56 bus service: Travel West Midlands to fill the gap


The 56 service is popular and busy. Image from great local bus enthusiast Walsall1955 and posted on Flickr.

Excellent news from Councillor Steve Wade on the future of the 56 bus service from Brownhills to Birmingham following his meeting with Travel West Midlands last Thursday.

TWM will be modifying the 936 service to cover the loss of the 56, which I think given the intractable position of Diamond on the matter is the best we can hope for.

As soon as I can find an official timetable, I’ll post it up.

I thank Steve for his hard work on the matter, and for all the hard work he does for Brownhills – on so many issues locally. Steve is the only one of the local Councillors to get involved or make public comment… and for that, I’d like to thank him publicly.

Steve posted on Facebook yesterday:

56 bus route update: Just received the following e-mail from National Express regarding the 56 route from Brownhills. They have confirmed that they will be taking over the whole route, so our school children, workers and elderly who use this service can continue to do so. Like to thank everyone who’s been involved with helping to keep this route for our residents. Unfortunately, there’s always losers and those residents on Lichfield and Ogley Road will now have to catch the new service on Brownhills High Street. Those residents who have bought travel cards for Diamond can get a refund, Diamond confirmed this at our meeting. Thanks, Steve.

Hi Stephen,

National Express West Midlands are pleased to advise that we will be amending our 934 – 936 group of bus services to provide a direct replacement for Diamond’s withdrawn 56 from 25th October. New service 937 will be introduced from this date, which will operate to the same line of route as the 56 between Brownhills West (Rising Sun) and Birmingham City Centre. The current 936 will be changed to operate during peak periods only, and will now operate to Brownhills West (rather than Ogley Hay) following consultation.

A copy of the new timetable is attached to this email.

– The 937 will operate every 20 minutes during peak periods and every 30 minutes during Monday to Saturday daytimes.

– Buses on the 937 will operate along Erdington Road (directly past St. Francis of Assisi School) and along Aldridge Road in Streetly.

– Between the 936 and 937, buses will run up to every 10 minutes during weekday peak periods between Brownhills, Shire Oak and Aldridge – and then onwards to Birmingham.

– Earlier weekday morning journeys will now operate.

– The 937 will be operated with our new ‘Platinum’ double deck vehicles – which are fitted with high back seating, free wifi, next stop passenger announcements and extra legroom.

– Evening and Sunday journeys on service 935A will be renumbered 937A to simplify the numbering series for passengers in Brownhills and Aldridge. Buses between Brownhills, Aldridge and Birmingham will now be numbered 936, 937 and 937A (evening and Sunday journeys additionally operate via Hundred Acre Road and George Frederick Road).

Our usual range of Travelcards will be valid for travel on service 937: Diamond only tickets will not be valid, and passengers are advised to contact Diamond Bus directly to obtain a refund if they have purchased season tickets valid for travel only on their services.

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Funeral arrangements for Michael Cater


Caters sold a diverse range of appliances and audio-visual equipment, including electric keyboards. They had a large shop on the corner of Brickiln Street and High Street – I can’t actually find a picture of the store, but here’s an advert from the Brownhills Gazette in 1995.

I have been contacted by Vicky Woolston who has informed me of some very sad news: the passing of Michael Cater, who ran a very longstanding electrical and audio store in Brownhills for years – Caters.

Caters and the Cater family were a household names in the town for decades – I bought my first hi-fi there, and many kitchen appliances over the years. I remember them selling records and I bought one of my first CDs there, too.

I believe there was also a branch of Caters in Lichfield for a while.

Michael Cater passed away on Tuesday, 29th September 2015 after suffering prostate cancer. He will be remembered by many in Brownhills, not just for the store and his part in it, but for his work with the Round Table and 41 Club.

My condolences, sympathies and best wishes to Vicky and family, and to all who fondly remember Caters as a family run business that prided itself on courtesy and service – a rare breed nowadays.

Vicky wrote:

Dear Bob,

We were wondering if you could post the announcement of the death of Michael Cater on your blog. He lived and worked in Brownhills for many years and was a well known and loved member of the community.

Michael worked in and later ran the family business F.W. Cater and Son on the HIgh Street and was also an active member of Brownhills Round Table and 41 Club.

He sadly passed away early on Tuesday. He had been suffering with a recurrence of his prostate cancer and in the end this proved to be terminal.

Despite his illness we were fortunate to be able to appreciate our last months with him including a blissful family holiday in Cornwall.

He remained active right up until the end – mowing his lawn and picking damsons out of the trees less than a week ago. So whilst his death has come as a horrible shock to us we take solace in the maner of his life.

For those who wish to attend, the funeral service will be held at All Saints Church, Gilmorton, Leicester LE17 5LR at 12 noon, Tuesday October 13th. For more information contact W S Goodman & Sons Funeral Directors, 18a High Street, Lutterworth, LE 17 4AD

Yours sincerely,
Michael’s loving family

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Wood boys hold Heanor Lions at bay

Images and captions by David Evans.

Last Saturday, (3rd October 2015), Walsall Wood faced another tough match, this time away to Heanor – and they came home with a respectable draw.

Bill Shaw kindly submitted the following report:

Hiya Bob,

If Wood had played like this on Tuesday night the result wouldn’t have been much different. Heanor remember (albeit down to 10 men for 50 minutes) were hammered 7-2 by Hereford, John Mills with another hat trick. But guess what, this was supposed to be one of the most hostile football grounds in the country, but everyone associated with the club couldn’t have been more friendly, it was a pleasure to visit there. Both teams were warmly applauded from the pitch, as once again in this topsy-turvy Midland League season football again came out the winner. Neither side is paying out the £1,000 plus a week of at least 10 sides in the division, but that doesn’t stop either side turning in exhilarating, entertaining football in most games. Without the ridiculous money being paid out to more than a few, the Midland League Premier Division would be almost a 12 horse race, but even with all the money flying you can’t crown the champions yet with seven clubs realistically in contention after almost a quarter of the season – you aren’t looking beyond Heanor, Hereford, Alvechurch, Long Eaton, Highgate, Stourport Swifts and last but not least Rowey’s Sporting Khalsa.

I’ll tell you what though, there are more than a few sides in the bottom half of the table capable of causing real major upsets, so take nothing for granted all you moneybags clubs, there will always be somebody out there to get you.

Heanor Town 2 v 2 Walsall Wood

Heanor moved to the top courtesy of this point, still with a game in hand on Hereford, but it was Wood playing with a passion that restored pride in the team who almost turned the form book upside down by scoring first and last.

The Lions started well pinning Wood in their own half. On two minutes Jay Cooper intercepted a crossfield pass, ran on before playing the ball into the path of Daniel Booth to hit a first time low drive that was taken at full stretch by keeper Lee Evans. Six minutes later Joe Naylor ran at the Wood defence, releasing Andre Johnson into the centre of the box, under pressure from two chasing defenders his low drive was well held by Evans. Then on 15 minutes Johnson raced clear wide right, cut inside, his vicious cross just under the bar touched over by Evans. The resulting corner was again dropped under the bar, Evans touching the ball beyond the far post.

A minute later Wood shook the Lions by going ahead, Joey Butlin nodding down a left wing free kick for Dan Griffiths, his first time effort bounced down off the bar and he pounced to bury the rebound into the roof of the net.

The lead lasted just four minutes, a flowing move down the inside right channel, the Lions seemed to lose the ball but Johnson charged down an attempted clearance on the right of the box and although Evans got both hands to the near post low drive he couldn’t stop the ball crossing the line.

On 26 minutes a long ball forward into the right of the box was won by Butlin, his cross shot was deflected to the far post inches in front of the late arriving Corey Currithers. Then on 40 minutes Tom Hurdman crossed from wide left, Griffiths saw his header partially stopped by keeper Scott Whittingham, as the ball rolled towards the net skipper Nick Hall cleared the ball off the line.

Three minutes later a clever move into the right of the Wood box saw Johnson fire in a near post drive that Evans standing tall pushed round the post. From the corner Cooper climbed highest to plant a header just over the far angle. With people going for their half time cuppa, Cooper raced clear wide right, crossed to the far post, substitute Daniel Claridge heading back across the keeper and into the net to put the hosts ahead.

The first action of the second half saw Drew Aiton on the end of an intricate right wing move, his low near post cross put behind by Booth to deny the hard working Butlin. Two corners followed in quick succession from the right, from the second Butlin’s far post header back across goal beat the keeper but the defender on the line headed the ball clear. Wood were nearly caught out by a quick counter attack three minutes later, a long clearance out of defence was collected at pace by Nathan Benger, he ran on and found Cooper to his right, he raced into the right of the box but fired a low cross shot wide of the advancing Evans and the goal. Two minutes later Greg Marriott charged down the right, his far post cross knocked back to Johnson to fire a first time effort inches too high. On 65 minutes from a clever near post right wing corner Marriott glanced a header just over the far angle.

Then on 75 minutes a clever left wing move saw Butlin collect a ball inside, before his slide rule through ball released Griffiths into the left of the box, he was calmness personified as he buried a cross shot into the right corner of the net past the stranded Whittingham.

With both sides looking to have settled for a point apiece a right wing free kick for the home side on 88 minutes was collected beyond the far post by Hall, he quickly played the ball back across the face of the box, it was touched back by Cooper to dangerman Johnson to fire a first time effort high and wide. If he’d scored that would have been a travesty of justice.

Both sides were warmly applauded off the pitch at the end, neither side is going to win the title, but you know what, they will entertain many people with their football, do we really want to see landslide victories or even to be bored to death, give me games like this one any day..

Well everyone, another great advert for Midland League Premier Football.

Bill Shaw.

Walsall Wood are a good team and an excellent, community-spirited club. They need our support – please do attend their games if you can.

As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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