I seem to be getting a lot of history requests, lately. I love those, and welcome questions about any local topic you want to know about. Last week, I was contacted on Facebook by Julie Le-Moine, from The Crib in Church Road. She had this interesting question to ask:
Firstly I would like to commend you on all your hard work you put into your blog. I love reading about the history of Walsall Wood and Brownhills as that is where I was born and bred. My husband is in the Armed Forces and 5 years ago we bought a house in Church Road (opposite St James Church). It was built in 1896 and we have all the history paperwork wise dating back that far, however, whoever I talk to in Brownhills all seem to know all about my house and the people that lived in it (it belonged to the same family the Dukes).
I would love to know if you have anymore photos or information as it intrigues me and would love to learn more, and maybe you could help. Any photos of the church or Church Road, Brickiln Street would be fab! Thanks so much and keep up the good work.
I’ve had a good delve into my stuff, and I’ve lots of photos of Church Road (or Church Hill – more on that further down) – but none of Brickiln Street. I’d also recommend looking at the superlative work ‘The History of St. James, Brownhills’ available in PDF form here. Our parish church has an interesting history, and is an under appreciated, handsome building. Shame it’s not looked after more carefully.
Thanks to Julie for her contribution, and if you have any more information, please do comment here.
Take a close look at the above map segment – notice then that Church Road was called Church Hill and Brickiln Street (pronounced ‘Brik-lin’ by real Brownhillians) is actually Brick Kiln Street. The contraction of the name to it’s pronounced form gives a clue to the distinctive, clipped form of our accent. When you’ve lived here a while, you can tell the difference audibly between Walsall Wood, Brownhills and Shelfield voices…
A clue to the genesis of these names can be seen between Church Hill and Great Charles Street – there’s a gravel pit there. Near the canal at Sandfields on the Lichfield Road – where the caravan park is today – was a sand pit. These excavations clearly were formative in the building of Victorian Brownhills. I don’t know where the brickworks was, or indeed, which houses were built with Brownhills bricks. Can any readers help me out?