Anybody lost a pair of Labradors?


Hillmans veterinary surgery: often taking in the found and abandoned. Top people caring for our best friends.

[Added 7:20am 2nd October: Thanks to reader Edwina and comments of Facebook the wandering hounds have been reunited with their owner - thanks for the help, everyone!]

A quick shout out for some found hounds in Brownhills: the following post is currently circulating (2nd October 2014) on Facebook in local circles:

Cottontails and Whiskers
12 hrs ·
Two Labradors have been found in Brownhills one black one yellow. Both in good condition someone must be missing them? More info to follow please spread the word. They are currently at Hillmans vets in Brownhills.

I have no further info; should any be forthcoming, I’ll post it here. You can contact Hillmans in Brownhills here:

4 Brickiln St, Brownhills
01543 375154

Opening hours:  9:00am – 7:00pm

Posted in News | 2 Comments


Image courtesy of Brownhills George, posted on Panoramio.

The old foundry units on Lindon Road, in the process of demolition in the early 1990s. Image courtesy of Brownhills George, posted on Panoramio.

On Lindon Road, just in the no man’s land between Brownhills and Walsall Wood, there’s a close of newbuild housing between Catshill canal junction and the road, called Chandlers Keep – I believe this to have been built around 1990-1992.

Reader Matthew Godridge contacted me at the weekend to ask if I had any photos of what existed on the site of Chandlers Keep before the housing was built. I hadn’t any of my own, but that wonderful treasury of images posted by Brownhills George contained a fair few, so I’ve made a gallery out of them for Matthew – see the foot of this post.

You can go and have a look at George’s remarkable collection here.

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Chandler\s Keep and Catshill Junction: once a hive of industry. Imagery from Bing! Maps.

What existed on the site of Chandlers Keep was actually a collection of businesses in a variety of rambling units and outbuildings; Raden Engineering was there for a good few years, and accident repair business Autocraft was in the large 1930s unit. There was an earthmoving equipment hire company there in the 1980s; and also a boatbuilders called Don Marine.

The 1884 Ordnance Survey mapping records a house here called Lindale Hose, but it’s not clear if any remnant of that survived into living memory; in later editions, a smithy and foundry were marked on the same spot.

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Lindale House only seems to be marked on the 1884 mapping – this selection of 1:10,000 scale draft is from the National Library of Scotland Archive. Click for a larger version.

By the canal where the narrows are was a small brick hut called a Tonnage House where boats were gauged and tolled for weight.

If anyone has anything to add to this, I’d be glad to hear it; I’m sure there’s some history I’ve missed. Comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

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Your invitation to… An Evening with Gordon Banks QBE

Here’s a great one for all those folks who are into football – and I know there are a good few of you who read the blog. There’s a great night organised next Wednesday evening (6th October 2014) by ‘The Trust’ – more properly known as the Walsall Football Supporters Society.

It’ll be a cracking sporting evening where can meet 1966 World Cup goalie Gordon Banks QBE and enjoy a fish and chip supper, all in aid of that great charity, the Alzheimer’s Society.

Ian Winter from the BBC will also be at the event, and both he and Gordon are very generously giving their time for free.

Tickets are only £20 including the food – where else would you get chance to hear a sporting legend talk for that?

Please do book using the details below, and if you pop along, do write in and tell us about your evening.


What’s not to love?

Walsall Football Supporters’ Trust

In conjunction with Walsall Football Supporters Club presents:

An Evening with
Gordon Banks QBE

In aid of
Alzheimer’s Society

via Bert ‘The Cat’ Williams Alzheimer’s Appeal


Wednesday 8th October 2014 – 7pm

The Saddlers Club

Bescot Crescent, Walsall, West Midlands, WS1 4TS

Tickets £20.00 each
including Fish, Chips & Mushy Peas

Available direct from The Saddlers Club or by contacting Steve Davies on 07799 835388 /

Posted in Events, Fun stuff to see and do, 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

Oy’ll save ya, bab…

Been a bit busy for the last couple of days, but for those who haven’t seen my post on Facebook, I’ll just leave this here for now.

