Walsall Wood face Long Eaton at Oak Park this afternoon


Oak Park – home to the mighty Woodmen!

Saturday 28th November 2015

Following a pitch inspection the game is on!

Walsall Wood versus Long Eaton United

Come watch the lads at Oak Park for a great afternoon of football

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.

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Up the junction

NORTON JUNCTION-31-12-1966002

In it’s heyday, Norton Junction – the sidings just by Highbridges on the Pelsall/Brownhills border – were busy with coal wagons from local pits. Image from the South Staffordshire Rail Group.

A really great thing about keeping this blog for such a long period of time now is knowing the breadth and diversity of the knowledge present amongst the readership – and for matters on rail and infrastructure history, Ian Pell is the expert (although he always protests to the country!)

Following my posting of the 1947 map here last Sunday that caused so much interest, Ian sent me a couple of articles on the rail aspect of the map. I include it again below for reference, but you can read the original article and excellent comment thread here.

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A 1947 1:10,000 OS map that really caught reader interest. Click for a larger version.

In this piece, Ian discusses mapping and the local railway, a line that was never built, and comments on the suggested explosives store.

I’m hugely indebted to Ian for this. If you have anything to add, please do comment here or mail me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Ian wrote:

Hi Bob

The date for the original OS map being 1938 is significant in that this series does not always be fully mapped from previous editions. This is either the result of censorship as a result of the impending war or because the resources on the ground were not sufficient to map in detail what had changed. The OS clearly had more important areas to be mapping at that time although a degree of normality was equally wished to be maintained.

The lack of any detail, or in some cases even acknowledgement of any existence, of key installations such as ports, military bases, etc:-  certainly was not uncommon and many railway locations for the 1939 series just show an outline and no detail.  Many of the “interesting” railway locations only became understood after the end of the “cold war”, although some that were not shown on say 1970 UK maps were mapped on Soviet maps of the time in some detail!!!

The Pelsall Lane site is somewhat easier and I attach an 1850’s map of the area.  It is indeed a railway line leading to a colliery.  This line is one of a number which developed in the area previous to the existence of the Norton Branch and which had disappeared by the time of its construction.


LNWR 1854 Walsall Wood Branch proposal.                                                                                                                      iep collection

The map shows appropriately where Norton Junction was to be later developed at the point marked ‘C’. This would also be the point from which the Norton Branch would be started. The line to the north of the South Staffs line (it is NOT the Norton Branch), like the two others on either side of the proposed Walsall Wood Branch, was soon to disappear and without this map we would only be left to speculate as to their existence. The Walsall Wood branch is shown only as a proposed line. This was the original proposal which was not built, the line was later constructed on a similar, if slightly modified, course. The colliery working served by the line heading north to the east of the South Staffs is that referred to the post ‘Slip, sliding away’, one of my previous articles relating to this area.  This line had been removed by the time the Walsall Wood Branch was built and I would suggest that the spoil was from the 1850’s mining activity in that area. I think we need to review the earlier OS maps to see if the buildings pre-date say 1900 which would give a feel as to whether the buildings were more likely associated with the 1850 activities or later usage.

Detonators for the railway came from central Railway Company stores and it would be most unusual for off-site storage. It would also be interesting to know if the railway were aware if explosives were kept there due to the proximity of the railway and passing trains! That’s not to say it’s not possible.

I believe that this is the first time that these lines have been uncovered from the mists of time and it shows that maps that pre-date the 1880s OS while more difficult to track down can offer even greater insights into the past.

There are a series of canal construction maps for the ‘Curly Wyrley’ which would I’m sure would be even more intriguing. If some knows their whereabouts…

Kind regards

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Collectors fair at Aldridge Transport Museum this Sunday


Sure to be a great event – 50 stalls is huge!

I see from the events list that Aston Manor Road Transport Museum in Aldridge have a collectors fair on this coming Sunday from 10:30am until 4:30pm, and should be just the thing for auto buffs, transport enthusiasts and petrol heads of all types.

There are 50 stalls booked, so there will be something for everyone.

There’s a free half-hourly bus service to get you there from Hatherton Road in Walsall starting at 10:20am, and the fair is just £3 entry for adults and £2 for kids – with a family ticket at a pocket-pleasing £8.

While you’re there, you can check out all the great stuff in the collection, and talk to the volunteers, who’re doing a fine job.

You can check the event’s Facebook page for all the latest updates here.

This is sure to be a great event – please do pop along. The collection needs the support of the public to survive, and it really is a wonderful thing.

Why not check out the museum website or their Facebook group?

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Lichfield Waterworks Trust – November public meeting this Thursday


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 have saved 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 Thursday evening (Thursday 26th November 2015) there will be a public progress meeting for the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group.

The meeting comes hot on the heels of the announcement that the group had been successful in securing the building for the future as revealed here last month.

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 26 November at 7:30pm

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 known as Sandfields Pumping Station for the benefit of the community.

The unique 190 Hp Cornish Beam Engine and building are a magnificent monument to the lives of the people who died in the black Country during the mid nineteenth 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*

At a meeting on 23 October 2015 held at the offices of Lichfield District Council, Persimmon Homes PLC agreed that they would transfer the freehold or grant a long term lease to the Lichfield Waterworks Trust to secure the future of this building.

Member of LWT have worked tirelessly over the last three years, however now with this access agreement in place, the real hard work begins.

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

Excellent food and drinks are available in the bar.

Meeting notes for the October Meeting

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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Beware: Indecent exposure incident at Clayhanger

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Northfields Way is used as a cut-through between the Watermead Estate, Clayhanger, the canal and Common. Take care, it’s an isolated spot. Imagery from Bing! Maps.

Worryingly, the incidents of indecent exposure locally seem to be ongoing, as I note social media reports yesterday (Monday 23rd November 2015) of an incident near Northfields Way in Clayhanger.

A  similar incident on the Pelsall Road at Highbridges earlier this year.

A lady reported the following on a local Facebook group:

Approx 11.30 this morning I meet a lady just coming off the common at the end of Northfields Way, who warned me she had just been flashed.

I’ve asked her to report it but please take care when walking alone. I think she said he was dressed in black and appeared to be wearing black makeup around his eyes.

This follows other worrying reports of flashers targeting school kids around High Heath and Pelsall in the last few weeks.

Please be careful if you’re out and about in the area by yourself; even in the middle of the day parts of our area can be very isolated, so take care where you go alone.

If you or your children are subject to anything like this, please do contact the police. These types of offences can escalate, and the culprits need to be caught before they do more serious harm.

If you have any information related to this incident call Walsall Police on 101 or 0345 113 5000, or you may also speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The Police urge anyone who falls victim to such an indecent exposure to call 999 immediately.

It’s worth repeating the advice about flashing incidents and suchlike issued by West Midlands Police last year:

Police Constable Richard Jackson, from Walsall Police, said: ‘Although this type of offence is rare, there are many parks and open spaces on the east side of Walsall that have historically attracted offenders.

‘They usually target women, often when they are alone in parks, canals or country tracks.

‘We take any such offences very seriously and saw five people arrested in 2012 when we set up an operation to reduce this kind of offending.’

Walsall Police have issued the following guidelines for the public if an offence occurs.

  • Please phone 999 immediately! The Walsall Police plan involves an immediate response for officers to attend and try to capture the offender. Please do not wait until you get home.
  • Try and get a good description of the offender, including detail of clothing. This is very valuable to police, and if the offender is in a vehicle, the registration number is also extremely important to help identify them. The make and model is also very useful.
  • Details of where the offender was last seen, or last seen heading to is very valuable in assisting police to locate them quickly.
  • Never put yourself at further risk to obtain these details, but if have seen them please commit them to memory, or write them down if you can. This information can then be passed straight out to officers via police radio to ensure that a meaningful search can take place straight away.

For advice on staying safe when out, visit: www.safer-streets.org

Any information? lease call Walsall Police on 101 or 0345 113 5000. You can also speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Carte before the horse

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Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 map of Clayhanger, Walsall Wood, High Heath and Pelsall. Published 1947, it was revised in 1938. Click for a large version.

Above is a map section from the Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 1947 publication epoch. It was revised officially in 1938, and shows some map lag. But that aside, this week I noticed something very, very interesting and a little bit peculiar.

I’m not going to tell you, let’s see if readers can guess. It’s a great excuse to study a lovely bit of mapping in any case – just revel in that drafting. The rail lines, watercourses and boundaries.

See what I see? Comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

If nobody gets it, I’ll expand in due course. This has the potential to be quite a large story.

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Life’s a Holbeach as Woodmen tame Tigers

Images and captions kindly supplied ny David Evans.

Yesterday (21st November 2015) Walsall Wood F.C. entertained Finlanders Holbeach United, and after some great football, Wood emerged the victors with an impressive 4-1 scoreline.

Bill Shaw was there, and came home a happy man:

Hiya Bob,

Another first step on the road to Wembley, a very competitive 60 minutes with the United Counties League high flyers nowhere near as much a handful as last season’s F.A. Vase opponents from the same division, Wisbech Town. Two goals from a revitalised Corey Currithers put Wood in the driving seat but the Tigers worked hard for a second equaliser.

Joey Butlin put the game beyond them with a sublime finish. Goal No.15 from Dan Griffiths was the icing on the cake as the once again patched up side showed just how good this injury hit squad really is.

Next up on Saturday it’s fading Long Eaton United as Wood look to make it five wins out of five in November and the catalyst for a concerted push up the table.

F.A. Vase Round 2
Walsall Wood 4 v 1 Holbeach United

Wood’s entry into this season’s competition saw them comfortably dispatch the high flying United Counties League visitors to advance a step closer to Wembley.

The win was deserved but the visitors were always in the game until Wood sewed the game up on 65 minutes when a slide rule through ball by Max Black set up Joey Butlin to calmly fire Wood into the next round.

Defences were on top with the game condensed into the middle third of the pitch until on 20 minutes a lovely move in from the Wood left saw Corey Currithers win a corner that was delivered to the near post for Currithers to power a header home.

The Tigers nearly equalised from the kick off, Jake Clitheroe racing onto a ball into the right of the box to fire a rising drive over the near angle. Three minutes later from a left wing corner Nick Jackson headed just over the bar. On 33 minutes Wood lost the ball in a right wing mix up from a throw in, Clitheroe playing a clever ball inside to set up Josh Ford to fire a first time effort over the bar. Five minutes later a flowing left wing move saw Jordan Thomas find Lee Beeson in the D, he played the ball to Clitheroe on his right who switched play to the left hand post and Ford scored with a header back across the keeper. Right on half-time a defensive mistake let in Clitheroe who raced for goal only to be fouled from behind just outside the D, Jamie Stevens firing the free kick over the wall and the bar.

Wood came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half, pinning the Tigers back, on 49 minutes Currithers made space on the right of the box, powered his way into the six yard box and his vicious low near post drive had too much venom for keeper Rick Drury who got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.

Four minutes later the ever dangerous Clitheroe went on a right wing run, cut in along the byeline and his driven low cross was cut out by Grant Beckett to deny Ford. Then four minutes later an intricate left wing move presented Stevens with a shooting chance, from 30 yards he sent a first time low drive inches wide of the left hand post. Wood were living dangerously and four minutes later Beeson hit a low cross from wide right, Ford hitting a first time effort that deflected off Anthony Juxon and flew the wrong side of the post.

Having weathered the storm Wood went looking for the goal that would put the game safe, it nearly arrived on 63 minutes, Harry Harris delivered a left wing free kick into the right of the box to pick out Currithers, he beat his marker, crossed low across the face of the six yard box, Max Black sliding in only inches away from applying the finishing touch. The killer goal arrived two minutes later, a crisp move through the middle found Black in the centre of the D, his exquisite ball through the right of centre released Joey Butlin into the box, the big man, calmness personified as he gave the advancing Drury no chance with a low drive. Wood began to exert pressure on the Tigers defence who started to get a little desperate. When on 75 minutes Jackson picked up a second yellow the game was over as a contest, but on 86 minutes substitute Ollie Gale raced into the left of the Wood box, pulled the ball back to Stevens who turned his marker and fired over.

Deep into injury time Butlin powered into the right of the box, checked back and fired in a low drive that was blocked by Drury, Butlin was first to the rebound playing the ball off to his left, Dan Griffiths making no mistake with a trademark finish.

Wood deserved to progress into Monday’s Round 3 draw but the Lincolnshire Tigers made them fight all the way, they lost a little of their composure in the last 20 minutes as Wood piled on the pressure, but another good win on the road to Wembley for the Wood.

It’s Long Eaton United next for Wood at home on Saturday 28th as they look to make it a 100% November…

Bill Shaw

The Teams:

Walsall Wood: Evans, Deakin, Beckett, Wright, Juxon, Black L. Harris, H. Harris (Captain), Butlin, Hayles, Currithers, Taylor, Sidibe, Griffiths, Aiton, Delaney.

Holbeach United: Drury, Worthington, Ward, Warfield, Jackson, Stevens (Captain), Beeson, Tidswell, Ford, Clitheroe, Thomas, Pinner, Gale, King, Keeble, Roberts.

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


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