A remarkable pair of images surfaced a couple of weeks ago from local historian Bill Mayo via the wonderful David Evans – these are photographs of a civic town planning proposal by, or to Brownhills Urban District Council in 1965.
The photos were most probably taken by Edgar Pritchard, brother of Sid, whose book of memoirs compiled by Bill Mayo is still available from Brownhills Library at the Parkview Centre.
The model is fascinating – sadly my efforts to join the two images failed due to the contrasting angles, but there is only a little bit missing in the lower centre. Note that Ravens Court, Silver Court, the ‘new’ clinic in Pier Street are all there, but the town is bypassed by a dual carriageway cutting through the Silver Street area. Sadly, the heights look a bit odd, because to clear the underpass at Lindon Drive, it would have needed to look like the Westway.
In a lot of ways, it’s sad – brave new world, right there – but in others, maybe not so much.
David had this to say:
Some weeks ago I was helping Bill Mayo with preparation work for his latest book. Among the piles of notes and scraps of paper being studied and sorted we were astonished to see these two large photos, which may be of some interest to your blog readers and may generate some discussion.
The two top quality, clear photos measure 10 inches by 8 inches and at first sight seem to be of one model. But I wonder, were there two models and hence two possible schemes for a new town centre in Brownhills in January 1965, as the photos dont actually seem to fit?
[They are the same model, but the angles are wildly different, and join briefly in a triangular overlap at the top – Bob]
I believe at the time of the model – 1965, Brownhills UDC was part of Staffordshire County Council, and then merged with Aldridge UDC in 1966 to become Aldridge-Brownhills UDC, but still remaining part of Staffordshire County, until 1974 when the UDC become part of Walsall Metropolitain Borough, and therefore the West Midlands.
Thanks to David and Bill for a remarkable thing.
What happened to the model? Does anyone know the circumstances of the construction of it and related plans? This reminds me of something from much later…
Please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.