Harden not so fast, sunshine!

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‘Harden hall’ listed under Walsall in the Historic England red box archive. Close, but no cigar.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been featuring images here from an archive I haven’t named, but   is remarkable – not just for the content, but for the quirkiness and inaccuracy of some of the content.

The Historic England – England’s Places archive features images digitised from the Architectural ‘red box’ Archive: that is, it’s a collection of pictures from across England – with some notes – covering what have been considered to be historically important buildings, many taken just before their subjects were destroyed or altered.

The Historic England folk are the people who created the Britain from Above project, too.

I’m unclear how many of the images came to be in the archive; most of the local ones seem to have originated from defunct council collections. Whilst the images are remarkable and fascinating, there seem to be many errors – we found that a level crossing filed under Burntwood was actually in Uttoxeter, and reader and historian Ian Pell points out below that ‘Harden Hall, Walsall’ featured last week is actually Arden Hall, Bredbury, Cheshire and therefore nowhere near Walsall at all.

Arden Hall c1795

(H)Arden Hall, Bredbury, Cheshire. Definitely not Walsall. Image from RIBApix, ref ‘Harden Hall (or Arden Hall) engraving ref:- RIBA 18794’. Image supplied by Ian Pell.

You can see the card for ‘Harden Hall’ here. I’m a bit at a loss with it, to be perfectly honest. Suggestions of what has actually gone on there welcome.

Not that I’d deride such an important collection, but it is somewhat odd. Anyway, do pop over for a look and share anything curious you find. You can visit this astounding collection here. Note also that some towns are under multiple, or odd categories; note the lack of Brownhills, under which it lists ‘Hammerwich‘ and ‘Walsall‘, but searching ‘Aldridge’ throws up ‘Aldridge – Brownhills‘.

My sincerest thanks to Kate Cardigan from Lichfield Lore for pointing this archive out – it’s sucked me in for hours on end, and I think readers will find it fascinating.

Arden Hall, Bredbury 4

Arden Hall as it survives today – Image supplied by Ian Pell, from Keith and Elizabeth Jaggers, posted as part of an article at Landed Families of Britain and Ireland.

Anyhow, here’s the wonderfully knowledgable Ian Pell on the Harden Hall that wasn’t…

Hi Folks

Harden Hall I believe is actually ‘Arden Hall’, Bredbury, Cheshire.

It was a 1597 Tudor house overlooking the Mersey, owned by a ‘junior’ branch of the Arden’s of Warwickshire. By the early 1800’s it had become a farmhouse, having been sold by the family.

In the period 1823-33 it was described as ‘falling into decay’ and by 1866 it had become roofless and parts of the walls had collapsed. The ruins I believe still exist today as part of a housing develpoment.

You can read about it in this article from the Landed Families of England and Ireland blog here.

An 1795 engraving of the hall is held in the RIBA collection.

Kind regards

Thanks to Ian, as ever bang on the money. Anything to add? Please do! Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Van break-in in Shire Oak – be on the lookout, please

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Common side and Quantock Close, Shire Oak. Imagery from Apple Maps.

Sad to report another vehicle break in in Shire Oak – this time at the Quantock Close end of Commonside, in which tools and a laptop were stolen from a van on the night of Friday 2nd/Saturday 3rd October 2015.

Sarah Michelle Horton-Samra shared the following post in the Shire Oak group on Facebook  today:


I’m new to this group I just wanted to warn people on here to be vigilant.

My husband’s van was broken into on Friday night/early hours of Saturday morning 3rd of October. We live the top end of Commonside near Quantock Close.

All his power drills and other tools including our laptop was taken which has especially upset us as we have all our photos of our daughter.

We called the police but unfortunately we have no CCTV… But this is something we are going to install.

My sympathies to Sarah and her family. Nicking anybody’s stuff is low, but stealing a working mans tools is particularly horrible.

I reiterate as I do in all these cases – lock up your house properly, don’t leave valuables on display or keys where they can easily be taken. It’s sad that we have to be like this, but it pays to be that little bit more careful.

Brownhills is generally a low-crime area, and this current patch would appear to be an aberration.

The people doing this are more than likely doing it to raise cash from the proceeds of selling what they steal. If you know of anyone hawking around tools, computers or other stuff that seems to be dubious, please grub them into the police – the stuff they’re flogging is probably nicked.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Walsall Police by dialling 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Please, lets see if we can nail these thieving buggers.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, It makes me mad!, Local Blogs, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

House fire in Vernon Avenue last night

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Vernon Avenue, Brownhills. Imagery from Bing! Maps.

Sad to report a house fire occurred early this morning (Sunday, 4th October 2015) in Vernon Avenue, central Brownhills.

At around 6am West Midlands Fire Service attended the incident, in which a man suffered burns to his hands and for the effects of smoke inhalation. He was treated at the scene, and was later taken to hospital.

My sympathies to the gentleman concerned, and thanks to the emergency services.

There’s a report at the Express & Star here.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Express & Star, Local media, News, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A really good night in for Macmillan – at King Street Club this Monday!


A great charitable event for an excellent cause!

Reader Nicola Khadhraoui‎ has been in touch and asked me to give her event at King Street Club in Walsall Wood this Monday evening a plug… it looks like a great event, so why not get down there?

A night of fun and pampering with all lovely Aloe Vera products.

Monday 5Th October from 7pm

King Street Club, King St, Walsall Wood, Ws9 9Ln


Bring along your friends – All Welcome!
Foot Spa – Facial – Massages – Wraps
Teeth Whitening – Make up demonstration
Overview of all the lovely products
Free prize draw – Goody Bags
Consultation and Advice

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Narrow gauge minded

Chasewater Miniature Railway Elaine Turvey

I’m not sure of the origin of the image, but it was supplied by John Daft. All I can say is ‘Wow” – thank you!

Some technical issues are besetting me today (Blame the ghost of Steve Jobs) but I had a great email from Chasewater Railway’s John Daft which has to be the definitive answer and authority on the lost Chasewater narrow-gauge ride-on railway, which readers have shown huge interest in since I posted yesterday.

John wrote:

Hi Bob,

I left Brownhills in 1960, before this railway, and didn’t join Chasewater railway till well after its demise. When I first heard about it, I made a few enquiries and found one or two bits of information, and a picture, given to us by Elaine Turvey.

I have copied a couple of emails and attached a copy of the photo and a short article about the railway.

John Daft

Email from Chasewater Railway Museum:

I was wondering if you had ever come across any pictures of the Chasewater Miniature Railway, which ran at Chasewater Country Park, Staffordshire, in the 1970s?

It was operated for a while by members of the Chasewater Railway, starting in summer 1975 and ,as far as I am aware, continuing in 1976.

The basic information I have states:

‘The Chasewater Miniature Railway is a 7 and a quarter inch gauge railway. Rolling stock consists of three carriages, each carrying four passengers. The locomotive is petrol driven with a scaled down ‘Hymek’ outline body’

The line was wholly owned by Walsall Metro-Borough Council.

Regards, more in hope than anticipation!


That’s how I remember it at the time: I can remember jumping in an out of the turntable pit and my dad telling me how it had worked. Image from John Daft,

Sent to Peter Bryant of http://www.miniaturerailwayworld.co.uk:

Reply from Dave Holroyde, who was contacted by Peter:

The line ran from c1971 -76. I don’t have any photos of it.

Motive power was D7023 4w-4PM Cromar White 1971 New, sold 6/79 (The Hymek you mention in text below). This then went to Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park before being sold to Ireland in the mid 1980s, and it hasn’t been seen since!

There was also an 0-4-0T (details unknown) and BEDFORD SCHOOL 4-4-0 J & W Gower 1934, now with privately owned in Hertfordshire. This arrived c1971 and was sold by 4/75.

I doubt the coaches were of Severn Lamb build as I own 4 of their standard design, and they seat 8 passengers or so,.

Thanks to John for that – this really is recovered history, and is exactly why  run the blog.

Please feel free to comment if you want, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. I’m particularly after other photos, if anyone has them please?


This will settle a few arguments that have been rumbling on since the beginning of this blog, really. Note the low water level and original ‘light house’ on the pier. Clipping kindly supplied by Dean Rogers. Click for a larger version.


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The people in charge – in 1934


Some nice suits there, although the gent’s trousers on the right seem to have had a row with his ankles. What a wonderful image. Kindly donated by Geoff Harrington.

An image today I deliberately held back from the larger run of Geoff Harrington’s wonderful donations as I didn’t want it to pass unnoticed – this wonderful photo of the Brownhills Working Men’s Club Officers and Committee, taken in September 1934.

This would be the ‘Top club’ that later became the Sportsman, and was in the environs of the railway station at Brownhills, about where Smithy’s Forge is now.

David Evans had this to say about the picture:

Hello Bob

This interesting image has been offered by Mr Goeff Harrington.

He could only identify the elderly gentleman in the centre of the photo as Mr Colley, who was well known about Brownhills.

In the following discussion I learned that the Committee members were in effect the trustees of the Club, and so bore personal responsibity for paying off any debt the club incurred

The image shows the Council House and the rear of the railway station in Brownhills


This is the only page of the station I’ve ever seen from this side – even if it is only the roofline, but I’d love to know who the other people are.

If you can help, or have anything to add, please feel free: comment on this post or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Gopoglemail dot com. Cheers to Geoff for yet another remarkable piece of history.

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Walsall Wood FC off to Heanor today


Off to Derbyshire today for the Woodmen… Image from Weallstandtogether blog.

Saturday 3rd October 2015

The Wood are at away at Heanor Town!

Best of luck to the Woodmen from me and all the readers

Kick off is 3:00pm

Hopefully, a match report will follow…

For the Good of the Wood!

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment