Category Archives: Features

Leaving hibernation

We’re a third of the way through March, and daffodils are out, the sun is high in the sky and spring is in full effect – I left in the afternoon for a quiet, fast spin – I ended up on a 45-miler around Lichfield, Croxall, Edingale, Harlaston, Whittington, Weeford and Shenstone.
[caption id="attachment_17934" align="alignleft" width="300"]How Shenstone looks best: in silhouette How Shenstone looks best: in silhouette[/caption] Continue reading

Posted in Churches, cycling, Environment, Events, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, News, Panoramio photo discussions, Panoramio updates, Shared media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Urban spring

As is usual, today I visited Erdington Bike Jumble, the yearly tat-bazaar for cyclists that always takes place the first Saturday in March.
The domestic geese at Brookvale Park are every bit as hostile as their brethren at Chasewater Continue reading

Posted in Churches, cycling, Environment, Events, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, News, Panoramio photo discussions, Panoramio updates, Shared media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The first good day of the year

First weekend in march is always Erdington Bike Jumble. I usually go if the weather’s OK, and potter round, enjoying the company and chatter of other cyclists. Normally a pretty isolated activity, it’s nice to meet other riders socially for a change. A chance to meet old mates, compare machines and have a natter.
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Posted in Churches, cycling, Environment, Events, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, Panoramio photo discussions, Panoramio updates, Shared media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A railway expert writes…

Top rail historian Ian Pell, late of this parish, dropped me a line today to point out the origins of the photos that I borrowed from the South Staffordshire Railway Site to illustrate yesterday’s article about Charringtons Oil Terminal and Anglesey Sidings.
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Posted in Bad Science, Brownhills stuff, Environment, Features, Followups, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Spotted whilst browsing the web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Narnia, in Stubbers Green

This morning, on Twatter, good friend @ChisDavies1 from darkest Pelsall posted a picture of an unusual ice formation on bushes at Stubbers Green. It was so remarkable, that it piqued my interest; this afternoon, in a low, late winter sun, I went to check it out.

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Posted in Features | 5 Comments

In the beginning

I’ve got some great stuff coming up. But here’s a taste of something really exciting from reader and New Year competition winner Fred Butler. I give you… the start of Crabtree, Brownhills, in 1954.
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Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Features, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cervine suggestion

Today, we went up on Cannock Chase again, and I make no apologies for another feature on the deer. These lovely ladies were a smaller subset of the herd from last week, but on this occasion, they were a little more tolerant. They may well have been hungry. This is the closest I’ve ever managed to get to them.
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Posted in Cannock Chase, cycling, Environment, Events, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, News, Shared media, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

24 Carrots

A sunny, winter’s Saturday afternoon on Cannock Chase. The wild fallow deer in their usual spot, always happy to come for a bag of carrots. Skittish and nervous, they stay long enough to take our orange performance fee, then wander … Continue reading

Posted in Cannock Chase, cycling, Environment, Events, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, Shared media, Wildlife | 4 Comments

Archdeacon blues

Further to last Sunday’s article here regarding the book I recently acquired, ‘Visitations of the Archdeaconry of Stafford 1829-1841′ I thought I’d take the opportunity to fulfil a couple of requests.
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Posted in Churches, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The state of the estate

I’ve been given a rather excellent book this week, which, if there’s interest, I’ll share more of. It’s the ‘Visitations of the Archdeaconry of Stafford 1829-1841′ published by the Historical Manuscripts Commission and Her Majesty’s Stationary Office (HMSO). This copy was published in 1980, and bears the ISBN of 0 11 440066 0. The work is edited by David Robinson MA, Ph D.
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Posted in Features | 11 Comments

The lost

I was recently given this lovely image, which formed a greeting card purchased at Walsall Leather museum. Roger Felton has painted a gorgeous watercolour of the old BOAK building in Walsall, sadly lost to the arsonist’s zippo over the summer. … Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Events, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get some Iron

Here’s a quick one. Reader and local history researcher Clive Roberts dropped me this email a week or so ago in relation to questions about Irondish/Iron Dish, between Walsall Wood and Shelfield. Readers will remember that this courtyard of houses – that possibly contained an alehouse – stood about where the car sales lot is today, just on the Shelfield side of Jockey Meadows.

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Posted in Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Join the Freemasons – for a pint

Following the fascinating, tangential debate about the Freemasons Arms in Walsall, sparked by reader Ann Cross and her wonderful articles about the Royal Exchange, in Walsall Wood, Ann has scanned the following photo from a book, which can hopefully help the debate along a little.
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Posted in Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A solid brick foundation

Students of Brownhills Local History will be aware of an elusive, long lost site by local chap Robert Webster. This great resource ceased to exist a few years ago, when Freeserve, the service provider in whose hosting space the website was based, shut down and merged with Orange.

