Get with the programme: Brownhills Carnival 1939

Brownhills Carnival Program 1939

No, not that Joan Collins. Image kindly supplied by Reg Fullelove.

Reg ‘Aer Reg’ Fullelove continues to donate remarkable personal material to the Brownhills Blog – the chap is a dynamo, despite his advancing years, and the local historical record would be far the poorer without his generous contributions to it.

Today, I feature scans of a remarkable artefact – the program for the 1939 Brownhills Carnival, featuring a huge amount of content. You can browse the gallery of pages at the foot of the post, or download a PDF copy from the following link:

Brownhills Carnival 1939 – Official Programme – PDF version 7 megabytes

Clearly this is a well thumbed document that’s suffered some wear and tear, but I’ve cleaned up the scans and straightened them where possible.

David Evans had this to say about the program:

Hi Bob

Please find attached the scanned images from the 1939 Brownhills Carnival programme, which are offered with kind permission of Mr Reg Fullelove BEM, whose battered original, he scanned and bound into a booklet some while ago.

My sincere thanks are extended to dear Reg for his ongoing generosity.

kind regards

What is revealed is a witty, erudite document of a community at play the year the Second World War broke out – yet there’s little to indicate such an event was to occur. The advertisements, as ever with this kind of thing, are totally wonderful.

Note the advert for the Central Cafe. Does that make it the longest-standing shop in Brownhills?

This sits well alongside the 1934 carnival footage featured here before, again donated by Reg Fullelove.

My heartfelt thanks to the young David Evans for facilitating this and doing all the running around, and of course I thank Reg, to whom I owe a considerable debt at the moment. I must get that chap some beer!

I’m still looking for Brownhills Carnival material, no matter what the year. It’s a real gap in our collective history, so if you have anything at all, please comment or drop me a line: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

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Pictures from the 2015 Brownhills Canalside Festival


This charming lady posed wonderfully for the camera… one of the many lovely stalls and attractions.

Sadly, the sun didn’t make it along until late in the day, but even without the sunshine it was a great event – Brownhills Canalside Festival was back for 2015, and with Brian Stringer at the helm, it was a a great event and a wonderful thing for the local community.

I genuinely enjoyed it today – and there were plenty of folk there, too – including a few old mates. There was plenty to look at and do, and some really great music and entertainment to boot.

My favourite remains Armitage Bird of Prey Centre, who I’ve seen at several events now. Those birds are gorgeous, and so well cared for.

The young David Evans also popped along, and this is a mixture of his and my photos. He really did a spiffing job… cheers, David.

My sincere thanks to Brian Stringer and all the people who worked so hard for doing us proud – and of course to the boaters, stallholders and general public who came out too!

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2015 Brownhills Canalside Festival on today!

canal poster

It’s always a good day out – and it’s free!

Details of this year’s Brownhills Canal Festival taking place today (Sunday 28th June 2015) at Silver Street in Brownhills have kindly been supplied by The Clayhanger Kid himself, Brian Stringer – it’s always a good event and last year was better than ever!

Also worth checking out this year will be the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust who will be present.

This year the event even has a Facebook page!

Brian Stringer wrote:

Hi Bob

Just a bit of info on this years Brownhills Canal Festival…

Canal Festival Entertainment Running Order

Opening Ceremony

Spotlite Theatre Group

11am-12 Noon:
Wildfire Folk

12 Noon-12.30pm:
Brian Dakin’s Black Country monologues

Art Competition Results

Aldridge Ukelele Band

The Anker Valley Boys

3.15pm-4.00pm The Anker Valley Boys

Please note that the art competition results will begin at 12:30pm.

Music will be by Spotlight productions, the Anker Valley Boys, Aldridge Ukulele Band and Wildfire Folk.

These acts will be held together by a professional compere who will also integrate a raconteur of wonderful monologues, as well as announcing the opening ceremony and children’s art competition results.

We are also delighted to welcome the Black Country Boat,  which is a floating arts and crafts activities centre and will be offering fun stuff to do all day.

In addition to the usual stalls we will have theCanoe Centre open day, a Birds of Prey exhibition and the Parrot rescue tent. This year we’ll also see an exhibition of woodturning.

A local man will be providing refreshments along with our own popular cakes and bread pudding.

All this along with the usual Tombola, and numerous craft stalls.

Any more developments and I’ll let you know .

Cheers Bob,

Thanks to Brian, who was as helpful as ever. He’s a true friend of the blog.


There are plenty of attractions for all, and some rather fine craftsmanship on display.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, cycling, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, Local music, News, Panoramio photo discussions, Panoramio updates, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I remember it well… I was there. Or was I?

Untitled 9

George Street, Walsall in 1982. When, apparently, Walsall was spotless and valued it’s architecture. A remarkable image from Mervyn_w and posted on Flickr.

Periodically here, I muse on the nature of what we do – social, oral and collective local history – and wonder aloud about what makes it work, how to do it and whether we’re doing it right.

I covered this kind of thing before in previous posts, but just today I read an article that really made me think.

One of the key aspects of local history is memory, and what people recall. I’ve long realised that memory and eyewitness account, whilst taken in good spirit and documented with great respect and passion, also requires a degree of scepticism, because memory is not all that it would appear.

We all remember things differently. Ask friends to recall the same wedding, party or night out and they’ll all give differing accounts. This isn’t because anyone is untrustworthy, or deliberately embellishes, but because our minds all work slightly differently, and perspectives vary.

Today, I read this article on the BBC (click here) and it really, really made me think, as it has much to say on the reliability or otherwise of human memory. This puts me also in mind of a program I recorded from Radio 4 and posted on the blog a few years ago. You can listen to it below.

I’m interested in discussing this, as ever.

I know that I personally remember stuff that couldn’t possibly have happened, but up until I discovered those events were impossible, I believed the memories. I recall the view from a flat my family lived in, when I was a child; except I can’t possibly, because Mum and Dad moved out of there when I was a tiny baby. I remember going to a shop with my old man, the journey is held in my head in great and vivid detail; but the shop had closed before I could walk – so it’s an invention. But where did it come from? Most probably from half remembered other things, and recollections I’d heard from the family.

This is important too when we look at the effect of community on memory. If we’re influenced by family voices and recollections, how does that work on a community level? Do communities that continually assert a myth generate seemingly true recollections by gentle reinforcement?

If so, it’s clearly not a conscious thing, but it’s certainly hugely relevant to what we’re doing, and deserves exploration.

There have certainly been assertions made here over the years that have led to question. But even if a story is questionable, it still deserves recording, doesn’t it?

Talking to others, this seems almost a normal function of memory, that things meld and join as we get older. If so, I’m interested in how accurate that makes memory in reality?

There are other factors in play, too, like consistency bias (thanks to the wonderful Phil Griffin for that), and confirmation bias. All this has an effect on what we perceive to be a true and accurate retelling. I see and read lots of local history sites and groups. Most seem convinced that Walsall, for instance, was much better x years ago, x being dependent on the age of the speaker. One of the things continually asserted is that the town was much cleaner.

Which is odd, because if one looks at images of the time, it isn’t usually that clean.

I’m not saying memory and recollection isn’t to be taken as fact, but I think that regardless of the integrity of the person in question, we can place nothing above question.

Go on, tell me I’m wrong, and you can never remember me being right… comment here, or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in Bad Science, Brownhills stuff, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Local History, News, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

August 1995 – Betterbuys come to Inshops

Brownhills Gazette August 1995 issue 71_000001

Brownhills Gazette August 1995 issue 71 – a 24 page issue with Reg Holdsworth visiting the Indoor Market, an announcement that Baker Bond, gazette publishers were merging and moving out of Brownhills (this is potentials folks), Mrs. Oakley retires, Geoff Harrington celebrates 70 years in sport, a 1968 Walsall Wood Methodist Chapel photo from the archives, crime news and lots more. Click for a larger version.

Continuing the scans of the Brownhills Gazette – I present issue 71 of the long lost freesheet, from August 1995 for you to peruse and download. I’ve had an incredible response to featuring these long, lost publications here on the blog.

David Evans, very kindly granted access to the archive held by former editor and contributor Brian Stringer, has been assiduously and conscientiously scanning them all. Every single issue. Every few days, I’m going to feature the next in the series.

This is a 24 page issue with Reg Holdsworth visiting the Indoor Market, an announcement that Baker Bond, gazette publishers were merging and moving out of Brownhills (this is portentous folks), Mrs. Oakley retires, Geoff Harrington celebrates 70 years in sport, a  1968 Walsall Wood Methodist Chapel photo from the archives, crime news and lots more.

The sharp eyed amongst you will notice that I’ve skipped issue 70: this is because the scan of the front page file will not read. David Evans: Help please2? I’m hoping we can sort this… cheers..

The history of how the Brownhills Gazette came to exist has been detailed in this post thanks to the wonderful John Sylvester.

If other bloggers want to use this material, can you please drop me a line first? I don’t mind, there’s just sone stuff I’d like to clear about the usage, thanks.

Cheers to Brian and David for sharing a wonderful thing, that’s part of our community history.

If you have any memories, questions or observations please do comment or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Brownhills Gazette issue 71 August 1995 – PDF format

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Some bins not emptied today – leave them out folks….


Sometimes stuff breaks – but don’t panic!

I’m hearing that today (Friday 26th June 2015), some bin collections were missed in Brownhills, Walsall Wood and Shelfield, apparently due to a truck breakdown – these thing happen.

If your bin hasn’t been emptied today, and should have been, Walsall Clean and Green say leave it out (or pop it out again) and crews will be round in the morning (Saturday 27th June 2015) to catch up.

I know people fret about the bins from messages I get, so I hope that helps.

Posted in Bad Science, Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Interesting photos, It makes me mad!, Just plain daft, Local media, Local politics, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More live music at The Chase Inn this weekend!


Bleeding Hearts played Glastonbury! Image from the band’s Facebook page.

The revival of the Chase Inn at Newtown, Brownhills continues apace – there’s not only great ale and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, but great live music most weekends, too – this Saturday (27th June 2015) you can catch top rated folk punk rock band The Bleeding Hearts from 9pm, and in the afternoon slot on Sunday (28th June 2015) hillbilly skiffle band The Fabled Finks play from 4-7pm.

Ewan P Stevens of Bleeding Hearts wrote:

Hey Bob!

Here’s a present for ya! It’s Glastonbury this weekend, but did you know you can see a band that has performed there, right here in Brownhills? Well you Bleedin’ well can and it’ll be up close and personal! It’ll be a Hot one, so make a bee-line to the coolest little venue in town this Saturday night. Catch Bleeding Hearts acoustic at the Chase Inn. Prepare you ears for some Punk-Folk-Rock Mando Magic!


The pub was in the doldrums for years, but now under new management, the buzz around the Chase Inn has been building. The recent real ale and cider festival was a real hit – it’s so good to see a local pub revived.

Why not get down there? You’re guaranteed a great night…

For the satnav folk, the address is: 6 Watling Street, Newtown, Brownhills WS8 6JS

You can contact the pub on: 01543 899568 or visit their Facebook page.


Some great gigs upcoming. Image from the Chase Inn Facebook page.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, Local music, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment