A few weeks ago, I shared here a mining plan of how workings in the Robbins coal seam under Walsall Wood, Clayhanger and Brownhills affected the railway line above it, showing the coal mine excavations in great detail under the village.

After some chopping and changing, I got the plan scanned in high resolution and published it again properly. At the same time, I acquired a second, slightly earlier drawing of the workings in the Six Foot seam by the same colliery, which were above the Robbins Seam.


Over six feet long, drawn on velum, the workings in the Six Foot 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.

Download the 200 DPI high quality PDF version of the above here – 31 megabytes

Download the 400 DPI Ultra high quality PDF version of the above here – 111 megabytes

Both plans cover an identical area and clearly came out of the same drawing office.

There were a number of coal seams that the Walsall Wood Colliery worked, and the interactions between these layers were complex and labyrinthine in nature. When the plan talks about a ‘cross measure drift’, that’s an angled shaft or roadway ramping between excavations in two or more seams. You’ll see some others mentioned.

The whole mine lay in layers like this as if it had been stacked in the strata; and these plans  still only represent a fraction of the whole thing. Look out again for the exploratory digs, where miners worked chasing where new measures may lie – that they are small suggests they were not successful.

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 Clayhanger end to give a reasonable idea.

Overlay trans

The plan overlaid on Google Earth – note Walsall Wood, left, and Clayhanger, right. At the Brownhills end, the plot was so distorted, I cropped it short.. 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 Six Foot Google Earth overlay 19.2 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.

Note the main shafts are again 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.


I’d love to know who Mr. Thornhill & J.G. Jesus were, and the nature of their jobs. This plan was clearly modified after this date.

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

August 1990 – How much longer must we wait for some action?

Brownhills Gazette August 1990 issue 11_000001

Brownhills Gazette August 1990 issue 11 – Complaints and a great campaigning piece on local foundry pollution. Click for a larger version.

David Evans, very kindly granted access to the archive held by former editor and contributor Brian Stringer, has been assiduously and conscientiously scanning them all. Every single issue. Every few days, I’m going to feature the next in the series.

Note that this issue is slim at 12 pages compared to 20 in the previous issue – suggesting maybe Brian was on holiday. There’s still plenty of good stuff, though, including Brian experiencing a dunking in Chasewater, good local history and the headline story campaigning on what remains a somewhat vexed issue today.

One thing that someone pointed out to me – not the BeeJay advert on the front page. They note they have a ‘Direct line – Vodaphone’ (sic) – these were the days when a mobile phone really was an unusual selling point. How old I suddenly feel!

The history of how the Brownhills Gazette came to exist has been detailed in this post thanks to the wonderful John Sylvester.

If other bloggers want to use this material, can you please drop me a line first? I don’t mind, there’s just sone stuff I’d like to clear about the usage, thanks.

Cheers to Brian and David for sharing a wonderful thing, that’s part of our community history.

If you have any memories, questions or observations please do comment or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Brownhills Gazette issue 11 August 1990 - PDF format

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | 1 Comment

Walsall Wood FC v Causeway United FC away match this afternoon!

the grove 1

Causeway United play at the wonderful Halesowen Town club – The Grove in Old Hawne Lane. Image from Halesowen Town FC’s website.

Saturday 22nd November 2014

Walsall Wood F.C. v Causeway United F.C.

Away at Old Grove Lane, Halesowen.

 Don’t break your Wood vows, be there, be faithful to your local heroes

3:00pm kickoff

For The Good Of The Wood!

Looking forward to the match report… 

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here.

Posted in Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, It makes me mad!, Just plain daft, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hednesford Road hit and run: John Thomason sentenced

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The incident occurred near the Thai Lanna restaurant. Imagery from Bing! maps.

At 12:50am, Sunday 10th August 2014, there was a hit and run incident in Brownhills West, in which a white van hit two men on the pavement - it caused quite a stir locally as many readers will no doubt recall.

Court proceedings have been ongoing for a while, and the story recently made the Express & Star, when the relatives of one of the victims were concerned about the nature of charges in the case.

There’s now a full report online here.

I note this evening that Lisa O’Brien, senior reporter with the Express & Star, had tweeted the following at 7:35pm Friday:

John Thomason who seriously injured Gareth James in a hit and run in #Brownhills has been jailed for 7yrs 4months. Read tomorrow’s E&S.

I feature this here for reader information only, as I know many were interested in the outcome of this case – those wanting to learn more should buy Saturday’s Express & Star.


An awful incident. Image with thanks to David Marler.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, Environment, Events, Express & Star, Followups, Interesting photos, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Did any of you know Alan John Pickering?


Alan John Pickering, sadly deceased. Image supplied by Walsall Council.

Yet again, this is one of those requests that Walsall Council make periodically, and was issued by the Communication Team at Walsall Council on Friday, November 21st 2014 and I’d like all locals to have a think about it, and if any of you can do so, please help.

These appeals do make me quite sad and I’ll continue to feature them here – imagine passing away and leaving so little information of yourself known. How terribly tragic.

Appeal for help to find deceased pensioner’s family

An appeal has been launched to find the relatives of a Walsall pensioner who died recently.

Alan John Pickering, aged 72, was found at his home on Wednesbury Road on 14 October. His date of birth was 15 September 1942.

Environmental health officers are now keen to trace the family of Mr Pickering or speak to anyone who knew him.

A number of photographs showing Mr Pickering, possibly with members of his family, were found at his home but there were no contact details. Among the images are one of him at a wedding possibly around 2000, another one of him and a woman in 1999 and a picture going back a few years of Mr Pickering with a woman and three children.

Other documents found at the property indicate he may have worked in the machine shop at Bloxwich Engineering, Bell Lane, until 2006.

Rebecca Evans, of Walsall Council’s environmental health team, said: ‘We would like to pass our condolences on to Mr Pickering’s family and friends.

‘We would be grateful to hear from any relatives of Mr Pickering, or anyone who might have helpful information about his family, so that they can make proper arrangements for his funeral.’

‘Even if you are not sure if the information is relevant please let us know as it is useful in helping us build up a picture of his life and add to the information we have managed to gather from his belongings.’

To pass on information contact Rebecca Evans in the environmental health team on 01922 653052.

Thanks in advance. If anyone would prefer no to contact the council directly for whatever reason, email me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot come and I’ll pass any messages on. 


Posted in Environment, Local History, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The pride of Brownhills unveiled this Saturday!

I’m a wee bit late with this (for which I apologise, things are a bit hectic of late) but here’s some great news from reader and longtime friend of the blog Martin, who writes concerning the Royal British Legion plaque that resurfaced following a photo article here on the blog last year.


A picture that was puzzling Bill Mayoshowed the unveiling of a plaque – readers helped in not only identifying the event, but the plaque turned up too! Image from the Bill Mayo collection.

Martin writes to tell me that the plaque in the picture is to be unveiled at it’s new home in Brownhills Library at the Parkview Centre tomorrow, Saturday 22nd November 2014 at 12 noon.

This really is a wonderful thing and please pop along if you can. I think the Library is an excellent place for this important piece of history, and look forward to having a look myself. Well done to all involved.

Reader Martin wrote:

Hi Bob,

I’m sure that you will be interested that the Plaque in the photo that was on your blog a year or so ago has had a face lift (and I believe a very good job as been done on it) and it will be unveiled in the Brownhills Library this Saturday, November 22nd 2014 at 12 noon, Sir Richard Shepherd MP will do the honours with the Brownhills British Legion Branch.

They have done a wonderful job this year for the Poppy Appeal and have beaten by a good amount previous years totals, thanks to the generosity of the people of Brownhills.

The plaque as Mr. Bill Wright Secretary of the British Legion Brownhills Branch says ‘…is for all the people of Brownhills’, and it is hoped that local folk will go along to view it and pay their respects..

Bob on this occasion please do not mention me by name, all the credit must go to the Brownhills British Legion for all their hard work!

Kind regards,

Thanks to Martin for letting us know – sorry, should have posted this up last night, but other stuff got in the way. My apologies to martin. Please share this post as widely as possible so others get to hear.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Walsall Wood crash out of Seniors Cup


Evans Park, Stafford – scene of a tragedy. Image from Stafford Town FC website.

Last Tuesday evening (18th November 2014), Walsall Wood FC were away to face Stafford Town - and after a long drawn out and somewhat tense match, they sadly crashed out of the Walsall Senior Cup.

One of the things I love about Bill  Shaw’s reports is that he’s not afraid to tell it like he is. The brutal honesty of this report is refreshing.

Bill Shaw wrote:

Hiya Bob,

Not the expected result, as a pumped up Alex Barnfather inspired Stafford Town who outfought and outlasted a strangely lethargic, albeit much changed and dare I say it complacent Walsall Wood.

Stafford Town 4 v 3 Walsall Wood
Walsall Senior Cup Round 2 (After extra time)

Wood started brightly, dominating the early exchanges with Max Black and Harry Harris bringing full length saves from keeper Richard Stone. In their first real attack on 7 minutes Town went ahead, sloppy defending on the right edge of the box saw Craig Hulme win the ball, cut back inside and his low drive came back off the foot of the far post, straight to Alex Barnfather who tapped home from 5 yards.

It was Hulme again creating problems on 14 minutes, cutting inside from wide left, Dale Faultless saving at the foot of the near post. 3 minutes later Hulme raced across the face of the Wood box from left to right, Scott Cooper got in a tackle but the ball went straight to Barnfather who took one touch and buried the ball in the corner of the net.

Hulme was causing the Wood defence all kinds of problems and just a minute later he raced clear on the left, his cross headed just wide by Steven Bennett.

Wood pulled a goal back on 32 minutes, Leon Taylor powering down the right before crossing into the centre, Lewis Taylor Boyce losing his marker and heading back across the keeper to reduce the deficit.

When 2 minutes into the second half Corey Currithers came in from wide left, went across the face of the Town box and neatly set up Black to score with a crisp low drive to bring the scores level, we sat back and waited for the Town collapse, but it never came, as Town rolled up their sleeves and worked even harder.

Both sides had chances but the closest to a goal came in the 83rd minute, Jamel Fuller racing clear on the Wood left, finding Ben Evans inside to hit a first time effort that bounced to safety off the foot of the left hand post with Stone beaten. No one could break the deadlock so the game entered extra time with Wood dominating the first half, Taylor Boyce, Evans and Currithers all going close, but it was all square at the break.

A minute into the second period a left wing corner was only half cleared to Chris Greaves on the left of the box, his cross to the far post picked out the unmarked Darryll Johns who calmly headed home. Wood went looking for the equaliser which duly arrived on 24 minutes when from a left wing corner Shawn Boothe bundled the ball home in a packed penalty area.

With 3 minutes remaining Fuller made space on the left, his square ball inside was hit first time by Evans, Stone making a great full length save. The reply was almost immediate, skipper James Cresswell crossing from wide on the right to the far post, Barnfather lost his marker before picking his spot to head home, completing his hat trcik and sending Wood crashing out of this season’s Walsall Senior Cup.

We kept expecting Town to run out of steam, but they were working just as hard at the end of 2 gruelling hours of enthralling football. Another thriller, full of goals but this time the wrong result as far as Wood were concerned, but all credit to Town for staying in there and progressing to the 3rd round.

It’s FA Vase action at Causeway on Saturday for Wood, so stay confident – no cause for alarm yet.

Bill Shaw

My thanks to Bill for a great report – and for all those he selflessly writes and send to me after every match. They really are popular, and a credit to Bill and the club. Walsall Wood have a reputation for being a great, community spirited group of people and these reports demonstrate that – it’s an honour and joy to feature them here.

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