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Posted in Features | 3 Comments

On the subject of the Freemasons Arms…

I had the above clip in from reader Greame Clarke this morning, and seeing as there’s such debate around the Freemasons Arms, I thought I’d post it up. The English seems a bit odd, and I can’t vouch for the accuracy, but it’s something to add to the melee.
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Posted in Features | 6 Comments

Chasetown, Burntwood and surrounds, mid 1800s

Here’s another gem from contributor and top Lichfield District Council officer Gareth Thomas. It’s an undated property map of Chasetown, Burntwood and the surrounding area – including the tip of Chasewater, here named Norton Reservoir – in what I think … Continue reading

Posted in Features | 26 Comments

Learning to drive on Big K car park…

Rights of passage. The local ones we all know; for those of a certain age, learning to drive on the Big K car park was an unforgettable experience – as was visiting this local DIY palace of glittering delights with … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rock and coal

Here’s one that is certain to create debate, comment and further articles. Alerted to it in the last week by both Gareth Thomas (Geographical whizz from Lichfield District Council) and Paul Daniel (data whizz behind the mechanism that keeps local news site The YamYam running so brilliantly), it’s a book scanned and published by that wonderful resource Google Books.

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Posted in Brownhills stuff, Cannock Chase, Chasewater, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Fallen of Walsall Wood: a project

Since it’s Remembrance weekend, I thought I’d share with you a project that top reader and contributor David Evans has been working on. David has gone through the roll of honour for the First World War on the Walsall Wood memorial, and listed the entries, and what he can find out about them, in spreadsheet format.
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Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Environment, Events, Features, Followups, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A new resolution

Gareth Thomas was good to his word, and rescanned last week’s 1971 images of Clayhanger at a much higher resolution. The fragment below, showing Clayhanger Refuse Tip, or ‘The Spot’ as it was known, can be seen below.

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Posted in Features | 4 Comments

Fill your boots… it’s boom time

I ‘d just like to draw attention to a couple of blog posts here for the benefit readers. I know I’ve plugged both of these authors recently, but to be quite honest, their work is blowing me away. We really are living in excellent times for local history – so many people are coming forward with their stories, unhindered by publishers and commercial pressure.

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Posted in Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The western front

Some weeks ago now, I featured a British Railways Board plan I’d purchased from a map dealer, which showed the coal workings in the Yard Seam below Brownhills Common. At the same time, I bought the one featured here, too. … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Shared media, Shared memories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Other channels

Friend of the blog and top local government operative Gareth Thomas has been at it again. Not only has he started his own, rather wonderful looking blog, but he’s sent me a whole tranche of new aerial images. Quickly flicking through some from 1971, I spotted something really interesting.

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Posted in Features | 9 Comments

The secret army

There’s a nearby blog I love that’s going from strength to strength. It’s a blog I’ve plugged before, and it’s by Susan Marie Ward, who’s a great local historian. Susan lives out in South Staffordshire, but has historical connections to Aldridge, Walsall Wood and Stonnall.
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Posted in Chasewater, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

War child

Here’s an interesting bit of postwar ephemera, lent to top reader and contributor David Evans for use here on the blog by local lady Marjorie Hadley.

I know nothing about this unusual document, who issued it or any details. I’ve certainly never seen one before. Did every war-child receive them? What effort of campaign were they linked with? Was it a local or national thing? Church or school?

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Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Local History, Local media, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A fleeting chance

This is a post about being lucky. About being in the right place and the right time. About being fortunate to witness nature at it’s best. About loving where you live. About loving being outdoors.

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Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, cycling, Environment, Events, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, Panoramio photo discussions, Panoramio updates, Shared media, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

When waterways were motorways

Here’s a quick post that may be of interest to blog readers. Spotted by blog reader Nick Elliot and posted on Facebook, I thought these historic information films and photo compilation deserved a wider audience than they might otherwise receive.

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Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, cycling, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Just plain daft, Local History, Local media, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fall guy

Autumn is now in it’s beautiful phase. Colours are bright and golden, frost has begun to dust the lanes, gardens and hedges in the morning. A low sun paints foliage orange and bronze. Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, cycling, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, Panoramio photo discussions, Panoramio updates, Shared media, Wildlife | 2 Comments

Positively palatial

Following the vexed debate here in recent weeks about appropriate parking for bicycles, I had this comment in from reader R. Nuttall that may have dipped under the radar of a few readers, and I think it bears repeating. R. … Continue reading

Posted in Features, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Going… Going… But why, and when?

Local history wonk [Howmuch?] has found this rather intriguing plan of land plots being auctioned along the Pelsall Road, Brownhills, hiding in the archives. The only snag is, we don’t know who was selling, when, or why. My guess would … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Local History, Local media, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Cycling up The Wood

Yesterday (Saturday, 1st September 2012) was a nice day, particularly in the late afternoon. I’ve just got a copy of Final Cut for editing videos, and was keen to have a play, so I thought I’d turn out another ride … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, cycling, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Special delivery for Mr. and Mrs. Burnell!

