Not only customers, but friends

1950 Deakin Jonah & Jane founders of Deakins the Grocers

Image from Gillian Gaiser.


A lovely bit of ephemera relating to Deakins’ Central Stores and Jonah Deakin has been sent in by the wonderfully generous Gillian Gaiser, who donated her wonderful writing about the Deakin family to the blog, published last weekend.

There’s clearly a lot of love for the Deakins and that area of Brownhills, which to be fair is critically overlooked historically.

Gillian has sent scans of a centenary celebration and Christmas card sent out by the Deakin family to customers at Christmas 1950: the hand produced nature of the artwork is gorgeous and the message speaks of a vastly different retail age. What a wonderful thing – I’m so grateful to Gillan for sharing it.

While I’m on the subject, what is the Howdles Lane/Deakin Avenue/Whitehorse Road/South Chasewater called? I’ve been struggling with this for ages; previously I’ve said ‘Newtown’, which I’ve been chided for, as that only really starts at the Chase Road Junction.Or does it?  So what is this locality called?

Please comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Gillian wrote:

Hi Bob,

Further to the photo of Central Stores which I sent to you I am attaching jpgs of the Christmas card sent out by my parents/grandparents on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Central Stores which may be of interest.

It says the business started in 1900 however in 1901 at the time of the census Jonah and Jane with son Charles were noted as living on Hednesford Road and Jonah’s occupation is given as Insurance Agent. It could be that The Stores were in the process of being built at the time… who knows?

I doubt there is anyone left now who can give us the full story!

Good wishes from Gill Gaiser

1950 Deakins the Grocers Jubilee brochure

Image from Gillian Gaiser.

1950 Deakins the Grocers Jubilee brochure inside

Image from Gillian Gaiser.

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Woodmen draw to keep Wulf from the door…

Photos kindly supplied by David Evans

The Woodmen yesterday (Saturday 28th February 2015) faced AFC Wulfrunians at Oak Park, and held the visitors to a hard-fought draw.

Bill Shaw was there to witness the match, and submitted the following report:

Hi Bob,

A creditable draw on a glue pot of a pitch, Wulfs fighting back from a goal down and nearly stealing all three points with a spirited finish.

It was a much improved performance from Wood and raises the spirits for the next three games in eight days spell at Oak Park. With Basford and Long Eaton suffering shock home defeats Wood actually closed the gap on them, so it’s  all still to play for…

Walsall Wood 1 v 1 AFC Wulfrunians.

Not surprisingly the game between the divisions form teams ended all square. Wood started brightly, playing some neat enterprising football without finding the net in the first 45 minutes. They went ahead from the penalty spot on 51 minutes, but the introduction of young substitute Demetri Brown on the hour mark changed the whole complexion of the game and he nipped between defender and keeper on 80 minutes to plunder the equaliser.

A bright start from both sides but it was Wood who threatened first, Luke Adams and Ben Evans combining in the centre to feed Joey Butlin, he powered through one tackle but under pressure from Ryan Talbot he fired over the bar. Two minutes later a lovely ball out wide right by Max Black found Corey Currithers who cut back inside, laid the ball square to Harry Harris to hit a first time effort goalwards, keeper Jonathon Brown’s full length save pushing the ball onto the post. On 18 minutes Butlin released Luke Adams wide right, he made the box only to overhit his cross. Five minutes later it was Black collecting the ball from a left wing throw running at the defence, Jordan Perks making a brave block.

On 28 minutes a long ball out of defence by Wulfs was collected at pace by Andrew Thompson, he raced into the right of the box before being stopped by a combination of Jamie Sauntson and keeper Mario Kisiel, half hearted penalty appeals rightly waved away.

Wulfs should have gone ahead five minutes later, a square pass across the back saw Thompson intercept the ball, race into the box only to fire wide of the advancing Kisiel and the right hand post.

A flowing one touch left wing move on 41 minutes ended with Evans racing into the left of the box, his low drive well held by Brown.

The last action of the first half came a minute later, a Wulfs right wing free kick headed back to Thompson, his first time 20 yard rising drive clearing the back fence.

A minute into the second half a left wing cross from Evans was completely missed by Brown, Perks saving the keepers blushes by heading off the line. On 51 minutes Harris raced onto a ball into the left of the box only to go down under a mistimed challenge. Butlin making no mistake from the spot to put Wood ahead. Four minutes later Currithers put Evans into the left of the box, Brown making a brave full length save.

Substitute Demetri Brown made his first foray into the left of the Wood box on 62 minutes, he was strong to go through one challenge before he was stopped by a great tackle from Anthony Juxon. Then on 80 minutes a ball over the top of the Wood defence held up on the wind , Kisiel came to the edge of the box, hesitated, which allowed Brown in to lift the ball calmly over the keeper and even though two defenders chased back they couldn’t stop the ball crossing the line. Three minutes later a right wing free kick to the far post saw Lee Stretton save Wood with a brave, diving header to clear the danger. On 90 minutes a right to left move across the face of the Wood box ended with Nathan Rose-Laing firing in a low drive that brought a superb full length save from Kisiel, the ball flying out to Mitchell McDonald whose first time effort was pushed away by the keeper, but only straight to Liam Bood to fire the loose ball high and wide.

Wood dominated the first hour, but Manager Steve Palmer’s substitution changed the balance of the game and they could have stolen all three points with a strong finish, which would have been hard on the home side.

Boldmere St. Michaels followed by Continental Star at Oak Park on Saturday 7th March & then Basford United on Tuesday 10th.

Bill Shaw
Walsall Wood F.C.

Walsall Wood are a good team and an excellent, community-spirited club. They need our support – please do attend the coming games if you can. The lads do us all proud and deserve as much support as we can give them.

As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!


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January 1993 – Drugs Indifference

Brownhills Gazette January 1993 issue 40_000001

Another solid 16 page issue – there’s concern over drugs education, am-dram, some interesting planning applications, Harold and Mary Dukes celebrate their 60th, a great early 60s photo from Ogley Junior and lots more. Click for a larger version.

Continuing the scans of the Brownhills Gazette – I present issue 40 of the long lost freesheet, from January 1993 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.

Another solid 16 page issue, bearing the hallmarks of a the new journalist editor; there is a noticeably more newspaperish style, and some great short articles – there’s concern over drugs education, some local am-dram, interesting planning applications, Harold and Mary Dukes celebrate their 60th, a great early 60s photo from Ogley Junior and lots more.

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 40 January 1993 – PDF format

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Brace yourself!


Ogley Junction – where the Anglesey Branch meets the former Wyrley & Essington mainline to Huddlesford.

Here’s a quick one I spotted locally last week: I was going to put it on my 365daysofbiking journal, but I thought it deserved a wider audience and debate – it seems the cast iron bridge at Ogley Junction, near Grasmere Gardens, was once damaged or cracked and repaired.

The damage was repaired a long, long time ago, and the repair is very evident, but I’ve never once noticed it in the hundreds of times I’ve crossed or dawdled on the bridge. From the materials used, the repair is old and must have been hard work.


The bracers fitted to the rail are highlighted: I’ve never noticed them before. They aren’t present anywhere else on the bridge. What happened? Click for a larger version.

It’s easy to spot; as one walks over the footbridge towards Chasewater from Brownhills, looking at the northwestern guard rail on the slope down, there are bracing plates bored across the webs of the casting. They look to be bolted with maybe ¾ or 1 inch bolts and big, square nuts; drilling the holes for those can’t have been fun.

What I’m asking, I guess, is what happened? Was there some accident after installation, or would Horseley Iron Works (who in all probability cast the bridge like others on the line) have sent a repaired, weak casting?

Is there any record of an accident here?

Just a bit of a curiosity, and I’m amazed I’ve never noticed it before. Please do comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

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Walsall Wood at home to AFC Wulfrunians this afternoon!


Walsall Wood FC have a great reputation for entertaining football, and a keen, loyal and friendly bunch of supporters! Come join in the fun tonight and see some cracking football.

Saturday 28th February 2015

Walsall Wood FC at home to AFC Wulfrunians

Don’t break your Wood vows be there and be faithful to your local heroes

3:00pm kickoff

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Oak Park, Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood. WS9 9NP.

Hopefully, a match report will follow

Check out the club website here.


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Chasewater Railway Winter Steam Gala this weekend


Looks like a great weekend! Click for a larger version.

I note Chasewater Railway have a Winter Steam Gala this weekend (Saturday 28th February – Sunday 1st March 2015), with special guest engines and a much busier running timetable than normal.

This event will be well worth a look – the Railway is one of our hidden gems, situated at Chasewater Country Park, and is well worth a visit. There will be stuff there for all the family, so please do wander down if you can.

Chasewater Railway posted the following on their website:

Our first gala of the year will be on Feb 28th/Mar 1st 2015 and preparations are now been finalised. The confirmed visiting loco is the beautiful Peckett ‘Teddy’, small but perfectly formed Teddy weighs in at 11 tons but like ‘Colin McAndrew ‘ has the heart of a lion. We can’t wait to see Teddy at Chasewater. February 28th and March 1st Industrial gala 10am-5pm. Intensive timetable to follow later this week so keep watching. Subject to availability the line up will be :-

Guest Locomotive – Peckitt ‘Teddy’ and long term guest Staffordshire built Bagnall ‘Kent No.2′

Plus home fleet.

Hunslet ‘Holly Bank No.3′, RSH ‘Nechells No.4′, and 104 year old  Barclay ‘Colin McAndrew’


Teddy – Ivor the engine, anyone? From Chasewater Railway website

This special event offers great value for money featuring 5 engines in steam, brake van rides, demonstration freight/coal trains, accredited museum, model railway and Narrow Gauge train (Sun only and weather permitting/ small extra charge), gift shops, tea room (BHW) and cafe (CWH). Look forward to seeing you there

Day Rover Tickets are priced at Adults £7.00 Children 3-15 £3.50 (under 3yrs travel free), 1 free ticket for a travelling companion required by a fare paying wheelchair user, no other concessions, vouchers or HRA passes available/accepted during special events – members on production of valid membership card is £2 per person named on the card.

All advertised services and locomotives subject to availability.


Cracking value!

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In memoriam: Dennis Johnson


Dennis Johnson – rest in peace.

Readers who’ve been following a while will remember the search for Dennis Johnson, a dementia sufferer who went missing from Shire Oak in January, 2014 – Dennis was located a short time later in Chasetown following a huge search driven in no small way by appeals on social media.

Keith Johnson, Dennis’s brother, wrote to me yesterday to inform me that sadly, Dennis passed away recently.

Keith wrote:

Hello Bob

On January 11th, 2014 you reported about my brother, Dennis Johnson, who had gone missing from home. Later that day he had been found about 4 miles away and was safe.

It is with sadness to let you know that he passed away on February 18th, 2015 at Parklands Nursing Home in Bloxwich, who looked after him very well, with Alzheimer’s.

Both I and the family would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who searched for Dennis last year, but his condition got worse over the following year.

Dennis leaves a widow (Rosemarie) and two stepsons (Paul and David), who would also like to thank everybody for their help.

Keith Johnson

I, and all the readers who I’m certain I speak for would like to express our sincere and heartfelt condolences at this sad time to Rosemarie, Keith and all the Johnson family – we share your sadness. I’m sure most readers have experienced the effect of Alzheimers on relatives or friends, and understand the tragedy of this debilitating condition.

If anyone would like me to pass on messages to Keith, I would be happy to do so. Mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

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