A life in harmony


St. John’s, Walsall Wood – venue for a great concert.

Last year,  I ran a series of articles here on the Brownhills Blog about Brownhills Co-operative Choral Society, a very highly respected musical ensemble indeed, and a remarkable, often overlooked piece of Brownhills history.

What I didn’t realise back then was that the Brownhills Choral still exists in the form of Deryk Langford’s Brownhills Wednesday Singers ensemble, who have a concert upcoming at Walsall Wood Parish Church (St. Johns), on the 7th November 2014.

Deryk Langford announced the following yesterday:

Brownhills Choral Society was one of the finest Choirs way back in the 1970s and 80s. It came 3rd in the Llangollen International Festival out of 23 international choirs

We now have the Brownhills Wednesday Singers, a 40 strong mixed voice choir, who are presenting a World War 1 concert along the ever popular Staffordshire Band on 7th November at Walsall Wood Parish Church at 7.30pm.

Tickets are limited and cost £5 obtainable from Deryck Langford 01543 821999.

Come along and join in a singalong of old songs from the Trenches.

David Evans has charted the Choral Society from its very beginning, and also through the years of George Fullelove. Along the way, railway expert and chorister Ian Pell also turned up some great material. This is all part of a complex and surprising musical culture in Brownhills, both in the classical tradition and the more modern sense – it’s very satisfying to see that tradition continue with the Wednesday Singers.


Douglas Birch MBE and Deryck Langford. Image by David Evans.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Local music, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

November 1989 – Residents up in arms…

Brownhills Gazette November 1989 issue 2_000001

Brownhills Gazette November 1989 issue 2 – lots more in this one, and more variety; this was a publication finding its feet. Click for a larger version.

Here’s a treat for the Brownhills Gazette fans out there – issue 2 of the freshet, from November 1989 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. I’ve just compiled the next few into PDFs and I can tell you there are some treats in store – including the only decent photo I’ve ever seen of Holland Park’s lost bandstand.

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 2 November 1989 – 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Retail unit required in Brownhills – can you help?


There must be a decent unit for lease somewhere in Brownhills? Can you help, please?

Hi folks – you all know I like to support local businesses here on the blog – there’s not much I can add to this one, but the enquiry came in last week – can anyone help John Davies find a place with a nice flexible lease for his project? I’m a big cat lover (as with all animals) and Cats Protection are cool with me.

Hi Bob,

Would it be possible to put this on the blog, please?

Does anyone know of a shop or small unit that is available to rent in the Bloxwich-Brownhills-Cannock areas, must be cheap rent and easy in/out lease. Anything considered.

Will donate a percentage of profits to Walsall Animal Care.

It’s for a photography studio which will also do pet portraiture, but if we could get good sized building, we could also do some fund raising days for local animal rescues/Cats Protection (we foster for Cats Protection and volunteer for Walsall Animal Care, references available from both).

Contact details John Davies mobile 07429 174 726, unit would be ideally based in Brownhills, but within 3/4 miles ok.

Thanks again
John Davies

You can obviously contact him directly on the above number or comment here/mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

I wish John all the best in his new venture – and please let me know when it kicks off and I’ll put a piece up here!

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

They wouldn’t let it Lye


Lye Town FC: scene of a frustrating match for Bill Shaw and the faithful. Image from The Mowdog.

Yesterday afternoon (25th October 2014), Walsall Wood FC were away to face Lye Town at Stourbridge Road – somewhat disappointingly, the Wood boys only scraped a draw.

Don’t forget there will be an bonfire and fireworks display with hot food and a great family atmosphere at Oak Park next Sunday, 2nd November 2014 from 6:30pm – £4 in for age 16+, only £2 for kids and OAPs. A family with up to four kids can get in for just £10 – and it really is a great night.

Bill Shaw, as ever, was there to catch the action…

Hiya Bob,

How the Wood weren’t  at least 4 goals ahead after an hour is a mystery. They entered the last 30 minutes just the one goal ahead and almost lost all 3 points as Lye finally woke up and exerted some pressure on the Wood defence, equalising 4 minutes into added time and then almost stealing all 3 points at the very end.

Lye Town 1 v 1 Walsall Wood.

Virtually straight from the kick off Craig Deakin intercepted a ball forward, his header found Harry Harris who quickly released Drew Aiton through the centre, his rising drive just over the right angle.

The next clear cut chance was created by Max Black on 13 minutes, he raced onto a ball in the centre of the box, his delightful lob beating the advancing keeper and the left hand post.

The only effort of note by Town came 4 minutes later, a low drive from James Spray bringing a full length save from Mario Kisiel. Wood deservedly went ahead on 29 minutes, a break by Deakin right of centre saw him play a ball left to Ben Evans, who held the ball up cleverly before playing a diagonal into the left of the box, Drew Aiton scoring off the foot of the far post with a vicious low cross shot.

Wood dominated the rest of the half but couldn’t make the breakthrough for the all important second goal. In the first 15 minutes of the second half the Town goal had a charmed life, first it was Harris hitting a first time volley over the right angle with the keeper well beaten, Harris then set up Black on 49 minutes, his first time effort just wide.

On 53 minutes Deakin powered in along the byeline from wide on the right, his ball back to Leon Taylor was smashed past the keeper only to be blocked on the line, Harris was first to the loose ball to fire goalwards, but keeper Stevens somehow managed to get a hand to the ball to push it away.

After yet another let off the home side finally came to life, Mark Danks racing into the right of the box on 65 minutes, his cross shot bringing a superb one handed save from Kisiel. Evans hit a first time effort onto the roof of the Town net on 73 minutes just to remind them Wood were still there.

Town really wound up the pressure in the last 10 minutes, on 83 Danks again found space on the right of the box, this time his rising drive bringing a great save from Kisiel, Danks was first to the rebound but the keeper made a brave block to deny him again. Five minutes later a right wing free kick caused mayhem in the Wood box, Kisiel somehow managing to keep out 3 point blank efforts from close range.

With 4 minutes into added time Ricky Anslow won a foul wide right, Reece Shilvock floating in a free kick to the far post, the ball evaded everyone and nestled in the far corner of the net. It nearly  got worse for Wood when with seconds remaining Shilvock delivered a left wing corner right under the bar, with the Lye cavalry charging down on him Kisiel somehow managed to push the ball away to the left.

Before the game a draw would have been a good result against a team lying 6th, but Wood should have been out of sight before they conceded the late, late equaliser.

It’s Jekyll and Hyde side Continental Star at the Wood on Tuesday night  for a League Cup tie before AFC Bridgnorth are the visitors in the first round proper of the FA Vase on Saturday.

For the Good of the Wood!

Bill Shaw

My thanks to Bill for a great report – and for all those he selflessly writes and send to me after every match. They really are popular, and a credit to Bill and the club. Walsall Wood have a reputation for being a great, community spirited group of people and these reports demonstrate that – it’s an honour and joy to feature them here.

For the good of the Wood!

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Just in: Narla the basset has been found!


Circulating on Facebook: looks like a lovely girl.

I don’t have specific details, but April Butler has been in touch to tell us that Narla the missing Bassett Hound has been found safe and well – she’s now at the vets on a drip but they say she’ll be fit and well in no time at all.

This is wonderful news and I’d like to thank all the readers who went looking for her, shared the posts and tweets, and generally kept an eye out.

This is what community is all about. Thanks, everyone – sorted.

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Corn exchange

Here’s one I’ve been meaning to run for days and really is long overdue for an airing – so apologies to Chasewater’s Swan Lady, Irene Hodges who’s appealing for donations of chicken corn or brown bread to feed the Chasewater flock over the winter.

What made me think about it yesterday was spotting the seven Catshill cygnets and their parents in a loose group near Target Point at Chasewater yesterday. So pleased to see them doing so well.

Irene, you’ll remember, alerted us to the black swan recently she recently saw at Chasewater.

Irene is concerned that since the water level is low, there may not be enough natural food for the large number of birds living on the lake this winter, and for many winters now and in all weathers, Irene has selflessly looked after he adopted flock.

Irene said:

Hi Bob

I do care so much for the swans as you know. But they have not had any natural food (pond weed or stone wort) for four years and bread really isn’t good but it keeps them from going hungry.

So we buy mixed chicken corn and in winter lay pellets.

It only grows in the shallow part of water. So recent works have caused a shortage.

 Sans Kitchen helps me and a few others, but anyone else who can help is welcome.

Thank you for your time.


We all love the birds and so if you maybe work in a shop where you throw out out-of-date bread, or if you have surplus chicken feed you don’t need, please comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Cheers for your help. Irene and her husband are a wonderful couple who work hard to look after the wildlife out of their own pockets, so any help would be most welcome.


Irene and her husband are out in all weathers to feed their grateful charges.

Posted in News | 12 Comments

Early doors


Oh wow. The best photo I’ve seen of The Sportsman – formerly the Huntsman and before that, a Working Mens Club. My oh my, it was an ugly building. Image generously supplied by Shaun Treadwell.

Just a quick post here to spark a few memories for long time pub-goers in the local area. Shaun Treadwell has kindly dropped me a line with these excellent images which I just had to share.

Although it’s at a jaunty angle, that’s the best picture yet I’ve seen of the Sportsman, a popular pub that was originally built as a club in the 1950s. It stood where the Smithy’s Forge is today. I’d forgotten just what an ugly building it was.

The picture of the original George and Dragon is a cracker – that was a pub in Rushall Square, replaced by a 1960s affair, which was itself razed in the 1990s for the drive-through Macdonalds. I’d be interested if anyone could date that one.

Lastly, a great pic of the original Anchor pub from what appears to be the early/mid 1980s. – by about 1988 it had been replaced by he modern pub that stands on Anchor Bridge today. In this photo you can see it’s origin as two cottages.

Thanks to Shaun for the pics, they really have brought the memories flooding back – how about you? Comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.


The original George and Dragon, at Rushall Square, looking like the 1960s. Can anyone estimate a date? Image generously supplied by Shaun Treadwell.


A cracking photo of the old Anchor. I’d forgotten the ‘house’ at the rear. Image generously supplied by Shaun Treadwell.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments