Walsall Wood match off!


Game’s off – bad luck, folks! But the clubhouse is warm, dry and full of football chat!

Today (24th January 2015), Walsall Wood FC were supposed to be off to Barnsley to replay their tied FA Vase match against Shaw Lane Aquaforce, which hung in a one-all draw last Saturday; sadly following a pitch inspection, the match was called off.

There’s no football for Walsall Wood’s main team today then, just a training session instead – but the clubhouse is open, so why not pop in for a drink and a chat? They’d be glad to see you…

My commiserations to the team and fans; I know how much you were all looking forward to this!

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How many….?

In the last hour, this blog passed a milestone.

2,000,000 hits in just over 5½ years.

Thanks to everyone who reads, contributes and helps keep this ramshackle pile of tat on the road. This is a community enterprise and with the energy and enthusiasm shown by readers, we keep exploring our place, our history and our community.


Posted in News | 14 Comments

Lock, stock and barrel?

Untitled 9

I don’t know a great deal about the lock cottages at Ogley Junction; can you help? Imagery from Bing! Maps.

Here’s one that’s got me confused, puzzled and interested – reader Sharon Kane has contacted me from France to ask about about her partner, Steve Jolly’s life here in the 1960s and 70s, and about ‘Lock Keepers Cottage’ on the Pelsall Road in Brownhills.

There’s an obvious problem here, the canal through Brownhills near to Pelsall Road has no locks, and never did – the Wyrley and Essington is a contour canal, so I’m wondering what and where this cottage was, and how it got the name?

The only locks hereabouts were the Ogley Flight on the lost Lichfield and Hatherton, which closed in the late 1950s. They still exist, and are, I believe, owned by the Lichfield & Hatherton Restoration Trust.

I’ll let Sharon explain:


My partner Steve Jolly ( sjolly998@gmail.com) has been trying to get in touch but had no reply so I said I would try.

He grew up in Brownhills but moved to the North East of England in 1975 ish and now lives in South West France.

His Aunty Pauline lived at the lock keepers cottage at Pelsall Road and there was an article about it in the Express and Star many years ago. He wondered if you could supply any information or photos about it at all, or put him in touch with anyone who could help.

He attended Brownhills Boys School and left in 1970. If you have any contacts from those days and they would be willing to be contacted he would be pleased.

Thank you.
Sharon Kane.

The only cottage I can think of as a likely candidate is the one behind where the Jolly Collier used to be, on the corner of Pelsall Road and Coppice Side.

Can anyone help? Do you remember Setev Jolly? Please do comment here, or mail me: Brownhillsbob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks!


This is all I can think of that could be described as a ‘Lock Keeper’s Cottage’ on the Pelsall Road. Anyone got any ideas?

Posted in News | Tagged | 11 Comments

Post Morton


How foolish of us to expect a local candidate… cartoon from SFU.

Readers with long memories may well recall that in December 2014 there was some furore over the selection of the next Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Aldridge Brownhills following the standing down of Richard Shepherd, who’s retiring from his 36 year tenure at the next general election.

The competition for the person very likely to be our next MP (We’re in a fairly safe Tory seat here) was between four candidates –  popular local Tory Councillor for Pelsall Marco Longhi, and three outsiders – the favourite being Wendy Morton.

The selection process had proven controversial for a number of reasons.

After being cancelled due to procedural controversy, the selection for the next candidate finally took place last night, Thursday 22nd January 2015.

Marco was popular with the electorate but since it’s party members who vote, this seems to have had little sway with the local branch. They chose outsider, Wendy Morton, rejecting Marco who knows and cares about our area.

Wendy Morton is vice chairman of the Conservative Party, who previously stood for the marginal seat of Tynemouth in the 2010 election, and in a year when possibly the most hated Prime Minster for decades was cut down, she actually managed to decrease the Tory share of the vote by 2.2%.

There seems to be an existing history of parachuting Wendy in against local wishes, as this article shows. Local voters and activists have been unsettled too, as this comment on ConservativeHome would appear to indicate.

I’d really like to congratulate Wendy, but I can’t. Why should I? This will be yet another career politician seat warming in a backwater constituency they have no connection to. As far as I’m concerned, this whole affair represents everything that’s wrong with modern politics: We could have had a local man who’s passionate about us and our area – even if I don’t like his politics – but instead, the party machinery appears to have taken precedence over the constituency.

I think that about says it all.

You can read the coverage at the Express & Star here.

Untitled 9

Richard Shephered preparing to launch into his Des O’Connor tribute for a captivated audience. Click through to read the coverage at the Express & Star.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Followups, Interesting photos, It makes me mad!, Local Blogs, Local media, Local politics, News, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Your guide to Walsall – 125 years ago


This is W. Henry Robinson’s Guide to Walsall – an illustrated handbook, written in 1889. Whether this copy is that old, I’m no sure. Whichever, it cost a shilling, and is about 100 pages.

Here’s one I’ve been meaning to do for ages, but the sheer labour of it has been off-putting; but now I have access to a professional scanner, it’s a lot easier to scan publications like W  Henry Robinson’s ‘Guide to Walsall – an illustrated guide’, which was published in 1889 and is a captivating gazetteer and document of a growing town and its life.

The book was given to me by a great friend a couple of years ago, and she obtained it from her late father’s personal effects. I know the book isn’t rare, as I know of at least three other copies, and I question if this copy really is 125 years old, or a later reissue; but the writing is clearly unaltered.

We have a historical, religious, architectural, economic, social and geographic tour of Walsall. Covered are important buildings, industries, clubs, places of worship, people and their histories. The very recent (then) story of Sister Dora is the book’s finale; there’s even a section on the geology of the town.

There are excellent drawings and photos.

It’s clearly and nicely written, and very, very comprehensive. I’ll not comment directly on the content, as I’d like readers to explore it for themselves, and then comment here, or mail me if you prefer: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

You can download a copy of the entire book at the link below. It’s near enough 30 megabytes, so may take a while on slow connections – note the text is searchable, and I’ve rotated all images for best viewing.

W. Henry Robinson’s ‘Guide to Walsall – an illustrated guide’ PDF download

Thanks to the donor for such a fine book, and please do comment what you find of interest.

Untitled 9

From the Guide: ‘Old buildings, Digbeth’ – so dereliction and decay in Walsall Town Centre is nothing new. I think it was bin day, too, by the look of those refuse sacks.

Posted in Churches, Environment, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Turning the screw

Untitled 9

The Meccano Magazine was an institution that seems to have run from 1916 to 1981.

I was surprised and pleased at the huge response to my posting scans of the Meccano Magazine from July 1945 here on the blog at the weekend: the magazine was bought in Lichfield and scanned for the blog by the young David Evans, who correctly posited it as something readers would love.

Since then, the ever-inquisitive Peter ‘pedro’ Cutler has also been busy, and has found that the magazines – which appear to have run from 1916 to 1981 – are all beautifully archived in full on a French website that can be found here at this link.

They are all well scanned and archived. My compliments to the site authors – that’s a real time capsule. The site can be a bit slow so bear with it; there’s a huge amount of data there deliver from a free server, so patience is a must.

The diversity of articles is huge – but some raise eyebrows; this one about the wondrous material Asbestos is an interesting thing indeed.

A point was raised about the ducks on the cover of the one I featured, and their lack of relevance to the content. Looking at the cover gallery, among trains, cranes, ships and some slightly unsettling militaria, they do seem to have had the odd aberrant wildlife or rural cover. They’re all gorgeous.

Peter sent a comment yesterday which I held for this article, speculating on the cover art (which does remind me of Ladybird books, I have to say):

Maybe this chap?

‘The illustration is of a block setting crane and is by W.H.Pinyon an illustrator who’s work was commissioned by the Meccano company for their cover designs and advertising over many years. The crane illustration was used on manuals from 1948 – 1955.’


There really is some wondrous stuff on that site – do check it out. Thanks to Peter for his hard work and continued research, and also David for the original scans!

You lot never cease to amaze me: comment here, or Brownhillsbob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.


Alan Esplan’s remarkable Meccano excavator: click the screen shot to visit his site.

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Missing from home: Charlie the cat


What a gorgeous lad. If you know where Charlie is, please do get in touch. Image from Chris Wharton.

Here’s an urgent appeal for a lost cat that’s come in from reader Chris Wharton, who lives at the bottom of Sandhills on the Lichfield Road near Shore Oak – his beloved ginger and white puss Charlie went out this morning and hasn’t come home.

Chris wrote:

Hi Bob

We’ve lost our cat Charlie. He’s ginger and white and very lean, as he was the runt of the litter. He has no collar.

He dissapeared in the early hours of today (Tuesday 20th Jan) His brother returned but no sign of Charlie. We live at the bottom of Shire Oak hill on the corner of Barracks Lane. Ive asked Lanes Farm and Midwest and no joy there.

Please share and if you see or hear of anything please let me know Sox is a very friendly lad, and Melissa is very worried about him. Local vets and Cat Shelters have been called.


If you’ve seen Charlie – please do check sheds, garages and outhouses when you can – please comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com, and I’ll pass the message on.

We’ve had success finding lost pets in the past, so please give it your best shot.

Cheers all…

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Interesting photos, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment