weeks evening fixture from the Walsall Wood Under 18s team, when it’s fair to say the Wood kids hammered visitors Kidsgrove Athletic.

Walsall Wood FC run a number of youth teams that play high class, wonderfully competitive football, and they’re well worth going to see – and they’re also after new players, too, so if you’ve a budding Beckham in the family, why not get them down there?

You can check out the club website here, and the upcoming fixtures for the Under 18 side here.

The main team are back in action this Bank Holiday Monday (31st August 2015) when they take a trip down the road to beleaguered Boldmere St. Micheals. Kickoff 3pm…

Images and captions kindly supplied by David Evans

Walsall Wood Under 18s versus Kidsgrove Athletic,
Northern division of the Midland Floodlit Youth League

On Tuesday evening, 25th August 2015 I was delighted to watch the Under 18s team of Walsall Wood Fc in action at Oak Park, against their visitors from Kidsgrove. I was not sure what to expect, but I saw a most capable and proficient team, sporting the bright red colours, playing with composure and skill, against a willing, but quite overwhelmed team from Kidsgrove.

Walsall Wood soon took control , with their accurate passing, off-the-ball running, and dominated the play throughout the match. The Kidsgrove goalkeeper faced a barrage of attacking moves, and conceded seven goals.

The visitors, though dejected and disheartened, strove to gain at least one goal in the second half, but to no avail.

The northern league teams and positions before this evening’s match were as follows:

Teams P GD Pts
Sporting Khalsa 1 5 3
Walsall Wood 1 3 3
Pelsall Villa 1 2 3
Eccleshall 0 0 0
Leek Town 0 0 0
Mickleover Sports 0 0 0
Kidsgrove Athletic 1 -2 0
Market Drayton Town 1 -3 0
Coton Green 1 -5 0  
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Get your live music fix at the Chase Inn this weekend!


Looks like a great night is in store!

The revival of the Chase Inn at Newtown, Brownhills continues apace – there’s not only great ale and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, but great live music most weekends, too – tonight, (Saturday 29th August 2015) at 9:00pm you can catch rock covers band Fire, and in the afternoon slot 5-8pm on Sunday (30th August 2015) Roy C (Roy Conrad from Eagles tribute band Talon).

The pub was in the doldrums for years, but now under new management, the buzz around the Chase Inn has been building. The recent real ale and cider festival was a real hit – it’s so good to see a local pub revived.

Why not get down there? You’re guaranteed a great night…

For the satnav folk, the address is: 6 Watling Street, Newtown, Brownhills WS8 6JS

You can contact the pub on: 01543 899568 or visit their Facebook page.

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Ticket to ride

Brownhills Sankey Ticket

What a wonderful piece of ephemera! Beautiful, high-quality scan by Lawrence Hodgkinson.

A lovely enquiry for the Bank Holiday weekend came in a couple of days ago courtesy of reader Lawrence Hodgkinson, who has submitted a beautiful scan of a rather unusual ticket stub from a railway special excursion in 1952.

I’ll let Lawrence explain:


The attached scan is of a Sankeys W.M.C. Half Day Excursion railway ticket from Brownhills to Colwyn Bay in August 1952.

This is number 285 and for a Juvenile under 16. As the tickets were specialy printed for this excursion, presumably there were at least 285 people on the trip.

Can you perhaps find out more about this trip? Do any of the children who went on this trip still remember it? There is a Sankeys Working Mens Club at 166 Lichfield Road, Brownhills.

There used to be a Working Mens Club in Lichfield Road near the station, but I don’t know if it was called Sankeys.

Perhaps there was more than one Sankeys Working Mens Club. Was Sankeys Corner at Chase Terrace named after a WMC?

Lawrence Hodgkinson

Now there’s a corker of a challenge for the holiday weekend!

I’ve said before that clubs were at the very heart of Brownhills life for years, and Laurence is correct – the Sportsman (now demolisted) was built as a W.M.C. and known as the ‘Top Club’ for years, as well as the Middleton House which was, I believe, the Bottom Club and in-between, Sankeys. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

I have no idea of the derivation of the name Snakeys Corner, and if it’s related. Anyone?

Thanks to Lawrence for a real boster of a question, and for sharing a beautiful artefact. If you can help, please do – either by commenting here, or mailing me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.


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Lichfield Waterworks Trust – August public meeting this evening


Sandfields Pumping Station – a great historic building with immense history and social significance – not just to Lichfield, but to the Black Country. Lichfield Discovered and local historian Dave Moore are fighting to save this valuable asset for the community.

Sandfields Pumping Station champion and public historian extraordinaire Dave Moore has been in touch to let me know that this evening (Thursday 27th August 2015) there is a public progress meeting for the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group.

It takes place at the Duke of York pub, Greenhill, Lichfield from 7:30-9pm.

Dave wrote:

Monthly Progress Meeting of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust, formerly known as the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station.

Thursday 27 August at 7:30pm – please note the new venue

The meeting place is;
Duke of York
23/25 Greenhill
WS13 6DY

T: 01543 300 386

The Lichfield Waterworks Trust is a Community Incorporated Organisation, registered with the charities commission who are fighting to save the Grade II* listed building know as Sandfields Pumping Station for the benefit of the community.

The unique 190 Hp Cornish Beam Engine and building area magnificent monument to the lives of the people who died in the black Country during the mid ninetieth century due to the cholera epidemics. It also celebrates the achievements of the Victorian water engineers who gave clean water to the nation.

English Heritage has designated Sandfields Pumping Station as a building that has ‘more than special interest’, hence the reason it has been listed at Grade II*

Unfortunately, what some see as Lichfield’s most significant pieces of Industrial Heritage, a true hidden gem form the past is now a building at risk.

All are welcome to become involved in this challenging but rewarding project.

Excellent food and drinks are available in the bar.

Minutes of the July meeting of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust

Forging Ahead how museums are interpreting industrial heritage

Do pop over to Dave Moore’s blog and check out the history of Sandfields Pumping Station, an almost forgotten gem – the group also has a Facebook page.

Dave is, of course, one of the leading lights of Lichfield Discovered, along with Kate ‘Cardigan’ Gomez from Lichfield Lore.

It’s great to see people like Dave encourage a better attitude to our historic buildings, rather than that which we seem to have here in Walsall, where we regard heritage architecture as merely ‘fuel’.

Please do attend if you’re able, it’s sure to be enlightening and educational.

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Heritage Gathering coming soon!


A wonderful day out in store for all! Image from Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust have been in contact to let me know about their Heritage Gathering which is coming up over the weekend of 18-19th September 2015, and takes place at their Huddlesford base, near Lichfield.

There will be boats, vintage and classic vehicles, stalls, food, displays and all the usual fun and games. This is a great show and previous years have been excellent, and well worth the visit.

All funds raised will help support the canal restoration project, whose volunteers are currently beavering away on the route of the lost line between Barracks Lane, Ogley Hay and The Boat restaurant, on the Lichfield Road at Summerhill, opening the route for walkers.

If you’re into history, canals and craft, keep that weekend free!

Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust wrote:

Heritage Gathering Highlights Vintage Boats And Classic Cars


Image from Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

Huddlesford Heritage Gathering promises a boatload of fun for all the family.

Organised jointly by Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust and Lichfield Cruising Club, the Gathering, to be held over the weekend of September 19-20, brings together historic boats, floating traders, private boats and classic vehicles, with exhibitors and displays on the field, near Huddlesford Junction on the Coventry Canal.

The biennial event attracted almost 5,000 visitors in 2013 and organisers are hoping for similar numbers this year.

Floating traders will be offering everything from chocolates to cheese, antiques to home brew kits, while traders on the field include facepainting, clothing products and home-made food.

Among the exhibitors are a bird of prey centre, beekeepers, and demonstrations of crafts such as spinning and photography.

Emma’s Crafty Kids will be catering for the needs of the younger visitors, while other attractions include boat trips and rides on a traction engine.

A variety of musical entertainment will be on offer, including folk groups, shanty singers and a ukulele orchestra.

And there’s an all-day bar!

Huddlesford Heritage Gathering will be open to the public on September 19 and 20, from 10am to 5pm. Admission is £4 with children under 13 free if accompanied by an adult.

Car parking is free and there is free admission to the classic cars display.

For more information visit the Trust website at

If you can help get in touch with the Trust on Twitter @LHCRT1, on Facebook or on their website.

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