Signatures still required on pedestrian crossings for Shire Oak petition

I’m running this request again for signatures to the online petition for pedestrian crossings in Shire Oak, following the sad death of Jack Garrington. If you haven’t signed, please do. Shire Oak does need safe crossing points desperately, and if the petition exceeds 1,500 signatures, it will be debated at Council. We’re just a few short, currently.

I implore you all to sign this petition and help make a difference


Untitled 7

Click on the screenshot to visit the petition site.

Since the tragic, awful death of 12 year old Jack Garrington on the Chester Road, Shire Oak last Thursday, 10th April 2014, many Brownhills folk and parents of kids attending Shire Oak from further afield have not only paid tribute to Jack, but also want to join together to improve road safety in the area.

The Facebook page that was set up on Saturday as a focus for those campaigning for better road crossings not just on Shire Oak where the accident occurred, but on Lindon Road, has gained several thousand supporters.

The page creators still recommend writing to Walsall Council, local Councillors, and our MP, Sir Richard Shepherd, but yesterday a online petition was also created to show the strength of feeling over this horrific accident.

You can sign the petition by clicking  here.

Local roads are getting busier and busier, and we really need to support pedestrians more – they are the most vulnerable group on our roads, particularly schoolkids. Let’s get together and push for better crossings.

Only by applying pressure can a change be effected.

Thanks to the page and petition creators, they have my full support and that of the Brownhills Blog. If there’s anything I can do, please let me know: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail do com.

Visit the ‘Pedestrian Crossings for Shire Oak’ campaign page by clicking here.


An incredibly moving image. Friend of Jack Garrington pay their respects to his memory. A remarkable image by Sarah Lou Harvey, posted on Twitter yesterday. Thanks to Sarah for her kind permission to use it here.

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What was lost, now restored


Can you tell what it is yet? Finally, it’s real. Thanks to Richard Burnell for the picture.

I am indebted to a Burnell yet again, as top chap and fellow cyclist Richard contacts me and points out something he noticed that I didn’t. Bullings Heath Grove is now a real place, with street signs.

All I can say is ‘Well done everyone!’ We have had a small, but satisfying imprint on the history and geography of our area: a name lost for a century has been returned to the local nomenclature in order that future folk may be spurred to find its origin, just as we have been.

For the background, you can read my early musings on Bullings Heath, or the exhaustive and thorough research by David Evans into the Royal Oak pub, the building whose ultimate demolition paved the way for this new development.

There are further great ruminations on Pepper Alley, which was a name attributed to this area too, by Hilary Little.

I have, of course, covered the decision regarding the naming of the new close here previously.

My thanks to all the readers who got involved, David Evans in particular, and to Councillor Mike Flower who saw this through. I suspect the Councillor regards me as little more than a pain in the arse, and so his support of this measure was impressive.

Well done. It’s a small, insignificant thing, but it does make me proud of what we do here.

Well done, folks.


Back on the map after over a century. Bullings Heath recorded in Walsall Wood’s landscape for the future. Photo kindly supplied by Richard Burnell.

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Don’t disrupt the bingo!

Chasetown Working Mens Club Committee, 1960s 0r 70s – great period image supplied by Stuart Cowley.


Today, reader and longstanding friend of the Brownhills Blog Stuart Cowley mailed me the above wonderful image of Chasetown Working Men’s Club Committee from years past, when Stuart’s Dad was involved.

Stuart, you’ll remember, supplied the excellent material about his childhood memories of Chasewater, is something of an expert on the local Marching Band history, and also wrote a wonderfully popular article on his experiences in local and hospital radio.

Stuart wrote:

Afternoon Chap,

Trust you are well, photo attached.

Chasetown Working Mens Club (late 60’s early 70’s ?)

Recently discovered this in the loft, taken about late 60’s early 70’s, it’s a photo of the committee as it was then, my late father, Charles Cowley is sixth from the left on the back row.

It was taken at the time of the opening of the new extension.

On the back of the photo is a list of names so I’m hoping it’s accurate:

Back row, from the left:

J.Wolfe, W.Seedhouse, J.Bartram, E.Walker, J.Brawn, Charles Cowley, A.Willets, J.Sarsfield, B.Stansbie, P.Cage, T.Bridewater, H.Lewis

Front row from the left:

H.Whitehouse, D.Wolfe, J.Collis, G.Atkins, W.Cliffe

Memories of going here most Saturday nights with my parents in the 60’s/70’s. It was an unwritten law that you didn’t sit where the regulars sat or you’d be in trouble!

Us Kids used to play out on the landing or out in the car park so as not to disrupt the bingo.

Memorable day trips to places like Rhyl, Blackpool, Weston, Belle Vue Zoo.

Christmas parties where you got a ten bob note, bar of chocolate, apple,orange.

New Years Eve parties where we got to stay up until midnight.

Copious bottles of Hubbly Bubbly and just as many crisps.

Guest organist with handle bar moustache who used to lose his flow a little…

My dad having the old club sign as part of our garden fence, it was upside down and only visible from the top deck of the Walsall bus as it passed the top of King Street…

All the best,
Stuart Cowley

Thank you Stuart for yet another wonderful contribution to our local history record.

Stuart’s photo is timely; I know I’ve broached the subject before, but material on the past history of local clubs is still very anaemic. I’m still after stuff on any local establishment; we did a lot on the Midlleton House club, aided and abetted by Mike Stackhouse, and interest is still very strong in the Friezland Lane club. Of course, there were others – Walsall Wood, recently mentioned Coppice Road club, and the local Labour clubs, too.

These institutions were a huge part of working class life for decades; here were great nights out, sports teams, day trips and local entertainment acts. They were the venue for wedding receptions, wakes and birthday parties.

There must be a wealth of hitherto undiscovered photos and ephemera out there. Please, if you have any on any local club, please do share it with us so it’s not lost forever.

That goes for memories, too. Comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, Local music, Local politics, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Walsall Wood take shine off Continental’s Star


Continental Star groundshare with Rushall Olympic at Dales Lane. Image from The Groundhog.

Easter Monday afternoon (21stApril 2014), Walsall Wood FC faced Continental Star at Dales Lane, and I think it’s fair to say that the lads from Walsall Wood trounced their Rushall hosts.

Bill Shaw kindly submitted the following match report – sorry for the delay, but This is the first chance I’ve had today to post the article.

Bill wrote:

Hiya Bob,

A fifth win of the season over Continental Star that moved Wood up to seventh place, earning just four points from their last pair of home games will see them finish sixth…

Continental Star 0 v 3 Walsall Wood

An entertaining encounter in the April sunshine with Wood having to wait until the 26th minute to take the lead, when Joey Butlin hit a dipping drive from the right edge of the box.

Scott Coper had a superb volley ruled out by a ludicrous offside decision on 58 minutes, but Butlin muscled his way past a defender to run on and score in the 88th minute.

Right on time a lovely sidestep by Max Black in the centre of the box saw him make space to drill home number three to give the scoreline a more realistic look, after Wood had wasted a host of half chances as they threatened to run riot at times.

So it’s Shepshed Dynamo the visitors at Oak Park on Thursday night, as Wood look to avenge the opening day 1 – 0 defeat in Leicestershire.

Kick off 7.45 pm, don’t be late.

Bill Shaw.


Thanks to Bill and for the report, and good luck to the lads facing Shepshed Dynamo on Thursday.

For The Good of the Wood!

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If the cap fits…

On Sunday I rode up Coppice Lane in Brownhills for the first time in a few weeks, and noticed that contractors for The Coal Authority – the body charged with monitoring and remediating historic mineworkings – had been hard at work capping the two shafts left over from the West Coppice Colliery, near the old level Crossing. 

The land, which has been cleared of scrub and tress for access, is now smoothed over and re-seeded, and small guard fences have been erected around the shaft caps, which have been buried.


What I assume was a ventilation shaft for the short-lived West Coppice Colliery, as photographed in 2011.

I previously featured one of the shafts in my 2011 post ‘Common ground’, and then analysed the mapping record further in a subsequent post.

I noted the shaft had been fenced off some time ago, and it now seems they’ve capped it, and another adjacent one I hadn’t spotted. I wish I’d known this was going on, I’d have loved to have had a chat to the contractors.

If anyone knows anything about this, please do comment here or drop me a line on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

1:2500 scale Ordnance Survey plan of Brownhills Common. Note the West Coppice Colliery at the foot of the map.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Park up, take a pew…

Watling st school

Foundation laying for a new school building at Watling Street, Brownhills – but who are the dignitaries, and when was this? Image from the Walsall Observer, supplied by top bloke [Howmuch?]

First up – an apology to regular readers. Content has been a bit thin this weekend, as I’ve been taking it a but easy, sorting my bikes out, doing family stuff and generally attending to things occurring in the background. Normal service will resume later. Apologies if you’re waiting for something in particular. To be quite honest I’ve been knackered the last few weeks and a rest is what I’ve been needing. Feel free to prod me by email or on social media if there’s something you particularly want.

Anyway, on with the show…

Over the last few weeks, a newspaper clipping (included above), found in the Walsall Observer archive by [Howmuch?] has caused a whole heap of interest. Reporting the laying of a foundation stone for the ‘…new schools at Watling Street’, readers have debated where it might actually relate to, as it clearly wasn’t what we now think of as Watling Street School.

I did some map wonkery and thought it might be the new Sunday School at the Park View Methodist Church, further up the Watling Street, on the opposite corner to the Prince of Wales pub, which is now houses.

Since then, we explored some unexpected history of St. Thomas’s Mission Church nearby, had some great reader input, and managed to connect two lost friends!


David Evans has found this 1963 wedding photo taken at the side of the Park View Methodist Church. I think we can all agree that from the windows and brickwork detail, this is the same building, the New Sunday School in the Observer clipping would be on the far side of this building. David credits Brian for this wonderful image – but I’m not sure who Brian is. Please, if you’re passing, either David or Brian, please pipe up!

The young David Evans (who’s not been in the best of health lately I hear, get well soon old chap) has been beavering away and turned up the following two photos. One nails the issue of location perfectly, and I’m sure the other will spark memories.

David said:

Hi Bob

I was delighted to read Barry Aylett-Warner’s recent contribution regarding the Park View Methodist Church that once stood beside the Watling Street in Brownhills.

I hope to compose a more thorough article in due course, but in the meantime here’s a photo of the last building to be used as the church… I think this building is the one featured in your recent blog article, ‘Tell me on a Sunday’

The Walsall Local History Centre lists the minutes and records for this church in their archives. These are dated 1866 to 2001. (The accession record is 1132), whilst the records for Mount Pleasant Primitive church, which once stood further along the Watling Street, date from 1867 to 1965. The accession reference i3 318/49-52.

I would like to thank Keith Rothery, circuit archivist for the Cannock Chase Methodist Church for his help

kind regards


There’s a host of other material to come from David on this matter which I look forward to preparing when I have more time, but for now, just marvel at another local history puzzle solved by group co-operation…

You lot really are remarkable. Thanks to you all.


This is what was left of the Park View Methodist Church (or Chapel?) in it’s later years, again found by David Evans. David says Park View closed around 2001, and this was taken towards the end of it’s life. The old church in the picture was demolished in 1974, and the congregation moved into the ‘new’ Sunday School, which remained. I believe this image to have been donated by Keith Rothery, circuit archivist for the Cannock Chase Methodist Church. A very interesting image, I must have passed this hundreds of times, but can’t quite recall it – now the site is housing.

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Can Walsall Wood pull off an Easter Monday victory?


Continental Star groundshare with Rushall Olympic at Dales Lane. Image from The Groundhog.

The Wood are away Continental Star this afternoon!

Monday 21st April 2014

Can the the Woodmen beat the Rushall battlers?

Last time they played each other was Boxing Day, when The Wood won…

Kick off is 3:00pm

Why not take the short trip to Rushall and support the local lads?

Hopefully, a match report will follow…

For the Good of the Wood!


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