Over the past couple of posts, the subject of Holland Park in Brownhills has come up, and reader Peter asked where it got it’s name. I knew it was named after Hyla John Holland, one of the great names in the history of Brownhills, but I realised I didn’t know much about the chap, or exactly what he did beyond being a councillor.
It seems Hyla came from a time when parks, open air and exercise were more highly valued than the Mayoral portage.
Well, with thanks to Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler, we’ve made tentative steps into delving into Hyla’s history, and where better to start than the gentleman’s obituary in the Lichfield Mercury?
This report was carried in the Friday, 20th October 1933 edition of the Lichfield Mercury:
BROWNHILLS BENEFACTOR’S DEATH
Had the Interests of the District at Heart
Mr. H. J. Holland
It is with regret that we record the death of Mr. Hyla J. Holland, of Brownhills, which took place on Wednesday. The deceased, who was 70 years of age, was a son of the late Mr. John Holland, a most respected inhabitant, who was for forty years secretary of Messrs. Harrison’s Collieries, a Justice of the Peace and a prominent member of the Brownhills Urban District Council. His mother is still alive at the age of 92 and resides at the Coppice, Brownhills.
The deceased was also a member of the Council for upwards of fifteen years, being chairman in 1924, chairman of the Parks Committee, in which he took a keen interest, and chairman of the Tech¬nical Instruction Committee. Primarily through Mr. Holland’s efforts the local Council assumed control of the Brownhills Common, which today is proving a valuable amenity to the district. He was headmaster of the Ogley Hay Schools for many years, and his associations with Ogley Hay Church and Sunday Schools included organist at the church for forty years. At the last Council election Mr. Holland did not seek re-election owing to ill-health, a fact which was generally re¬gretted throughout the district.
He was also connected with many other bodies, including the now defunct Board of Guardians; chairman, treasurer, and a trustee of the Brownhills Memorial Hall; and a member of the County Tuber¬culosis Committee, attending the meet¬ings at Stafford. It was due to him that he scheme originated for the making of the new road from the Chester Road to Watling Street, called The Parade, and in this respect the Council honoured him in asking him to perform the opening ceremony. He was a Freemason, and throughout his sojourn in Brownhills was interested in all social life, being par¬ticularly concerned with the health of the district.
The funeral will take place at the Parish Church on Saturday afternoon at 2.30 p.m.
This lovely obituary was followed by this report of the funeral, from the Friday 27th October 1933 edition of the same paper:
Funeral of Mr. H. J. Holland.—The funeral of Mr. Hyla John Holland took place on Saturday at the Parish Church. The family mourners were Mr. George R. Goodall ( son-in-law ) Captain H. H. Holland, C. B.. R. N., Laurence Holland, C. C. J.P., Arthur and Cecil Holland (brothers); J. S. Wilkes (of Deganwy), J. F. W. Binns, C.C., J.P. (of Pelsall), and Madrell (of Liverpool) (brothers-in-law); Mrs. L. V. Rogers and Mr. Scott Rogers (cousins); Mr. A. J. Holland (of Hednesford) (cousin), Mr. A. E. Wilkes and Mr. H. Westley (of Pelsall) (nephews). There were forty wreaths from family and friends, and from the Brethren of Hatherton Lodge, No. 2474; Brethren of Hatherton Chapter. No. 24 74; Brownhills Urban District Council; Staff of Senior Boys’ Central School; Staff of Ogley Hay Junior and Infants Schools; Committee and Members of the Brownhills War Memorial Institute; Committee and Members of the Brownhills British and Foreign Bible Society; Members of the Brownhills (Ogley Hay) Female Society; and representatives of these bodies attended the funeral.