Brownhills very own autism support group meets this lunchtime in a new home

Just a heads up to let folk know that the popular local autism support group ‘Supporting the Rainbow’ is meeting today (Tuesday 19th November 2019) – and there have been some changes as now the group is inaugurated as a charity in its own right.

Today they will be meeting at lunchtime from 1:30-2:30pm in the Community Centre (The old Annex, or Central Boys School), Brownhills, just off the Miner Island.

The group is open to parents and carers for those with autism, and aims to offer a welcoming, helpful and supportive network to those coping with the condition.

Supporting the Rainbow 🌈 is now an official charity affiliated with Rethink Mental Health!

After some discussions we have made some changes to our group meetings and venue: from October 8th 2019 we will be having our group meetings at Brownhills Community Centre

We have checked the venue  and we have a beautiful room on the ground floor, so it makes it easier for people with pushchairs and people with disabilities to manage.

Our times will still be 1:30-2:30pm but instead of meeting every week,  we will be fortnightly.

We are really looking forward to this new change and our lovely group can progress and move onward: we can look to having workshops and so much more.

The fortnightly meetings make it easier for some people who can’t come every week, and we will be having a raffle and tea and biscuits so please do come along to a warm friendly atmosphere!

From the Supporting the Rainbow 🌈 team

The group has been running for a good while now and is still growing in popularity – so why not pop along to see what it’s all about?

 

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More on Ogley Hay 4A!

Ogley Hay Class 4A Prefects. But who, and when? Image generously supplied by Robert Sault. Click for a larger version.

Here’;s a great donation I had in in the last week from long time reader and contributor Robert Sault – a couple more photos of Ogley Hay Class 4A from some point in the mid to late 1960s.

Rob said:

Hi, hope you’re well.

Found another couple of class photo’s from Ogley in what I’d guess would be mid/late sixties.

The larger group is marked Class 4A and the smaller one is 4A Prefects.

May be of interest to some if you want to share.

Best to you and yours
Rob.

Recognise anyone?

Ogley Hay Class 4A, I’d say on the same day. Image generously supplied by Robert Sault. Click for a larger version.

I thank Robert yet another great couple of photos from this period with other great submissions previously from Malcolmm Kelly and co. – you are most generous and the scans are beautifully executed too, thanks so much.

What do you recall from this pair of images? If you have any thoughts or questions, please do share them – comment here, find me on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

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Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, this afternoon!

If you, the kids are grandkids are at a loose end today would be an excellent chance to nip up to Stubbers Green and chat to the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are there this afternoon – and every Sunday from 1-3pm and have bird books, binoculars and a wealth of knowledge to share – so why not join them? There’s so much more local wildlife than people think!

The reserve is by the pools on Stubbers Green Road, between Aldridge and Shelfield.

Ann Lawrence of the Swan Patrol said:

Do you want to know more about nature and wildlife?

Stubbers Green Nature Reserve Aldridge
Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Lollipops and stickers for children that bring good healthy bird foods. Sweet corn, lettuce, porridge oats, branflakes, cornflakes, vegetable peelings, bird seed.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use.

Donations welcome

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Lichfield repair cafe November meet up – get together and get things fixed this afternoon!

Never one to sit back and let life pass her by, that there Kate Cardigan from the wonderful Lichfield Lore is involved with the excellent Lichfield Repair Cafe project – which continues it’s regular residency this Saturday afternoon (Saturday 16th November 2019) at Curborough Community Centre, Lichfield from 2pm until 5pm.

Kate, who’s more usually known for her excellent work with local history group, Lichfield Discovered and other projects, started a community initiative to help people repair, recycle and put back to good use things that my be broken or need some love.

This month there’s also an important request from Kate:

In addition to the Lichfield Pathway collection, you can also bring donations to the Lichfield Foodbank along to this Saturday’s repair cafe – here’s a list of things they need urgently:

The repair cafe looks like a great way to have fun, meet up with other like minded folk and also learn some new skills.

If you’re unsure where to find  Curborough Community Centere, check out their contact page here, and the address for twatnav wranglers is 37, Reynolds Close, Lichfield Ws13 7NY.

I’ll let Kate explain:

Hello! 

The Lichfield Repair & Share cafe meets again at Curborough Community Centre on Saturday 16th November 2019 between 2pm and 5pm. As a way of reducing waste whilst learning new skills, we have a team of volunteer repairers on hand to show people how to try and mend their broken or damaged items, rather than throw them away. 

Bring your broken household items along to see if our team of volunteer repairs can help you fix them – or just pop in for a chat & a brew! All welcome, no charge but voluntary donations welcome 🙂

There will, as usual be a cafe with hot and cold drinks and cakes. Whilst there is no charge, voluntary donations are appreciated!

The cafe will be taking place at Curborough on the 3rd Saturday of every month and we are always looking for more people to get involved whether they want to offer their skills as a repairer or run a workshop. To find our more information, or to volunteer, please email lichfieldshare@gmail.com, join the group’s Facebook page Lichfield Repair Café or follow us on Twitter @lichfieldshare.

For more information, contact Kate Gomez at lichfieldshare@gmail.com or joing the Lichfield Repair & Share group on Facebook here.

Many thanks as ever!
Kate

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Why not Stay and Play for longer – at Brownhills Community Centre this morning

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 16th November 2019 from 10-12pm – note the newly expanded times!

It costs just three quid per kid and includes fruit and a drink, so it’s great value and it’s run by those wonderful people at the Little Green Dragons Nursery, who are resident at the centre and are fully qualified nursery teachers.

There are games and toys and all manner of fun for the weans – and you get a break to boot.

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

At stay and play this Saturday we will be exploring the sensory shaving foam and incorporating number language 1-10 helping our little ones to develop their knowledge of numbers… Our singing will be number songs such as ‘12345 Once I Caught A Fish Alive 🎣’, ‘5 Cheeky Monkeys’🐒 ‘3 Blind Mice ‘🐁

Along with all our other areas of play within the nursery setting:

• home corner
• construction
• small world
• maths area
• cosy book/music area
• baby sensory area

OUTDOOR WATER PLAY OF COURSE 😍 maybe added rain ☔️

See you all Saturday ….

Fingers crossed the rain doesn’t stay too long ☔️☔️☔️

This is our Third week with our new times and prices for our longer sessions running every Saturday 😊

10.00am-12.00 ⏰
£3 per child 💷
Snack included 🍎

Feel free to invite your friends with children aged 0-4 years and share our events

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery every Saturday morning.

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more,  you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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Why not pop in to Brownhills Christmas Market this evening?

Kicking off the Brownhills Christmas celebrations, this evening (15th November 2019) there’s a Christmas Market at Brownhills Silver Street Methodist Church from 4pm-8pm.

There will be all the usual stuff in a friendly and welcoming venue – so why not pop in this evening? Father Christmas will be popping in, and you could get some presents sorted…

The organisers said:

Christmas mini market with various stalls selling unique handmade gifts and local businesses.

Father Christmas
Avon
All Wrapped Up gift cards
Nail & Beauty therapist
Richard’s Arts
Maxine’s memory boxes
Body shop
Wax melts
Bath bombs
Christmas decorations
Hand made Jewellery
Personalised stationery

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Come and remember Janey – and the game she loved this evening

This Friday evening (15th November 2019) at Walsall Wood FC and Oak Park’s 3G pitch there’s a fun football match being staged in memorial to sadly lost local lass Janey Hatfield for the Jane Hatfield Memorial Trophy.

There will be fun, football, memories and all the things Janey loved about football – including probably Papa Smurf Evans. 

This is a great event to remember Janey with her friends.

Her son Sam Perry said:

Due to the awful weather we’ve had over the past week Walsall Wood FC’s pitch will be waterlogged and unable to hold the fixture.

THE GAME WILL STILL GO AHEAD

We will be kicking off now at 8 o’clock on the 3G all weather pitch at Oak Park Leisure Centre.

Players will still use the football stadium’s facilities too get ready in the changing rooms etc so feel free to come down from 5 o’clock onwards to have a drink in the bar and a laugh.

Then it’s just a short walk down for the match!

I know this may put a few people off and we’re all absolutely gutted we’ve had to do this but it’s all for a good cause and we will all still appreciate your support

Feel free to go and get yourselves a drink from the club house if you feel you’ve seen enough 🤣 or at half time/full time!

There will be a donations inside the football club.

For anybody still wishing to contribute but would still like to donate please message me directly and that can be arranged!

Everything raised will cover the cost of the pitch the officials and whatever’s left directly towards my mums memorial garden with Walsall Wood getting a memorial brick at West Bromwich Albion football club!

If you are coming but won’t be joining us in the club house for a pre match bev then the address to go straight there is as follows

Coppice Road
Walsall
WS8 9BH
England

Many thanks
Sam! 💙

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Fancy a Parkrun at Chasewater this Saturday morning?

I know we have a lot of running folk amongst the readership, and in the mass of volunteer, community organised stuff in recent years, one of the most impressive demonstrations of this has been the growth of the free, Saturday morning Parkrun phenomena, where volunteers and runners gather every Saturday in local parks for a run, totally free of charge.

The second Parkrun at Chasewater attracted more than 300 runners. Image from Susan Williams.

It’s not competitive – except against your own personal best – it’s properly marshalled and you have to register, but it’s a free, friendly thing that’s hugely popular and a stunning demonstration of community in action.

It’s suitable for runners of all experience levels and paces. Find out more at the event page here or the event Facebook page here

Having run for years now at Walsall Arboretum and Cannock Chase, we now have a 5km Parkrun at Chasewater that happens every Saturday (events in the park permitting) – and has been attracting over 300 runners already!

It’s on this Saturday (16th November 2019) at 9:00am and the organisers have this to say:

What is Chasewater parkrun?

It is a 5km run – it’s you against the clock.

When is it?

Every Saturday at 9:00am.

Where is it?

The event takes place at Chasewater Country Park, Pool Rd, Burntwood, Brownhills, WS8 7NL. See Course page for more details.

What does it cost to join in?

Nothing – it’s free! but please register before your first run. Only ever register with parkrun once. Don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your barcode (request a reminder). If you forget it, you won’t get a time.

How fast do I have to be?

We all run for our own enjoyment. Please come along and join in whatever your pace!

Chasewater parkrun needs you!

It is entirely organised by volunteers – email chasewaterhelpers@parkrun.com to help.

We’re friendly!

Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in the South Shore café – please come and join us!

Please, if you go for a run this Saturday, drop me a line and let me know how you get on – this is a fascinating thing and it’s growth is really wonderful. Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Just walking to the start shows the large number of runners already making this a great event! Image from Susan Williams.

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Soultime November – Northern Soul and Motown Disco with DJ Leekie and pals tonight!

The inimitable soul DJ Leekie has been in touch to let me know that he’s DJing his regular Soultime event at Pelsall Community Centre this Friday evening, 15th November 2019 at Pelsall Community Centre, where he and a number of great soul pals will be fulfilling all your Northern Soul and Motown requirements.

I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like a bit of classic soul and Leekie is a great DJ for a wonderful night. A two-room event, it also features Alan Wiley, Jon Harfield, Vernon Smith and of course, Leekie!

It’s just £5 a head (payable on the door) and kicks off at 8pm and runs until Midnight. What’s not to love?

That’s Pelsall Community Centre, Station Rd, Pelsall, Walsall WS3 4BQ. See you there?

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Community litter pick in Walsall Wood this Sunday morning!

I know folk always complain they never caught notice of these, so this is just a note to say there’s a community litter pick this Sunday morning in Walsall Wood, organised by the fab Walsall Wood Wombles group.

Sunday 17th November 2019 there will be a litter pick in Walsall Wood which will be meeting on the corner of Brookland Road and Brook Lane opposite the car park at 10am. All who wish to join in are most welcome!

They said:

Walsall Wood Wombles are doing their monthly litter pick this Sunday 17th November 2019 from 10am meeting at corner of Brook lane and Brookland road opposite the old lorry park.

It will run from 10am till 12 noon, or as long as you can do would be great.

A nice bunch of people helping to keep our area tidy!

Walsall Wood Wombles group is a great initiative by top community person Alison Deeley.

Wombles groups are gaining in popularity – you can check out The Brownhills Community Wombles Facebook page here, and there’s a Facebook page for Walsall Wood Wombles here. They’re bot great community spirited collectives and you really are welcome to pop along.

Thanks to all who participate: Real community in action.

Previous local litter pick events have been a huge success, so let’s see if we can make these even better!

Recent litter picks have been a huge success and very popular.
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Don’t miss this luxury Winter Craft, Gift and Food Festival this coming Sunday in Brownhills!

Old pal of the blog Laura Tarburton has been in touch to let me know that she’s organised a lovely Luxury Winter Craft, Gift and Food Festival, which will take place this Sunday 17th November 2019 at Brownhills Community Centre from 11-3pm.

This looks to be a very classy event with some really great stalls – and they’re also being catered for by Bean and Baked, my favourite local tea and cake emporium!

If you have any questions or enquiries, you can contact Laura on 07713 634811 or email LauraHucker@Yahoo.co.uk. You can visit the event’s Facebook page here.

Laura said:

Back this year by popular demand! Last year saw an extremely popular and successful event with over 500 people through the door!

Join us this year to shop our beautiful range of personalised gifts, handmade bags, scarves and ponchos, Christmas decorations and gifts, handmade cards, handmade wooden gifts and of course, lots of locally produced food!

Seasonal catering will be available on the day, provided by Bean and Baked – Microbakery and Coffee Shop – the brand new coffee shop and bakery based in Brownhills Community Centre.

The event takes place at Brownhills Community Centre on Sunday 17th November from 11am – 3pm. Free parking on site and easy disabled access.

We still have a limited number of stalls available, please call Laura on 07713 634811 for more info or email hello@the-reading-rooms.co.uk

Brownhills Community Centre and their new Lamp arts space are the home of Brownhills Community Association, and is situated just by the Miner Island in central Brownhills. They always have lots going on for people from the town – and the wider community – to enjoy.

The Community (or Activity) Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more about the events and activities there, you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

brownhills-youth-centre-670

It’s all going on at Brownhills Activity Centre. Image from Walsall Council.

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AA group meeting in Brownhills this evening

Here’s an important one – Brownhills has started its own Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings at Silver Street Methodist Church in Silver Street, Brownhills that take place this and every Tuesday (12th November 2019) from 7:30pm until 9pm.

I’m told the previous meetings were very well attended.

All are welcome. Parking is free, the venue is wheelchair friendly and can be found at Silver Street, Brownhills, Walsall WS8 6ER.

This is a welcome move as Brownhills has been lacking in this area for many years.

My best wishes to all attendees, and all are welcome.

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November 2019 Toy and Train Collectors Fair at Oak Park this Sunday

 

Here’s one I’ve been meaning to catch for a while, but always seem to miss somehow – the periodic Toy and Train Collectors Fair at Oak Park Leisure Centre, Walsall Wood.

This one runs this Sunday, 17th November 2019 from 10:30am until 3pm, and is just £1:80 entry for adults, £1:50 for OAPs and just a quid for the kids.

There will be over 80 stalls, with all manner of models, toy trains, toy cars and other collectibles, and there’s also a cafe on site.

The organisers said:

WALSALL WOOD TOY AND TRAIN COLLECTORS FAIR RETURNS TO WALSALL WOOD

Oak Park Active Living Centre, Walsall Wood – Sunday 17th November 2019

Toy cars, trains, buses, commercials plus all other kinds of collectable toys including Lego, Sci- fiction, Figures, Buses, Jigsaws, old and new will be on sale at the next Toy and Train Collectors Fair taking place at the Oak Park Active Living Centre, Coppice Road, Walsall Wood (WS9 9BH) On Sunday 17th November.

The pre-Christmas event is an ideal time to obtain collectable toys with prices ranging from a couple of pounds upwards with over 80 tables offering a wide range of items.

If you have any unwanted toys bring them along – traders are always looking to purchase.

Organisers Geoff and Linda Price from Walsall have been organising the fair for over 28 years and are pleased that the new extra car parking is now open at the centre with an extra 200 spaces.

Doors open 10.30am – 3.00pm – Admission: Adults £1.80 – Children £1.00

Further details – 01922 643385  – 2020 dates will be available at the event.

Geoff and Linda

Transtar Promotions

You can find out more at the website of the organisers, Transtar Promotions here or by calling them on 01922 643385.

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Pictures and video from Brownhills 2019 Remembrance Sunday

Yesterday, Sunday 10th November 2019 saw the annual marking of Remembrance Day in the UK and I’m pleased to say Walsall and South Staffordshire did themselves and the fallen proud and staged a whole range of parades and events that were well supported and attended – and I was especially pleased to see the wonderful turnout and effort made in Brownhills.

Thank you for all who organised, took part of went and paid their respects: Brownhills did the fallen proud as it does every year – and thanks too to the people who posted all these lovely photos.

Particular thanks are due too local man Ian Neville who worked hard this year to raise the money to get instruments, enabling the cadets from TS Vigo to form a band for the parade. Top work, thank you.

Old friend of the blog Dave Cresswell posted this interesting and well executed live feed from the event too. Thanks to Dave for sharing that.

We shall remember them.

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Walsall Wood Remembrance Sunday 2019 pictures

The young David Evans yesterday (Sunday, 10th November 2019) went to his local Remembrance event in Walsall Wood and sent in a wonderful gallery of images to mark this most sombre of  days.

Thankfully, a decent afternoon following the awful weather of late… image supplied by David Evans.

And as always Lee Bragginton of Walsall Wood Scouts, Molly Lloyd of Walsall Wood Girls Brigade and other community folk who worked so hard to stage this event did their community proud.

Walsall Wood came out in force for the traditional Sunday Afternoon parade, a timing which I believe to be unique within the local area.

Stuart Lilley posted the following video of the event on Facebook:

Thanks to all in the parade, and all those who attended, too.

Also doing sterling service was David, whose photo gallery I include below.

Thanks to David and all those who took part in, or went to observe Remembrance. This is what community is about.

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Lichfield Waterworks Trust November 2019 public meeting takes place this 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 evening, Monday 11th November 2019 there will be the monthly Public Meeting of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group.

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 October Newsletter

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on:  Monday 11 November 2019 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.

October meeting notes are available here
 

Latest News

Building Lease Update:

Two trustees met with Persimmon on Tuesday 5 November to discuss the lease. There are still a few iisses to iron out, but we feel we made some steady progress. To be discussed at the next public meeting on 11 November.

Important Note: 

After the visit by Historic England on 16 Jan, the site has unfortunately been placed on the Heritage At Risk Register.

This is indeed sad news to see that this magnificent piece of industrial heritage is now officially at risk of permanent loss.
 
The trust is committed to continue working with the owner, Persimmon Homes Ltd to find a sustainable solution that will bring this building and its historic contents aback into a community use.

Tonight’s Talk

Following on from last months talk from  David Moore who presented a talk about Digital Photography including video filming, producing time lapse sequences and drone photography. Our very own David Cross will be talking about the history of tidal power in the UK

David has had a very interesting and fascinating careerer in the power industry and so is well placed to deliver an extremely engaging talk, not to be missed

Site Report

Persimmon have now completed their repairs, and the team was back on site by 14 October.

Please feel free to pop in or lend a hand or just come a take a look around. We are open every Friday between 10:00am and 12:30 pm. Free tea and coffee.

3D Walkthrough

Dudley Technical College has been extremely kind in producing a 3D Walkthrough for the trust. This is an amazing piece of work that not only showcases the site, it also provides an opportunity to those who are unable to visit the site or climb the stairs

Please click on the image below

History West Midlands – Podcast

History West Midlands have produced a stunning podcast titled – Making Cholera History in the Black Country.
 
Presented by writer and broadcaster Graham Fisher and Directed by Andy Partington, featuring David Moore, the podcast gives a detailed history of both Sandfields pumping Station and the story of clean water.

Please click on the image below



Donations

With over 2,500 volunteer working hours, (equates to more than two full time equivalents) and over £14,000 spent in cleaning equipment, materials and scaffold over the last two years. This month has seen quite a drain on our bank balance with invoices for the viability study and scaffolding landing on the desk. Looking at the engine now, as opposed to how it looked in 2016, the volunteers have made some remarkable progress.


 
We will also always invest in our people and we are planning further training days soon. All these costs soon mount up, so if you can donate, then please visit our donation page here.
 
Any amount is helpful, is well appreciated and will be carefully spent preserving our industrial past for our future generations, developing skills for our people and making our community a better place
 
Please make cheques payable to; Lichfield Waterworks Trust, and send to our address:
 
22 Walsall Road
Lichfield
WS13 8AB

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.

Finally

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

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.

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A military parade – but what, where and when?

Also apposite for the day, this single image from the immense pile of material donated to the blog by Sir Gerald of Reece – and I must say, it has the better of us.

A military parade featuring what appear to be cadets and veterans, carrying British Legion standards. A soldier who seems like a veteran stands to attention in uniform looking on, saluting I think, son or grandson by his side.

This looks like it might be a Remembrance Day parade. It looks like a High Street, but I don’t think it’s Brownhills. The shop in the background is, I think B Hardwick butchers, and the bunting in the window has made me wonder if this is perhaps not Remembrance, but maybe VE Day or a coronation. It’s clearly WW2 or subsequent era from the general appearance of the buildings and people.

Go on, where do you think this is, when was it and more importantly what’s the event?

I’m itching to hear what you think: Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or yank my sleeve on social media.

Thanks to David and Gerald for a fascinating mystery I’ve been sitting on for ages….

That man in uniform, to attention – is haunting. Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

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What was (nearly) lost…

Here’s a little local Remembrance history, appropriate for the day I think. David Evans sent this article to me a week or so ago regarding two rolls of honour he’d been very kindly donated by local lady Gladys Preece.

The rolls once hung in a lost Working Mens Club I’d forgotten all about – Walsall Wood WMC, that stood where the private gym does today, opposite Oak Park. It’s important that these were saved and I’m so very glad that Gladys’s son Grahame was able to – I fear many such rolls from chapels, factories and social clubs may have been lost over recent years in the great social change that has seen so many of these gathering places carried to dust.

I’d like to thank David for his efforts in documenting these vital pieces of local history, and of course, Walsall Wood Football Club for proudly putting them on public display.

Huge gratitude of course to Gladys and family, too – a true act of felicity and generosity.

If you have anything to add, please do: Comment here, find me on social media or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

David wrote:

These two rolls of honour were recently passed to me. They originally hung in the Working Men’s Club, which stood in Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood, near the Streets Corner junction.


The Working Men’s Club has played an important part in the local football club’s history. It was here that Walsall Wood Football Club held their annual dinner. The teams used a room there to change for the matches. This was before the club obtained a wooden hut – their first pavilion – and built their brick stand, in the 1930s.

The 1945 image shows the Working Men’s Club, and the football ground nearby, with the tennis courts, bowling greens, playing field of Oak Park. The present brick clubhouse was built in 1948.

I am not sure when the Working Men’s Club was demolished – perhaps the 1970s- but I am delighted that these two Rolls of Honour were preserved and are now been presented to the football club to be displayed in the new club room there.

[Bob’s note – I can recall the club, just about although I never went in. I think it was demolished in the mid 80s, specifically for the development of the night club that is now the gym.]

I would like to thank Mrs Gladys Preece, for offering these Rolls of Honour, and so fulfil the wish of her late son Grahame, that they be displayed to remember and honour those named.

David, October 2019

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Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, this afternoon!

I note that since we’ve finally got a decent day it would be an excellent chance to nip up to Stubbers Green with the kids, grandkids of even just by yourself and chat to the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are there this afternoon – and every Sunday from 1-3pm and have bird books, binoculars and a wealth of knowledge to share – so why not join them? There’s so much more local wildlife than people think!

The reserve is by the pools on Stubbers Green Road, between Aldridge and Shelfield.

Ann Lawrence of the Swan Patrol said:

Do you want to know more about nature and wildlife?

Stubbers Green Nature Reserve Aldridge
Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Lollipops and stickers for children that bring good healthy bird foods. Sweet corn, lettuce, porridge oats, branflakes, cornflakes, vegetable peelings, bird seed.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use.

Donations welcome

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To stand, and to remember

Today, Sunday 10th November 2019, is Remembrance Sunday when the people of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth come together to remember those who served, and those serving our country. Not only the ones who paid the ultimate, awful price of war, but those who survived and and suffered the effects of their service, and those who may yet see conflict in our name.

I found this patch of poppies near Elford in the summer. Such beautiful flowers, and so poignant.

All over the country and further afield, men, women and children parade, or stand in silence and reflect on those brave and heroic souls who gave everything for their country – not just in the Great War, but all the conflicts we’ve been involved with before and after.

Please take time out today to consider those that gave, and those who may yet give their lives for us to live in peace and relative prosperity. From the fields of Flandria to the jungles of Burma, from the deserts of Iraq to the frozen waters of the South Atlantic, when their time has come, good and noble people have given their all that we may enjoy better days.

Following the huge outpouring of emotion that was 2018s Remembrance – being as it was the centenary of the end of one of the worst conflicts the world has ever witnessed, the First World War – this year Remembrance has seemed muted but no less powerful for it. Whilst there are less of the huge displays of poppies like the remarkable Poppy Road project in Aldridge, there are plenty of devotional memorials like the Poppy Clock in Pelsall and the remarkable effort in Hednesford.

Wilfred Owen rang the bell loud and clear: The Great War was an inhuman hell and his generation was sacrificed. Thanks to him, we can feel what those lads experienced.

For some fascinating and poignant Great War local history, do pay my dear friend Linda Mason’s blog a visit by clicking here. Linda has written a series of beautifully researched and worded posts about local soldiers that are by turns fascinating, moving and heartbreaking. This brilliant lady is a local history dynamo and deserves a much wider audience.

It’s poignant and heartbreaking that this year we lost one of the people who has shown us so much about the Great War and it’s turbulence locally: Aldridge historian and author Len Boulton. Len was a fine man and one of the prime movers of the Poppy Road project. He was an honest, frank and diligent historian who could tell a story and leave an imprint – he will be sadly missed. He did vital and heartfelt work. Rest in peace, Len – my sympathies to your family and friends.

I will as always continue to document local war history here too – I may have had to slow down a bit in the last year (sorry, but I’m not getting any younger!) but my commitment is no less and I and the contributors to this blog will always endeavour to continue to shine a light on the history of our service folk.

Today I will stand and remember, my yearly duty continues. I have felt the pain of loss, separation and of the sacrifice of others. The veterans I have known – many passed now – haunt my memories and thoughts. I will never, ever forget them or what they went through. On their shoulders we all stand.

It is right and wonderful that we remember these men and women and honour their sacrifice. They fought for this day – a so much better day. Thanks to them all.

Remembrance is not about glory, it’s not about posturing and it’s not about patriotism. The hell that poets like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon experienced and spoke so eloquently about was not about any of these things. It was about the sheer, unrelenting dehumanisation of armed conflict.

Jack Judge, writer of iconic Great War sing ‘It’s aLong Way to Tipperary’ was a son of Oldbury and the legend of the song is amazing.

I’m relieved to note that most of the posturing and hectoring around Remembrance on social media has been absent this year. The soldiers and other forces folk who gave their all on the battlefields that have ebbed and flowed over the globe in modern times did so to keep us free. In order that we may live without oppression. Their fight was for people to have the freedom to choose, and that includes not joining in acts of overt Remembrance if they choose not to do so.

Remembrance is not about the size of your poppy or donation. It’s about gratitude, solidarity and support. Respect is key.

Please also remember the unsung heroes of the Commonwealth Forces and ANZACs – people who pushed into the very worst battles and fought with huge pride and courage. Redgum’s remarkable ‘I was only nineteen’ was about Vietnam, a war in Which Australia were sadly involved, but the song is timeless. 
The story of an ANZAC who was actually from Norton Canes can be read here.

I also feel that this Remembrance is about not just the dead, the fallen and the human cost; it’s about the gross human folly that is conflict and war. That we still expect young people to give their all after thousands of years of societal evolution is a shame on our civilisation. As Tony Benn once put it ‘…all war can be regarded as a failure of diplomacy’.

Poets like Siegfried Sassoon communicated to us the hell they experienced.

I still of course wholly support the Poppy Appeal, appeals by the Royal British Legion, and Help For Heroes. I am, however concerned that particularly in the latter case, the generosity of the public is being used by the faceless mandarins in government to relieve the burden on state funds. I am unsettled by the business operations and big money directorships in some of the more prominent armed forces charities.

Those injured and bereaved in defence of the state should be compensated and protected by it. It’s the least we can do. While there’s a place for charity, this shouldn’t be a substitute for care of our veterans – of whom a disconcerting number go on to fight the effects long after their service has passed.

It is very sad and a national tragedy that ex-servicemen and women are disproportionately represented in the numbers of the homeless and mentally ill.

Please, if you can, give to one of the many armed forces support charities, a huge list of which can be found here. This year, I’ve personally bought a poppy as usual, but also supported Soldiers off the Street, who seem to be doing particularly vital work

Over a century from the end of a massacre of youth that was settled around a table, it’s important to me that we should remember that it’s the ordinary people who bear the brunt of war; the leaders who declare it are rarely victims. The human cost of armed conflict is massive. We should endeavour, after Remembrance and thanks, to show our huge debt of gratitude by attempting to prevent war occurring.

Harry Patch was a genuinely Great Biton.

It is to humanity’s shame that we appear to have no leaders of the calibre required to do so.

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Fancy a ramble with a popular local historian? A great Christmas gift idea…

I’ve been contacted in the last few days by local historian, friend of the blog and top lad Clive Roberts who tells me that his latest book, ‘Ramblings of a Local Historian’ is still available, but is selling out fast – so be quick if you want a copy.

This would make an excellent Christmas gift for anyone into local history – but could be a great memory jogger for older folks in your life whit memories of Brownhills and Walsall Wood, and a great talking point to introduce our history to the youngsters.

Clive has previously written excellent and sought after books on Shire Oak, Walsall Wood and Brownhills. He comments and contributes frequently here on the blog and is a stalwart of the local history community.

Clive says he still has a few copies of the second pub book available too.

In this work, Clive covers a diverse range of subjects – including a lost canal wharf in Brownhills I knew nothing about, some great info on Manchester House in Brownhills High Street and the book is packed with photos and archive material.

Clive wrote and published parts one and two of the pubs of Brownhills over the last two years, which have proven a great success, and this book continues Clive’s painstaking and fascinating work.

I know Clive also sells by eBay and can pop copies on there if requested.

Clive wrote:

Hello Bob and readers of the blog.

Just a reminder that my latest book is still available, but there aren’t may left.

The book is on sale at Brownhills Library. The book covers mainly Brownhills; there’s a bit on Clayhanger; Pelsall; and Walsall Wood also.

Price: £8 each and there’s 59 pages.

I also often have them for sale on eBay, and hopefully shortly at Chasewater Railway Museum.

When they’re gone they’re gone, so please get in quick!

Best wishes
Clive L. Roberts

Clive’s previous works have garnered him a great reputation for well researched, engaging local history writing that uncovers detail that others may well miss. They are written in a friendly, conversational style and are an absolute treat.

If you have any questions or observations for Clive, please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at  Googlemail dot com, and I’ll draw them to his attention.

I wish Clive all the best – this is a fantastic book!

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Why not Stay and Play for longer – at Brownhills Community Centre this morning

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 9th November 2019 from 10-12pm – note the newly expanded times!

It costs just three quid per kid and includes fruit and a drink, so it’s great value and it’s run by those wonderful people at the Little Green Dragons Nursery, who are resident at the centre and are fully qualified nursery teachers.

There are games and toys and all manner of fun for the weans – and you get a break to boot.

Rain rain go away… We are celebrating Remembrance Day 

🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺
Saturday 9th November 2019

At stay and play this Saturday we will be creating our own Poppies with lots of creative resources this is to celebrate Remembrance Sunday, which falls on 10 November. 

Along with all our other areas of play within the nursery setting 

• home corner
• construction
• small world
• maths area
• cosy book/music area
• baby sensory area

This is our second week with our new times and prices for our longer sessions running every Saturday from 2nd November 😊
10.00am-12.00 ⏰

£3 per child 💷
Snack included 🍎
feel free to invite your friends with children aged 0-4 years and share our events

See you all Saturday ….

Fingers crossed the rain doesn’t stay too long ☔️

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery every Saturday morning …

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more,  you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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Details of 2019 local Remembrance events – live list

This post is pinned to the top until Sunday – new material will appear below.

Remembrance Sunday 2011 Aldridge Remembrance Sunday 2011 Aldridge, by Andrew Watson, posted in his Flickr photo stream.

Following my request for information to make a list of local Remembrance events, I can again share with readers a list of Remembrance services taking place locally this Remembrance Sunday, 10th November 2019 – this list will be updated with more info as I get it.

I’m still after details of events not mentioned. Comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com if you have information to share. All welcome!

This post will remain pinned to the top of the blog until Sunday, so the information is to hand. Just click the ‘more’ link in grey below if necessary for the full details.

Please note: this is a live list – if you have any corrections, clarifications or additions, please do comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. I’d like to get the list as accurate and comprehensive as possible.

These functions are organised by a diverse range of organisations, nearly all outside the auspices of the local authority, so getting comprehensive information is no small task.

This may not be complete, and details are supplied in good faith. Neither I, or the named readers will be held responsible for inaccuracies in the details provided. We are all human, and this is always quite a tough task.

All events are assumed Sunday Morning 10th November 2019, unless otherwise stated –  Walsall Wood parade (Sunday afternoon as always).

Your understanding is appreciated.

      • Brownhills:
        Memorial Hall – A parade will start to assemble at 10:00am and depart at 10:30am. It will start  at Brownhills Memorial just after 10:25am and it will take the route Lichfield Road into Great Charles Street, Short Street and Church Road, for the Service of Remembrance at St James church Cenotaph Brownhills 11:00 am, after there will be a service in St James Church.
        This will be the first year for our own community band courtesy of the cadets at TS Vigo. Please show them your support!
      • Walsall Wood:
        This year’s Walsall Wood remembrance event is the same format as in previous years as follows:1.45 – 2.00pm Parade assembles on the former Oak Park Leisure Centre car park behind KFC2:00pm A461 is closed from Streets Corner to High Street/St John’s Close
        2:15pm Parade departs on A461 south to St John’s churchService of remembrance around the cenotaph, including wreath laying, followed by service in the church
        3:15pm approx. The parade reassembles to return north to the old Oak Park car park for dismissal
        3:30pm approx. A461 is reopened
      • Pelsall:
        Please find below a précis of the salient points regarding Sunday’s Parade.-Part 1 will be a March along the High Street from the Village Centre to the War Memorial, it will then muster at the War Memorial, together with the general public for part 2, The Act of Remembrance.
        The March will muster at 10:15am and commence around 10:35am.The March and members of the public will muster around the War Memorial for the Act of Remembrance, commencing at 10:48.After the service, the March will fall out and the general public will disperse.Sheets will be distributed prior to the service, however an electronic version can be downloaded from our website www.poprs.org, this is also the place to find detailed information of Sunday’s Parade.We look forward to seeing you there.
      • Rushall:
        Claire Gibbs said: Rushall. Meet at the remembrance stone outside the library at 10:50, short service and silence will be held there.The old Library will be open afterwards for refreshments.
      • Aldridge
        On Sunday 10 November 2019, the Aldridge Service of Remembrance will be held at the Aldridge war memorial.
        The parade will leave Aldridge community centre 10:30am on a March up to the Aldridge war memorial located on the green in front of Aldridge church.
      • Wimblebury and Heath Hayes:
        Correction from Reg Fullelove: Assembly at the Cons, Remembrance service at St Johns at 10 o’clock following which worshipers make their own way to the memorial gates at Five Ways island the gates will be open for act of Remembrance – we will remember them!
      • Walsall:
        10.20am: Laying of wreath at the Carless VC Memorial before parade from Walsall Council House’ leaving 10.25am along Lichfield Street, Lower Bridge Street,The Bridge and Bradford Street to the Cenotaph in Bradford Place for a 10.40am service
      • Willenhall:
        9.30am:Muster for parade starting from by the clock tower and travelling to the Cenotaph via Market Place, Stafford Street and Field Street
      • Darlaston:
        9.30am: Muster for parade from King Street to St Lawrence Church via Victoria Avenue and New Street
      • Short Heath:
        9.30am: Muster for parade from the British Legion building down Church Road, Bloxwich Road North, A462 Lane Head Bridge and A462 High Road to the cenotaph
      • Streetly:
        9.30am: Muster for parade from the community centre to Streetly Methodist Church for a Remembrance Service
      • Bloxwich:
        9:30am: Muster for parade in Bloxwich Memorial Club in Harrison Street to the cenotaph on A34 High Street
      • Cannock:
        10:30am: Parade starts from South Staffordshire College to the Cenotaph for a 10:45am service
      • Chadsmoor:
        10:00am: Service at the Bethany Chapel before a ceremony at the War Memorial
      • Norton Canes:
        10:30am: Service at St James The Great Church
      • Hednesford:
        9:45am: Service at St Peter’s Church, followed by a parade at 10.40am to the War Memorial
      • Brereton:
        9:00am: Parade leaves Brereton Social Club for a 9.15am service St Michael’s Church, followed by a parade at 10.40am to Brereton Cenotaph
      • National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas:
        10.30am: The Field of Remembrance will open to the public with a special service. Runs until November 19th.

We will Remember them.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Aldridge Shed – Open days this Friday and Saturday

Just a quick note that the Aldridge Shed project opens its doors at Alrewych Court, Northgate to members of the community (gentlemen and ladies!) tomorrow, Friday 8th and Saturday 9th November 2019 from 10am-2pm.

You can pop in, have a brew and find out what they’re all about – they’re wonderful people.

The Aldridge Shed is a welcoming workshop and social place where members can make and repair things, chat and hang out with people for creativity, fun and just a good old chinwag.

It’s a growing and evolving group that do loads for the community and they have equipment, tools and meet most days of the week.

You can find out more at their website here and on Facebook here. The Shed is located at Alrewych Court, 220 Northgate, Aldridge WS9 8AF.

Sheds (they’re not just open to men – the ladies can join too!) started in Australia a couple of decades ago and provide creative activities, a social focus and space just to hang out, chat and create for older members of the society who feel they’ve got lots to give the community.

I love the idea of Sheds – I love to do mechanics and make stuff and I could see myself joining such a project at some point.

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Police appeal following hit and run in Lindon Road

As many of you will know, there has been a hit and run road traffic collision on the Brownhills -Walsall Wood border at Lindon Road by the old Wheel Inn yesterday evening  (4th November 2019) at around 7:30pm.

The scene of the incident last night. Image posted on Facebook by Lara.

A man is in a serious condition with head injuries following the incident, subsequently to which the driver of the vehicle involved failed to stop.

Police investigating the collision have posted the statement below, and I would ask anyone with information – no matter how small or insignificant it may seem – to come forward and talk to police.

I also respectfully request that people commenting on social media to note that Police have not formally identified the injured man.

My sympathies to him and his family.

West Midlands Police said:

Appeal into Walsall hit-and-run

Updated:

The pedestrian was struck by a car on Lindon Road, Brownhills just before 7.30pm.

The vehicle left the scene and the man, believed to be in his 20s, was rushed to hospital with head injuries. He remains in a serious condition.

Enquiries are underway and officers are keen to speak to witnesses or anyone with information.

Contact police via Live Chat at www.west-midlands.pnn.police.uk between 8am and midnight or call 101 anytime. Quote log number 2206 of 4 November.

Alternatively, information can be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Crimestoppers UK can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111. Please quote log number 82 of 24/11/2018. 

 

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Express & Star, Interesting photos, Local media, News, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brownhills very own autism support group meets this lunchtime in a new home

Just a heads up to let folk know that the popular local autism support group ‘Supporting the Rainbow’ is meeting today (Tuesday 5th November 2019) – and there have been some changes as now the group is inaugurated as a charity in its own right.

Today they will be meeting at lunchtime from 1:30-2:30pm in the Community Centre (The old Annex, or Central Boys School), Brownhills, just off the Miner Island.

The group is open to parents and carers for those with autism, and aims to offer a welcoming, helpful and supportive network to those coping with the condition.

Supporting the Rainbow 🌈 is now an official charity affiliated with Rethink Mental Health!

After some discussions we have made some changes to our group meetings and venue: from October 8th 2019 we will be having our group meetings at Brownhills Community Centre

We have checked the venue  and we have a beautiful room on the ground floor, so it makes it easier for people with pushchairs and people with disabilities to manage.

Our times will still be 1:30-2:30pm but instead of meeting every week,  we will be fortnightly.

We are really looking forward to this new change and our lovely group can progress and move onward: we can look to having workshops and so much more.

The fortnightly meetings make it easier for some people who can’t come every week, and we will be having a raffle and tea and biscuits so please do come along to a warm friendly atmosphere!

From the Supporting the Rainbow 🌈 team

The group has been running for a good while now and is still growing in popularity – so why not pop along to see what it’s all about?

 

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AA group meetings in Brownhills off to a good start…

Here’s an important one – Brownhills has started its own Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings at Silver Street Methodist Church in Silver Street, Brownhills that take place this and every Tuesday (5th November 2019) from 7:30pm until 9pm.

I’m told the first meeting last week was very well attended.

All are welcome. Parking is free, the venue is wheelchair friendly and can be found at Silver Street, Brownhills, Walsall WS8 6ER.

This is a welcome move as Brownhills has been lacking in this area for many years.

My best wishes to all attendees, and all are welcome.

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What stopped the merging of Aldridge and Brownhills? Muck and bullets!

Today I thought I’d share a gem again found in the British Newspaper Archive by the young David Evans who has finally found proof of what many of us who were kids in this area already knew – there was a military scrap yard on Castlehill, between there and Lazy Hill, in an area called The Fox Covey.

Anyone who was young and curious who scouted around the Fox Covey will well remember the spent bullets and other interesting bits of scrap ordnance we found on the land, which was strictly off limits but everyone seemed to visit.

What we’ve never been able to do, however, is find any written evidence of the scrap operation or munitions store, or who operated it. It’s widely believed it was a business of Charles Ferrie, local entrepreneur Ralph Ferrie’s dad.

Apple Maps imagery shows that the ribbon of land containing the Fox Covey is a green ribbon between Aldridge and Brownhills still.

Well, thanks to David, who spotted this gem of a planning appeal report in the Lichfield Mercury of Friday 26th January 1962, we have now. It talks about the land being derelict and contaminated. The appeal clearly failed, however, as the land concerned still forms the rural ribbon between Aldridge and Brownhills, but within the back and forth, one can see how the classification of brownfield – land previously used and developed and now out of use – came about.

It’s also sad to note that we no longer have this depth and quality of local news reporting on planning issues.

From the reference to an unsuccessful attempt to farm the land in 1946 we can probably assume the operation had ceased by then, but considering this was 1962, and the reference to the land being weathered for 11 or 12 years one wonders if there was further activity between 1946 and around 1950 – prime years of course for the dealing in war scrap.

The Ferrie family wealth was reputedly built on farming the nearby Grange Farm and dealing in scrap metal, so this would make sense.

1945 aerial imagery from Google Earth shows something was going on northwest of the Fox Covey, but is not detailed enough to show quite what. Click for a larger version.

Do you know anything about this operation, how long it lasted and who was running it? These yards were common and many Black Country self-made men became prosperous on the scrap from the war – The Richardson twins for one, and don’t forget there was a similar operation in Burntwood, still leaving its legacy today.

Please do comment here, catch me on social media or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Little by little, we’re documenting more of our history.

Mapping of the time overlaid on current Google Earth imagery gives no clue anything was going on there at all – but some distance from roads, I bet it was easily overlooked. Click for a larger version. Imagery from the National Library of Scotland Archive.

Stonnall land used as ammunition store has ‘no agricultural value’
Lichfield inquiry told by firm wanting to build there
Lichfield Mercury Friday 26th January 1962

Land in the green belt area of Stonnall on which a Four Oaks firm wished to build houses was of no agricultural use because the site had once been used for the storage of ammunition and scrap metal and the ground had become soured from the trodden-in copper and brass, contended Mr. F. Blennerhassett at public inquiry in Lichfield on Wednesday.

The inquiry, conducted by an Inspector of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, was into an appeal against the refusal of Lichfield Rural District Council to permit the erection of dwelling houses on 35 acres of land on the South side of Castle Hill Road, Stonnall by Messrs. Ashworth and Steward Ltd. builders of 276, Lichfield Road, Four Oaks.

Mr. Blennerhassett, on behalf of the builders, said the appeal site, because of its use, had become completely useless. During and after the war the land had been used for the storage of ammunition and scrap metal and had become hopelessly soured by cartridge cases, spent bullets and brass swarf being trodden into the ground.

He said the land had been unsuccessfully farmed since then, which proved it to of no agricultural value.

Mr. Blennerhassett went on to say that the green belt was not museum piece – it was meant to be area of country primarily devoted to agricultural uses which served useful function and made contribution to the life the country. It did not help to put into the green belt areas of derelict land which were on the borders of built-up areas. It was a shocking waste money when the land was in part of the country where there was tremendous shortage of houses.

Mr. D. D. James, a partner in the firm of Gilbert, Son and James [sic], auctioneers and surveyors, said the brass swarf on the land would increase the acid content of the soil and any copper could be poisonous to cattle.

Mr. J. G. Rimand engineer and surveyor for Lichfield R.D.C. said the land surrounding the site was used for grazing and the appeal site could be used for the same purpose.

The plan for drainage into the Stonnall sewer which had been put forward by the builders was quite feasible, he said but the obstacle was that the present sewer would have to be doubled to take in the extra houses from the appeal site.

OPEN CHARACTER

Mr. J. A. Brant, Deputy Area Planning Officer, Staffs County Council Eastern Area, said the purpose of including the appeal site and other open land in the vicinity in the green belt was to keep its open character, to prevent the adjoining built-up areas of Aldridge and Brownhills from merging into one another and thus to retain their separate identity.

‘The Local Planning Authority consider that these objects can only achieved, by a firm implementation of the green belt policy. They submit that the residential development under appeal – and similar development likely stem from it – would progressively result in a deterioration of the open character of the area, and a whittling away of this sector of the green belt” he added.

Mr. Brant said there had been considerable pressure to build in the area, a pressure which had been consistently resisted by the Local Planning Authority.

He pointed out that in June last year there had been 350 acres of residential allocated land in Brownhills which was not built on or occupied and in Aldridge there was 488 acres. In reply to Mr. Blennerhassett, he added that it was quite possible that this land was already in the possession of builders.

Mr. D. Stevens, acting on behalf of Mr. J. S. Borland, The Castle, Castle Hill Road, Stonnall who was objecting to the development, said his client owned a smallholding opposite the appeal site where he farmed his spare time. He had made unsuccessful attempts to purchase this land and was still willing to buy it for agricultural purposes.

He submitted that there could no permanent destruction from the metal on the land and said that during the past 11 or 12 years the effects of weather and nature must have altered the situation from when it was unsuccessfully farmed in 1946.

He also said that the housing development was granted allowed Mr Borland would lose his view and a certain amount of privacy.

Summing up on behalf of the appellants Mr. Blennerhasset pointed out that the Ministry of Agriculture were making no objections to this appeal and they all knew the Ministry were fighting a losing battle to retain land which they thought could be put to agricultural uses. This, coupled with other evidence, was proof that the land was useless.

Mr. Blennerhasset added ‘If derelict land could be put to a good and useful purpose then it should be devoted to that purpose. To have it on the fringe of developed area, in the green belt, is only putting it to misuse.’

There was one of the worst overspill problems in the country in the appeal site area and when all available land was built up then was the time to use land such as that the appeal site.

At the conclusion of the inquiry the Inspector visited the site.

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2019 local Remembrance events – still making a list – can you help please?

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Brownhills always puts on a sombre, dignified event. Local children paid their respects in 2015, as captured by the good folk of St. James Church.

This is just a quick request for help – in past years, we have crowdsourced from readers a list of local Remembrance parades and events taking place throughout the area, that was popular and useful to many of the readership.

A huge thank you to all who have helped so far, but I still need information for events in the wider Walsall and South Staffs areas. Any help gratefully received!

I’d like to match last year’s list if I can.

There are always huge range of local services taking place, at towns and villages throughout the area.

If you contribute details I’ll wrap them all up into a big post during the week before Remembrance Sunday.

If you can supply details for any local event in Walsall or South Staffordshire, please comment here or mail me. I know people tend to travel to their home Remembrance event, and we have a wide audience, so stuff in the wider area is very much welcome.

Any help is welcome.

I’d also like readers to take photos of their local events if they can and I’ll feature them here; particularly after photos of Brownhills, Walsall Wood and Norton if possible.

If you’d rather, feel free to mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walsall Wood FC bonfire and fireworks event this evening

If you’re looking for an a great, family focussed and fun bonfire party, here’s a great event this evening (Sunday 3rd November 2019) at the Walsall Wood Football Club Ground, Oak Park, Walsall Wood, kicking off at 5:00pm.

🎇🔥BONFIRE NIGHT AT WALSALL WOOD FC 🔥🎇 📆 Sunday 3rd November Come along for an awesome firework display and huge bonfire in a safe environment for the family!

Bonfire- 17:00pm Fireworks display- 18:30pm

The good news is that unlike the Holland Park event, you can turn up and pay at the gate without pre-booking.

It’s £4 per adult, £2 for kids and OAPs or a bargain £10 for a family ticket. There’s a bonfire, firework display, and the club will be serving excellent food and drink from it’s friendly and welcoming clubhouse. Looks set to be a great do!

All funds to Walsall Wood F.C. – For The Good of the Wood!

As I get details of other events, I’ll share them here.

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

Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, this afternoon!

I note that since the rain seems to be clearing it would be an excellent chance to nip up to Stubbers Green with the kids, grandkids or even just by yourself and chat to the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are there this afternoon – and every Sunday from 1-3pm and have bird books, binoculars and a wealth of knowledge to share – so why not join them? There’s so much more local wildlife than people think!

The reserve is by the pools on Stubbers Green Road, between Aldridge and Shelfield.

Ann Lawrence of the Swan Patrol said:

Do you want to know more about nature and wildlife?

Stubbers Green Nature Reserve Aldridge
Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Lollipops and stickers for children that bring good healthy bird foods. Sweet corn, lettuce, porridge oats, branflakes, cornflakes, vegetable peelings, bird seed.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use.

Donations welcome

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MATCH OFF! Walsall Wood at home to Uttoxeter this afternoon

Sadly called off due to poor weather

Walsall Wood’s famous stand and the hearty welcome the club is famous for.Image kindly supplied by David Evans.1

Saturday 2nd November 2019

Oak Park will see what promises to be a hard-fought match

Walsall Wood FC at home to Uttoxeter Town FC

Kickoff 3pm

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

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Check out the club website here

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Why not Stay and Play for longer – at Brownhills Community Centre this morning

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 2nd November 2019 from 10-12pm – note the newly expanded times!

It costs just three quid per kid and includes fruit and a drink, so it’s great value and it’s run by those wonderful people at the Little Green Dragons Nursery, who are resident at the centre and are fully qualified nursery teachers.

There are games and toys and all manner of fun for the weans – and you get a break to boot.

 

This is our first week with our new times and prices for our longer sessions running every Saturday from 2nd November 😊

10.00am-12.00 ⏰
£3 per child 💷
Snack included 🍎

Feel free to invite your friends with children aged 0-4 years and share our events!

🧨 🎨 🖌 🧨 🎆 🧨 🎨
Saturday 2nd November 2019

Messy play tray will be PAINTING FIREWORKS PRINTS 🎆

OUR CREATIVE TABLE- chalkboards fireworks 🖍

Outdoors we will be trying to create our own bonfire 🔥 with role play logs and wood of all different sizes can we sing our songs around our camp fire! (Hopefully the rain doesn’t pour on us this week) ☔️

…Along with all our other areas of play within the nursery setting:

• home corner
• construction
• small world
• maths area
• cosy book/music area
• baby sensory area

OUTDOOR- WATER PLAY OF COURSE 😍 maybe added rain ☔️

See you all Saturday ….

Fingers crossed the rain doesn’t stay too long ☔️

10.00am-12.00pm
£3 per child
Snack included

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery every Saturday morning…

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more,  you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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Fancy a Parkrun at Chasewater this Saturday morning?

I know we have a lot of running folk amongst the readership, and in the mass of volunteer, community organised stuff in recent years, one of the most impressive demonstrations of this has been the growth of the free, Saturday morning Parkrun phenomena, where volunteers and runners gather every Saturday in local parks for a run, totally free of charge.

The second Parkrun at Chasewater attracted more than 300 runners. Image from Susan Williams.

It’s not competitive – except against your own personal best – it’s properly marshalled and you have to register, but it’s a free, friendly thing that’s hugely popular and a stunning demonstration of community in action.

It’s suitable for runners of all experience levels and paces. Find out more at the event page here or the event Facebook page here

Having run for years now at Walsall Arboretum and Cannock Chase, we now have a 5km Parkrun at Chasewater that happens every Saturday (events in the park permitting) – and has been attracting over 300 runners already!

It’s on this Saturday (2nd November 2019) at 9:00am and the organisers have this to say:

What is Chasewater parkrun?

It is a 5km run – it’s you against the clock.

When is it?

Every Saturday at 9:00am.

Where is it?

The event takes place at Chasewater Country Park, Pool Rd, Burntwood, Brownhills, WS8 7NL. See Course page for more details.

What does it cost to join in?

Nothing – it’s free! but please register before your first run. Only ever register with parkrun once. Don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your barcode (request a reminder). If you forget it, you won’t get a time.

How fast do I have to be?

We all run for our own enjoyment. Please come along and join in whatever your pace!

Chasewater parkrun needs you!

It is entirely organised by volunteers – email chasewaterhelpers@parkrun.com to help.

We’re friendly!

Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in the South Shore café – please come and join us!

Please, if you go for a run this Saturday, drop me a line and let me know how you get on – this is a fascinating thing and it’s growth is really wonderful. Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Just walking to the start shows the large number of runners already making this a great event! Image from Susan Williams.

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Bogus gardeners still operating in Brownhills – be vigilant

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The con was in Shire Oak, but be vigilant all over the area. Imagery from Bing! Maps.

Reader Andy from Shire Oak has been in touch who is very concerned and upset that his mother has been again conned by bogus ‘gardeners’ who claimed to have undertaken gardening for her and then charged an extortionate fee.

Andy said:

Hi People of Brownhills and Walsall wood,

They have conned my mom up Weatheroaks again! Please spread the word and if anyone knows who they are or has any photos of these people please message me and call the police!

Please spread the word that this is happening in your area and keep a look out for so called trades people ripping off the vulnerable.

Thanks
Andy

Please tell your relatives and neighbours about these ratbags, and impress upon them how important it is not to buy from, or accept services at the door, no matter how plausible the people offering them. Genuine companies will always contact you by other means.

Explain that no official body will turn up unannounced demanding money for services like gardening, drain cleaning, tree pruning etc., and that if they are at all unsure of any caller, to close the door and contact the police.

Scumbags engaged in the robbing of OAPs are lower than a snake’s knees, and I find it shocking and disturbing that the lady concerned was unable to contact the police. I shall draw this unfortunate situation to their attention.

Please,  if you have any further information relating to these incidents, or if you witnessed something  please contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 (999 in an emergency, obviously) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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Trick or Treat Halloween party at Beaudesert this Thursday

Not had many halloween events and activities flagged up this year which is a shame – but I did spot this one which looks fun. The Chase at night is wonderfully spooky and in the safe environment of Beaudesert Activity Centre, kids from four years old up are sure of a great time.

Beaudesert Outdoor Activity Centre

Thursday 31st October 5pm till 8pm

Beau turns eerie for the night!

Follow the trail around site and visit the houses (our various buildings decorated up) if you dare!

Bring your buckets or bags to collect your treats.

Fancy dress optional
Bonfire Safe
Trick or treating
Hot dogs and hot drinks on sale
Young person £6 (Suitable for children 4 years upwards) includes trail and plenty of treats
Accompanying adults Free Tickets available from Reception.

check out the Beaudesert Activity Centre website here 

Email: info@beaudesert.org.uk

 

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Bonfire and Fireworks Spectacular at Hammerwich Cricket Club this Saturday

Quite a few bonfire events this weekend – one of them being the legendary Hammerwich  Cricket Club Bonfire and Fireworks Spectacular. It takes place on Saturday evening 2nd November 2019 and is always a great night out and the weather looks decent, so why not take a spin out?

The bonfire is lit at 6:30pm and there are two firework displays – one softer one for younger kids at 7pm and a more dramatic affair at 7:30pm. There will be hot food from a variety of vendors, inflatables, barbecue, entertainment and all kinds of fun and games.

Parking is free, adults get in a £6 with kids at £4 – weans get in free. It’s at Burntwood Road, Hammerich, which for Satnav wranglers is WS7 0JQ.

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

Big Bounce family fun day today at Oak Park!


Just a headsup to point out there’s a Big Bounce family fun day taking place at Oak Park Active Living Centre, Walsall Wood WS9 9BH today, Tuesday 29th October 2019 – if you can’t make it today, there are identical events at Cannock on Thursday and Walsall College on Friday.

It’s £7.99 per child on the door, £6.99 pre booked and there are four 90 minute sessions 10:00-11:30am, 11:45-1;15pm, 1:30-3:00pm and 3:15-4:45pm.

There will be rides, inflatables, slides, games, wipeout, freewill and all sorts of fun.

You can check out the Facebook page of the event operator here.

The organisers said:

Half Term Indoor BigBounce Fun!

EarlyBird Tickets now on sale for a limited time at www.ticketsource.co.uk/BigBounce
Halloween Indoor Arena Big Bounce for Primary school aged Children & their siblings aged 2-12 years

The BIGGEST Inflatable Play Arena is here for Halloween half term
Sunday 27th October – SOLIHULL
Monday 28th October – TAMWORTH
Tuesday 29th October – WALSALL WOOD
Wednesday 30th October – STOURBRIDGE
Thursday 31st October – CANNOCK
Friday 1st November – WALSALLTOWN CENTRE

The Biggest Selection of Inflatable Games & Attractions including Total Wipeout Sweeper, Drop rush Slide, *NEW* Free Fall JUMP, Obstacle course, Wrecking Ball, Bungee Run, Helter Skelter, Rodeo Pumpkin & More

Halloween fun includes “friendly Ghost Hunt”, Ride-on Pumpkin & prize for Best Dressed
We strongly advise pre-booking, as once all tickets are sold we will not allow payment on the door. Take advantage of our EarlyBird & Family Discounts www.ticketsource.co.uk/BigBounce

Sessions times & Venue details on our Ticket site

Children Must be accompanied by a supervising adult, Adults may be responsible for upto 5 children

Please Wear Socks

Adults are not allowed on the equipment

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Ogley Hay Juniors Football Team, 1963

A remarkably fine image of Ogley Hay Juniors football team from 1963 kindly supplied by Malcolm Kelly. Click for a larger version. See text for names. Can you fill in the blanks?

Another great Ogley School image was sent to me a couple of days ago by reader Malcolm Kelly, who was reading my post last week regarding the mystery of the name of a forgotten teacher, and took part in the lively comment thread that ensued.

Malcolm sent the above, very skilfully scanned picture of the 1963 Ogley Hay Juniors Football Team which sits well beside the 1963 image of Class 4A also supplied by Malcolm which I reposted last week, and this previous image of the 1965 team I posted some years ago in memory of Brian Bottomer.

Malcolm wrote:

Hi Bob,

Hope you are well.
It was great to see Ogley Hay Juniors back on your pages and also to see so many interesting comments. The post from John Snape prompted me to dig out my photograph of the football squad – again from 1963 – John is standing to the left of me in the photo on the back row.
I can remember most of the names and they are :- back row left to right – Mr A.R Thomas teacher,  ?, ?,  Michael Biggins, John Snape, Malcolm Kelly, ?, Tebbett, Brian Benton, ?, Mr Horton Head master.
Front row – Robert Matthews, Peter Raybould, John Aston, Stephen Hollender, Geoffrey Hale, Albert Harris, Melvyn Ansell.
I can’t recall what the shield was presented for but I do recall that we got to the final of the Brownhills and District Junior cup  that year. It was played at Leighswood School in Aldridge. We played against Rushall but sadly we lost 4-3 after extra time but it was a close game. I still have the match programme and John Snape played at left back.
A.R Thomas really was a lovely man – a kind and inspiring teacher and a fabulous football and sporting coach.
Hope this will be of interest.
All best wishes,
Malcolm Kelly.

Thanks to Malcolm for another great image and writeup which I’m sure will prove very popular with readers – this stuff really is appreciated. Thanks so much Malcolm.

If you knew Malcolm or John or remember the team and can help fill in one or more of the blanks, please do feel free to get in touch: either comment here, tut my jacket on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

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Heart bypass

I’m a bit busy today but one of the things I’ve come across in the Newspaper Archive deserves sharing here: A bizarre proposal in 1964 to tear up Brownhills Common in order to construct a bypass to relieve traffic on the Watling Street/A5.

It seems amongst several road bypass schemes proposed for Brownhills over the years, this abortive scheme to take traffic from the A5 at Newtown on a new road across Holland Park and the Common to the Chester Road at the old railway bridge on the Chester Road must be the most bizarre, and clearly never achieved the required support.

Bank Holiday Monday traffic queues on the then single carriageway A5 Watling Street in Brownhills, as captured by Fred Booth in the early 1960s.

I’ve never heard of this scheme before and am very interested in it: I suspect it was nothing more than cant and hot air to be honest, like many of these things are – but I’d be intrigued to learn the genesis of it.

Of note in the article are several things: Councillor Burt noting one council resident had two garages (the outrage!) and mention of a Stonnall Bypass – which I can currently find no other mention of, and I don’t think was the continuation of the Chester Road straight across the top of the village (discussed in this article here) as I thought that was much earlier. But I could be wrong.

The Chester Road originally went through the junction and along the top of Main Street in Stonnall, and was a notorious spot for accidents. At some point a new section of road was added giving rise to the peculiar road layout of minor lanes we have today. 1:1250 mapping from the National Library of Scotland Archive.

It’s interesting that many of the concerns about traffic have never abated and remain the same today – and also the unchanging political talking shops that have promised much in terms of road building solutions, but delivered nothing over the years.

The remnants of the Clayhanger bypass scheme can be seen in the incomplete construction of Northfields Way in Clayhanger and the road leading nowhere on the Watermead Estate. There was also a frankly bizarre proposal twenty years ago to bypass Brownhills with a road from the A5 over Home Farm and Cartersfield to the Chester Road near Stonnall that Walsall was so committed to that they expected Staffordshire Council to build and pay for it.

What do you recall of these or other maybe forgotten proposals? Please do let me know: Comment on this post, mail me on BrownhillsBob at googlemal dot com or give me a shout on social media.

BROWNHILLS BYPASSED
Walsall Observer 17th July 1964

A PLAN to have the Brownhills stretch of the Watling Street bypassed and not converted into a dual carriageway, received support from a number of members of the council’s Road Safety Committee on Tuesday. Residents have already complained about the existing traffic dangers on the trunk road and feel that there would be a big increase if the road should be widened.

The recommendation that the bypass plan should be reconsidered by Brownhills Urban Council is to be forwarded for discussion by the local authority. Although there were many in favour of the by-pass, there were critics – one of them being the council’s Engineer and Surveyor (Mr. C. H. Hunt).

By 1967 things had not improved as this news report of a protest by parents at Watling Street School shows. Footage from ATV today held by the Media Archive for Central England.

Stating why he felt there should be a by-pass from Newtown Bridge across part of the Parade and joining up with the Chester Road, Councillor F. D. Burt pointed out that there were 11 road junctions along the Brownhills stretch of the Watling Street. The Chasewater traffic was increasing and teachers could not hear their pupils in the Watling Street Junior and Infants’ School at times. Pupils from the school encountered difficulties in crossing the road.

He said there was deep concern among residents along this stretch of the A5 and there was talk of a petition to the Minister of Transport. Pointing out that traffic was increasing. Councillor Burt added that such was the state of affairs in the affluent society, that one council house tenant in Brownhills had two garages.

Councillor E. C. Tomlinson thought a bypass would be the only solution to their problem. There was an increasing danger on the road and the numbers visiting Chasewater would rise. There would be additional vehicles using it when the Stonnall by-pus was laid.

IN DANGER

Watling Street School is affected by the heavy traffic on the trunk road. The headmaster (Mr. J. H. Preece), told members that he was sure one of the road wardens who helped his children to cross the road would be badly injured one of the days. He himself would not do the job.

He felt that the traffic on the dual carriageway would go twice as fast as at present and he could see no more benefit in converting the road.

Local man Fred Shingler recorded cinefilm of the Watling Street just as, and after it was converted to a dual carriageway. You can read more about this remarkable film at this post here.

Mr. Hunt said that when the matter was discussed in council the majority were not in favour of the bypass. This would mean losing almost the whole of Holland Park and land for residential development. Coming out at the old railway bridge on the Chester Road would make matters worse.

Councillor T. Cawley felt that if a by-pass plan was approved it would only mean transferring the trouble from the front to the back. 

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Coming soon – Aldridge fireworks event!

 

Another fireworks event coming up next weekend that looks a much better value affair than Walsall Council’s gigs this year will be taking place next Saturday 2nd November 2019 at Aldridge Stick and Wicket Club, The Green, Aldridge.

Gates will open at 5:30pm and there are two firework displays – one  at 7pm and a more dramatic affair at 8:20pm. There will be food, bars, large funfair and more!

Advance ticket prices are adults £6 with kids under 12 at £4 and a 2+2 family at £16. You can pay on the gate unlike Walsall Council’s events, when it’ll be adults £7, under 12s £5 and a family ticket £20.

Postcode for satnav wranglers is WS9 8NH.

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

Walsall Cats Protection Autumn Bazaar today

If you follow my 365daysofbiking journal or have me on social media, you’ll know I have a great fondness for cats, for which I make no apology.

I note that today, October 26th 2019, Walsall Borough Cats Protection have an Autumn Bazaar at St. Michaels Church Hall, Pelcall from 11am until 3pm.

There will be all the usual favourites – Tombola, bottle stall, cake, raffle, crafts, toys, cat stuff and more. Oh, and cake. Did I mention cake?

You can also get vouchers entitling your to get your cat neutered free of charge, which has to be a good thing.

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Walsall Wood away to Stourport Swifts this afternoon!

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Walshes Meadow, home of Stourport Swifts. Image posted on Geograph by Stuart Shepherd.

This afternoon, Saturday 26th October 2019

The Wood are away on their travels again!

Walsall Wood FC versus Stourport Swifts FC

Walshes Meadow
Stourport on Severn
Worcestershire
DY13 0AA

Kickoff 3pm

Hopefully, a match report will follow…

For the Good of the Wood!

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here

 

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Why not Stay and Play – at Brownhills Community Centre this morning

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 26th October 2019 from 10-11:30am.

It costs just two quid per kid and includes fruit and a drink, so it’s great value and it’s run by those wonderful people at the Little Green Dragons Nursery, who are resident at the centre and are fully qualified nursery teachers.

There are games and toys and all manner of fun for the weans – and you get a break to boot.

 

🕷🎃🕷🎃🕷🎃🕷🎃🕷🎃
Saturday 26th October 2019

Messy play tray will be pumpkin Halloween sensory tray 🎃

Halloween crafts and pictures to colour 🖍

Creative table will be Pumpkin Playdough 🎃🎃

…Along with all our other areas of play within the nursery setting:

• home corner
• construction
• small world
• maths area
• cosy book/music area
• baby sensory area

OUTDOOR- WATER PLAY OF COURSE 😍 maybe added rain ☔️

See you all Saturday ….

Fingers crossed the rain doesn’t stay too long ☔️☔️☔️

10.00am-11.30am
£2 per child
Snack included

feel free to invite your friends with children aged 0-4 years and share our events

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery every Saturday morning.

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more,  you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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Fancy a Parkrun at Chasewater this Saturday morning?

I know we have a lot of running folk amongst the readership, and in the mass of volunteer, community organised stuff in recent years, one of the most impressive demonstrations of this has been the growth of the free, Saturday morning Parkrun phenomena, where volunteers and runners gather every Saturday in local parks for a run, totally free of charge.

The second Parkrun at Chasewater attracted more than 300 runners. Image from Susan Williams.

It’s not competitive – except against your own personal best – it’s properly marshalled and you have to register, but it’s a free, friendly thing that’s hugely popular and a stunning demonstration of community in action.

It’s suitable for runners of all experience levels and paces. Find out more at the event page here.

Having run for years now at Walsall Arboretum and Cannock Chase, we now have a 5km Parkrun at Chasewater that happens every Saturday (events in the park permitting) – and has been attracting over 300 runners already!

It’s on this Saturday (26th October 2019) at 9:00am and the organisers have this to say:

What is Chasewater parkrun?

It is a 5km run – it’s you against the clock.

When is it?

Every Saturday at 9:00am.

Where is it?

The event takes place at Chasewater Country Park, Pool Rd, Burntwood, Brownhills, WS8 7NL. See Course page for more details.

What does it cost to join in?

Nothing – it’s free! but please register before your first run. Only ever register with parkrun once. Don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your barcode (request a reminder). If you forget it, you won’t get a time.

How fast do I have to be?

We all run for our own enjoyment. Please come along and join in whatever your pace!

Chasewater parkrun needs you!

It is entirely organised by volunteers – email chasewaterhelpers@parkrun.com to help.

We’re friendly!

Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in the South Shore café – please come and join us!

Please, if you go for a run this Saturday, drop me a line and let me know how you get on – this is a fascinating thing and it’s growth is really wonderful. Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Just walking to the start shows the large number of runners already making this a great event! Image from Susan Williams.

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2019 local Remembrance events – let’s make a list – can you help please?

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Brownhills always puts on a sombre, dignified event. Local children paid their respects in 2015, as captured by the good folk of St. James Church.

This is just a quick request for help – in past years, we have crowdsourced from readers a list of local Remembrance parades and events taking place throughout the area, that was popular and useful to many of the readership.

I’d like to match last year’s list if I can.

There are always huge range of local services taking place, at towns and villages throughout the area.

If you contribute details I’ll wrap them all up into a big post during the week before Remembrance Sunday.

If you can supply details for any local event in Walsall or South Staffordshire, please comment here or mail me. I know people tend to travel to their home Remembrance event, and we have a wide audience, so stuff in the wider area is very much welcome.

Any help is welcome.

I’d also like readers to take photos of their local events if they can and I’ll feature them here; particularly after photos of Brownhills, Walsall Wood and Norton if possible.

If you’d rather, feel free to mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Details of Walsall Wood FC bonfire and fireworks event now available!

If you’re looking for an alternative to the frankly extortionate Walsall Council bonfire and fireworks event at Holland Park this year, there’s a great event at the Walsall Wood Football Club Ground, Oak Park, Walsall Wood on Sunday 3rd November 2019, kicking off at 5:00pm.

🎇🔥BONFIRE NIGHT AT WALSALL WOOD FC 🔥🎇 📆 Sunday 3rd November Come along for an awesome firework display and huge bonfire in a safe environment for the family!

Bonfire- 17:00pm Fireworks display- 18:30pm

The good news is that unlike the Holland Park event, you can turn up and pay at the gate without pre-booking.

It’s £4 per adult, £2 for kids and OAPs or a bargain £10 for a family ticket. There’s a bonfire, firework display, and the club will be serving excellent food and drink from it’s friendly and welcoming clubhouse. Looks set to be a great do!

All funds to Walsall Wood F.C. – For The Good of the Wood!

As I get details of other events, I’ll share them here.

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

Brownhills very own autism support group meets this lunchtime in a new home

Just a heads up to let folk know that the popular local autism support group ‘Supporting the Rainbow’ is meeting today (Tuesday 22nd October 2019) – and there have been some changes as now the group is inaugurated as a charity in its own right.

 

 

Today they will be meeting at lunchtime from 1:30-2:30pm in the Community Centre (The old Annex, or Central Boys School), Brownhills, just off the Miner Island.

The group is open to parents and carers for those with autism, and aims to offer a welcoming, helpful and supportive network to those coping with the condition.

Supporting the Rainbow 🌈 is now an official charity affiliated with Rethink Mental Health!

After some discussions we have made some changes to our group meetings and venue: from October 8th 2019 we will be having our group meetings at Brownhills Community Centre

We have checked the venue  and we have a beautiful room on the ground floor, so it makes it easier for people with pushchairs and people with disabilities to manage.

Our times will still be 1:30-2:30pm but instead of meeting every week,  we will be fortnightly.

We are really looking forward to this new change and our lovely group can progress and move onward: we can look to having workshops and so much more.

The fortnightly meetings make it easier for some people who can’t come every week, and we will be having a raffle and tea and biscuits so please do come along to a warm friendly atmosphere!

From the Supporting the Rainbow 🌈 team

The group has been running for a good while now and is still growing in popularity – so why not pop along to see what it’s all about?

 

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New AA group meetings in Brownhills starting soon

Here’s an important one – Brownhills is starting its own Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings at Silver Street Methodist Church in Silver Street, Brownhills beginning Tuesday 29th October 2019 from 7:30pm until 9pm.

All are welcome. Parking is free, the venue is wheelchair friendly and can be found at Silver Street, Brownhills, Walsall WS8 6ER.

This is a welcome move as Brownhills has been lacking in this area for many years.

My best wishes to all attendees, and all are welcome.

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When Amy Turtle silenced the skinheads at Chasewater

You all know I’m fascinated by Chasewater and it’s history – but there’s a period of history that’s not too well documented or understood, and is full of myth and foggy reality: The Amusement Park era from the 60s. 

A flier for the clearly unsuccessful 1970 Chasewater Festival saved for posterity by Brownhills historian and old online pal David Hodgkinson.

At that time Town Councils across the UK were awash with money and frankly, self important men and this was an era of municipal organisations investing heavily (and often overreaching in doing so) in leisure projects they had neither the experience nor resources to manage.

Cannock Council nearly got it’s fingers severely burned in 1973 with a now frankly laughable plan for a medieval theme park called ‘Merrie England’ put forward by Eric Morley. The plan fell through and the site later became an opencast coal mine and is now, emblematically enough, Poplars Landfill.

Perhaps it’s like Brigadoon and we haven’t yet been patient enough. Photo of the demonstration of the Merrie England model, scanned by Steve Hames and taken from the book, ‘Cannock Chase (Images of England)’ by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills.

This era came to an abrupt end in the mid-1970s: The cash dried up, the facilities provided were fading or unsuccessful, and managed by people with no relevant experience and little money. The public’s tastes were broadening with foreign travel and cheap package holidays, and the increased mobility the car afforded made better attractions further away more appealing.

I think on the whole the period ended dramatically in the flames of the Summerland fire in Douglas on the Isle of Man in 1973 – a disaster at a brand new, brutalist, hi tech ‘sun complex’ that killed many through negligent design and poor management. The Summerland saga scared many councils away from such forays and spending on them slid to virtually nothing.

It’s a personal mission of mine to not let the Summerland Disaster be forgotten.

So when Brownhills Urban District Council came to a peculiar, opaque arrangement with the government to ‘buy’ Norton Pool’ in the 1950s (an arrangement that seems to have been very much less than an outright purchase) and Councillor Norman Waine declared the new attraction be called Chasewater promising a decidedly high class affair, there were indeed high hopes and optimism as I wrote about in this article.

There is no doubt Chasewater was attracting punters and very busy throughout the 60s even though the final project provided the ghastly things we were supposed to be avoiding, but I doubt it ever made money for the council, who came to regard it as a money-pit. Photos of events at Chasewater in the period are iconic and show a hugely crowded place that people were enjoying.

Yes, Chasewater paddling pool in the day. I remember it like this. The main reason being it was close, and free, or next to free. Love the dude with the pipe. Image generously supplied by Peter Booth. Click for a larger version.

People have great memories of the period, and I often see them lamenting those days, and sad we don’t have them now. There tends to be a little natural rose-tint to them: I remember Chasewater in the mid-1970s from my childhood as being a windy, down at heel and decaying place, that none the less was a fun day or afternoon out, very much akin to our seaside. But salubrious it was most definitely not.

In recent weeks, David Evans came across this article in the Birmingham Post archive, from the 29th June, 1971, which shows how bad things were becoming, even then:

Birmingham Post, 29th June 197. Click for a larger version.

Festival faces closure
Birmingham Post Brownhills Staff
Tuesday 29th June 1971

The annual Chasewater Festival at Brownhills seems unlikely to continue after making a ‘Substantial loss’ for the fifth successive Year.

A special meeting of Aldridge-Brownhills Chasewater Committee will be held during the next two weeks to decide whether to cancel the second day of the festival planned for September 12. Only 1,000 people attended the first day of the festival on Saturday. Losses have been estimated at £1,000. Takings amounted to less than £500.

Coun. Douglas Whitehouse, vice-chairman of the Chasewater Committee, said last night: ‘Somebody will have to give me a very good reason why the event should carry on after such a shocking attendance on a fine day.

This year councillors decided to hold festival events on two separate days in June and September in an attempt to make a profit.

A grand was a lot of money for Brownhills Council to lose back then. You could buy a house for that. This was a serious failure.

I’m still reeling that the Birmingham Post expected us to believe it had a ‘Brownhills staff’…

It was clear though that the annual festival staggered on for a few more years, although not without trouble. While searching myself, I found this somewhat remarkable article from later the same year, from the second day of the festival, but even then, the crowds were clearly still disappointing.

Amy Turtle never took any shit. Image from TV Ark.

Has this town always been nuts, then? It seems so.

Birmingham Post, Friday 17th September 1971. Click for a larger version.

AMY SILENCES CHANTING SKINHEADS

ACTRESS Ann George, who plays Amy Turtle in the ”Crossroads’ A.T.V. series, faced a gang of chanting ‘skinheads’ when she opened the Chasewater Festival on Sunday.

When the actress stepped up to perform the official opening ceremony in front of the 4,500 crowd the gang started chanting ‘Amy Turtle is our Queen’.

But like the formidable character she portrays on television, Miss George refused to be rattled. She told the skinheads to quieten down and they did, allowing the actress to carry on with the ceremony.

After urging the crowd to enjoy themselves and come in greater numbers next year, Miss George was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

Cllr. Richard Arkell, Chairman of the Aldridge and Brownhills Urban Council, said that she was wonderful and stopped what could have been a very nasty scene, which could have ruined the ceremony.

The festival this year – attended by only 1,400 people last year — included a horticultural show put on by the Aldridge and Brownhills Society for the first time.

Mr. John Walker, Parks Superintendent and Show officer, said: ‘There were more than 600 entries and with this first combined show we seem to have hit the right formula.

‘The attendance figures prove this, but the brilliant sunshine and warm weather also helped,’ he added.

There were many sideshows and trade stalls and there were two exhibitions by the Lichfield and Brownhills Cagebird Society and Brownhills Motor Sales.

During the afternoon various events took place and just before the opening there was a display of parachuting by the Herefordshire Parachute Club.

‘Spartie’ an international cartoonist from Nottingham entertained the crowd with his comic sketches.

Favourites with the children were: Pierre and his vintage car, who is a comic clown and is also a nephew of the great circus clown Charlie Cairolli, Harry Codes a Western gunslinger and knife thrower, and Johnny Whitecloud, a fire eater.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was a First World War dog fight by the Bilston Aero Model Club, and also there was a musical display by the Norton Canes Gaytones Jazz Band.

I am, like anyone, sad for the passed days of Chasewater when whole families pitched up for a paddle, a go on the fair, chips and bingo in the amusement arcade. But sadly, those days have passed, and so has that version of us, as a society. We have wider horizons now, and Chasewater is now being probably what it’s best at: A popular country park with burgeoning wildlife.

What do you remember of Chasewater Festivals, the park or the busy days? Perhaps you worked there, or worked on the project as a whole. I’d love to hear from you.

I include an article below I wrote earlier in the year regarding the spirit of optimism the Chasewater was borne from. High hopes indeed.

Comments are invited as always. Comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. You can always of course tug my sleeve on social media.

Back in spring I wrote:

One of the most loved and respected contributors to the Brownhills Blog is the great Reg ‘Aer Reg’ Fullelove, historian, commenter, author, poet and honorary Grandfather of the blog.

Reg regularly digs out stuff for the blog, and it’s with pleasure I can share the press clippings below about the very beginnings of Chasewater as a municipal park rather than a post-industrial canal feeder reservoir it was then, and the big dreams our civic fathers had, yet as time proved not the experience to implement.

Reg gave the following clippings to David Evans who kindly transcribed them for us. Note that Brownhills Council didn’t buy the reservoir or land outright, the actual arrangement in practice was complicated, and still is. The actual ownership of Chasewater was then complex and one day I’ll research it fully. it is of course now in the care of Staffordshire County Council since Lichfield District Council baled out of the dam works in 2011.

We’ve touched on this before in this article, with more optimism from the council of the day, and old pal of the blog Stuart Cowley remembered his childhood at Chasewater fondly in this article here and a follow up here.

The articles are below:

Brownhills Council to buy Norton Pool for public lido
 
Express and Star, 14 July 1955
 
Scheme to convert Norton Pool, a spacious stretch of water between Brownhills and Chasetown into a public lido, was carried a stage further at Brownhills Urban District Council’s meeting last night. rejecting an amendment for reference back, the council approved purchase of the pool, with adjacent cottages, from the British Transport Commission for £ 5830.

It was also decided to constitute all the councillors a Norton Pool Development Committee “ to go fully into all matters concerning the acquisition, development and amenities of the pool”
Councillor Dr F R Roberts becomes chairman of this committee
After referring to coal still to be mined under the reservoir and to other technical considerations relating to the proposed development Councillor Harrison, a former surveyor to the council, urged that these proposals should be gone into before the council purchased the property and not after.

“The history of the pool, he said” was not encouraging. years ago there was attempt to popularise it with  service of manually operated paddle boats. They ended in decay, submerged in the pool. Next a yachting club was formed but this died a natural death” Pointing out that the council also had under consideration schemes for developing Holland Park, provision of a sports centre and public baths and sewerage schemes for Brownhills and Walsall Wood, Councillor Harrison said he did not think the district could stand a million pounds expenditure without one copper’s increase in rateable value.
 
Norton Pool, now Chase Water begins a new life
 
Local press report 11 May 1956
 
Known for generations as Norton Pool, the reservoir water covering about 200 acres bounded by Brownhills, Chasetown and Norton Canes – was christened Chase Water on Saturday.

Dr F R Roberts, chairman of the Brownhills Urban District Council’s Norton Pool development Committee, which by stages is to transform the water and surrounding land into a lido, confessed to a “genuine thrill” when he renamed the pool which publicly launched his committee’s venture

Surrounded by unkempt land and disfigured by a background of pitheads and pitmounds, Norton Pool had admittedly been of unprepossessing appearance, but a vision of what Chase Water is destined to become was conjured up by Dr Roberts.

Describing the council’s plans to provide an attraction for the whole of South Staffordshire. Dr Roberts said improvements to come included adequate approach roads, screens of trees to conceal unsightly vistas, seven miles of pleasure walks around the shores, interspersed by lawns and flower beds, swimming facilities, a paddling pool, a model yacht pool and chalets and refreshment pavilions.

 Veritable paradise

Welcoming the council’s guests Councillor H V Fereday, chairman of the Brownhills Council said his aim was to convert what had been a desolate place into a “ veritable paradise , not spoiled by coconut shies, skittle alleys and the like. We have the advantage that this place belongs to the community and we have no vested interests to placate or compensate”

A vision

“We of the development committee have seen a vision and intend to pursue it and bring it to reality. There is much to be done, but we are convinced this enterprise can and will be a source of joy to all who use it.”

Representatives of neighbouring local authorities were among the Brownhills Council’s guests and the many water sports enthusiasts present included members of Cannock Chase Sailing Club and South Staffordshire Hyroplane club. Exceptionally squally conditions caused several craft to capsize during a programme, which included a yachting race and displays of other craft.

There are some interesting questions here, which I’ll leave readers to muse on mostly, but I am intrigued by the mention of South Staffordshire Hydroplane Club. What happened to them?

To go with this, here’s an image from Lichfield District Council’s archive, supplied by top council officer Gareth Thomas in 2012. It was taken from a general aerial survey of the area undertaken for the council, so catching Chasewater busy was coincidental.

This picture was taken on June 9th, 1963. It was a Sunday, and Chasewater – was packed. A big funfair is on the go, boats are on the water and there are cars and people everywhere. I note the water level to be quite low. It’s quite late in the afternoon looking at the shadows, which are being cast to the east.

This is clearly a special event – does anyone know what it was?

Taken on Sunday, 9th June, 1963, and reproduced by kind permission of Lichfield District Council, 2012. Click for a larger version. A full quality PDF can be downloaded below.

Chasewater and Brownhills, Sunday 9th June 1963

 

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments