Acoustic Night at The Chase Inn tonight!


The Chase Inn: a great local pub

The Chase Inn at Newtown, Brownhills goes from strength to strength – there’s not only great ale and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, but great live music too – and tonight, Thursday 29th September 2016,  the pub has it’s first Acoustic Night.

The Chase inn said:

Don’t forget tonight is our first Thursday night acoustic session, running from 8pm-late!

Dan Firman will be playing the best of acoustic music, but you will also have the opportunity to grab the mic and sing your faves while Dan plays!

Drinks across the bar are £2.50 a pint and we will be having some free food too.

Come along for a great night and support local live raw music… See you all later.

Why not get down there? You’re guaranteed an excellent time…

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

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

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Shire Oak Quarry expansion consultation event – this Friday


The quarry and subsequent landfill has operated at Shire Oak for decades. Imagery from Apple Maps.

You may recall a couple of years ago that the operator of the former Shire Oak Quarry site, JPE, was mooting the proposal to extend the site they’re currently landfilling  at Shire Oak, to extract virgin material pusihing back restoration of the site for some years.

Well, residents around the site bordered by the Chester Road and Lichfield Road at Sandhills and Shire Oak have been sent leaflets talking up the plan and notifying them of a planning exhibition due to take place on the matter this Friday afternoon, 30th September 2016  at Stonnall Village Hall, Main Street, Stonnall, from 2:30pm until 8pm.

Here you can talk to representatives of JPE and find out more about the planned expansion and phased restoration of the site.

I include scans of the leaflet sent to residents below, thanks to readers Scott and Laura. Click for larger versions.

There is some balanced background information in this report here submitted in 2014 to Staffordshire County Council, whose jurisdiction the site falls under – from which you’ll note that this plan would increase operations at the site for a not inconsiderable period.

You can find out more at the consultation website here, including a short video. You can also contact the consultancy team at

Remember, this plan isn’t set in stone and no planning application has yet been submitted, but forewarned is forearmed and I suggest anyone with an interest in this proposal – either for or against – attends and gets their voices heard.


Click for a larger version. Thanks to reader Scott for the scan.


Click for a larger version. Thanks to reader Scott for the scan.

Posted in Bad Science, Brownhills stuff, Environment, It makes me mad!, Local media, Local politics, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deer water chase at Chasewater…


A still capturing the moment a stag chases a group of females through the water at the local reservoir. Image snipped from a video included below with kind permission of Jochen Langbein.

You’ll remember a few days ago I cautioned local folk – especially dog walkers – to beware of the deer at the moment as the rut was getting underway, and they’d be a whole lot less tolerant as the hormones did their thing – well, I wasn’t wrong. As the video here shows, deer romance is well underway at Chasewater, with remarkable footage captured today by deer expert Jochen Langbein.

Jochen is well known for his work with wildlife, and is considered to be an authority on the subject of cervines, particularly the peri-urban deer that dwell on the borders of town and country as they do around our area.

Jochen had this to say about his film:

Hi Bob,

Thought you would like that footage –  I was amazed to get that as only had two hours at Chasewater, after doing some work with Rob @chaseranger during the day.

A rare view of ‘Deer Chasing through water at Chasewater’, in the Midlands. Filmed yesterday as the rut begins. Here as in many country parks and forests its important for people watching and photographing the rut of red, fallow and sika deer at this time of year, to do so at a distance; and always aim to avoid the deer from ever becoming surrounded with people on several sides to give them space to mate in peace.

For regular deer and wildlife clips do please click the ‘Subscribe’ icon on my Youtube Channel.


Sound advice from an expert there – and Jochen really does some outstanding work; you can visit his Deertails blog here which is always wonderful, or visit the YouTube channel here. If you’re as into wildlife as I am, you’ll burn up hours of time on that.

You can also follow Jochen on Twitter here.

Thanks to Jochen and please, respect the local deer. They’re big animals and not the sharpest tools in the box when they’ve got romance on their minds…

This video is © Jochen Langbein, and can be seen on YouTube here.

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

Lichfield Waterworks Trust – September 2016 public meeting this Thursday


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 Thursday evening (29th September 2016) there will be a public progress meeting for the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group.

Its worth noting The Trust have announced that they had been successful in securing the building for the future as revealed here last year.

Note the return to the usual venue – the meeting takes place at the George IV, Bore Street, Lichfield from 7:30-9pm.

Dave wrote:

Dear Brownhills Bob,

The next monthly open public progress meeting of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on:

Thursday 29 September 2016 @7.30pm, in the rear meeting room of the

George lV
Bore St
WS13 6LU

Tel: 01543 523025

August Meeting notes can be downloaded here

Full Steam Ahead, Steady as She Goes.

The trust is now in negations with persimmon Home Ltd where we are working jointly to prepare and agree a licence for access to undertake a site investigation/assessment study that will last six months. We have asked that as part of the licence agreement, we will open Sandfields Pumping Station for 3 hours a week to allow supervised visits by member of the trust.

We see the issue of this licence as the first stage of an ongoing process to hand back Sandfields Pumping Station to the public, and a significant step towards protecting this unique piece of our industrial heritage.

The draft licence is now complete and has been returned to Persimmon Homes Ltd for their approval.

The trust is also very busy preparing a bid for a Resilient Heritage Grant. The Resilient Heritage Grant will enable the trust to commission a specialist engineering company to conduct a feasibility study on the 190 HP Cornish Beam Engine with a view of returning the engine to steam operation again.

The Resilient Heritage Grant will also be used to fund some training for members of the trust, so that we can allow access to the building to the public.

The trust has also been involved in the heritage Open Days at Maplebrook Pumping Station on Thursday 8 September. The trust worked with South Staffs Water so that we could allow pre booked visitors into one of the most interesting water pumping stations in the area.

A selection of photos are available here

Saving Sandfields Pumping Station is an incredibly exciting project, and we would like everyone to become a part of it. Please consider joining the Lichfield Waterworks Trust by clicking the membership link here.

Online membership application form

Membership is free, but a small donation would always be very much appreciated. We have an enormous amount of expenditure coming up with the legal fees relating to the access licence, so any amount, however small, will be most welcome.

You can donate either at our online donation link here.

Link to our donation page of our website

You can also do a direct bank transfer:

Bank Details:

Account Name: Lichfield Waterworks Trust
Sort Code: 40-28-18
Account Number: 02050722


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

22 Walsall Road
WS13 8AB

We do not 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, rather than that which we seem to have here in Walsall, where we regard heritage architecture as merely ‘fuel’.

Please do attend if you’re able, it’s sure to be enlightening and educational.

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Your chance to catch a local legend – this Wednesday afternoon!


Your chance to catch a real Walsall Wood legend in action! Not to be missed.

Just a quick headsup to those interested in Walsall Wood history and who are free this Wednesday afternoon (28th September 2016) – there’s a talk featuring the Brownhills Blog’s favourite Wood Mon™ and top contributor, the young David Evans.

Following the success of David’s recent talk at The Well on Walsall Wood which over 40 people attended, David has been learning powerpoint, furiously making slides and perusing the Les Dawson big book of bad puns for inspiration.

David is without doubt the most knowledgable historian on Walsall Wood matters and the chance to hear him speak on the matter is not to be missed – the talk starts at 2:30pm, and costs just £2 (including refreshments) – pre-booking is essential, as places are limited.

I wish David well, and hear more such events are in the pipeline. I thoroughly applaud David’s community spirit and hard work in putting on these talks. The more people who may be inspired to explore their and our collective heritage the better!

You can find out more by emailing or by calling the on 01922 655572 – of course, you can just pop in to the library on the corner of High Street and Walsall Wood.

Walsall Council issues the following press release about this event, and others upcoming at Walsall Wood Library:

A talk on the Social history of Walsall Wood by David Evans

Local history enthusiast David Evans is to deliver the first of a series of talks planned at Walsall Wood Library entitled ‘A Talk In the Woods’.

David whose grandparents moved into Walsall Wood area during the coalmining years is a retired teacher with a passion for history. Describing himself as Walsall Wood bred and buttered David will examine the transformation of Walsall Wood through the Industrial revolution and the characters that have emerged.

The talk which will go on to examine the social and economic history of Walsall Wood takes place on Wednesday 28 September between 2.30 and 3.30pm and costs £2 which includes refreshments.

Further talks planned include Ethel Lote about ‘War Weddings’ on Wednesday 19 October 2:30pm and Joan Lockley about ‘Hedgehog Rescue’ on Wednesday 16 November 2:30pm

To book your place telephone 01922 655572 or email

For further information on upcoming talks and events visit the Love Walsall Libraries site here.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

You can help shape the future of community facilities in Clayhanger – tonight!

Untitled 9

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

You’ll all know that this blog is all about community and the things that bring us all together – be it a bit of current affairs, history, discussion or appeals for help: well, Clayhanger Community Centre provides an excellent service to the community, and is reaching out to local residents with their Annual General Meeting tonight, 27th September 2016..

Lisa Taylor has been working he colleagues to keep Clayhanger Community Centre a vital and well-loved resource for the village, and has written to tell me about the upcoming meeting:


Clayhanger is incredibly fortunate to have its own Community Centre within the village – So come along to the Association’s Annual General Meeting at Clayhanger Community Centre, Church Street tonight, Tuesday 27 September 2016.

The meeting starts at 7.30pm sharp.

Following the AGM there will be opportunity to find out more about what facilities are available at the centre and discuss possible future uses of those facilities for the benefit of all Clayhanger residents.

Tea, coffee and cakes will be available after the meeting.

If you wish to nominate someone to stand as Director please provide details by 23 September to 28, Church Street,  Clayhanger, Walsall WS8 TEG.

The volunteers who work very hard indeed for nothing more than the love of their community deserve our support and respect, and I implore readers with an interest in Clayhanger to attend if they can.

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

An unusually clear view


I have never, ever seen this image before – utterly remarkable. I’d say taken from what would have been fields where Shire Oak School is now. Image courtesy of Dorothy Ruddock, via David Evans.

A couple of postcard images send to me yesterday by the young David Evans that I feel I had to share immediately – they come from the fascinating collection of Dorothy Ruddock, and I think they’re amazing.

Both have been scanned by David, and I think he’s done an excellent job.

The upper one is a truly remarkable image I’ve never seen before – Brownhills as viewed from a rural Shire Oak Hil, possibly from the brewery. Last century for sure, as the gasworks can be seen; St. James is clearly visible on the high ground of Ogley Hay, and the row of houses down the High Street. The modern incarnation of the Warreners Arms does not appear to have been built, so I’d guess this to be about 1900-1910.

The second is a familiar image, but never seen with such detail. Very probably a carnival or  Royal occasion, it shows a parade with brass band marching up the High Street past the Warreners Arms, the photo believed to be taken from an upper window of the pub. Note the advert for Dewars White Label. What was Robin? What was the store the adverts are on the side of?

This would be where the new houses in Lindon Drive are now, with the metal artworks on the wall.

If you can help date this cards, or have any observations, don’t hesitate – comment here please, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.


A parade in Brownhills – a familiar image, but never with such clarity before. It’s of a parade in the High Street, believed to be taken from an upper window of the Warreners. Image kindly shared by Dorothy Rudduck via David Evans.

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