Thanks to the wonderful Liz Shaw on Twatter, no idea of the original creator.. But to them, I doff my hat…


Well, it’s sound, ay it?

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Woodmen pipped by Coleshill Town

Walsall Wood FC disappointed Bill Shaw and all the home crowd yesterday afternoon (27th September 2014), as they conceded defeat to Coleshill Town FC in a match where yet again, the quality of official decisions was questionable.

Good to see our friend Bill back in the saddle so to speak, and this week, he really doesn’t mince his words!

Bill submitted the following match report:

Hiya Bob,

It’s good to be back, not that the performance of the 3 officials yesterday did anything to help my blood pressure.

Walsall Wood 1 v 2 Coleshill Town

It took Wood just 3 minutes to go ahead, an electrifying run down the right by Drew Aiton followed by a low cross into the centre of the box, that was touched home by Max Black to give them the perfect start.

Both sides had chances, the best of which fell to Joey Butlin on 26 minutes when he started an intricate move on the right involving Aiton and Craig Deakin before he was released into the right of the box to fire a cross shot that beat keeper Chris Jay and the far post – just.

The first of the appalling decisions came a few minutes later, debutant Mark Branch delivered a right wing free kick into the centre of the box and a scramble developed, Butlin won the ball only for keeper Jay to grab his ankle, he wrenched himself free to be scythed down by a desperate defender (2 penalties for the price of 1 you might think), to the disbelief of everyone in the ground the Referee booked Butlin for simulation. ‘He jumped in the air too theatrically’ was his comment afterwards.

The last five minutes of the half belonged to the visitors and a minute before the break a mix up on halfway saw Shane Benjamin challenge for the ball, which broke kindly for him and he raced away to calmly score past the advancing Mario Kisiel in the Wood goal.

Within two minutes of the start of the second half craig Deakin broke up a Town attack and fed Aiton wide right, he cut inside from 30 yards to hit a stunning rising drive that beat keeper Jay all ends up but cannonned to safety off the inside of the right hand post.

Chris Lloyd then took charge of the game for Town with a scintillating 20 minute spell wide on the left, with Kisiel twice making superb saves to keep the scores level. He was powerless however on 64 minutes when a ball through the centre was superbly brought under control by Lloyd with a sublime first touch, before an exquisite lob that even Kisiel couldn’t keep out.

Wood went looking for the equaliser their first half performance deserved but had to be mindful of being caught on the break by the pace of Lloyd and Benjamin. Then, with 10 minutes to go Butlin raced onto a ball on the right of the box but was blatantly pulled back by a chasing defender, the referee could have been unsighted, but the assistant on that side had a clear view of the incident. Butlin went down, but the assistant waved play on despite being only yards away from the fracas.

There was still time for Lloyd to race through the centre and release substitute Simon Cobourne into the right of the box, his first time shot bouncing off the outside of the post.

Coleshill could have scored 6 but for the heroics of Kisiel, but Wood also had chances and perversely could have run out 3 – 2 winners if the two big decisions had gone their way.

Hard on slick Coleshill? Possibly, but in football you don’t always get what you deserve.

It’s FA Vase action next for Wood with Pershore Town the visitors to Oak Park on Saturday 4th October, a win leaving Wood just 8 games from a Wembley final on 9th May…

Now wouldn’t that be a lovely way to bow out?

Bill Shaw

Walsall Wood are a good team and an excellent, community-spirited institution. They need our support – so get your backsides down there!

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

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Men of the underground

Over on Facebook this weekend, there’s been lots of interest in Walsall Wood Colliery, following the posting of these two cracking images of a press article recording the closure of our last truly local coal mine.

The images were very kindly shared by Duncan Willams, and he had this to say:


Walsall Wood Colliery closes: I suspect this is from the Walsall Express and star. A wonderful image, supplied by Duncan Williams.

