Details of Walsall Council’s park bonfire events for 2017

I love a good burn-up. Note the changed dates this year folks!

Readers have been asking for details of this year’s Walsall Council Bonfire Night events in the borough, and particularly Brownhills, so here is the latest information.

Contrary to previous information, the Brownhills Holland Park event this year takes place on Thursday, 2nd November 2017. Other events take place in Bloxwich on the 28th October, Willenhall on 4th November and Walsall Arboretum on the 5th.

If you’re wondering why this event has moved from a Saturday, Greenspaces have listened to complaints that holding the bonfires on successive Saturdays in different areas makes some too far from November 5th, so there you go – these are great people listening to complaints.

Entry is still a pocket-pleasing £4 for adults and £1 for kids – plus little ones under 5 get in free.

For safety reasons – no fireworks or sparklers. No alcohol allowed. Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

I congratulate Walsall Council on this event, which I’m genuinely surprised to see.

They wrote:

Bonfire and Firework Displays

Walsall’s four regular bonfire and firework displays will take place in 2017 at :-

             King George V Playing Fields on Saturday 28th October  
             Holland Park on Thursday 2nd November
             Willenhall Memorial Park on Saturday 4th November
             Walsall Arboretum on Sunday 5 November

All four of the events will include funfairs and food stalls for all ages to enjoy.

Tickets for King George V playing fields, Holland Park and Willenhall Memorial Park will only be available on the gate and are priced at £4 for adults, £1 for children and under 5s go free.  Limited car parking is available at each venue for £1/car.

Gates at these three venues open at 6.00pm, the bonfire will be lit at 7.00pm and the firework display starts at 8.00pm.

That looks like quite a show! Note you MUST BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE FOR THIS ONE.

For the Arboretum this year you must purchase advance tickets online, costing £7 for adults, £3 for children, and under 5s are free.

No tickets will be sold on the entrance gates, and the online tickets may be purchased at online at the ticket office site here.

Car parking is available off the junction of Sutton Road / The Crescent , WS1 2DD , at £2 per vehicle.

Gates open at 4.30pm , and the fairground will open at 4:30pm as well.
The Free Radio Stage will start from 5:00pm
The bonfire will be lit at 6:00pm
Our headliner act will start their performance at 7pm
The Firework Display will begin at 7:30pm

For further information, please call Walsall Council on 01922 653344.

For safety reasons, no fireworks or sparklers may be brought onto any of these venues. No alcohol is allowed. Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

Walsall Council reserves the right to change any of the attractions, which are all subject to weather conditions.

For up to date information please check Facebook Walsall Green Spaces, the official Facebook of Walsall Arboretum,  or follow us on Twitter @WMBCGreenspaces.

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

Concerned about local crime issues? Meeting this Monday in Brownhills


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

There’s a very interesting meeting taking place at 7pm Monday, 23rd October 2017 – that of Brownhills Neighbourhood Watch (but is open to anyone interested in local crime issues).

It takes place at the Activity Centre (formerly the Central Boys School or Annexe)  right in the centre of Brownhills, just off the Miner Island.

With recent concerns about local crime and ongoing antisocial behaviour issues, this could be your chance to get your voice heard. I

Kevin Pitt, the Walsall Police Partnerships Officer, sent out the following:

Dear Sir or madam

This is just to remind you that the next meeting of Brownhills Neighbourhood Watch will be taking place on Monday 23rd October at 7pm in Brownhills Activity Centre, Chester Road North, WS8 7JW (the old school).

All Brownhills and Clayhanger residents are welcome to attend.

Recently the group has come under the wing of a successful, volunteer-led neighbourhood watch group that covers Rushall, Shelfield and Pelsall, with the intention of re-launching an independent Brownhills Neighbourhood Watch group in due course. Interest from anyone wishing to assist with this aim would be most welcome.

Come along, invite your friends and help us improve your neighbourhood.

Message sent by
Kevin Pitt (Police, Engagement and Consultation Officer, Walsall)

If you cannot make the meeting but would like to raise a concern with your neighbourhood policing team, please contact them at

Please, if you go along, do let me and the readers know what happened – either by commenting here, or mailing me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

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

A plaque on your houses – the search continues.

The Dunlop ‘Council Chamber’. The monument/artwork is highlighted with the red arrow. Image generously supplied by Robert Heywood.

Last week I ran an interesting enquiry from Shirley Jackson, who posed the question of what became of a sculpture of former Dunlop Chairman, George Beharrel, after Fort Dunlop at Castle Bromwich was redeveloped.

Well, I had lots of suggestions, including the possibility the artwork might have gone to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust at Gaydon, the Black Country Museum, or to the current Dunlop Motorsport  factory at Beaulieu, Brockenhurst. By far the most interesting suggestion was that the statue was not a statue at all, but a plaque on a shared monument.

A few days ago, Robert Heywood, a longstanding employee of the Dunlop company, wrote to me to share the images I publish in this post and what he thinks the nature of the artwork was, and where it was located.

Robert wrote:

Hello Bob

I have tried to post this to your blog page but couldn’t find a way to include the photos . . .

I don’t recall any statue but do remember the 3-sided monument as described by Paul Boot in the comments to your post.

He said:

‘I seem to recall that when I worked there, it was a plaque attached to a 4′ high stone pedestal. It had a triangular shape, with sides & a plaque on each side. Each plaque was engraved with details and a low relieve engraving of – John Boyd Dunlop, George Beharrell and a memorial to fallen soldiers.’

That monument stood outside of the building which employees of my generation always knew as The Council Chamber and which in the mid 1990’s became the Exhibition Centre.  This building, originally built as an ‘entertainment hall and social club for the employees’ was opened by Lady Beharrell in 1935. It stood not far inside the main gate to Fort Dunlop site and at the opposite end of the 200 acre complex to the Base Stores building which was redeveloped and which is pictured at the head of this article.

The interior of the same building showing a memorial plaque on the interior, too. Image generously supplied by Robert Heywood.

Any statue or memorial would not have been housed in that building as it was primarily used only for storage.

I am attaching three photographs; one posted on the Dunlop Tyres Memories group by Malcolm Evans  and showing a plaque just inside the Council Chamber commemorating its opening,  and two others on which I have marked the 3-Sided Beharrell/ JB Dunlop/War memorial monument which stood outside.

When the major part of Fort Dunlop site was demolished, I remember the war memorial plaque being removed and “taken into safe keeping” as a mark of respect for the employees it commemorated. I think it might have gone to Beaulieu . . ?

The J B Dunlop plaque was, I believe, moved for display by the entrance to the new Goodyear-Dunlop TyreFort building.

I have no idea what happened to the 3rd (Beharrell) plaque . . .

Bob Heywood
(Dunlop employee 1965 – 2005)

Thanks to Robert for such an illuminating contribution – that’s certainly food for thought. It’s hard to imagine just how large many local factories were in those days, large enough to have facilities as you describe. It feels like another world.

We’re on the right track, I feel – if you can help Shirley locate the missing artwork, or explain it’s fate, that would be lovely, thank you!

Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail do com. Cheers.

The Dunlop ‘Council Chamber’. The monument/artwork is highlighted with the red arrow. Image generously supplied by Robert Heywood.

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Incident on Clayhanger Common yesterday – West Midlands Police issue statement

Clayhanger Common. Archive photo by Pete Hummings.

As many of you will be aware, yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 14th October 2017) there was an ongoing emergency services incident on Clayhnager Common, which prompted a great deal of local speculation.

I immediately sought clarification from West Midlands Police, who issued the following statement this morning.

Deb Edmonds, from Corporate Communications said the following:

‘The body of a man was found on the common – it was not suspicious.’

And that is all they’re saying, and all that needs to be said.

Please consider the awful effect of this sad incident upon relatives and friends of the deceased and please refrain from gossip. Just because a tragedy happens in our community, it doesn’t mean we have a right to know what happened or speculate. Please show respect.

My condolences and sympathies to all touched by this, and to the poor souls who made the discovery.

Posted in News

Woodmen surprised at Nuneaton

Images and captions by the young David Evans.

Nuneaton Griff gave visitors Walsall Wood a bit of a wake-up call yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 14th October 2017) when they held the Woodmen to a no-score draw.

The home side played well, and Bill Shaw was impressed with their performance, if not that of the Walsall Wood lads…

Hiya Bob,

A frustrating afternoon at the Pingles, not helped by the sixth minute penalty miss. Also an assistant who appeared to be caught in a time warp, constantly giving offside decisions as when the ball was received, not when it was  kicked.

A new manager playing at home for the first time saw Griff turn in a scintillating performance, even without the ball.

It’s seven days rest for Wood but no easy rehabilitation next Saturday with Atherstone Town the visitors. They of course reckon the four-one defeat to Wood was a travesty of justice. So an interesting 90 minutes in prospect, don’t be late, your club needs you.

Nuneaton Griff 0 v 0 Walsall Wood

Ninety minutes of frustration for Wood, culminating in their first draw of the campaign and Studley Town taking advantage as they reclaimed top spot.

Wood took charge from the first whistle penning the Heartlanders back in their half. On five minutes Lewis Taylor Boyce raced onto a long ball forward into the right of the box, his low cross flashing across the face of the goal just in front of Sam Agar. From the goal kick the ball was soon back in the home box, under intense pressure a defender tried to play the ball inside but only found Wood’s Tony Clarke, who avoided one desperate tackle before going down under a clumsy challenge, he took the penalty himself, keeper and man of the match George Woodward diving low to his right.

On nine minutes Peter Till cut inside from wide left, chipped a ball to the far post, Agar first to the ball but his shot was deflected wide. Two minutes later a ball out of defence by Lewis Hayden found Clarke on the right of the box, his first time drive well held by Woodward. On 19 minutes a ball over the top by Callum McFarlane was touched on by Agar to Clarke who hit a rising drive that was superbly touched over by Woodward.  From the corner the ball found its way out wide left to Till, his near post ball flicked narrowly wide by Agar. Three minutes later Agar collected a ball into the right of the box, going through one tackle only for Woodward to save bravely at his feet.

On 26 minutes Jack Colley raced clear wide right, cutting inside only to be stopped by a superbly timed challenge from Craig Deakin as Wood lost concentration.

Six minutes later Hayden delivered a cross to the right hand post, Agar headed the ball back across goal, Jordan Fitzpatrick powered in a header that was somehow kept out by Woodward with a fantastic point blank save. Wood ended the half as they started putting the hosts under constant pressure without making the breakthrough.

The hosts tried to get a foothold in the game at the start of the second half but it was Wood who threatened first on 51 minutes, Agar held the ball up in the centre before releasing Hayden wide right, he made the byeline, fired in a low cross that Frazer Mullis put behind to deny Clarke. Four minutes later a free kick from the left of box to the far post was headed goalwards by Fitzpatrick, Woodward saving easily.  Wood continued to push forward getting more and more frustrated at the home side’s ‘They shall not pass’ tactics, until on 70 minutes substitute Harry Harris hit a 50 yard pass to find Agar wide right, his vicious low cross from the byeline cut out by Mullis. Eight minutes later Deakin raced into the left of the box, his low cross again put behind by the hard working defenders.

Wood were nearly caught out on 80 minutes, an attack broke down, the ball was played up the left hand side, played inside to find Matt Brennan who swung a boot, putting a cross shot wide.  A minute later a long ball over the top was collected at pace by Agar, Woodward out to save bravely at his feet. As in the first half Wood kept up the pressure but brave defending gave Griff a surprising point in manager Courtney Belford’s first home game.

Credit to the home side on a great rearguard performance, never giving Wood any time in front of goal as they worked so hard. Wood had 90% possession but lacked composure in front of goal and paid the price as they lost top spot.

It’s FA Vase action next for Wood with Atherstone Town the visitors on Saturday 21st.

Bill Shaw

The Teams:

Nuneaton Griff – Woodward, Aston (captain), Reader, Davis, Mullis, Wilks, Colley, Lamb, Brennan, Mitchell, Brindley, Slinn, McEwan, Jones, Stringer, Dodd.

Walsall Wood – Ransome, Hayden, Deakin, Meakin-Richards, McFarlane, Tolley (captain), Till, Westwood, Agar, Clarke, Fitzpatrick, Gould, Jones, Okojie, Taylor Boyce, Harris.

Thanks to Bill and David for the wonderful report and images… 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The end of a nightmare, or just another false dawn?


Ravens Court is a mess: not just physically, but historically and legally. Image by Pete Hummings.

Right you people – this will be brief as I have no concrete information, and I’m massively sceptical, but here goes – in the last few days a planning application has been submitted for the demolition and replacement of the majority of Ravens Court, to be replaced by two larger retail units and a gym.

Before we get excited, there is absolutely zero detail on line at the Walsall Council website yet (they take a few days to scan and post the documents) and this is ONLY A PLANNING APPLICATION. A planning application is just that; it first of all has to be approved, then it’s up to whoever submitted it to act upon it. Granting planning permission does not mean a thing will get built.

I can point to at least six planning applications for developments along Brownhills High Street that were granted, but never got built. So proceed with scepticism. Applying for planning permission could just be part of the chess game between Walsall Council and the owners of Ravens Court who have so far failed to clean up the derelict precinct, and who may well be facing legal action forcing them to do so.

Right, that having been said, all we have at the moment is the following:

Application Number: 17/1131
Proposal: Part demolition of existing retail units and erection of 2 x A1 retail units with storage and gym at first floor and car parking and service area to the rear.
Application Type: Full Application

Applicant Details

Full Name or Company Name: Mr Schwimmer 
Company Contact Name: 
Address: Lightquote Limited, 22 Braydon Road, London, N16 6QB 

Agent Details

Full Name or Company Name: Mr Robert Pomery 
Company Contact Name: 
Address: Pomery Planning Consultants Ltd, Pappus House, Tollgate West, Stanway, Colchester, CO3 8AQ 

A link to the application on Walsall Council’s Planning System can be found here – it’s currently empty, awaiting posted documents. I expect that to be populated in coming days.

This application I suspect is the realisation of something that’s been floating around for about three years now and that’s why I’m a bit suspicious. For a long time, there have been ads on property websites pop up for retail units in Brownhills, with a very poor artist’s impression of the precinct truncated beyond the shoe shop and card shop, with two units built almost immediately behind.

A thoroughly awful artist’s impression from an ad that’s been circulating a while. Click for a larger version.

The above advert can be seen here at CoStar Shopproperty – registration required, but free.

Note the artist’s impression has the scale horribly distorted, and in those drawings, there is no upstairs apparent. The prices quoted are… interesting.

Technically the impressions were flawed, and other sources have been talking (notably, sales material for other leased properties in the High Street) about this ‘development’ with one unit ‘Under offer to Poundworld’. When I enquired with the company, they said they knew nothing about any such offer.

Then, an application was made on 30th May 2017 to refurbish the old Natwest Bank unit on the edge of Ravens Court – see the full application here. That contained a very interesting drawing – listed as ‘Superseded location plan 18-5-2017’ – here’s the original document, and the important bit below. Notice the lower unit is marked ‘Poundland’ not ‘Poundworrld’.

Note that it was superseded by a plan showing the current Ravens Court. Heaven knows what was going on there…

As a technical plan goes, this is nothing but shapes on a map. There is very little detail here at all. Click for a larger version.

Then, as several readers have pointed out, this sale particular for the row of shops where Costa is on the High Street, being sold as an investment property (i.e. tenants unaffected) appeared on Rightmove some weeks ago. See the particular here, but the key paragraph is below:

This could just be Estate Agents and their reality distortion field. Click for a larger version.


The property is situated in a prime location on the busy High Street being close to other retailers such as Shoe Zone, Greggs, Post Office, Card Factory, Aldi, Wilkos, Tesco, and Thomas Cook. Directly opposite the property is Ravens Court Centre where there are re-development proposals to create two 8,000 sq. ft. units, one of which we understand is under offer to Poundworld and will further strengthen this busy suburban location.

Note the retailer is now ‘Poundworld’ – Chinese whispers or what?

A planning application has to be positive, and I hope it will lead to action, and I support it wholly. There is no reason why it would not be granted, and I hope this is the beginning of the end to this whole sorry saga, older than this blog and pushing a decade in length; but we’ve had many false dawns before and there’s stuff here I’m not comfortable about yet.

Stay tuned, more info as I have it. Feel free to comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail for com. I’d appreciate your thoughts.


Posted in News | 2 Comments

Autumn Leaves Running Day at Aldridge Transport Museum this Sunday – and the finale of Beer and Buses!

Last running day of 2017!

While the Beer and Buses festival is ongoing at Aston Manor Transport Museum in Aldridge today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday, 14th and 15th October 2017) it’s worth pointing out that tomorrow, as well as the culmination of the beer event, it’s also the Autumn Leaves Running Day at the popular local museum.

For the running day it’s £5 entry for adults, £2 for kids and a family ticket is just £13, I believe the open day kicks off at 10:30am with beer being available from 12 noon.

The museum said:

Our last running day of the year, with a selection of our own buses and a few visiting vehicles, giving free rides on several routes.

In addition, we’ll have a display of Classic Cars from the Owen Motoring Club, and there should be a bit left from the previous day’s Beer and Buses Event.

What a great choice, something for everyone!

See our website & Facebook page for updates

Aston Manor Road Transport Museum
Shenstone Drive, Off Northgate, Aldridge, Walsall W89 8TP

The timetable of bus operations is below – more details can be found on the museum Facebook page.

All operated by vintage or classic vehicles. Click for a larger version.

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