Bottling it up

A wonderful little memento – a soldier bottle opener given to Shirley Jackson by her Father. Click for a larger version.

Here’s a lovely little thing from Shirley Jackson, friend of the blog who recently enquired about the monument or statue at Fort Dunlop, a story with is still rumbling on in the background – but this time, Shirley has a lovely bottle opener given to her by her father.

Shirley Said:

Hi Bob,

I just wanted to share a picture with you, of a bottle opener that my 90 year old dad gave me.

He told me it was made from a bullet.

It is a keepsake that I will treasure, but I thought it selfish to keep to myself, and maybe photo’s maybe of interest to some of your groups. Please feel free to share, if it is of interest.

Shirley Jackson

Thanks to Shirley for sharing this – and it set me wondering. Does anyone know the likely provenance of this charming bottle opener? Were they a common thing made from war scrap, reminiscent of Gerald Reece’s bell, maybe by veterans, or were they fashioned on the front line by bored but creative soldiers in downtime?

Does anyone have another example of these, or is it a one-off? I know war mementoes from badges to tiny picture frames, from doorstops to jewellery were all made by serving squaddies whiling away the hours, then taken home. I’m also aware that wounded and recovering ex-servicemen often were kept busy making knickknacks in convalescence homes and the like during and after both wars; indeed, ex-servicement certainly used to work making the plastic poppies we buy and wear  to mark Remembrance.

What do you know? Please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

The handle of the opener – and the figure – seem to be brass or a similar alloy. The actual opener itself looks like it was hand made too, as it seems slightly asymmetrical. Image from Shirley Jackson. Click for a larger version.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Warning: sudden rash of vehicle theft and burglary over the weekend

These lads are clearly not here to clean the windows. CCTV images posted on Social Media by Karen Knowles

After a fairly quiet few months, there’s been a spate of vehicle thefts and break ins in the Brownhills and Clayhanger areas of late, with a car taken in Clayhanger in the early hours of this morning (Monday, 20th November 2017), and attempted theft beforehand and another attempted in Poplar Avenue, Brownhills at around the same time.

The following car was taken from Bridge Street, Clayhanger overnight following a car-key burglary:

This white Seat was stolen from Bridge Street, Clayhanger, registration DA62VDY. Image posted on social media by Abi Orme.

Abi Orme said:

Car stolen last night in Clayhanger. They broke into our house, stole the keys and a few other items from inside too. We would be really grateful for any information.

Please ring the police if you see the car in the area.

Meanwhile, Karen Knowles posted the gallery of CCTV images at the top of this post, which appear to show two lads trying to steal their VW Golf car from Larkspur Way, Clayhanger at around 1:30am this morning. Thankfully, they were unsuccessful.

There was a similar report of people trying car doors in Allerdale Road, Clayhanger at 1:00am.

Kayleigh Egerton also added

We had a attempted theft last night with one of our neighbours work vans about 3am on Poplar Road, Brownhills – my husband and dog scared them off

This CCTV image was posted by Becki Hicken – it shows three young men in Allerdale Road at 1am. The gloves and hood suggest these MAY be the two in the gallery at the top.

On a related note a reader who wishes to remain anonymous noted over the weekend that a number of vehicles had been broken into overnight around central Brownhills and Ogley Hay, so it looks like we have a real spate of vehicle crime ongoing.

Take care folks, lock your cars, obviously, but ensure no tools or valuables are left in your vehicles overnight if at all passible and on these cold mornings, never, ever leave your car running unattended to warm it up.

If you’re offered gear like satnavs, computers or suchlike, think hard about where it might have come from, and by all means grub the people flogging them into the rozzers – the stuff is probably nicked. Next time, it could be your stuff they take.

Anyone with information is urged to contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, It makes me mad!, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Woodmen fell Coppice residents

Photos from the wonderful Russell Smith of

On Saturday afternoon (18th November 2017), Walsall Wood FC took the short stroll up the road to Five Ways at Heath Hayes to comfortably beat Heath Hayes, continuing the Woodmen’s somewhat astonishing performance so far this season.

Bill Shaw submitted the following match report, and is cautious about the future:

Hiya Bob,

Another three points and a win that takes us back to the top on goal difference, still with three games in hand.  It’s the big test so far when we visit Atherstone, so keep the faith everyone, this is a real trial for the lads.

Heath Hayes 2 v 5 Walsall Wood

Two goals for the home side in the last 12 minutes made the scoreline rather flattering for the hosts who never looked more than second best as the Wood juggernaut reached top spot, still with three games in hand over deposed leaders Studley.

It took Wood just eight minutes to go ahead, great approach play opening up the defence before Paul Sullivan slipped the ball past subsequent man of the match, former Wood keeper Mark Wiggins. Eight minutes later great awareness from Craig Deakin as he raced into the left of the box saw him set up Andrew Westwood to fire in number two. Wood were now threatening to run riot, Deakin and Peter Till won a corner on the left, the flag kick powered inches too high off the head of Sam Agar.  The keeper then made a superb full length save to deny a Sullivan rising drive into the top corner. He was beaten a few minutes later by a clever lob from Agar that was cleared off the line.

Yes more great match footage from the very professional Russell Smith of

Just to remind Wood there was another team involved a quick counter attack saw Regan Smith fire an effort just wide.

Back came Wood, Till racing into the box and causing panic but the ball was scrambled clear. Right on the stroke of half time Agar deservedly tucked home Woods third.

It was straight back onto the attack for Wood at the start of the second half, Westwood working a sharp one-two with Agar only to fire over. Till then crossed from wide left, Agar only just off target with an acrobatic scissor kick. On 67 minutes Sullivan popped up in the box, his shot beat Wiggins, bounced off the post and Westwood pounced to make it four. Till fired a rising drive just over as Wood again looked ominous.

Against the run of play Jake Humphries pulled a goal back, the first conceded in more than 6 hours by the Wood.

Skipper Wiggins then made another superb save to deny Jordan Fitzpatrick, then on 87 minutes a determined left wing run by Till saw his cross bulleted homed from the head of Agar.

To their credit Hayes kept trying to take the game to the Wood and a minute from time Regan Smith pulled one back to give the scoreline a hint of respectability.

Another superb three points for Wood, but three of the next  four games could shape their season, Tuesday sees them in league cup action at Stourport Swifts, Saturday it’s a visit to very strong Atherstone Town for a league game. Tuesday 28th it’s home to Wednesfield Town in the Walsall Senior Cup before it’s back to Stourport on Saturday 2nd December, this time for a Third Round ound FA Vase clash.

Bill Shaw.

Thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated. For the good of The Wood!

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Postcard from the city

A remarkable bit of Brownhills Social History. Do you recognise the Avenues estate here? Click for a larger version.

I have no chance whatsoever of reading this. Help welcomed. Click for a larger version.

I’d just like to share these Brownhills postcard images, one of which is for sale on eBay currently, and two others which were shared by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous a couple of weeks ago.

Thee most remarkable is the Garden City postcard, which was the name first given to the Avenues Estate on Co-op Corner, where the Ogley/Chase Road crosses the Lichfield Road. The image and a partner on have been discussed before, but I’ve never seen a good quality scan before.

The whole Garden City thing is fascinating and was discussed in this post here. I wonder when the houses were faced with render, from the bare brick, and why? The card appears to have been postally used in 1926 to an address in Tamworth.

If you fancy this, you can see the original sale here from mafcard1 where it’s offered for just £2 with proceeds to charity – which seems like a good buy for those interested.

The remaining two cards were sent by an old pal of the blog who says he grabbed the images from eBay, but can’t remember when. Agin, they’re very good quality scans and worth posting here, despite being familiar images. That’s the clearest I’ve seen of the Norton Pool one and would be interested to see where readers think it was taken from.

Anything to add? Please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot

St. James Church, Ogley Hay, before the awful extension was added. Click for a larger version.

A very clear image of a rather placid-looking Norton Pool (Chasewater) with children on the shore. Note the pit chimney on the skyline. Click for a larger version.

Posted in News | 6 Comments

A memorable day of joy!

Here’s another wonderful contribution from local historian John Sale, who via David Evans, has been contributing some real gems – we started with last week’s Home Guard article which provoked a great deal of discussion – well, this week it’s the 1937 Coronation Celebration Party in Walsall Wood that comes to the fore.

John Sale has allowed David to scan and share this fascinating program from the celebration held in Walsall Wood on May 12th, 1937 for the Coronation of King George VI – a real social occasion with some remarkably charming spectacles – Bladder Heading Competition, anyone? Wonder who won?

We’ve covered Coronation celebrations here before, notably in this contribution from Sir Gerald of Reece on the celebration for the Coronation of Gerge V in 1911.

The document is interesting not just for it’s insight into social mores of the time, but also in the names of those mentioned.

David Worte:

This copy of the official programme has been very kindly provided by Mr John Sale, local historian, and I would like to offer him my sincere personal thanks.

The programme contains details which, I am sure, will be of great interest to local people and others.

The Playing Field mentioned was behind KFC fast food fast food café in Lichfield Road, and Brownhills Road School, Walsall Wood, by the Football Club and many will remember the swings, roundabouts, slides and other play equipment in this field. It no longer exists. The Grand Stand was built in 1936, and it and the football club are still there.

The Mounted Gymkhana Display team and their director, Mr Southall has been mentioned in detail in Brownhills Bob’s blog.

Mr Beak owned the shop presently called Roadrunner, in Lichfield Road, and the field which extended to Brook Lane. The butcher’s shop also had its own abattoir.

The Radio Gram selection was offered by Mr Yeomans, whose radio, cycle repair, shop was in Lichfield Road near to the Streets Corner junction, by the bus lay by. He would re-charge radio accumulators!

The Church Hall was in Brookland Road at the corner with Brook Lane but was demolished some years ago.

The PM Schoolrooms is the Primitive Methodist Sunday School building at the Methodist Church, near to the football ground, and is still in existence.

David, October 2017

My thanks to John Sale and of course to David Evans for a remarkable piece of local history – I’m sure readers will want to comment, please do – either on this post or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in News | 4 Comments

Walsall Wood Under 18s win against Sutton for first home victory!

Walsall Wood Under 18s scored their first home win in the week!

Simon Evans via Walsall Wood Under 18s Manager Dylan Somel sent a great report from last week’s Under 18s first home win against Sutton Under 18s which took place on Tuesday 14th November 2017.

It was a great match which the Wood lads won two goals to one.

Worth noting the Wood Under 18s play again tomorrow morning (Sunday 19th November) with a friendly against WFC u16s:

The match is at Sir Thomas More School and kicks off at 11am.

For future reference, it’s worth following along with mach commentaries on Twatter: Usually one of the club official account @WalsallWoodFC here, or @Wood18s here or Simon Evans himself @Sy968 here are doing excellent coverage during matches. Thanks, chaps!

Simon wrote:

Wood u18s 2 v 1 Sutton u18s

Sutton started brightly, after two mins a swift Sutton attack saw the Wood keeper Joe Storey make a smart save, Wood countered, the cross being just too long for the on coming striker and the keeper collected. After six mins A. Toddington had a shot just over the bar.

After 14 mins Wood took the lead through Keiron Berry, a smart finish. Wood pressed for the second goal, Berry again going close, the Sutton keeper and defender blocking.

Sutton then had a spell of pressure, a  long range effort was saved well by the Wood keeper.

Some good interplay between the Wood strikers saw Woods Abdul Rahman shoot straight at the keeper. The last action of the first half saw the Sutton striker again having a long range effort which was just over the bar.

Half time: 1-0 Wood

The second half started and Wood were back on the attack. The second Wood goal came after 48 mins, Easthope scoring after a through ball.

Suttons response was swift, a counter attack saw the Sutton strikers fierce shot forced the Wood keeper to  make a fine save. Sutton were pressing, but some fine defending kept them out. Wood threatened to get a third goal, but some fine defending from Sutton defenders prevented that.

After 92 mins following some sustained Sutton pressure, Suttons goalkeeper had a header cleared off the line following a corner. Sutton attacked again, forcing another corner. Again the keeper went up, the ball was bundled into the Wood net 2-1

Wood kicked off, but the ref then blew for FT . Wood winning 2-1

Thanks to Simon for a great report, much appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!

Also, the team are looking for players, and applications are open – see the foot of this post!

Team manager, Dylan Somel wrote:

This year Walsall Wood Football Club are implementing youth side, who will play in the Midland Floodlit League. This has been made possible with the support from the youth section at the club and also George and Justin, who have made a great platform for the lads to succeed under the Wood banner.

Walsall Wood Under 18s Football Team need you!

We train Thursdays 6:30-8pm at Oak Park Active Living Centre 

Please could you include special thanks to our Home Kit Sponsor Guy’s Dental based in Lichfield and our trainingwear sponsor Stonnall Fish Bar.. Thanks so much.

Manager is myself Dylan Somel and 07446348126 is my number for any players interested. 

The team have some great sponsorship. Can particularly vouch for the chip shop at Stonnal, which does great chips and most excellent kebabage! Image supplied by Dylan Somel.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Woodmen exterminate Badgers

Brocton are old Wood adversaries. Image from Pitch Side Stories.

Last Tuesday evening saw Walsall Wood FC travel to Brocton FC at Stafford – and once again, the Wood emerged with a stunning score sheet that’s making many question the nature of the water in Walsall Wood at the moment.

Bill Shaw was there, and wrote:

Hi Bob,

Another three points with a second half rout of the Badgers. Sad to see Adam Wood stretchered off, we all hope it’s not as bad as it looks Woody, good luck mate.

The six goals took Woods tally to 18 in the last three games, eight of which have come from Paul Sullivan as he makes up for lost time after his month out with injury.

In the league cup we face an away trip to Stourport Swifts, guess who we face in Round Three of the FA Vase? Yes Swifts away on December 2nd.

The last Saturday in November sees us face another big test when we visit Atherstone Town, we’ve beaten them twice at the Wood but both games were close.

Bill Shaw (Retired.)

P.S. This is a far easier way of reporting games.

Brocton 0 v 6 Walsall Wood

Not something I’m used to doing, but in the words of Boldmere legend Alan Parsons, ‘If you can use something, do so.’  So here’s my amended version of Tuesday night’s report on the Brocton game.

This was certainly a game of two halves, the Badgers held the high flying visitors to no goals in a competitive first half but they couldn’t live with the Wood as a Paul Sullivan inspired side ran riot in the second 45 minutes.

There were plenty of glimpses of Woods abilities in the first half but Brocton were dangerous on the counter attack with Paul McMahon a constant threat. Dan Lomas as always was prominent but the best chance on 30 minutes saw McMahon set up Joe Hartshorne but the speedy reaction of the Wood defenders saw his effort smothered.

The second half was a different story altogether, just three minutes in and a slightly mistimed tackle in the box handed Wood a penalty – Sullivan 1-0.  If that was harsh on the Badgers the understandable but naïve attempt to then go to all-out attack was a disaster. On 55 minutes Sullivan collected a ball on the edge of the box, ran on and his superbly controlled lob gave the advancing Adam Jenkins no chance. The custodian was powerless two minutes later when Sullivan completed a 12 minute hat-trick as he rounded the keeper and chipped home. On 67 minutes after a concerted bout of pressure the ball found it’s way out to Jordan Fitzpatrick on the left of the box and his low drive flew into the bottom left hand corner. On 80 minutes a defensive mix up let in Peter Till who scored from close range.  We saved the best until last with a contender for goal of the season, Craig Deakin broke up an attack in his own half and powered forward to the left edge of the box before firing in a rising drive that flew past the shell shocked Jenkins to complete a second half demolition job on the Badgers.

The win takes Wood to within two points of leaders Studley with three games still in hand.

Saturday sees the Badgers visit Studley whilst Wood face a trip to free scoring Heath Hayes who have scored one goal less than Wood but have conceded 35 more, can’t see it being a goal-less draw somehow.

The Teams:

Brocton – Jenkins, Phillips, Robinson, Juxon, Wood, Wright, Lomas, Burns, P. McMahon, Hartshorne, Curtis, Devoir, Stuart, Taylor D. McMahon.

Walsall Wood – Ransome, Hayden, Deakin, Hurren, Slater, Tolley (captain), Mugisha, Westwood, Sullivan, Clarke, Fitzpatrick, Till, Butler, McFarlane, Meekin-Richards, Agar.

Thanks to Bill for the report, as ever. Onwards and upwards!

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