This is my family all from Brownhills my Grandad Williams, Dad – Ron Williams, Les Williams, Sid Williams and Jack Williams. They all worked in the local pits and I’m very proud of them all.


From the same article, again kindly shared by Duncan Williams. Click for a larger version.

In response, there’s been a fair bit of interest. Kellie Smith messaged me the following images via Facebook to share with others interested in the local mines:


A great family photo from Kellie Smith – that’s Fourth Avenue, Brownhills.


Kellie wrote:

Hi Bob

Going though my family tree came across these pictures.

The first one is of David and Dora carpenter, my mom’s Nan and Grandad, outside 23 Fourth Avenue Brownhills. My mom still lives in this house now.

The second one is a group of Brownhills miners in 1890  – Back row left John Walker, William Walker Front row right Sampson Carpenter he would have been my Grandad’s great uncle I think.

If you recognise any of the others please let me know!

Kellie Carpenter


Local miners, thought to be taken around 1890 – image kindly supplied by Kellie Smith. Please see the text for details of who’s who. Recognise anyone? Get in touch, please.

Thanks to Duncan and Kellie for a great slice of history. Please, if you have anything to add, feel free to do so, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in News | 10 Comments

What lies beneath

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Over six feet long, drawn on velum, the workings in the Robbins Seam at Walsall Wood Colliery as they affected the railway line between Walsall Wood and Brownhills. A remarkable document. Click for a larger version, or see the full detail scan below.

Way back at the beginning of August, I shared a partial scan of a document I’d acquired – a mining plan of how workings in the Robbins coal seam under Walsall Wood, Clayhanger and Brownhills affected the railway line above.

Well, I’ve finally got this 6 feet long plan scanned for all to ponder over.

A full resolution scan – all 45 megabytes of it – can be downloaded by clicking this link.

Around fourteen inches wide, and six feet long. It’s a plan, on velum, of the progress of coal extraction in the Robins seam from under Walsall Wood and Clayhanger up until the early 1960s. The map is hand drafted. The red areas show where coal was extracted.

There’s lots to see here, included exploratory digs that entered from sees above. It’s a fascinating thing, to be sure.

I’ve created a Google Earth overlay for readers to orient the plan. Because it’s on fabric, it’s only geometrically well aligned at the Walsall Wood end, however it’s good enough at the Brownhills end to give a reasonable idea.

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The plan overlaid on Google Earth – note Walsall Wood, left, and Brownhills right. At the right hand side the alignment is poor. You can’t accurately maintain geometric with a fabric plan this long! Click for a larger version.

You can download this overlay to use in Google Earth by clicking the link below – it can also be used as a basemap in Garmin GPS devices. Instructions on the use of this in Google Earth can be found in this post.

Walsall Wood Colliery Plan Google Earth overly 5.8 megabytes

Please note that this is an indication only; this plan could be wrong, or metres out. Please don’t use it for anything serious. It’s for information only.

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The plan shows where the main shafts were to Walsall Wood Colliery. Note how one lies beneath a building the the yard of the former Veolia/Effluent Disposal works; this was the sluice-house where industrial waste was tipped into the former workings in the 1970s and 80s. Click for a larger version.

Note the shafts are marked, and one is under the building that was constructed as the sluice house for tipping the chemical waste into the mine after it’s closure in 1964.

Think about the fact that these are the workings in just one seam – there were several others – so it goes to illustrate the huge number of voids and their span that existed below our area where the black gold was dug out. Most of this was backfilled with spoil after the mine ceased production; after that, the remainder was filled with industrial waste.

Consider also that this huge area would have been dug either by hand, or fairly minimal mechanisation; by the time Walsall Wood Colliery closed in 1964, it was not modernised and it didn’t employ the modern cutting machinery that other mines did.

This is local history gold – and bear in mind this is only one seam: there would e separate drawings for each one.

Please do comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Cannock Chase, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Shared media, Shared memories, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments