An uncommon flight over Chasewater and Brownhills

Drone whizz, top photographer and former Brownhills lad Steve Martin has been kind enough once more to send me not one, but two batches of images this weekend of familiar places around the local area, photographed from an aerial point of view – this first, above, features some great shots of Chasewater, Brownhills Common and Birch Coppice.

Steve uses a professional-level DJI drone, and is very skilled in using it to obtain stunning images and video – his last gallery, of Brownhills by night, was immensely popular. A few months ago, I featured film and images Steve kindly shared from a daytime flight where he recreated a wonderful 1960s image of Brownhills as it is today.

Iknow Steve is also working on some very interesting video that will take your breath away – but I’ll hold back on the preview of that until it’s ready.

You can regularly see other examples of Steve’s work on his usual haunt, the popular and fascinating Old photos from Hednesford, Chadsmoor and Cannock group on Facebook,

Steve grew up in Brownhills where his family had the chip shop that used to be on the Lichfield Road, Brownhills for a while, and Steve has great memories of the Lichfield Road area, of which I’m still looking for old images if you know to any, please do get in touch.

Thanks to Steve for yet another beautiful gallery, and Steve is happy to talk about his work if you’re interested. You can hook up with him on Facebook here.

Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

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A wish for the Wishing Well?


We all like a good greasy spoon, but do you recall one locally called The Wishing Well? Image from Russell Davies/Typepad.

Here’s a quick enquiry I had in over the last few days that’s got me stumped – the name sounds awfully familiar, but I can’t bring to mind a Wishing Well Cafe locally, can you?

This is certainly one for the local drivers, former drivers and members of teams that met in Caffs to ponder on.

Helen Hill asked:

Hello Bob

I remember stopping at a cafe en route to Bolton from Luton in the 1960s.

My father preferred to avoid Spaghetti junction so we always circumvented the bottom of the M6 choosing to join it further north.

My brother is insistent that this cafe was in Brownhills.

I am sure it is now long gone, but I would love to know if there are any records of it.

Many thanks
Helen Hill

Please do get in touch if you can help, and put both Helen and me out of our misery! Comment here or mail me please: BrownhillsBob at googlemail dot com. Cheers.


the Petrol and Pantry was the big transport cafe in Brownhills, later to become The Terrace. Others were Taylors, on the Pelsall Road, and id Cohen’s on the Chester Road, Shire Oak. Image from Memories of Old Brownhills by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

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Charles Henry Ruddock: A local Victorian in the Great War


Charles Henry Ruddock from a family photograph. Image very kindly donated by Dorothy Ruddock via David Evans.

David Evans’ painstaking recording and sharing of the Ruddock family archive continues today with a look at the Great War history of Walsall Wood man, Charles Henry Ruddock.

A few weeks ago, we kicked the series off with an article about Charles’ history in the army in the late Victorian era and South Africa, which has caused no small amount of debate and ponderance amongst the blog readers.

This occurred following the wonderful material that recently came to light, so kindly donated by Julie Whitehouse and Dorothy Ruddock who have continued to share a hugely disparate range of fascinating family ephemera, most of which is still yet to be published here.

This is the second instalment of the history of Charles Henry Ruddock, with more to come soon.

A good starting point on the subject is the post here regarding the Cape by Janet Davies Warallo followed by the post about Dulce Domum and the Ruddock family photos.

My thanks again to Dorothy, Julie and David – if you have anything to add, please do: comment here or mail me, please – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Charles Henry Ruddock and the Great War

Charles was ‘Embodied into Service’ on 5th August 1914. He had first joined the Army in 1890, where he served 21 years, 17 in the South Staffs Regiment, followed by 4 years in the Military Provost Staff Corps.


That must have been the equivalent of an IT qualification in the day! Image very kindly donated by Dorothy Ruddock via David Evans.

Now the Great War had been declared and Territorial Sergeant C Ruddock was ’embodied service’ (source: Charles Ruddock service records).

The family notes record that he served under Colonel Wingfield Stratford, who commanded the North Midlands Division, I understand. Charles was awarded the DCM during this conflict, and was promoted to Warrant Officer in March 1915. He was posted to Europe on 3 March 1915, and returned to England to recover from a wound, on 22 July 1918. He retired from the Army on 22 October 1918. He had served another four and a half years in the Regular Army.

Charles’ Military History Sheet records that he was awarded the DCM for

‘consistent good work since the Division landed. He has worked night and day getting stores up to the trenches on responsible and detached work. He has shown great energy and tact’ vide London Gazette, 11th March, 1916.

Charles returned home to live with his wife Ada and family in Ogley Square, Mill Road, Brownhills.[Worth reading that link, Ogley Square was no place fit for heroes – Bob]

Dorothy kindly shared the following images and ephemera from the family connection:

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Woodmen in Westfields wipeout


Image from a previous Wood visit to Westfields, kindly supplied by Simon Evans.

Yesterday afternoon (22nd October 2016), Walsall Wood F.C. travelled to Allpay Park at Hereford to face Westfields, who sadly beat the Woodmen 6-0.

Before we kick off with the match report, do check out Walsall Wood Saints’ appeal for your help here. That looks like a great project we can all get behind.

Bill was at the somewhat daftly named allpay.park to witness the match, and submitted the following report:

Hiya Bob,

The report says it all, it looks bad but it could have been so much closer. We didn’t have a Sirdic Grant who at times was virtually un-playable, full backs Craig Deakin and Steven Hayles must feel relieved they aren’t due to meet him again until April 29th.

A silver lining, youngsters Josh Mansell and Romano Graham made substitute appearances and impressed on their first team debuts.

It’s difficult to keep the faith at present, but stay in there guys, we’ll get there, would I lie to you?

Fourth placed Lye Town are the visitors on Saturday, no easy fixtures in the Midland League Premier Division remember.

F.A. Vase Round 1.
Westfields 6 v 0 Walsall Wood.    

Looking at the scoreline you’d think this was a one sided contest, well in a way it was, there were two differences however, Westfields put their chances away whilst Wood didn’t and Wood didn’t have a Sirdic Grant to terrorise the opposition defence.

Just like the League game both sides immediately settled into playing football but it wasn’t until 12 minutes that there was a shot on target.  Wood pressure on the right of the box saw Grant Beckett win the ball and lay it back to Harry Harris 30 yards out, his low drive well held to his left by keeper Keiron Blackburn.

Three minutes later a Wood right wing move broke down, Sam Plane played the ball forward wide left, the ball was mis-read by a defender putting Aidan Thomas clear, he raced to the edge of the box, squared the ball into the centre, Richard Greaves firing into the roof of the net.  A minute later Wood couldn’t get the ball clear and Sirdic Grant fired just wide.

On 21 minutes Nick Wright raced into the right of the home box, his ball inside was collected at pace by Ricardo Ricketts who laid the ball back to Karl Edwards, his first time effort deflected into the side netting.

Two minutes later Plane intercepted a crossfield ball, ran clear wide left, played the ball into the near post, Grant losing his marker and flicking the ball across keeper Andy Hughes and into the right hand corner of the net. Three minutes later a ball left of centre found Greaves 40 yards out, who seeing Hughes off his line hit a lob just over the right hand angle.

Wright ran through the centre three minutes later, his low drive deflected left to Lewis Taylor Boyce to hit a first time cross shot inches over the far angle.  It was on 34 minutes that Wood found out it wasn’t going to be their day, Wright charged into the right of the box, his powerful low drive was pushed away at full stretch by Blackburn, the ball was unceremoniously fired down the left by Plane to find Thomas, who raced into the left of the box and calmly slotted the ball past Hughes as the keeper raced to meet him. Four minutes later Ricketts was on the end of a neat right wing move, his shot was charged down, the ball fell to Harris, his first time screamer bravely blocked by skipper Phil Glover.  Then right on half time Craig Deakin crossed from the right to beyond the far post, Harris made space and curled a shot over the far angle.

Two minutes into the second half Grant fired a chance high over but it was all over on 51 minutes.  Grant played the ball into the left of the box, Thomas turned and fired in a cross shot that deflected off the back of a defender and flew past Hughes into the net. Four minutes later Wright raced into the right of the box, his low cross found Beckett who cleverly turned back inside, his low drive blocked.  Straight to the other end, Grant played a quick-fire one-two with Greaves in the centre of the box before releasing Nick Harrhy into the right to calmly fire home number five. On 64 minutes Craig Jones raced onto a ball inside from Grant wide right, he was caught by a late challenge from Shawn Boothe who picked up his second. yellow and left the field. Six minutes later Grant was put through into the centre of the box, Hughes saving bravely at his feet.

On 77 minutes Grant raced clear from halfway into the left of the box, he laid the ball square to Harrhy who fired a first time effort inches wide.

A minute later Wood substitute Romano Graham raced into the right of the home box, going through one challenge and firing over the far angle.  On 84 minutes second substitute Josh Mansell crossed from wide right to the far post Ben Birch powering a header just over.

Three minutes later Grant again carved open the left of the Wood defence, went past Hughes, his cross shot put behind by Beckett.  From the corner Kane Kahaki headed the ball across goal and Harrhy headed home number six at the far post.

On 90 minutes Wood pressure on the left of the box saw three shots charged down, Deakin collecting the loose ball, his fierce low drive bringing a full length save from Blackburn.

Grant had the last word racing clear wide left and finding Dan Polan to turn inside his marker and fire in a low cross shot that Hughes half stopped and Deakin cleared off the line.

Westfields were clinical, Wood couldn’t buy a goal this afternoon, and as the cheeky chappie wrote in my notebook after the game, ‘We miss Joey Butlin’, I’ve got to agree.

Bill Shaw.

The Teams:

Westfields – Blackburn, Sauntson, Plane, Glover (captain), Kahaki, Bonella, Jones, Thomas, Greaves, Harrhy, Grant, Polan, Febery, S. Gwynne, Miller, M. Gwynne.

Walsall Wood – Hughes, Deakin, Hayles, Boothe, Birch, Beckett, Ricketts, Harris (captain), Edwards, Wright, Taylor Boyce, Adams, Mansell, Taylor, Graham, Butlin.

As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated, and my commiserations to the team and fans. Keep gwarnin, for The Good of the Wood!


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Walsall Wood Saints need your votes!


There’s a large patch of dormant land to the left of the stadium (in this picture) which could be put to good use. Please help with your votes! Imagery from the remarkable Apple Maps.

Alex Turner from Walsall Wood (formerly Shire Oak) Saints Football Club – who are now partnered with Walsall Wood Football FC at Oak Park – has been in touch to ask readers if they’d take a little time out to register and cast votes for their bid for a slice of the Aviva Community Fund, to help improve the facilities for the club and for kids in Walsall Wood.

Registering on the site is quick and easy and you get ten votes which you can use to support the bid. Check it out here at this link.

I’ll let Alex explain what they’re proposing:

Hi all, just wondering if the blog readers could help a local football club – Walsall Wood FC.

We have recently placed a bid to upgrade the facilities available at Walsall Wood FC, not only for our teams but also the local community. We aim to re-grass a section of wasteland behind the main stand to allow a variety of sports activities all year round, and refurbish two old containers to use as a youth club.

Our main aim is to provide the local youngsters with somewhere to go and something to do on a daily basis.

All of us at the club see this as a massive step forward in the future of our community. With cut backs in various activity centres this will provide a much needed venue for everyone.

We have to make this to work for the good of the wood!

Please register here and cast your votes.

With the closure of local youth clubs and centres, this could be a real asset for Walsall Wood and make use of otherwise dormant land, and I think it’s a great project. I’ve voted and I implore readers to do so, too.

Please help The Saints, and if you’re interested in the team itself – or you have a footy mad youngster who might be – check out their Facebook page here.

Best of luck everyone – for the good off The Wood!

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

Car smashes through garage in early morning Brownhills crash

Pictures posted on twitter by West Midlands Fire Service @aldridgefire

In the early morning today (Saturday, 22nd October 2016) residents in Kingfisher Close, on the Watermead Estate, Brownhills were awoken by a car leaving the road and smashing through the wall of their garage.

West Midlands Fire Service personnel based at Aldridge attended the incident, which took place at 5:39am, and thankfully there were no casualties.

They posted the following on Twitter:

Update, 1:15pm – The BBC have a really odd report on this, readable in full here:

A car has been driven through the side of a garage in a suburban street, in what is perhaps the ultimate piece of poor parking.
The vehicle smashed into the brick building on Kingfisher Close, Brownhills, West Midlands, at at about 05:40 BST on Saturday.
The driver fled the scene, although police said they did not know if they were investigating what happened.
West Midlands Fire Service said no-one was in the garage at the time.
It said the garage’s structure has been “compromised” by the crash, but nobody was injured.
Police have recovered the car from the garage, and insurers for the property are assessing the damage.
The driver has not yet been traced.

‘Police said they did not know if they were investigating’ – What the hell?

If you have any further info, don’t hesitate to drop me a line – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Comments may be edited for obvious reasons.

There is also coverage at The Walsall Advertiser and the Express & Star.

My sympathies to those affected.

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Walsall Wood FC v Westfields FC: Away match today!


Westfield play at the allpay.park ground – Image from Westfields FC’s website.

Saturday 22nd October 2016

Walsall Wood F.C. v Westfields F.C.

Away at Westfields FC
allpay.park, Widemarsh Common, Hereford, HR4 9NA

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

3:00pm kickoff

For The Good Of The Wood!

Looking forward to the match report…

Visit the Walsall Wood FC website here



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