The Brownhills blog has just potentially expanded it’s readership by one. Richard and Rose Maria Burnell tonight welcomed new arrival, Edward Alexander Burnell, a healthy nine pounds. Both mum and baby are doing well. Both Richard and Rose have contributed … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Features, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Music in the shadow of darkness

Now, here’s a thing. It is probably the most complete illustration of Brownhills in that peculiar, post Second World War twilight hangover period I’ve ever seen. Found by local historian Clive Roberts, it’s both a sad, and joyful thing. It’s … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Events, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Local History, Local media, Local music, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Royal Oak, Bullings Heath: The last century

This is the second of a multi-part epic. Researched painstakingly by David Evans, top bloke and stalwart of this blog, he wrote this up some months ago, and I’ve been working on bringing the information out in the best way … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Yew could be right…

Here’s an interesting theory from David Evans regarding Walsall Wood High Street, and the recent debate over pubs, beer-houses and other purveyors of the holy pint.Not sure I totally agreed with this hypothesis, but I’ll chuck it out there and … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Local music, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Happy trails

Here’s another peak district ride video for Trevor in Australia, again recorded last Friday. This one is of the section of High Peak Trail from around Longcliffe to Parsley Hay Station, then back down the Tissington Trail to Tissington. This time … Continue reading

Posted in cycling, Environment, Events, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Wildlife | 3 Comments

A quick correction from Andy Dennis

I had a brief note from top chap and blog research stalwart Andy Dennis the other day – I kept meaning to reply, but as regular contributors know only to well, I’m not too good with mail. If it’s a … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Features, Followups, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sharp shooters from the Wood

A couple of great images here from reader Beverley Hollyhead, of local air gun shooters in the mid 50s. I’m hoping we might be able to name some of these prizewinning marksmen, so for those who were around the area … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Features, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Cutting down the Oak?

Readers anticipating the next instalment of the Royal Oak story – the lost pub in Bullings Heath – could be forgiven for thinking I’d forgotten the subject, but nothing could be further from the truth. At the moment, I’m just … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A true pioneer

What I love about curating this shambling, rambling pile of words is the serendipity of some of the subjects that come out as a consequence of unrelated ones, merely due to a tenuous link. Here, I’ll throw this post over … Continue reading

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The BOAK building from the air, 1921

Lovely email from ex-pat Canada resident Michael Edwards, late of this parish. Spotting the news of the dreadful fire that destroyed the beautiful old BOAK Ravenscraig works in Station Street earlier in the week, he found the above image on … Continue reading

Posted in Express & Star, Features | 2 Comments

Down the lines

I had a very interesting email in the week from Ian Pell, who’s clearly something of a railway buff. Here’s what he had to say about my post from last week, featuring the fantastic research of local historian Gerald Reece. … Continue reading

Posted in Features | 6 Comments

The Chase is on

A couple for the armchair cyclists… filmed yesterday. I had to go to the bike shop, Swinnertons, on Cannock Chase at Birches Valley. They close at 5pm. I left at 4pm. The journey is a little over 11 miles, and involves … Continue reading

Posted in Features | 2 Comments

The Royal Oak, Bullings Heath: Explorations in local history

This is the first of a multi-part epic. Researched painstakingly by David Evans, top bloke and stalwart of this blog, he wrote this up some weeks ago, and I’ve been working on bringing the information out in the best way … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

A public service announcement

Hi folks. Have lots of stuff to go up – contributions from Ian Pell, Peter Cutler, David Evans, [Howmuch?] and others – but gimme a break. The sun’s shining and I’m a cyclist. This weekend, The Brownhills Blog will operate … Continue reading

Posted in Features | 3 Comments

A local lost and found – can you help?

Reader Glenys Brookes has been back in touch recently. You’ll remember that Glenys was interested in researching the history of the Lloyd family of Walsall Wood, and blog readers really excelled themselves with good, solid research. It seems that the … Continue reading

Posted in Features | 2 Comments

The boys were back in town

Here’s a quick one for the Walsall Wood contingent: Specifically the fine lads who were members of the local Boys Brigade. They held a reunion back in March, I think at Walsall Wood Football Club. I’ve been supplied this picture … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Events, Features, Followups, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Walsall Wood – A short history by Margaret Brice

The readers of this humble blog really are remarkable people. No sooner had I mentioned yesterday that I was looking for a copy of Margaret Brice’s Walsall Wood book, than I had two readers offering me copies. Reader and top … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The Ivy League

I’ve just had this one come in this afternoon from reader, contributor and all round top chap David Evans. It’s jarred me awake a little, as I know a reader locally to be researching this very subject, so I’m posting … Continue reading

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

A token of my respect

Today, I’m going to do something I should have done a while ago. Students of Brownhills Local History will be aware of an elusive, long lost site by local chap Robert Webster. This great resource ceased to exist a few … Continue reading

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, Panoramio photo discussions, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments