Blooming hard work for canal volunteers – can you help?

Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust volunteers preparing the Garden of Reflection. Image from Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

Tom Reid from the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust has been in touch to let us know aboutGarden of Reflection they’re creating near the canal under restoration near Lichfield, and how they’re helping with Britain in Bloom.

If you’re unaware of the local canal restoration that’s steadily progressing this excellent blog post by Christine Howles explains more about it. The trust run regular work parties and all are very much welcome, whether you’ve a specialist skill or not!

At the moment, the volunteers are not only beavering away on the route of the lost line between Barracks Lane, Ogley Hay and The Boat restaurant, on the Lichfield Road at Summerhill, but also at several sites, including this one between Wall and Lichfield, Borrowcop on the A51 at Lichfield, and other places along the route of the lost line.

To find out more, please pop along to the Lichfield and Hateherton Canal Restoration Trust website here.

Tom Reid wrote:

The Mayor of Lichfield Councillor Janice Greaves with Peter Buck and Christine Bull at the launch of the Garden of Reflection project at Gallows Wharf. Image from Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

BLOOMING HARD WORK FOR CANAL VOLUNTEERS

Lichfield’s canal trust has launched a project to recreate the city’s historic Gallows Wharf, incorporating planting areas in a Garden of Reflection.

The garden will become part of Blooming Lichfield’s entry for Britain in Bloom, the nationwide community gardening competition led by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Gallows Wharf, near the junction of London Road and Tamworth Road, is on the route of the Lichfield Canal, which is being restored by Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust.

It is close to the site of the city’s gallows, originally erected in 1532, where on June 1, 1810, the last three men to be hanged in Lichfield met their fate, for forging and uttering forged banknotes.

It was also at Gallows Wharf that stained glass windows rescued from a dissolved abbey in Herkenrode, Belgium, were unloaded from canal boats on their way to Lichfield Cathedral in 1803.

The Mayor of Lichfield, Councillor Janice Greaves, launched the Garden of Reflection project on Thursday May 10 by unveiling a bench set in a small planted area and planting an oak tree.

Coun Greaves said: ‘I hope many people will stop along here, will sit here and reflect.’

The Trust’s engineering director Peter Buck explained that on the opposite side of the canal a garden representing the original wharf with two crane bases and a large container will be planted up and made ready for the Britain in Bloom competition judging in July.

‘Gallows Wharf is a historic part of the canal, and the city. It was here when the canal was built in 1797,’ he said.

‘We have an enormous amount of work to do. We have yet to build the wharf, we have yet to build the flower beds and we have yet to plant them, so there’s a lot of work to do between now and the 26thof July.

‘Today is the project launch of the Lichfield in Bloom work that we are doing at Gallows Wharf.

Members of the Foresters Scouts Group working on the narrow boat on Tamworth Road. Image from Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

‘We’d like to thank Councillor Colin Greatorex of Staffordshire County Council who provided a grant that kickstarted this work off.

‘Literally eight weeks ago there was nothing here, no flower beds, no trellis, none of the work on the wharf. This has all been carried out by our volunteers.’

Another part of the Trust’s contribution to Blooming Lichfield is taking shape a little way down Tamworth Road where a representation of a 70ft narrow boat is being built by students from Queens Croft School and the Foresters Scout Group with help from the Trust’s chairperson Christine Bull.

Flowers will be planted along the length the boat, which is being made using wooden pallets and willow cuttings and a cabin built by Trust volunteer Tony Cadwallader.

To find out more about these opportunities for volunteering please click here.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, cycling, Environment, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Morris came to be…

Last week I highlighted what turned out to be a very popular drone film by Danny Whittle that featured a section of The Brownhills Miner – whom many of us know as the Tin Man, Morris or Jigger – and it occurred to me that since he’s been in place for over a decade now, many Browhills residents aren’t old enough or have lived here long enough to know how he came to be.

There’s a really good video that I’ve featured above on his construction from the artist who created him, John McKenna. It’s been about a while but I’ve never got around to posting it here at all, so I thought I’d correct that.

Whilst I’ve expressed strong opinions about the way we came to have the sculpture, like the vast majority of the town, I do love him to bits. Image from my 365days journal.

John always seems to have called his sculpture The Brownhills Colossus, which is interesting considering the enduring debate over his name. There’s an excellent page on his website devoted to the miner, which you can read here, and a quote from it says:

The Brownhills Colossus

A 40 feet high approx 12m high stainless steel fabricated figure. Certainly an example of one of the largest figurative sculptures in the United Kingdom.

The sculpture was designed by John McKenna drawing upon extensive consultation with the local community of Brownhills.

This colossal sculpture was made entirely by John McKenna and his assistants at his studio in Turnberry, Scotland. John does not believe in sub contracting out artwork made in his name. Work sold as his ~ is his.

Whatever your view on the nomenclature or how he came to be, the Brownhills Miner is certainly a landmark and one we’re mostly all very proud of.

Whilst mooching about, I also found this drone footage of The Tin Man Island from last year, posted bon YouTube by Simon Regan:

The original Danny Whittle film of course is below, and has drawn much positive comment.

What do you think about our Brownhills Colossus? Please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

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Local cafe burgled overnight – did you see anything?

Images posted by Colliers Cafe on Facebook

In the early hours of this morning (Sunday 24th June 2018) at 2:50am, Colliers Cafe on West Coppice Road, Brownhills was broken into – the proprietors have posted the above images on facebook.

Coppice Side Cafe was apparently also targeted.

This is a shameful attack on people working hard to make a living, and not the first time in recent months this business has been targeted.

I had thought the crime wave of the last twelve months was starting to recede a little now but it seems not. Be vigilant, folks.

The people doing this are doing it to make a quick buck, and can only do that if they have a market for what they steal. If you’re offered anything cheaply, think hard about where it might have come from, and by all means grub the people flogging it into the rozzers – the stuff is probably nicked. Next time, it could be your stuff they take.

Anyone with information on this incident (or any other) is urged to contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you want to contact me by email – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com – I’m happy to pass any info on in total confidence.

You can of course contact Colliers Cafe via their Facebook page here – and by all means think about them next time you fancy a butty. They’re a great business who have my full support.

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

Golden years

A forty year old lineup: Where are these Wood footballers now? Click for a larger version. Images and scans in this post courtesy of David Evans.

Here’s one I’m very surprised that the young David Evans hasn’t murdered me for neglecting – I’ve this for ages  (since last Christmas, in fact) but not found time to assemble it and prep it for the blog, but now seems like as good a time as any – and it’s a cracking bit of Walsall Wood history.

I have pleasure in sharing the Walsall Wood Football Club Golden Jubilee Brochure, from the 1977-1978 season – and in-between then and now as League Champions. the club went through some very tough times so it’s remarkable they survived.

I believe the history of the club actually goes a lot further back than 1928, but is largely lost in the mists of time: However in 1978 it was acknowledged to be 50 years old and the brochure is a thing of wonder, with lots of details and photos of team lineups, the youth team and more.

You can click on any page in the gallery below, or download a searchable PDF version by clicking here.

I have no idea where David found this gem but it’s really wonderful – and sure to bring back lots of memories. My thanks to David for being so very patient and for sharing a really great thing, as ever. Our shared history would be much the poorer were it not for David. And of course his patience with my tardiness…

If you’ve got anything to say, please feel free – comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

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The boat that they rowed – how about some Shire Oak and Walsall Wood Youth Club memories?

Sue Mason said ‘This is another photo from Walsall wood youth club Aprox 1972ish. The youth club as I remember was given this boat and the plan was that the members would work on it and get it sea worthy… I don’t remember that ever happening! But a great photo again from the Walsall Observer… Can anyone remember all the names I’m having a good think 🤔 I’m happy for people to share.’

Here are a couple of wonderful photos from Walsall Wood Youth Club in the late 60s and early 70s that local lady Sue Mason recently posted to old pal Janey Hatfield’s brilliant, growing Walsall Wood group on Facebook, where Sue also posted a request for ex-Shire Oak pupils who might like to attend regular meet-ups in the village.

Sue said:

Is it possible to post on here our Saga Louts/Shire Oak oldies meet ups that we have every few months?

We are all ex pupils of Shire Oak circa 1968 ish around the ages of 50-65

We meet up at the Royal Exchange Walsall wood and our next one is Friday evening July 20th 2018.

We have quite a few regulars would be lovely to see some newbies 👍

Hope that’s ok xxx

Sue has allowed me to share her brilliant images here too, for which I’m very grateful – do you recognise anyone or have any memories of these times? Please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Of course if you want to jog your memory about that lost youth club, David Evans posted a fantastic photo-tour of the building a couple of years ago which you can see here.

I also like to again give a headsup for Janey Hatfield’s Walsall Wood Facebook group that’s centred around (but by no means limited to) memories of Walsall Wood.

It’s a busy, well moderated group with lots of members and lots of interesting images posted including these here. There’s always great discussion going on there, in a warm, funny and relaxed atmosphere.

You can check out ‘We are The Wood…’ by clicking here you’ll need to join up but once in, it’s great..

Please do pop along and check the group out – it’s a fine place and if you’re a resident of The Wood, or just remember it fondly, it’s a great place to check out and shoot the breeze.

Sue Mason said ‘This is a photo of Walsall wood youth club Aprox 1969 – our theme was ‘Hillbillies’ but most of us just wore our Ben Sherman checked shirts and Levis (had to look cool 😎) It was for Brownhills Carnival … I can name quite a few …but please feel free to share I’m ok with it!’

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Fancy some feelgood live music? Catch 3QA at The Lamp, Brownhills this Saturday!

3QA are bringing the feel good music to The Lamp in Brownhills this Saturday – click link for more info.

There’s a splendid concert being staged this Saturday evening 23rd June 2018 at the Lamp Arts Theatre at Brownhills Activity Centre, just on the Miner Island in the centre of Brownhills – from 7:30pm, feel good vocal four piece 3QA will be celebrating their first year together with some great music and entertainment.

Janet Davies said:

We are delighted to announce that 3QA (Three Quarters Allen) will be playing The Lamp Arts Centre in Brownhills this Saturday 23rd June2018!

The 23rd June is a very special date for us, as it marks a year since the first gig we ever played as a group!

We intend to celebrate this anniversary in style, so come down to the Lamp Arts Centre for some true feel-good music!

3QA rehearsing hard (!) for their big show here at The Lamp tomorrow (Saturday 23rd, 7.30pm). Lovely venue, free parking, bar.

Tickets only a fiver – going fast at Lunchtime of Friday – just a few remaining!

Get your tickets booked online here or call us on 01543 452119

If you haven’t yet visited The Lamp for a show, you really are missing out; it’s a wonderfully modern and intimate community theatre with a wonderful atmosphere operated by a lovely community of dedicated folk, located in the old Annex or Brownhills Central Boys School right there on the Miner Island in Brownhills. You can find out more here.

There are several ways that you can purchase tickets for The Lamp Arts events. For all events, tickets can be ordered by Post. Telephone or Email. For some events, tickets can be ordered and paid for online.

All details can be found at this link here.

Please ring the crew on 01543 452 119 if you have any queries or need any help or email: info@thelamparts.co.uk.

There’s loads going on at the Activity Centre on the Miner Island in Brownhills!

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Morris Miner and Brownhills – as you’ve never seen them before!

Morris from aa very unusual angle. Image from a drone video recorded by Danny Whittle.

A remarkable drone video has been posted on YouTube by Danny Whittle, who lives in Sidmouth, but I believe is a local lad at heart, and his 17 minute video shows the town from a whole bunch of new angles

As you know, I love drone photography and have previously featured such photography by local lad Steve Martin and also a flight video of the new housing development at Silver Court Gardens in Brownhills.

Thanks to Danny for a wonderful chance to see our area from a new angle, I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future!

If you spot anything, please feel free to comment here or drop me a line – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

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Chatting with Brownhills – a great new book of Brownhills memories is still available!

Chatting with Brownhills is launched – image supplied by Janet Grinnell.

A month or so ago I pointed out that there was an excellent new book out of Brownhills memories gathered orally by folks undertaking a project based at Knaves Court extra care facility, near Anchor Bridge in Brownhills.

I got my copy a few weeks ago and it is truly wonderful, and highly recommend it. I’m glad to see work being done with the elderly hereabouts to capture their memories while we can. Such things are the lifeblood of local history and it’s great to see them preserved.

The book is just £4.99 which is very pocket-pleasing indeed, and if you have one of those Kindle things it’s only £1.99 in electronic form, so what’s not to love? To buy your copy, click here.

Janet Grinnell wrote:

Hi Bob

I wonder if you’d be able to help us spread the word about our new Brownhills book, ‘Chatting with Brownhills’?  I know that local history and the community are two of your by-words and this should hopefully be of interest to you and your readers.

Over the last few months we’ve chatted to, and recorded the memories of, people from across the Brownhills area.  Local churches, clubs, support groups have all taken part with us, as well as individuals (some well known to your readers, others who’ve never before been involved in anything like this). The idea was to recognise the immense value of individual memories when looking at local history, and see them as something to preserve and cherish.

The book hasn’t been set out as a history text book – from the word go it was never intended to be. Instead its focus is on the community that makes up Brownhills rather than its changing bricks and mortar. It’s been written as a conversation between all the wonderful people who agreed to take part, with the local history snippets as a brilliant bonus. Hopefully, for those who’ve never before thought about the history of their local area, this will inspire them to find out more.

I’m Janet, activities co-ordinator at Knaves Court, and I’ve edited the book on behalf of the residents there. Quite a few of them follow you regularly and it would be wonderful if you could help us get the word out and share our enthusiasm.

(The book is now available on Amazon.)

Thanks a lot for your time and help.

Janet Grinnell
Activities Coordinator

Direct Dial 0370 192 4204
Knaves Court, High Street, Brownhills, Walsall, WS8 6DJ
Website: www.housingandcare21.co.uk
Follow us: Facebook / Twitter (@HousingCare21) / Linkdin

Thanks to Janet for letting me know and apologies for the time delay in publishing the plug.

If you get a copy, I’d love to hear what you think: Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

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Do please be deer aware!

This is really important with the deer currently preparing to nurture their young.

Whist out and about on Sunday 17th June 2018, I came upon deer at Chasewater and at Cannock Chase who were either heavily pregnant or who had young fawns – cute as they are, this is a time to give the new mums and babies plenty of respectful, quiet space if we can.

As the days move on to high summer, the females will be straying from their normal herd groupings and places to find quiet cover to give birth, and then they’ll be quite protective of their young.

A very long-range photo (hence the poor quality) showing heavily pregnant fallow deer on the Chase on Sunday. They were skittish, and clearly easily spooked.

I know we all love these beautiful, majestic creatures and seeing them on the commons and green spaces hereabouts is always a treat – but at the moment, the ladies will be truculent and intolerant of dogs and nuisance.

If you’re in a place where there are likely to be deer, make sure your dog is on a lead, and keep your distance. This is true at any time especially at Chasewater where morons with out of control animals every year are responsible for scared deer and disturbed nesting birds – please don’t be like them; control your hounds please.

If you’re lucky you’ll see fawns as they become mobile and believe me, they have cute in bucketloads – but if you find one alone, heed the warning above; leave well alone and don’t touch because momma will be back!

These bathing beauties were spotted taking a dip in the canal near Chasewater back at this time in 2017 by good pal and top fellow blogger Linda Mason.

This is, however a great time of year to spot deer if you’re responsible, and who knows you may spot them bathing like Linda did above and Angela Morris recorded in 2016 when she created the following footage. My thanks to Angela for sharing it.

I think almost everyone hereabouts love the deer, and they are wonderful to watch. Please do, but do so responsible – and feel free to share any footage you create!

Thanks, all.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Cannock Chase, Chasewater, Clayhanger stuff, cycling, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Lane closed for emergency sewer repairs – It’s a tough jobbie but someone’s gotta do it

Tankers are currently hoovering sludge out of the sewers in Green Lane just outside the waterworks entrance.

Just a quick note for those if might affect: The section of Green Lane Walsall Wood between the end of the houses by the Black Cock pub and the water works entrance is currently completely closed to through traffic, and has been since yesterday (Monday 18th June2018) due to emergency sewer repairs.

A sewage feeder or main appears to be blocked or collapsed, and the road is closed to permit suction tankers pumping raw sewage out of the line  and discharging in manually. These is a continual operation carried out by several tankers in relay.

The road is therefore closed to allow the operation to continue, and also to facilitate getting plant on site to effect a repair.

The job is the responsibility of Severn Trent Water, who handle our sewage (yuck!) but Walsall Council issued the following statement:

Please be aware that Green Lane Is Walsall Wood Is currently closed between the junctions of Mob Lane and Oakwood Close whilst a contractor working on behalf of Severn Trent Water undertakes emergency sewer repairs.

Signed diversion routes are in operation for affected traffic using Green Lane, Mill Road, A461 Lichfield Road, A461 Walsall Road and Hall Lane and vice versa.

Access to adjacent properties will be maintained wherever it is safe and possible to do and adjacent businesses will be open and trading as usual throughout the duration of work.

This is a live incident and unexpected, so it’s unclear how long the closure will stay in place; but be warned – at the moment there is absolutely no through road from Walsall Wood to Shelfield along Green Lane and vice versa.

This will obviously cause ongoing traffic disturbance, particularly for the school run. Please be patient; all adjoing roads and businesses are open and the signed diversion is via the A461 Lichfield Road.

Whilst I can understand the irritation this situation will cause, please remember these are dedicated folk working to fix a problem with our sewerage. Without them we’d probably be knee deep in sewage right now. Please be respectful to those doing the job.

Comments or observations? Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Don’t be a tanker. Thanks.

These machines need room to operate, and for workers to move around, so Green Lane is closed to all through traffic.

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Above and beyond at Chasewater again – and a closer look at the dam house

It’s always nice to see local drone photography and I’m very pleased and honoured to share this set fro former Brownhills lad Steve Martin, whose incredible and high quality work I’ve featured here before.

Steve has this time taken a closer look at Chasewater and the derelict dam house that is of so much interest to so many people. This set compliments his previous one of Chasewater in May. it’s interesting to see the increasing greenery of summer between the two sets.

Steve uses a professional-level DJI drone, and is very skilled in using it to obtain stunning images and video – his last gallery, of Chasewater and Brownhills Common went down reallyy well. 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, and later, his stunning night flight over Brownhills.

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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Beware of courier fraud – criminals are targeting our elderly family and friends

Many of the current scams operating are very convincing indeed – warn your relatives about courier fraud and to to give away information, no matter how authoritative the caller sounds. Image from iStockphoto

I’ve just had warning from the excellent WMNow system (you can sign up here – it’s free and very useful) that there’s a very concerning phone scam in operation locally I think readers should be aware of – and will be wanting to warn their elderly and vulnerable friends, family and neighbours about.

West Midlands Police wrote:

Courier Fraud

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has identified an increasing number of reports submitted to Action Fraud from the public concerning courier fraud.

Fraudsters are contacting victims by telephone and purporting to be a police officer or bank official. To substantiate this claim, the caller might be able to confirm some easily obtainable basic details about the victim such as their full name and address.

They may also offer a telephone number for the victim to call to check that they are genuine; this number is not genuine and simply redirects to the fraudster who pretends to be a different person. After some trust has been established, the fraudster will then, for example, suggest;

  • Some money has been removed from a victim’s bank account and staff at their local bank branch are responsible.
  • Suspects have already been arrested but the ‘police’ need money for evidence.
  • A business such as a jewellers or currency exchange is operating fraudulently and they require assistance to help secure evidence.

Victims are then asked to cooperate in an investigation by attending their bank and withdrawing money, withdrawing foreign currency from an exchange or purchasing an expensive item to hand over to a courier for examination who will also be a fraudster. Again, to reassure the victim, a safe word might be communicated to the victim so the courier appears genuine.

At the time of handover, unsuspecting victims are promised the money they’ve handed over or spent will be reimbursed but in reality there is no further contact and the money is never seen again.

Protect Yourself

Your bank or the police will never:

  • Phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password.
  • Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safekeeping, or send someone to your home to collect cash, PIN, cards or cheque books if you are a victim of fraud.

Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic.

Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud

Stay in control

If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information.

For more information about how to protect yourself online visit

www.cyberaware.gov.uk  and www.takefive.stopfraud.org.uk

Please tell your relatives and neighbours about these scams, and impress upon them how important it is not to give away dpersonal details on the phone to cold callers. If in doubt, get details, call companies back and have someone else check them out before making any kind of payment for anything.

Explain that no official body will turn up at your door or call you demanding money – least of all the police.

Please,  if you have any further information relating to the operation of this con or if you or someone you know as been targeted, please contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 (999 in an emergency, obviously) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Local media, News, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community | Leave a comment

A sale that shaped Stonnall

Wordsley House, a remarkable building that has inspired much debate and legend over the yaers. Image from my 365days journal.

A delayed one here today courtesy of old friend of the blog and Stonnall historian Desmond Burton, who’s sent me scans of the sale particulars for Wordsley House Farm in 1918, and it’s attached estate including Fighting Cocks Farm.

The sale included Druids Heath House in Aldridge, as well as assorted cottages and parcels of land around the village.

Wordsley House and farm from 1912 1:1250 scale Ordnance Survey Mapping, courtesy of the National Library of Scotland Archive. Click for a larger version.

Wordsley House stands on Main Street in Stonnall, just off the Chester Road, and was once the Welsh Harp public house, source of much legend, and also the subject of a recent post regarding tunnel lore and unusual wall murals.

This home movie clip recorded in 1958 and previously featured on the blog was donated by Desmond Burton shows the Burton family and pals, including Sandy the dog, enjoying ice cream from Selwyn Smith. Selwyn was one of the two noted ice cream purveyors in Brownhills, the other being the Pelari family.
The van is parked up outside Wordsley House.

The estate being sold is of a quite large size and must have caused considerable upheaval at the time, following the death of Dr. W. H. Cooke. The sale document contains a fantastic map of the lots and shows how changing land ownership shaped Stonnall Village today.

I’d like to thank Desmond for this generous donation and apologise for the delay in posting: It was scheduled for last weekend but sadly the thefts at Knaves Court interrupted my plans – apologies.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out that this blog is open to anyone interested in Stonnall and it’s history, and to anyone who finds current Stonnall local history fora a tad exclusive. There will always be a warm welcome to you here.

You can download a PDF version of the whole document here – it’s been enhanced and made text searchable, or you can click on any page from the gallery below.

Any observations or queries? Want to tell me I’m banned? Come join the club – comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Knock twice and ask for the wee purple troll.

 

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Playing up The Wood – who do you recognise?

St John’s play group, Walsall Wood, possibly 1966. Click for a larger version – image courtesy of Christine Burgess/Barbara Grant.

A great couple of Walsall Wood images have been donated by old friend of the blog Christine Burgess from her mother in law, Barbara Grant, and they’re real crackers.

The one above is believed to be St John’s play group around 1966 – names of those pictured would be welcome, it’s a gorgeous period photo.

The picture below is of preparations for I think, Brownhills Carnival in 1971. Christine said:

Ready for the carnival 1971.
My brother in law Harvey Burgess is at the back right hand side.
Top left is Helen Ferguson.
TomTom the Pipers Son is Chris Gilbert.
Mark Street is (I think) a flower pot man next to Helen.
Julie Hill at the front.

My thanks to Christine and Barbara for a wonderful donation – they really are super images, and from a period we don’t generally get much material from – so thanks a lot for lighting it up!

If you can name anyone, or tell us more, please do comment here or mail ne – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

A float I think for Brownhills Carnival in 1971. Click for a larger version – image courtesy of Christine Burgess/Barbara Grant.

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You don’t have to be puddled to help restore a lost, local canal… but puddling helps!

The newly built wall and boardwalk at Fosseway Heath Nature Reserve and Wetlands. Image from Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

Tom Reid from the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust has been in touch to let us know about the progress they’re making at Fosseway Heath, south Lichfield, and to send out an appeal for volunteers to help push the restoration forward.

If you’re unaware of the local canal restoration that’s steadily progressing this excellent blog post by Christine Howles explains more about it. The trust run regular work parties and all are very much welcome, whether you’ve a specialist skill or not!

At the moment, the volunteers are not only beavering away on the route of the lost line between Barracks Lane, Ogley Hay and The Boat restaurant, on the Lichfield Road at Summerhill, but also at several sites, including this one between Wall and Lichfield, Borrowcop on the A51 at Lichfield, and other places along the route of the lost line.

To find out more, please pop along to the Lichfield and Hateherton Canal Restoration Trust website here.

Tom Reid wrote:

CANAL TRUST MAKES PROGRESS ON FEAT OF CLAY

An unusual collaboration between Lichfield’s canal restoration trust and a leading supplier of materials to the ceramics industry means the next stage in the creation of a nature reserve and wetlands in the city is set to go ahead.

Stoke-on-Trent firm Potclays are supplying puddle clay for a waterproof lining to the wetlands area being created at Fosseway Heath by Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust.

The Trust began work on the nature reserve last year after receiving an £18,500 grant from the Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving body funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The restoration of the Heritage Towpath Trail in this area was not possible as the original canal towpath was lost by earlier adverse possession and it was necessary to divert the canal channel and the towpath across a new boardwalk and islands through the new wetlands area.

Trust volunteers, supported by students from Queens Croft School and student volunteers on a bricklaying course from Walsall College, are dismantling and rebuilding  the supporting brick walls to the original southern towpath to allow the Heritage Towpath Trail to be restored along this length of the Lichfield Canal.

Peter Buck, LHCRT engineering director, said: “The Trust tries to use local businesses in the restoration of the Lichfield Canal as an amenity for the community and we are pleased that Potclays are able to help with the supply of puddle clay to line the diverted wetland section of the Lichfield Canal.”

Potclays Ltd director Becky Otter said: “Potclays are pleased to support Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust through the supply of sealant (‘puddle’) clay from our mine near Brownhills, Walsall.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity of supporting the restoration of a piece of Staffordshire heritage in this way.

“Potclays have supplied puddle clay to the Trust in previous years, and for various other civil engineering projects including the building of part of the M6 motorway.

”It’s a source of great pride to us that our materials can be used in this way.”

Meanwhile, on the north side of the original canal channel at Fosseway Heath, a new stone towpath is being restored by Trust volunteers with with the help of visiting corporate volunteer groups from Network Rail and Laing Murphy JV. 

To find out more about these opportunities for volunteering please click here.

Work on the canal restoration continues apace, as seen here at Darnford Moors.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, cycling, Environment, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Twenty six ladies, a trophy and an upcoming school reunion. What do you know?

Ladies in the yard of Brownhills Central Boy’s School. But why, who are they and what was the cup awarded for? Photo courtesy Janet Davies/Brownhills Community Association.

There’s been a real buzz around about the Brownhills Central Boys School/Annexe Reunion event coming to the old school (now Brownhills Community Centre) on June 30th 2018, and to mark the occasion, Janet Davies and co have been digging material out of the archives, and popped up a mystery.

A group of ladies – 26 in all, including one in a wheelchair, photographed in the old school yard with a cup they’d clearly won. Maybe wartime, or I think late 1940s, maybe early 50s. Some great hair. But what’s it all about? Does anyone know?

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the lady in the wheelchair might be Gwen James. Perhaps the whole thing is related to Mrs. Parsley and the wartime ladies =- although they seemed more, shall we say, senior?

If you can help, we’d love to hear more.

Meanwhile, the menu for the reunion has been revealed – and it’s just a fiver, booked in advance: The reunion is otherwise free, so what’s not to love?

Janet Davies said:

Here is the menu for school dinners at our ‘All Back to Brownhills Central School’ open day on 30th June 11am-3pm.

Two sittings, 12.30pm and 1.30pm, tickets a fiver (for online booking click here – no booking fee): choose from Cheese and Potato Pie or Cottage Pie and from Concrete and Custard or Spotted Dick.

Just 25 places left !

If you can help identify the ladies and why they won the cup, please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

Here’s my original post about this event from a couple of weeks ago – please do attend if you have an interest in the old school – they’d love to see you!

What a great idea!

Oh my (school) days, there’s a terrific thing going on at Brownhills Community Centre, what my generation called the Annex but was originally the Central Boys School – there’s going to be a celebration, reunion and open day for those who remember the days of that particular school yard.

It’s taking place on Saturday 30th June 2018 from 11am until 3pm at the former school, now Brownhills Community Centre, and there will be memory-jogging tours of the building you knew so well, archive photo displays, real school meals (including concrete and custard!) a film show of old Brownhills and loads of people to chat to and reminisce about the days of Mr. Massey and co.

There are some great pics of this old days in this post here

The day itself is free, but if you want to partake of lunch, it’s £5 for mains and pud, and you can book in advance at the link in the text below.

Brownhills Community Centre wrote:

ALL BACK TO BROWNHILLS CENTRAL SCHOOL
Open Day Saturday 30th June 11am – 3pm

You may know it as the Boys’ School, Central School, the Annexe or the Activity Centre. The building has been all these things, and has now been extensively refurbished in its new role as Brownhills Community Centre and The Lamp.

You may not know that it has a fully-equipped Ladies’ Gym, a cinema/theatre/concert venue with bar, a nursery, a motorcycle training centre, a computer suite, rooms for hire for parties and training and a wide variety of activities to suit every interest. Its facilities are for everyone, local or further afield.

The building is 125 years old this year, and to celebrate we are hosting a Back to School open day on 30th June. The whole Centre will be open for you to look around, a chance to reminisce or to explore the new facilities.

We have a big archive of photographs which will be on display. Perhaps you’ll be in some of them! We will also be serving (edible) school dinners.

Free parking via Pelsall Road entrance. WS8 7JE.

The open day is free, no need to book. School dinners need to be booked in advance. £5 gets you 2 choices of main meal and pudding, including concrete and custard! Tickets from (no booking fee): https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/the-lamp-arts-centre

If you haven’t yet visited th Community Centre, you really are missing out; it’s a busy and welcoming hive of activity with a great atmosphere operated by a lovely community of dedicated folk, located in the old Annex or Brownhills Central Boys School right there on the Miner Island in Brownhills. You can find out more here.

Please ring the crew on 01543 452 119 if you have any queries or need any help or email: info@thelamparts.co.uk.

There’s loads going on at the Activity Centre on the Miner Island in Brownhills!

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Meet your local coppers this Saturday in Aldridge and Streetly!

Aldridge Libray. Image from Libraries Task Force on Flickr.

I received notice of this great event from Walsall Police via the excellent WMNow service this morning, advertising a pop-up meet the police event this Saturday, 16th June 2018 at Aldridge Library from 10:00am until 11:00am where you can meet your local policing team and get help, crime prevention and public safety advice.

This is the police team responsible for Walsall Wood so could be a good chance for the Wood Massive to chat to their local rozzers.

The team will also be at Streetly Library later the same day from 11am until 12 noon, and thereon at Aldridge Fayre on Anchor Meadow.

What not pop along and say Ello, ello, ello?.

I must say, it’s good to see the local police making efforts again to reach out to the public. Long overdue.

Also, if you haven’t signed up for WMNow, please do – it’s free and you can select to receive alerts on all kinds of local issues. It’s a fine thing.

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

Aldridge Fayre 2018 – this Saturday!

What’s not to love?

Just a quick note to point out that this Saturday, 16th June 2018 is Aldridge Fayre with fun and entertainment for all the family – and with free entry and car parking, what’s not to love?

Aldridge Fayre 2018 – Saturday 16th June

Starts at 11:30am

Anchor Meadow, Aldridge (opposite Morrisons Supermarket)

FREE ENTRY & CAR PARKING

Entertainment includes arena events, side shows, fairground, charity stalls, ride on a vintage bus plus plenty of food stands

For more information call 01922 278718

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Going A5 Live in 2018!

A great local music festival returns.

Long term readers will remember the annual music and fun festival that’s taken place on the smallholding just off the A5 at Newtown, Brownhills – formerly called Cockfest (because it took place on a chicken farm), last year becoming A5 Live.

This year the music, entertainment and fun returns, and takes place from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th August 2018, and tickets are now on sale.

When I have details of bands playing and other attractions, I’ll post them here.

Preparations for the local music and fun spectacular are well underway

You can get tickets from the A5 Live website here or by emailing A5Live@outlook.co.uk. You can check out the festival Facebook page here, too.

I wish everyone the best for this and it’s always good to see local music events.

Can’t grumble at those prices!

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Sporting activities for kids this summer at Clayhanger Community Centre!

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Clay hanger Community Centre is the former George and Dragon pub in Church Street, Clayhanger. Imagery from Apple Maps.

There’s some great sporting stuff for kids and mums  going on at Clayhanger Community Centre in Church Street, Clayhanger during the coming weeks and impending school summer holidays.

I always get lots of enquiries for details of activities for kids locally over summer and these ones look set to please and occupy younger kids a treat.

  • From Friday 29th June for 4 weeks, there’s the Mini Dragons mums and toddlers sports club, with two age ranges – 18 months – 2 years and 2-3 years old.
  • Also from Friday 29th June for 4 weeks, there’s the Junior Dragons Community Sports Club, for kids from 3-4 years
  • During the long holidays, there will be 3 Summer Holiday Fun Camps for kids from 5-11 years old, each lasting 5 days from 9:30-3:30pm where kids can take part in in and outdoor sports, learn new skills etc.

All events are chargeable and being run by Starlands Coaching – you can check out their website here for more info, or call Josh on 07584300712.

The Community Centre is in the former George and Dragon pub in Church Street, Clayhanger WS8 &EG.

A great chance to get out, meet other folk and get active!

A great one for the pre-schoolers!

Burn off some summer energy and learn some new skills!

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

Full details of upcoming 10/10A bus service changes now available

We’ll soon find it much easier to visit La-di-dah Lichfield by bus! Image from my 365days journal.

Following the welcome news of the extension of the National Express West Midlands service 10A to Lichfield coming late this July (But just in time for the school holidays) there was some concern expressed locally about the continued route, timings and provision of the sister 10 service in Brownhills.

Yesterday, National Express West Midlands issued the following press release and accompanying timetable. The press releasee is below.

You can download a PDF copy of the new timetable by clicking here or use the gallery at the foot of this post – click on any image to see a larger version.

The bus company said:

New services to Lichfield coming 22nd July

We’re very excited to announce that from Sunday 22nd July, we are making changes to the current 10 and 10A services operating between Walsall and Brownhills.

Buses will now run to Lichfield, 7 days a week, from Walsall, Rushall, Shelfield, Brownhills, Chasetown and Burntwood. These services will run every 30 minutes Monday-Saturday, and every 60 minutes on Sundays. Crucially, this means that a Sunday service is returning to Lichfield, following the complete withdrawal of all buses there in April this year.

Changes to service 10:

From 22nd July, service 10 will run between Walsall, Streets Corner and Brownhills ONLY.

In Brownhills, buses will operate along the one-way loop currently served by the 10A from the Tin Man island, along Chester Road (A452) to The Rising Sun, A5 (Watling Street), Chase Road and Lichfield Road.

Changes to service 10A:

The 10A will still serve Coppice Road in Walsall Wood, but from Brownhills, it will run along Lichfield Road, Chase Road, Ogley Hay Road, Highfields Road, Chasetown Clock, High Street, Milestone Way, Bridge Cross Road, Springhill Road, Chase Road, Burntwood (Swan), Lichfield Road, Walsall Road, The Friary, St. John Street and Birmingham Road, terminating at Lichfield Bus Station.

Buses will continue to run up to every 10 minutes between Walsall and Brownhills.

Please note that Rising Sun will now be served by the 10, and not the 10A. Chasetown and Burntwood will be served by the 10A.

Please view the new timetable for these services, which will come into effect from Sunday 22nd July 2018

My thanks to Simon Swain, Councillor Steve Wade and others who fought hard for this change and to Luke Gottard for the tipoff of the press release.

As I said a couple of days ago: This has the potential to be a great service – use it or lose it, folks.

If you have any observations, please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Knaves Court – a message of thanks to you all!

Morne ornaments than you can shake a stick at – donated by Solid Sculptures via Kevin Price.

At the weekend, I made a huge request of the community of blog readers and friends out there, to help out Knaves Court Extra Care Facility near Anchor Bridge in Brownhills who’d had ornaments and a hose stolen from the communal garden in the days previously.

The garden is essential and welcome therapy for many of the senior folk who live at Knaves Court, and provides occupation, social opportunities and the joy of watching stuff grow. The residents were heartbroken.

You all rallied around wonderfully – showing that for every heartless scumbag thief, there’s a whole army of decent people will to help fix things up.

There were many offers of hoses, tools and ornaments. A blog stalwart exiled oop north offered to pay directly for replacements. Local businesses made offers. Laura Hucker started a crowdfunder that quickly raised £127.

Reader Kevin Price was a case in point – he shared my appeal on his group Chase Lighthouse and spotted homeless and he received an offer from Solid Sculptures (Solidsculptures@gmail.com) of a whole bunch of new ornaments which the cadets cemented in on Sunday afternoon. Just how amazing is that?

Yesterday, Janet Grinnell Mailed me to ask if I’d post the following message, thanking you all on the blog – of course I’m happy to oblige.

Janet wrote:

Hi Bob

Thankyou so much for helping us. Everyone has been so kind, it’s incredible.

I’m trying to reply to people personally but could you also put out a massive thankyou for us to everyone who’s helped. From feeling so down last week there is now a lovely happy feeling this week with all the kindness and friendship that people have shown. I feel that we’ve seen the real Brownhills this week, a real community.

Please tell everyone we are so grateful – not just for the physical items but also for taking us to their hearts. We are overwhelmed by the kindness show.

Thankyou again
Janet

Thanks Janet for the kind words – I’ve always known we have great community here and I knew when I asked you would all help if you could, because you’re excellent people. But my gratitude is huge – thank you for your immense generosity, both material and of time and spirit.

You make me proud of this town, the blog and those who read the plea and offered help in whatever way you could.

You can still donate on GoFundMe by clicking here – my huge thanks to Laura for setting that one up.

This is the stolen golfer memorial ornament. Image from Kevin Price.

As to the thefts, this mage is of the golfer memorial ornament that was stolen: it’s distinctive, someone must recognise it. Kevin Price sent in the picture and I think if we could actually recover it it would put the cherry on the cake.

If you have seen the ornament in question, do get in touch, or contact the police on 101.

Again, thank you all.

Or of course, you can comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Community whiz and queen of the Pelsallian Espresso Laura Hucker started a Gofundme appeal yesterday which already has £107 in it at the time of posting. Clcik on the screenshot to donate.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Lichfield Waterworks Trust June 2018 public meeting this Monday evening

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Sandfields Pumping Station – a great historic building with immense history and social significance – not just to Lichfield, but to the Black Country. Lichfield Discovered and local historian Dave Moore have saved this valuable asset for the community.

Sandfields Pumping Station champion and public historian extraordinaire Dave Moore has been in touch to let me know that this Monday evening (11th June 2018) there will be the June 2018 Public Meeting of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group – and there will be a rather wonderful guest speaker.

The meeting is at the Bowling Green pub, Lichfield from 7:30pm and is of course open to anyone interested.

Dave wrote:

Lichfield Waterworks Trust June News Letter

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on:

Monday 11 June 2018 at 7.30pm, in the rear meeting room of the

The Bowling Green
Friary Road
Lichfield
Staffordshire
WS13 6QJ

Tel: 01543 257344

The Bowling Green serves some great food and real ales.

This is an incredibly exciting community heritage project, so do come along and become involved, we make everyone welcome.

Notes of the May 2018 Meeting are here

Health and Safety

We are really pleased to report that there have been no incidents relating to health and safety. A very big thank you to everyone for working safely.

Membership

We would like this opportunity to welcome a few new members.

Thank you for joining the Lichfield Waterworks Trust. We hope you will enjoy your membership and become part of a very exciting heritage project that will benefit the people, the place and the community.

It would really help us if we develop and grow our membership. If you are not already a member and would you like to be a part of one of the region’s most exciting heritage projects then please, join us now by filling in Membership Application Form by going to our membership page here. It is free to join and be a part of this incredibly exciting project.

Do we have your correct details? We do our best to get things right, but occasionally something slips of the tray. Please let us know if we have your correct contact details, or you would like any additions or amendments.

Donations

We have incurred some considerable expenditure covering legal costs, insurance and training. We will always invest in our people, and we are planning further training days soon too. All these costs soon mount up, so if you can donate, then please visit our donation page here, any amount is helpful and well appreciated.

Please make cheques payable to; Lichfield Waterworks Trust, and send to our address:

22 Walsall Road
Lichfield
WS13 8AB

Finally

Thank you everyone for your continued support and helping to make a difference in your community.

We never share your data with anyone else, but we do like to have your details correct. If there are any errors or omissions, please let us know.

Our data protection policy is here

Do pop over to Dave Moore’s blog and check out the history of Sandfields Pumping Station, an almost forgotten gem – the group also has a Facebook page.

Dave is, of course, one of the leading lights of Lichfield Discovered, along with Kate ‘Cardigan’ Gomez from Lichfield Lore.

It’s great to see people like Dave encourage a better attitude to our historic buildings -please do attend if you’re able, it’s sure to be enlightening and educational.

Posted in Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A great new bus service to Lichfield starts this summer!

From July 22nd 2018, Lichfield will no longer be a hazy, far off dream for Brownhillians. Let’s go civilise the city, yeah? Image from my 365days journal.

I have some excellent news for those of us who like to visit Lan-di-dah Lichfield and prefer to use public transport – Following a social media campaign started by railway buff Simon Swain (John) of this parish, Councillor Steve Wade has been talking to local bus companies and has reported a positive result.

I’d like to thank Steve once again for his hard work on behalf of our community, and for chasing this up voluntarily – he really is a top bloke. Also thanks to Simon who really set the ball rolling with the idea on Facebook.

This change kicks off on the 22nd July 2018, and comes after years of a patchy service into Staffordshire to Ye Olde City due to cross county border funding issues – so USE THIS OR LOSE IT FOLKS.

I must say, it’ll be very handy for having the odd shandy at Lichfield’s fine range of Inns and taverns, like The Scales….

Steve Wade wrote:

Hiya Bob,

I hope you are well. Just wondered if you could put something on your blog so the good people of Brownhills can be informed of a new bus route to Lichfield.

As you know, I’ve been trying to get a bus service from Brownhills to Lichfield following a social media campaign on Facebook some months back. I’ve met with Arriva who were looking at potential routes and they also advised that Diamond had taken over their old route of a service that went to Lichfield but only via Walsall Wood.

I therefore contacted the person who helped me with the Number 56 service some years ago, Luke Gottard, the commercial manager at National Express about whether they would consider a potential route for Brownhills and they have informed me that they are to implement a change on their existing Number 10A  route from Walsall to Lichfield that will now cater for Brownhills residents as well. This will begin on the 22nd July.

I have attached the new timetable for the route. The commercial manager asked if I could publicise/promote the new route as much I can as it is a service that will attract no subsidy so will be purely on the grounds that it will be a commercial success. With your blog being the biggest and best anywhere, I hope you would put it on if that’s ok.

There will be some changes to the 10 and 10A routes and I will forward these to you in due course.

All the best and many thanks,
Councillor Steve Wade

If you have any observations, please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

The new timetable. Click link for a larger version.

The new timetable. Click link for a larger version.

The new timetable. Click link for a larger version.

The new timetable. Click link for a larger version.

The new timetable. Click link for a larger version.

 

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Taking the strain in Walsall Wood – could you be a champion too?

The very successful Walsall Wood LCS Tug of War team. Image Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

Over the years on the blog we’ve covered the great, and often surprisingly diverse sporting history of Brownhills and Walsall Wood – from the notable local teams like Walsall Wood Football Club, Cricket, Bowls – to more esoteric stuff like the past pursuit of pedestrianism, trotting, the Brownhills races and we discovered in the early days of the blog, that Walsall Wood in particular the Brickmakers Arms – had a Tug of War link.

You can read more about that at this link here, where blog contributor Peter found the Tug of War practice frame at the Brickmakers and we explored what is war, to a full explanation in this post here. And then, there was the infamous Clayhanger Tug of War over the cut from Brian Stringer which saw a few likely lads go home with newts in their Y fronts, which had a more serious historic precedent in the Wood here.

Well, thanks to old pal of the blog Janey Hatfield and roving reporter David Evans, I can share with you that Walsall Wood still has a very successful Champion Tug of War team that are actively looking for members!

It’s also worth pointing out that Janey’s excellent and entertaining Walsall Wood Group of Facebook is still growing and one of my favourite groups, well moderated and a joy to read. You can join up here.

With the Ironman event on at Chasewater this weekend, this might be a good sport for those fit folk who might be up for it.

Without further ado, I’ll let Janey and David explain…

Another great team shot! Image Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

Walsall Wood rejoices in the number of local pubs which, over the years have been the centre of some interesting sports and pastimes. The Horse and Jockey pub, in Walsall Road, was once home to both the local cricket and football clubs. The ‘Jockey Fields’ behind the pub also hosted important Black Country-wide whippet races. Local village fetes and travelling fairs were held there. But with the passing of time the cricket club moved to a new ground behind the church, after the war  the football club having moved to its present-day location, in OakPark in the pre-war years  

In a large tent behind The Black Cock inn, in Bullings Heath by the canal were once held bare-knuckle fist fights, as witnessed by a young Dolly Anslow in the  late 1920s and recalled many years later in conversation.

The Working Mens Club in Lichfield Road like many clubs had its own bowling green. The Labour Club in Salters Road had a successful air rifle club. Both clubs, and their sporting heritage has been lost, sadly

But, sometimes, just sometimes, a bright jewel in local sporting history reveals itself.
 
The Brickmakers Arms Pub, in Salters Road is host to a Tug of War team  that was founded in the 1970s by a well-known local lad, Roger José and his friends, and competed against other local teams.

Time went by and a new team was formed, this time by Roger’s son Shaun and friends in 1987 and is still going but sadly requires more members.

Recently I was delighted to meet Roger’s son, Shaun, to learn of the present-day team, that practises every Wednesday evening at at 7.30 sharp, in their training facility at the Brickmakers Arms Pub. Here I was to have the intricacies and thrills of this very old field sport explained… And to learn that the sport dates back many years.

Archive pulling Olympic action!. Image Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

Indeed, in the 1920 Olympic Games, Great Britain won the gold medal, which it still holds to this day due to the fact it was withdrawn as a Olympic sport.

Tug Of war ruling was originally 8 people per team who had to weigh into a specific weight amongst them and would have their legs stamped to prove this (Not branded with a hot iron!) But due to a fall in numbers of participants The Tug Of War Federation adopted a New 6 aside rule just 4-5 years back to maintain the sport and keep it going, and also introduced a Round-Robin which enabled Grass-Roots pulling to get off the ground.

From training over The Fox-Covey in Walsall Wood with other local names Mick Evans and John Dukes, Roger José and son Shaun have made sure this sport has never faded away, and Shaun feels very fortunate to have pulled in a National Catch-weight Final in the same team as His Dad in 1994 and also with His Daughter in A World Final of Mixed pulling in 2007.
 

Pulling in The Wood is a family tradition. Images Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

Today, the LCS Tug of War team, a sort of Last Chance Saloon club, meet weekly on Wednesday evenings around 7pm at the Brickmakers Arms pub in  Salters Road, to train and use the contraption that has been bought up in conversations before with people questioning what it is. It’s a very unique pulling system consisting of different weights to pull along with a track to dig their heels into, and as Shaun states….’They Like To Start Em Young!’

Great size ordering here. You don’t have to be big or a lad to take part. Image Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

The team of past and present members can boast to have pulled for England in World and European competitions in many destinations over the years.

Champions Walsall Wood should be proud of! Image Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

If anyone is interested in joining, Shaun extends the invitation to men and women to enjoy this wonderful field sport where the legal age requirement is 14… The team are the current national champions in mixed pulling.

Shaun has asked that interested readers contact him directly, his phone number is 07974058140.

The LCS team have a facebook page too which you can visit here.

We would like to thank Shaun for taking  the time to tell us about this fascinating sport  and the ongoing successful local connection. I can heartily recommend it to anyone who would like to join the club .
 
David & Janey June 2018

Posted in Bad Science, Environment, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sweet like chocolate

The Cadbury firm – set up by Quakers as a model village and enterprise – was always a great, caring community with strong social responsibility. Image from the BBC.

Friend of the blog Shirley Jackson, who’s a Birmingham exile now living in Shire Oak and a great friend of the blog has raised an interesting question here relating to Cadburys and the Bournville factory in the media over the years I’m hoping readers might be able to help with.

Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler might have input on this one I think.

Shirley asked:

Hi Bob,

My 92 year old Dad, who worked at Cadbury’s all his life since 14, has just watched Inside the Chocolate Factory, and was very disappointed.

His brother also worked there after the war. he was special services and is still alive at 94. Dad reckons there were loads of video of workers coming in and out of the gates, and coca beans coming in and being roasted.

I wondered if any of your history boffins could point me in the direction on viewing some of these videos, as he said he was in many of them. It’s more about viewing the factory, as my Dad remembered it.

I also remember my cousin getting a good reward, through the suggestion box scheme, and his suggestion was that they cut half an inch off the sleeve of dairy milk, which saved them a fortune.

I believe Dad started work in 1941. He tells be great tales of how they made pineapple out of swede, as you couldn’t get it in the war, and he said you would not be able to tell the difference!

Hope you can help.
Shirley Jackson

Shirley has previously sparked a great debate over a lost monument at the Dunlop factory and I’m sure this one can throw up some interesting  views on the swede observation! Thanks for a great enquiry…

What do you know? Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail do com. Cheers.

Now part of Kraft Foods, Cadbury is part of a huge global enterprise. Image from the Birmingham Mail.

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Knaves Court thefts – brilliant community spirit as the kind-hearted community rallies round

Community whiz and queen of the Pelsallian Espresso Laura Hucker started a Gofundme appeal yesterday which already has £107 in it at the time of posting. Clcik on the screenshot to donate.

You lot are just wonderful: Since yesterday’s appeal for help following the theft of a hosepipe and garden ornaments from the Knacves Court extra care facility for the elderly in Brownhills, offers of help, hosepipes and donations have flooded in, including over £100 raised on a crowdfunded by Laura Hucker, old pal of the blog and proprietor of the Reading Rooms Cafe in Pelsall.

You can donate on GoFundMe by clicking here – my huge thanks to Laura for setting that one up.

Offers came in from Russell Smith at Aldridge Cinema, as well as another local business I’m not sure if I can name; a whole bunch of private individuals chipped in too.

Thanks to each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart – once again the community we’re all part of takes a bad situation and shows what makes up the best of us. Thanks so much: Though there is bad stuff, Brownhills has a community spirit to be proud of.

Remember, if you’ve seen the ornaments in question, do get in touch, or contact the police on 101 – there was a good point yesterday made by a reader that there has been a particular spine in thefts and crime in a very small area of Lindon Drive and surrounds in recent weeks and it’s possible that it’s all linked. I know Brownhills Policing Team are trying to be as responsive as possible to this at the moment.

If you can help, please do contact Knaves Court:

Janet Grinnell
Activities Coordinator
Direct Dial 0370 192 4204
Janet.Grinnell at housingandcare21.co.uk
Knaves Court, High Street, Brownhills, Walsall, WS8 6DJ
www.housingandcare21.co.uk

Or of course, you can comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A message from Lynn Shaw: A date set for those who wish to remember Bill Shaw

Lynn and Bill following the unveiling of The Shaw End at Walsall Wood Football Club

Lynn and Bill following the unveiling of The Shaw End at Walsall Wood Football Club (Image: Facebook)

It’s been a while now since the sad passing of Bill Shaw and Bill’s wife Lynn has an important announcement to make – the date has been set for the ceremony to scatter Bill’s ashes at Walsall Wood Football Club.

Lynn said:

Hi Bob

Morning Bob, we now have a new date for scattering Bill’s ashes at his home from home, his beloved Walsall Wood FC ground.

The date is Saturday 30th June 2018 at 12 pm, there will be a memory book for anyone who couldn’t make the funeral to add a few words if they wish.

Sorry Bob, I forgot to add that the collection in Bill’s memory at the funeral raised £347.35 for The Air Ambulance.

Thanks,
Lynn x

Thanks so much for the update, Lynn – and such wonderful news on  the collection. Bill would be hugely proud of that.

As ever my condolences and sympathies, and of course those of the blog readership remain with Lynn and family.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Followups, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brownhills Community Centre Active Games Club on now!

Looks like a great idea!

Hey – if you’re looking out for stuff for your kids to do this morning look no further than Brownhills Community Centre (The old Central Boy’s School, or Annex to my generation), just off the Miner Island in Brownhills.

Happening there will be Active Games Club, which runs from 11:15 – so it’s on NOW.

There will be lots of great stuff to do, and while you’re there you can check out all the other interesting stuff Brownhills Community Association do – from  IT classes to coffee mornings.

 

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Just plain daft, 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

Heartless theft from the communal garden at Knaves Court – can you help these senior gardeners, please?

Knaves Court. Archive picture from my 365days journal.

This is an appeal for help and witnesses to a very sad theft in recent days from the Knaves Court extra care facility at Anchor Bridge, Brownhills, where a hosepipe and garden ornaments have been stolen from the community garden in the last few days.

Janet Grinnell got in touch this morning, and explained:

Hi Bob

Thanks for helping us.

The residents have all been pulling together over the last two months to get the garden looking beautiful. Being out in the fresh air and seeing a lovely garden lifts everyone’s spirits but this has obviously put a damper on things.

We think the things disappeared over 1st/2nd June. I’d been on annual leave that week and the residents told me when I got back on Monday. They were all quite upset as there is a real pride here in their ‘ownership’ of the garden – they tend it regularly.

It’s not tools that have been taken, apart from part of our hosepipe which saved us carrying small but heavy cans of water backwards and forwards across the garden – our residents are obviously older in years and carting water about is tiring. We have had some of our lovely statues taken – among them a three and a half foot golfer that served as a memorial for one of our past residents and a large frog planter. These things are difficult to replace and I suppose may simply become a target again even if we could.

It’s the upset that it has caused that is the main thing. We are a real community here and the garden is a focus for everyone, a hobby, a place to meet friends and a calm resting place when you need it. It brings everyone together.

Thanks for listening, Bob. I don’t really know what we can do about it but thankyou anyway for trying.

Janet

Now nicking statues from the old folk’s communal garden is pretty shitty, and I do hope bad fortune smiles upon the shameless scrotes who have been so heartless – but I’d like to ask the wider community whom I know have hearts of gold if they can help?

Obviously, if you’ve seen the ornaments in question, do get in touch, or contact the police on 101; but in the meantime has anyone got a spare hosepipe or other bits an pieces these senior gardeners can have, please?

I think we all know the therapeutic and social benefits of gardening and I’d like to get the oldsters smiling in the flower borders again as quick as possible.

Whilst I’ve not got green fingers I know many here have and would certainly help counter the damage caused by those with light ones. I know it’s a big request, but if you can help, you can contact Janet dierectly on the following:

Janet Grinnell
Activities Coordinator
Direct Dial 0370 192 4204
Janet.Grinnell at housingandcare21.co.uk
Knaves Court, High Street, Brownhills, Walsall, WS8 6DJ
www.housingandcare21.co.uk

Or of course, you can comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Thanks in advance to all who help.
Bob

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

New Hall Mill is open again this Sunday – with a visit from a TV personality!

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New Hall Mill is a splendid place, restored and run by wonderfully dedicated volunteers.

Theres a lovely thing to visit locally this Sunday (10th June 2017), that’s close by, free and absolutely fascinating…

New Hall Mill is open again on Sunday for the third open day of 2018. I can heartily recommend the place – it’s fascinating and I had a great time there on 2015 Spring Bank Holiday Monday – not enough people know about this wonderful building.

There’s also an appeal ongoing for people who may be interested to join the friends of New Hall Mill and help in all sorts of ways – the team need all kinds of expertise from guides to engineering types who may have time to spare. See further down this post for details.

The open day is free to enter too (although donations are welcomed).

The Friends of Newhall Mill said:

Bob

The Friends of New Hall Mill will be opening the water mill to the public on this coming Sunday 10th June 2018.

Come along and see flour being produced from wheat in the traditional way, have a go on a hand operated quern as still used in parts of the world today. Visit the gift shop, be entertained with Live music, see the many side stalls in the grounds and experience lovely walks alongside the streams and through the meadows.

There is an exhibition room and small tearoom selling cakes and beverages along with a garden shop where produce may be purchased from the millers garden. Don’t forget to visit Auntie Wainwrights to find that bargain that you always wanted.

For your entertainment, we have Adrian playing his Street Organ in the mill yard.

Have you ever fancied a bit of detective work? In the mill yard, there will be the opportunity to investigate Nature under the Microscope.

At 11.30, there will be a wildflower wander walk around the meadows.

A TV personality will be joining us on this Sunday’s Open Day to accompany Jeff on the walk. Pink hair anyone?

In the cart shed we will be displaying – The Essence of the car , 1/43rd scale models

In the meadows and grounds; we have Displays and Demonstrations  by –

  • Turner collection of Steam Models
  • Bournville Bread Basket
  • ECO Sutton
  • Vintage Bike Display
  • Helens Handmade Gifts
  • Tins Display
  • Smoking Memorabilia
  • Office Stationery display
  • Birmingham & The Black Country Wildlife Trust
  • Milk Bottles & Churns Display
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I totally geeked out over this wonderful place.

Entry to the site and Parking is free, donations are always welcome in order that we raise funds to maintain the buildings for all to see in the future.

Please note that we open at 10:00 and close at 16:00 with last entry onto site being at 15:45.

Only disability assistance dogs are allowed on site.

Access to the mill is off Wylde Green Road, Sutton Coldfield, B76 1QU some 200 metres from National Cycle Route 534.

Having seen what we do, could you be able to assist? In order to continue holding these events, we need additional membership to help out on Open Days and Work Days. It is not all about Flour production – We have ageing machinery to maintain, kitchen staff are always welcome, there are openings in all areas. Have a chat with a volunteer on Open day.

Hoping to see you there

Alan Dawson – A friend of New Hall Mill.

More details can be found on their website – www.newhallmill.org.uk or their Facebook page here.

This is certainly a project worth visiting and supporting – please do pop along if you can.  You can check out a gallery of my photos taken there last year below. I had a great time.

Posted in cycling, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get some Iron, man – annual triathlon hits Chasewater and South Staffordshire this Sunday

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Care for a dip? No, me neither…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that this Sunday (June 10th 2018), the fourth Staffordshire Ironman 70.3 Triathlon will be staged, with a 1.2 mile early morning swim in Chasewater being amongst the highlights

IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire consists of a 1.2-mile swim in Chasewater reservoir and a 56-mile bike course through the stunning countryside outside Lichfield, Burton-upon-Trent, and across Cannock Chase area of outstanding natural beauty. The 13.1-mile run will start at Riverway, take athletes in and around the Stafford Town Centre before finishing in Market Square.

Read more at the organiser’s site here.

Since the event consists of running and cycling races too, there will be a series of road closures in Staffordshire throughout the day (details on the Ironman website here).

The routes affected around Chasewater. Image from the Ironman website. Click for a larger version.

Road closures will be place for a major triathlon taking place in Staffordshire this weekend.

The IRONMAN 70.3, which takes place on Sunday 10 June, will see a variety of diversions and road closures in place in the South of the county to help keep the athletes and marshals safe.

The following areas will be affected:

Abbots Bromley, Admaston, Brownhills, Burntwood, Cannock Chase, Chasewater, Colton, Draycott In The Clay, Fairway, Gentleshaw, Hanbury, Hednesford, King’s Bromley, Kingstone, Kingsway, Lichfield, Longdon, Marchington, Needwood, Newborough, Riverway, Rugeley, Stafford Town Centre, South Walls, Stubby Lane, Tixall, Wolseley Bridge and Yoxall.

Maps displaying all the road closures can be found on the event website here.

Please plan any travel in advance and be prepared to use alternative routes to minimise disruption to your journey.

More detailed closure information from the Ironman website. Click for a larger version.

There’s been lots of publicity for the event, and I’m interested in reader contributions on the day – photos, reviews etc.

A quick note to those same faces who every Ironman mail me, message me and otherwise complain about the early morning disturbance in the locality: Sorry, but I can’t fix it, can’t help and I fully support the event. The inconvenience is one day a year, relatively minor and over in a few hours.

Why not go watch it, or take the opportunity to get up early and go somewhere else?

Any complaints should be directed to the organisers here, I can’t and won’t do anything.

Best of luck to any readers competing!

shugborough04v2 1600

The event focusses on Shugborough. He’s either well ahead of the pack, or well behind. Image from Ironman UK website.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Cannock Chase, Chasewater, cycling, Environment, Events, Express & Star, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local media, News, Panoramio photo discussions, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Everyone back to school! A great reunion coming soon

What a great idea!

Oh my (school) days, there’s a terrific thing going on at Brownhills Community Centre, what my generation called the Annex but was originally the Central Boys School – there’s going to be a celebration, reunion and open day for those who remember the days of that particular school yard.

It’s taking place on Saturday 30th June 2018 from 11am until 3pm at the former school, now Brownhills Community Centre, and there will be memory-jogging tours of the building you knew so well, archive photo displays, real school meals (including concrete and custard!) a film show of old Brownhills and loads of people to chat to and reminisce about the days of Mr. Massey and co.

A wonderful image from 1962 and the days of the Boy’s School sent in by Malcolm Jamison.

There are some great pics of this old days in this post here

The day itself is free, but if you want to partake of lunch, it’s £5 for mains and pud, and you can book in advance at the link in the text below.

Brownhills Community Centre wrote:

ALL BACK TO BROWNHILLS CENTRAL SCHOOL
Open Day Saturday 30th June 11am – 3pm

You may know it as the Boys’ School, Central School, the Annexe or the Activity Centre. The building has been all these things, and has now been extensively refurbished in its new role as Brownhills Community Centre and The Lamp.

You may not know that it has a fully-equipped Ladies’ Gym, a cinema/theatre/concert venue with bar, a nursery, a motorcycle training centre, a computer suite, rooms for hire for parties and training and a wide variety of activities to suit every interest. Its facilities are for everyone, local or further afield.

The building is 125 years old this year, and to celebrate we are hosting a Back to School open day on 30th June. The whole Centre will be open for you to look around, a chance to reminisce or to explore the new facilities.

We have a big archive of photographs which will be on display. Perhaps you’ll be in some of them! We will also be serving (edible) school dinners.

Free parking via Pelsall Road entrance. WS8 7JE.

The open day is free, no need to book. School dinners need to be booked in advance. £5 gets you 2 choices of main meal and pudding, including concrete and custard! Tickets from (no booking fee): https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/the-lamp-arts-centre

If you haven’t yet visited th Community Centre, you really are missing out; it’s a busy and welcoming hive of activity with a great atmosphere operated by a lovely community of dedicated folk, located in the old Annex or Brownhills Central Boys School right there on the Miner Island in Brownhills. You can find out more here.

Please ring the crew on 01543 452 119 if you have any queries or need any help or email: info@thelamparts.co.uk.

There’s loads going on at the Activity Centre on the Miner Island in Brownhills!

Posted in News | 12 Comments

The fall and rise: Fixing a hole in the cut begins

The canal is clearly back on the up: This photo was taken yesterday evening at Clayhanger, and despite a further drop over the weekend, is now at the same level as last Thursday.

Following the sudden and unexpected drop in water level of the canal through Brownhills, and the Wyrley and Essignton Canal as a whole, top Canal and River Trust operatives have isolated the leak in the canal bed at Stoney Lane, Little Bloxwich with dams, and are now working to fix the hole.

This means that with Chasewater valves open, the canal should now be slowly refilling. It dipped to about 200mm off full level on Saturday 2nd June 2018, but last night was back to 125mm down measured at Clayhanger overflow, the same level it was at the previous Thursday 31st May 2018.

The best place to keep up to date with all the latest news on this mater is the wonderful blog of canal historian and local lad Andy Matthews – click here.

An emergency stoppage notices posted on Saturday 2nd June 2018 and emergency dams have been erected. Tellingly, the isolated stretch drained itself without pumps…

Presumably the work to repair the under-canal culvert will start soon. In the meantime, the towpath is still currently open to passers by, cyclists and those interested, but probably offers limited angling opportunities for the time being.

Phil Griffin took a great set of the drained cut yesterday (Monday 4th June 2018):

 

On the matter of my contempt for the the Canal and River Trust, the following tweet issued yesterday by their stellar press office is breathtaking:

They lost a huge quantity of water and are still blaming Chasewater’s owner, Staffordshire County Council, even though it appears they haven’t actually closed the vales since early April.

If you have a view on this, or pictiures, please do get in touch. Comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Posted in News | 4 Comments

Meet your local coppers next Tuesday in Brownhills

Tesco, Brownhills. Image posted by West Midlands Police on Twitter.

There’s another local police pop-up event coming at Brownhills branch of Tesco next Tuesday, 12th June 2018 where you can meet the local policing team and discuss issues that are important to you.

PCSO Astley said:

This is a message to let you know that the local policing neighbourhood team will be holding a pop up stall inside Tesco, Brownhills, off Silver Street on Tuesday 12th June between 15.00 and 17.00 hours.

Let us sign you up to WMnow – our neighbourhood crime alert system.

Let us sign you up to neighbourhood watch.

You can follow us on Twitter: @BrownhillsWMP

Any local issues you wish to discuss?

Put it in your diaries… drop in, say hello and have a chat!

Thank you.
Message sent by
Darren Astley (Police, PCSO, Walsall, Brownhills)

At these informal events, you can chat to the local policing team about stuff that concerns you, get crime prevention tips, WMNow signups and public safety advice.

I must say, it’s good to see the local police making such concerted efforts to reach out to the public.

Also, if you haven’t signed up for WMNow, please do – it’s free and you can select to receive alerts on all kinds of local issues. It’s a fine thing.

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

He’s behind you – oh no he isn’t!

What a fantastic image courtesy of Keith Clegg!

A quick one for a Sunday from reader Keith Clegg – can you identify anyone in this photo?

He wrote:

Photo of Pantomime at the Brownhills church hall guessing about 1968.

Do you recognise anyone?

I don’t think there’s anything I can add to that, except I love the little guy in the bowler with specs!

Thanks to Keith for a wonderful image – that’s really excellent. Can you help? Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

The mysterious falling canal level: Water carry on!

Top Canal and River Trust operatives look for a leak. Image Kindly supplied by Andy Bennets.

Several people have brought to my attention in recent days the falling level of the local canal in Brownhills and surrounds, which has naturally been causing concern, particularly following the recent wet weather which saw the canal overflowing heavily on Sunday, 27th May 2018.

By yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 2nd June 2018), I measured the level as 144mm lower than the overflow height at Clayhanger: Nearly six inches of water lost in five days from about 25 miles of canal at the same level with no locks is a huge amount of water to disappear without obvious trace.

9pm last Sunday evening (27th May 2018). This canal was not short of water then…

Initial enquiries with the pretty useless PR people at the Canal and River Trust blamed Staffordshire County Council for turning off the supply of water from Chasewater, which was clearly arrant toss as it had been running since April.

Online discussions had centred around someone perhaps leaving a lock sluice open, as so much water leaking would surely be evident somewhere. As incidents at Middlewich and Llangollen show, canals leaking so much tend to be catastrophic and very evident!

In the early 1980s, a breach at Sandhills near Anchor Bridge, Brownhills caused much damage, too.

Oh dear. Clcik image to see original stoppage notice. Chasewater my eye.

It turns out that from an emergency stoppage notice posted yesterday (Saturday 2nd June 2018) water has been leaking from the canal into a stream culvert at Little Bloxwich, and thankfully hasn’t burst through. Work is currently underway to isolate the section and repair it, damming the canal to prevent water loss in the interim.

On Thursday evening, at Clayhanger the drop was 123mm from the Clayhanger overflow level.

Hopefully this should see levels stabilise in a short time.

This incident has further convinced me that the Canal and River Trust couldn’t find their arses with both hands, an arse map, a mirror, a team of very expensive arse finding consultants and an example arse flown in from America.

There’s a great, and growing write up of this in much more detail than I can mange at the brilliant canal blog of Andy Matthews – do visit it and have a read.

Clcik image to visit Andy’s blog and read his take of the amazing sinking canal.

Thanks to everyone who brought this to my attention and debated it: great stuff.

If you have a view on this, or pictiures, please do get in touch. Comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

 

Posted in News | 8 Comments

Up hill, down dale, but never run of the mill

People keep asking me for ride galleries, and I’m happy to oblige – and fortunately the weather so far this season has been pretty good, I’m pleased to say – so last weekend I did a century into Derbyshire to visit old haunts.

On a day that started out overcast, I hit the road at dawn, up through Lichfield, Burton and Derby and from there, rode through Keddleston Park, a beautiful stately home. Moving on through Mercaston to Bradley and Madge Hill, I swung east to Hognaston, Hopton and Middleton top, then up the High Peak Trail to Parsley Hay; a fast run back down the Tissington to Ashbourne, then out to Hole in the Wall, Osmaston, Shirley, Longford, Tutbury, Barton and home via Lichfield. 116 miles in all.

It was interesting to note the trails were not busy, and the ice cream stop at Harrington Signal Box seems to have closed; I do hope these wonderful cycleways are not losing their appeal.

It’s rare you fine a true Holloway. Imagine the continual use over centuries that cut this track into the hill.

At Osmaston Park, the bridleway past the water-driven sawmill is beautiful, and forms a true Holloway up the hill. It’s well worth seeing. You can find out more about the mill here.

So glad I’m getting lots of riding in this year – I hope it continues.

For more of this sort of thing, my 365daysofbiking journal is still running

The Osmaston Sawmill is stunning.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Mike Sarsfield remembers Lichfield Road and Brownhills in the 1950s – do you?

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Lichfield Road was almost as much a major artery to Brownhills as High Street itself. Image from ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff harrington.

I was contacted by old friend of the blog Mike Sarsfield a last week, all the way from Wales, and he would like to know if anyone remembers him, or the Brownhills of his youth – I’m sure this will trigger a few memories.

Mike wrote:

HI everyone,

I am Michael Sarsfield, I was born in 1952 qt 20 Lichfield Road, and lived there until I moved to Swansea where I still live.

I like to keep up with Brownhills Bob, and still have relations in the area.

I went to St.Josephs RC Infants in Chasetown and then moved to Ogley Hay Infants till 1959. I have lost touch with so many, but still remember the twins I used to play with at Poxons the butchers, Barry Winters neighbor, the Slatcher girls who also lived in the same yard as me, Richard Bailey lived at end of Great Charles Street, and Linda Brough who lived in the same row as Richard.

My mother worked in Willets Shoe Shop.

Mike Sarsfield.

I’m sure that there are many people reading this who will remember Mike, and can help place the people he mentions.

Please, if you can help, do get in touch: Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks!

Posted in News | 7 Comments

Police seek identity of two men following theft from shopper in Aldi, Brownhills

Can you identify these lads please? If so, Walsall Police would love to hear from you. Image posted on Social Media by West Midlands Police.

This lunchtime, police in Walsall have issued the above images from CCTV in the Aldi store in Brownhills showing a couple of men they would like to trace after a theft from a shopper there on Thursday 5th April 2018.

I’m unclear why the large delay between the crime and releasing these images, but they’re very clear and someone must know who these lads are.

If you do, please do contact the police forthwith.

They said:

Walsall Police
1:41pm Friday 1st June 2018

Do you recognise these men? We want to trace them after a purse and phone were stolen from an 82-year-old in Brownhills.

The incident happened at Aldi on the High Street, just before 1pm on Thursday 5 April.

CCTV of the two suspects is really clear. If you recognise them, please call West Midlands Police on 101.

To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote crime number 20WS/75388Z/18.

Please,  if you have any further information relating to this, or any other incident, or if you witnessed something  please contact Walsall Police by dialling 101 and quoting 20WS/75388Z/18 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Local media, News, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We’m gooin to Barmouth!

Images Kindly shared by Steve Martin

Steve Martin whose incredible and high quality work I’ve featured here before, last weekend went to Barmouth, Wales like many locals hereabouts. Thankfully for us, he also took his drone.

As many Midlanders do, I love Barmouth, but I particularly love the Afon Mawddach Estuary, and the stunning Clock House on the road there called Cops-faen, as well as the wonderfully improbable railway bridge, the crossing of which on the train always indicated the start of a great day ahead.

Coes-faen is now a spa and hotel, and you can find out more about it and it’s history here.

I thought it might make a pleasant change to share Steve’s Barmouth photos here and maybe jog a few memories. What do you remember of weekends or weeks at Barmouth? Please do get in touch.

Coes-faen has a wonderful history, and it a beautiful house. Image Kindly shared by Steve Martin.

Steve uses a professional-level DJI drone, and is very skilled in using it to obtain stunning images and video – his last gallery, of Chasewater and Brownhills Common went down reallyy well. 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, and later, his stunning night flight over Brownhills.

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.

Posted in News | Tagged | 7 Comments

Did someone say cake? A great new coffee shop now open in Pelsall

Images posted on Facebook by the Reading Rooms

It’s always great to hear from old pals of the blog, and Laura Hucker mailed me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that she was starting a new venture at Pelsall Village Centre: The Reading Rooms coffee shop in the Book Exchange, the community-run library there.

This terrific looking cake stop opened to the public just yesterday (Tuesday 29th May 2018) to rave reviews, and I for one will whip out my passport and will be over there in the principality as soon as I can to sample the goodies on offer: Laura made a fantastic job of the fairs she ran and they bode well for a great social and food space that will really become a focus for the community.

Since Brownhills Community Association have become involved with the Village Centre in Pelsall, it’s really picking up with so much going on there (see here) and it’s good to see Pelsall finally benefit from the expertise and dedication of people who really make the Community Centre in Brownhills the hive of activity it is. Best wishes to all involved.

You can find out more about The Reading Rooms at their website here, or their Facebook here – and you can learn more, including opening hours and contact details below.

The Reading Rooms was established in May 2018 as a result of a demand for excellent coffee and exciting cake whilst the people of Pelsall enjoyed activities and The Book Exchange services at the Pelsall Village Centre. The Centre, now re-named ‘The Hub’ is a great space with a vibrant range of activities, see our What’s On page.

The mission of The Reading Rooms is to provide an area where individuals, groups and families can enjoy the space provided by The Hub whilst enjoying excellent quality coffee brewed locally, great tea, quality food, and, most importantly, really special cake!

The Reading Rooms will grow with the demands of the people of Pelsall and surrounding areas, and Laura, business owner and the main face of The Reading Rooms, looks forward to inviting you with a smile. We will be holding a wide range of events once we are settled in, and we cannot wait for you to join us!

Julia and Anne also work at The Reading Rooms two days a week, and they too look forward to welcoming you.

Looking for a bit of company? View more details about our inclusion in the Chatter and Natter Scheme!

THE READING ROOMS
Pelsall Village Centre
High Street
Pelsall
WS3 4LX

Telephone: 01543 373768

Email: hello@the-reading-rooms.co.uk

THE READING ROOMS OPENING HOURS
MONDAY – FRIDAY: 8:30am – 3pm
SATURDAY: 9:30am – 11:30am
SUNDAY: Closed

THE BOOK EXCHANGE OPENING HOURS
MONDAY, TUESDAY AND THURSDAY: 10am – 3pm
SATURDAY: 9:30am – 11:30am
SUNDAY: Closed

For any further details regarding the Book Exchange, room hire or activities, please contact Janet Davies on 07977 464 908 or email janet.davies@brownhillsca.org.uk

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In the hall if wet – more Ogley Hay May celebration photos!

On wet days, the maypole dane apparently took place in the school hall. The gym equipment on the walls reminded me of my school. What a fantastic expression! Image Kindly supplied by Dawn Hayton.

it’s time, I think for the last set in the amazing collection of images sent in by old pal of the blog Dawn Hayton, from her mother’s personal collection – and this is a fantastic set continuing the recent Ogley Hay School May Day celebrations that were a feature of the school for many years.

This photos compliment the other May Day images from Janet Bullock here, the follow up set from Kate Dixon here and this wonderful one from Sheila Kelly here.

Can anyone name the other children please? Image Kindly supplied by Dawn Hayton.

These images are beautiful and the photography and scanning are very high quality.

Of the whole donation from Dawn and her mum, there are three distinct sets – this one, the one of Brownhills Carnival in the 1970s here and also the very popular one of the 1977 Silver Jubilee celebrations in Middleton and Freeth Road here.

A stunning image of Dawn Hayton. Some good stuff in the background, too!Image Kindly supplied by Dawn Hayton.

My thanks to Dawn and her mum for some wonderful memory-jogging photos – they really are wonderful and very much appreciated.

If you see anyone you recognise, or have anything to add, please do.

Comment here or mail me: Brownhillsbob at Googlemail dot com.

Love the flowers! Can anyone help with names please? Image Kindly supplied by Dawn Hayton.

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Elderly man dies after flooding incident in Rushall

Flooding on the A461 Lichfield Road at Rushall. Image from Wast Midlands Ambulance Service

Dreadful news from Walsall overnight, where a man believed to be in his 80s died after a car reportedly entered floodwater, following remarkably heavy storms in the preceding hours.

My sympathies, and those of the entire blog community and readership go out the the family and friends of the gentleman who has not yet been named. This is an awful thing to happen.

I would ask that readers be respectful of relatives and the deceased when commenting on social media, please.

Despite this news, West Midlands Police are reporting vehicles this morning driving through road closed notices. It takes only a small amount of water to sweep away your car and even less to write the engine off. Be careful.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said:

A man has died after a flooding incident

Monday 28th May 2018 – 11:00am – Murray MacGregor.

One man has died after a car was submerged in flood water.

The incident happened in Lichfield Road in the Rushall area of Walsall at about 2.20am this morning (Monday).

Two ambulances, a paramedic officer and the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found a flooded road with two vehicles in the water.

‘Firefighters who had entered the water had found an elderly man at the vehicle and taken him to an ambulance crew who were at the water’s edge. The ambulance crew carried out advanced life support before taking the man to Walsall Manor Hospital, but sadly he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

‘In total, four HART paramedics entered the water and worked with West Midlands Fire Service Technical Rescue staff.

‘A second person was found in the water but was unhurt.  It is not believed that this person was from one of the vehicles. The second vehicle is believed to have been in situ for some time.

‘With the rain over the weekend, there are still a number of roads affected by floodwater.  Please ensure that you take extra time on your travelling today and heed any warning signs.’

Ends

West Midlands Police also issued the following:

A man has died after his vehicle was submerged in flood water in Walsall following flash flooding that hit the region.

Police were called to Lichfield Road, Rushall, just after 2am today (Monday 28 May) to reports that a vehicle had entered the water.

The victim, who is believed to be in his 80s, was taken to hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

His next of kin have been informed.

Ch Insp Paul Ditta, of West Midlands Police, said: ‘Our thoughts are with the family of the man who died today.

‘There are a number of roads affected across the region that have been badly affected by the flooding.

‘Many people will be heading away for the half term break and I’d urge people to take care on the roads and allow extra time to travel.’

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Don’t forget New Hall Mill open day today, Spring Bank Holiday Monday!

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New Hall Mill is a splendid place, restored and run by wonderfully dedicated volunteers.

Theres a lovely thing to visit locally today, Bank Holiday Monday (28th May 2018), that’s close by, free and absolutely fascinating

New Hall Mill is open again today for the second open day of 2018. I can heartily recommend the place – it’s fascinating and I had a great time there on 2015 Spring Bank Holiday Monday – not enough people know about this wonderful building.

There’s also an appeal ongoing for people who may be interested to join the friends of New Hall Mill and help in all sorts of ways – the team need all kinds of expertise from guides to engineering types who may have time to spare. Speak to any member of the friends group when you’re there.

The open day is free to enter too (although donations are welcomed).

The Friends of New Hall Mill said:

Bob

The Friends of New Hall Mill will be opening the water mill to the public for the Spring Bank Holiday Monday on 28th May. A bumper festival of events will be located in the meadows and mill yard. Come along and see flour being produced from wheat in the traditional way, have a go on a hand operated quern, experience live music and dancing or simply enjoy the tranquillity of the pathways alongside the mill pond and in the meadow. Something for all tastes awaits.

There is an exhibition room and small tearoom selling cakes and beverages along with a garden shop where produce may be purchased from the millers garden. Don’t forget to visit Auntie Wainwrights to find that bargain that you always wanted.

For your entertainment, returning by popular request, we have The U3A Swing Division playing Swing and Big Band Jazz between 11:00 – 11:45. This will be followed at 13:00 & 14:00 by Glorishears of Brummagem Morris Dancers.

In the cart shed will be a display of Large Steam Models

In the meadows and grounds; we have a bumper collection of Displays & Demonstrations –

  • Turner collection of Steam Models
  • Snuffles Hedgehog Rescue
  • Bournville Bread Basket
  • The National Trust
  • Walsall Hand Spinners
  • Vintage Bike Display
  • Helens Handmade Gifts
  • Face Painting
  • Ladybird Books Display
  • Women’s Hair Accessories Display
  • Smoking Memorabilia
  • 16th Sutton Coldfield Scout Group
  • Birmingham & The Black Country Wildlife Trust
  • Milk Bottles & Churns Display
  • The Vintage Memory Store (vintage and retro toy collection)
  • Model Fairground
  • Gas Engine
  • The Beekeeper
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I totally geeked out over this wonderful place.

Entry to the site and Parking is free, donations are always welcome in order that we raise funds to maintain the buildings for all to see in the future.

Please note that we open at 10:00 and close at 16:00 with last entry onto site being at 15:45.

Only disability assistance dogs are allowed on site.

Access to the mill is off Wylde Green Road, Sutton Coldfield, B76 1QU some 200 metres from National Cycle Route 534.

Having seen what we do, could you be able to assist? In order to continue holding these events, we need additional membership to help out on Open Days and Work Days. It is not all about Flour production – We have ageing machinery to maintain, kitchen staff are always welcome, there are openings in all areas. Have a chat with a volunteer on Open day.

Hoping to see you there
Alan Dawson – A friend of New Hall Mill.

More details can be found on their website – www.newhallmill.org.uk or their Facebook page here.

This is certainly a project worth visiting and supporting – please do pop along if you can.  You can check out a gallery of my photos taken there last year below. I had a great time.

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Don’t forget Lichfield Bower today!

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It’s party time in Lichfield!

Well, Spring Bank Holiday Monday is upon us, and that means that it’s Lichfield Bower Day in Ye Olde City – and I be the Lichfield historical folk will be up there, getting up to mischief.

I hear an additional act will probably be Fabricantio the Clown, who’s a well known figure of some hilarity in the city, and worth the journey alone…

Dick van Dyke is 137.

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Local miniature railway open today, Spring Bank Holiday Monday!

Since it’s Spring Bank Holiday Monday , there’s a whole load of stuff going on – and today, Monday (28th May 2018) sees one of the occasional openings of something remarkable I visited way back in spring 2017, and it’s well worth a visit.

Balleny Green is a narrow gauge, passenger-carrying miniature model railway located at Little Hay, east of Shenstone and north of Sutton Coldfield, just down the lane from the Holly Bush pub.

You can see exact directions on the SCMS website here.

The railway runs it it’s own grounds which are beautiful, and is skilfully and safely operated by dedicated and clever engineers. It’s genuinely breathtaking, and what’s more, absolutely free (although you’d a total tightarse not to make a donation for such a wonderful thing – collecting box right by the clubhouse!)

Balleny Green is something I heartily recommend – it won’t take all day, but it’ll easily burn a couple of hours and leave you feeling thoroughly charmed. It’s open from 11am until 3pm, and would make a great thing to call into on the way to or from New Hall Mill, which is also open Bank Holiday Monday.

You can find out more at the Sutton Coldfield Model Engineering Society’s site here. I posted the following on my 365daysofbiking journal after my last visit. It’s a terrific thing.

May 1st – Today, I did something I’d been meaning to do for years – I paid a visit to Balleny Green, a little-known narrow gauge railway layout run by Sutton Coldfield Model Engineering Society at Little Hay, between Lichfield and Sutton Coldfield.

I’ve known this place was here for years, but never caught it open. This time, I made a concerted effort to find out when it was a ‘steam up day’ and popped in.

This was just so English. No entry fee. No charges to ride. Just a bunch of people sharing their love of a fascinating, beautifully engineered hobby in the middle of rolling countryside in gorgeous grounds.

There is a long layout consisting of several tracks – including a miniature one – but on the larger one, which interestingly is dual gauge – passengers sit in or on carriages and are conveyed by small locomotives – today one steam, one electric – through tunnels, over junctions, level crossings, past ponds, signals, signal boxes. It’s gorgeous.

The whole thing is clearly a labour of love.

There were no other attractions, and none were needed: tea and biscuits, and a tin for donations to cover running costs.

All right here on the doorstep, and few know about it. A wonderful thing.

Find out more about Balleny Green at their website here. I’d like to thank the members for a beautiful, life-affirming thing.

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Beware localised flooding, folks!

Brickyard Road, on the Aldridge/Walsall Wood border this evening, posted on Facebook by Dan C. Hall

Watch out folks – we’ve had some remarkably heavy storms this afternoon (Sunday, 27th May 2018), and many local roads are flooded with reports of swamped roads and houses across our area.

It takes as little as a foot of water to wash away a car, so take care and don’t travel unless you have to. This is the lights at usual this evening, as posted on Facebook by Georgia Bird:

Beware particularly in rural areas like Mill Lane, Stonnall and near the Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas.

Beware driving through floodwater – it can conceal all manner of unseen horrors, and if part of a river flow can easily sweep cars away. If your car has a low air intake, getting water into the engine will kill it.

Take care folks. Welcome to the British summer…

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Fire and clay: A lost history unfolds

This is the former clay hole from which marl was hauled up a ramp to the brickworks which stood by the bank of the nearby canal.

I see that there David Evans is hot on the local history trail now his beloved Walsall Wood FC have hung up the boots for the summer – and yesterday he sent me a lovely article on a bit of local history that interests many, and is of continual fascination to blog readers – Brownhills Brikworks and the Jones House (‘The Big House’) at Clayhanger Bridge.

Where the new pond and house are today were once a fairly large brickworks. The marl hole left when production ceased was then turned into a private residence with surprisingly lush grounds – including a tennis court as documented here previously. Later, the remainder of the void was employed as a spoil heap for Walsall Wood Colliery, which itself was removed in the early 1980s, and used to cap the dreadful blight that was Clayhanger refuse tip; that is now the wonderful Clayhanger Common.

Thanks to a the generosity of Mr. Ray Jones, David has been invited to the the house to take some pictures and explore the past of this fascinating site.

My thanks to Ray Jones, David, and also to Gerald Reece who way back in 1996, before we had the internet, lit this whole history up. It is on the shoulders of the tireless efforts of people like Gerald and David that I and this blog stand, and I am eternally grateful for that.

Anything to add? Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

David wrote:

Gerald Reece’s totemic local history book, ‘Brownhills, a walk in to History’ was published in 1996 and is an amazing compilation of his original and unique research.

On page 60 there are three paragraphs which describe the brickworks, which closed down in 1896, which I include here:

Brownhills Brick Works

Although it is outside the bounds of Catshill, The Brownhills Brick Works merit a mention. It stood near to the present Clayhanger Bridge and had loading wharves at the canal side. Amongst its products was a building brick with a distinctive impression.

Francis Harry Gordon was the entrepreneur who established the Brick Works here in the 1870’s. He also had other business interests in North Staffordshire. The Brick Works covered an area of 7 acres. The large crater made during the excavation of the clay can still be seen. The clay measure here was 30 ft. thick. The buildings of the works included three drying sheds, the largest one measured 150 ft. x 30 ft. and had a cast iron plated floor.

Image from ‘Brownhills: A walk into history’ by Gerald Reece.

There were three 7 holed burning kilns, two dwelling houses and an Engine and Mill House. The machinery and plant included a Cornish Steam Boiler measuring 20 ft. X 6 ft. 3 ins. A Horizontal High Pressure Steam Engine with a 16 ins. Cylinder. This had a stroke of 2 ft. 10 ins. And a 9 ft. Fly-wheel. There were also two Capital Cameron Steam Pumps and a Brick Cutting-Off machine.

The Brick Works were closed down in 1896, its trade had been undercut by the neighbouring Walsall Wood Colliery Brick Works. After several abortive attempts to reopen the Works as a going concern it was finally sold for its plant and machinery by William F. Gordon, J.P. of Lichfield, he was the son of Francis Harry. Many buildings in the area can be dated from their usage of F. H. GORDON bricks.

Looking across the deep lake.

I have very recently been kindly invited by to view what remains of this once important site. Indeed, apart from the water-filled marl-hole known locally as ‘Jones Pool’ the works themselves have been completely removed with the passing of time, and now a private residence graces this former industrial works.

Clayhanger village has also seen a complete transformation from the sad, poor mining settlement and ugly landscape into the present-day fine community. Last year the headmistress of the local primary school allowed me free access to the complete set of Headteacher’s log books from the day the school opened in 1880, and I saw for myself a record of those sad early times  until the modern, immediate pre-war times, and the ongoing improvements to the community since then.

This shows the bankside of the lake and where a ramp stood. I was told that trucks hauled the clay from here to the works, by the canal bank

The school children had been engaged in a study of their local area, and my, they were so full of enthusiasm and produced an excellent record of their local area study.

This , I believe, is where the brick kilns stood, part of the works, and in among the trees, the canal bank..quite a way up to the level of the canal towpath.

Time has passed, and with it, the buildings that were once Brownhills Brick Works.  And yet, as with the old horse and Jockey pub in Walsall Wood, one glorious part has been retained and preserved.

Embodied in to one of the modern outbuildings by the house, this beautiful witness to local history

I would like to extend my sincere personal thanks to Mr R Jones for allowing me visit  and take these photographs.

David
May 2018

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Big Bounce family fun day at Holland Park RIGHT NOW

Boing, boing!

Just a heads to point out there’s a Big Bounce family fun day taking place at Holland Park, Brownhills RIGHT NOW Sunday (27th May 2018)

It’s £6 per child, with under fives at £5 – there are two sessions, 11-1:30pm and 2-4:30pm.

There will be rides, inflatables, slides, go-karts and all sorts of fun, including a toddler zone.

You can check out the Facebook page for the event here.

The organisers said:

Big Bounce Walsall is heading back to Holland park for a Whitsun extravaganza!

The cheap and affordable fun day hosts more rides & inflatables than ever before with over a dozen inflatables & interactive games for all ages of children to play, slide, bounce, jump and race, you will never want the fun to end!

Only £6 per child and £5 for under 5’s.
Adults & Babies go FREE!

Morning Session: 11 – 1:30pm
Afternoon Session: 2 – 4:30pm

 

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