Catch a great match at Oak Park this afternoon – the Woodmen face Gresly!

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Walsall Wood FC have a great reputation for entertaining football, and a keen, loyal and friendly bunch of supporters! Come join in the fun this Saturday and see some cracking football.

Today, Saturday 19th September 202

The Wood are at home, entertaining Gresley

Walsall Wood FC versus Gresley FC

Kick off is 3:00pm

Social distancing will be fully observed!

For the Good of the Wood! 

Oak Park, Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood. WS9 9NP.

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here.

 

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Why not join this Sunday’s Walsall Wood community litter pick?

The next Walsall Wood community litter pick by Walsall Wood Wombles take place this  Sunday 20th September 2020 – and all are welcome to join in.

The Wombles said:

Reminder it’s the litter pick this Sunday! You need your own equipment , unfortunately because of covid I can’t supply it.

You can get everything you need delivered to your door if you contact Beth Deeley or Richard Upton from Walsall Council’s Clean and Green department.

The pick starts at 10.30am from Beechtree Road carpark.

Also clean and green are doing a litter pick sunday 27th sept 10am round Oak Park to help with the litter issue round there too.

All welcome!

 

The Walsall Wood Wombles are a great initiative by top community person Teresa Webb.

You can check out the Facebook page for Walsall Wood Wombles here. They’re a great community spirited collective 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!

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Why not join the Orange Army litter pick this morning in Brownhills?

There is a community litter pick event taking place in Brownhills this morning, Sunday, 13th September 2020 from 10am, meeting at Smithys Forge car park in Lichfield Road, Brownhills (Just off the Miner Island)  – all are welcome to join in.

The pick is being organised by local litter group The Orange Army who put a huge effort in to several litter picks in Brownhills recently – the last one attended by over 30 people – for which I and the blog readership would like to extend our thanks for a top job well done!

Take a bow, folks.

the Orange Army – top local community spirit in action! Image from their Facebook page.

It’s easy and fun to join in with these community picks as all kit will be provided!

The pick is being run by committed local volunteer Natalie Dawson and others for the benefit of the the town, so it’ll be a worthwhile event to get involved with and help improve the local environment.

The organisers said:

Hi everyone just a little reminder of our litter pick on Sunday 13th we have had a small change to where we’re meeting!

I have asked Smithy’s Forge if we can use their car park and go to the gardens for refreshments afterwards 😁 they have kindly said yes which is great 👍

I have updated the event and Sunday 13th September 2020 we’ll meet at Smithy’s Forge car park for 10am at the Rhino Pluming van and we will split into groups!

We now also have 2 first aiders amongst the group 💪🏻 

Looking forward to seeing you there 🧡🦏

You can check out the Orange Army’s Facebook page here.

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

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Walsall Wood away to Worcester City this afternoon

Worcester City have a great new ground at Claines Lane.

Saturday 12th September 2020

Walsall Wood FC away to Worcester City in a big-name match!

Worcester City FC, Claines Lane, Worcester WR3 7SS

3:00pm kickoff

This is a ticket only match restricted to 300 spectators in compliance with social distancing rules – you can purchase your electronic ticket in advance by clicking here.

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Check out the club website here.

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Walsall Wood beat Romulus in lively start to MFL season

Images very kindly supplied by the young David Evans

A boisterous home match against Castle Bromwich team Romulus at Oak Park kicked off the 2020/21 MFL football season at Walsall Wood on Saturday (5th September 2020) and saw the visitors beaten in a hard fought, somewhat lively match.

Roving and loquacious football correspondent the young David Evans was there on a fine afternoon on the cusp of Autumn, and sent the following billet-doux:

Walsall Wood FC 1 v 0 Romulus FC
Saturday 5th September 2020

After the endless months of waiting, at last the Midland League got under way – this time for real – as Walsall Wood welcomed their opponents Romulus FC who hail from from Castle Bromwich.

This turned out to be a sporting contest that is best characterised in one word. Rumbustious. It is one of the more exotic and aromatic of adjectives that is seldom appropriate in modern usage – but not today.

Today was a thoroughly rumbustious game of football played at full tilt by both teams.

The first sector of this sporting encounter saw Romulus, dressed in their Everton mint black and white stripes, play some accurate ground passes and took the game to the defending Walsall Wood, glorious in their Empire Red strip.

The game evolved and developed, Wood faced the artistic tactics and game-play that the visitors were evidently intent on employing. Both sides were resolute and determined to out-turn their opponents in close encounters. This, not surprisingly, resulted in some untoward clunks and clatters, which necessarily brought the attention of the eagle-eyed man in black. He wore a a fine new strip, pressed for the memorable occasion, and, with greater frequency, the official was required by events to bring from his pocket both yellow red cards to grace the circumstance. With sharp eye and even sharper HB pencil he noted all pertinent details in his black book .

The flow of play seemed to be an ill-measured mixture of hesitant, gentle and (mercifully) measured football at times, with some superb through passes and smart running by players of both sides.

The half time whistle was blown. The score was nil-nil and gasping players headed for the refreshing delights and delicacies that awaited them in their changing-rooms. Thick slices of Angel cake, petits fours, steaming mugs of Darjeeling, and gentle, polite, vocabulary-enriching conversation from their caring managers.

Then, with another blast from the Acme Thunderer, the players emerged in to the warm late summer fresh air to resume their fine yet gritty combat. A new pattern of football emerged as visiting players tried to employ a different timbre to their challenges, and fell foul of the rules of engagement with increasing frequency. Some adjudged contrived falls were swiftly noted; their offenders swiftly reprimanded. The erstwhile beauty of a fine game was withering before the perplexed and vociferous youthful home supporters, whose choice of expressions was mostly acceptable.

There were several quite heady incidents where the rigour of the game, perhaps flavoured by an over supply of adrenalin, brought the game to a brief stop. Sometimes following awkward challenges on the rich and tiring real grass pitch, and perhaps as a result of its own contours, of course. At other times a simple breakdown in team and individual discipline brought no favours to the visiting team, or their bench, it must be said.

But, as the match went on it seemed to be heading for an odd result, with the visitors now down to far less than the full complement of players, and a Walsall Wood losing a player, victim of an instance of inelegant game-play [Balanced reporting as ever, as it should be *cough* – Bob].

Near the end of this wearisome and fragmented encounter, Walsall Wood were awarded a free kick near the penalty box . The Romulus goalkeeper had rightly been shown a straight red card by the hard-worked and harassed referee. A superb, blistering shot took the ball straight as an arrow into the visitors goalmouth. This was the only goal of the match.

The match ended with the final blast from the jaded referee’s whistle. Home supporters all round the pitch and in the stand applauded their team’s composure and resolve. Players shook hands and the two team managers and their entourage left to partake of a well earned cup of tea. This had been a hard fought, rumbustious game of football for both sides here at the Theatre of Dreams.

Enjoyable, nonetheless. Of course.

David

Thanks to David there – For The Good Of The Wood!

Walsall Wood Football Club are a top local side with a big-hearted faithful who know how to have a great time supporting their lads, and welcome all comers to come enjoy great local soccer.

The boys from The Wood have been at the heart of the local community for a century or more, so please do go check out a match or two if you’re curious.

 

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Why not join the Orange Army litter pick next Sunday morning in Brownhills?

There is a community litter pick event taking place in Brownhills next Sunday, 13th September 2020 from 10am, meeting at Smithys Forge car park in Lichfield Road, Brownhills (Just off the Miner Island)  – all are welcome to join in.

The pick is being organised by local litter group The Orange Army who put a huge effort in to several litter picks in Brownhills recently – the last one attended by over 30 people – for which I and the blog readership would like to extend our thanks for a top job well done!

Take a bow, folks.

the Orange Army – top local community spirit in action! Image from their Facebook page.

It’s easy and fun to join in with these community picks as all kit will be provided!

I like to give as much notice of these sessions as possible as so many people afterwards express sadness that they would have taken part if they’d known sooner…

The pick is being run by committed local volunteer Natalie Dawson and others for the benefit of the the town, so it’ll be a worthwhile event to get involved with and help improve the local environment.

The organisers said:

Hi everyone just a little reminder of our litter pick on Sunday 13th we have had a small change to where we’re meeting!

I have asked Smithy’s Forge if we can use their car park and go to the gardens for refreshments afterwards 😁 they have kindly said yes which is great 👍

I have updated the event and Sunday 13th September 2020 we’ll meet at Smithy’s Forge car park for 10am at the Rhino Pluming van and we will split into groups!

We now also have 2 first aiders amongst the group 💪🏻 

Looking forward to seeing you there 🧡🦏

You can check out the Orange Army’s Facebook page here.

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

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Great local football today! Walsall Wood at home to Romulus at Oak Park

Walsall Wood’s famous stand and the hearty welcome the club is famous for.

Saturday 5th September 2020

Walsall Wood FC at home to Romulus FC

Don’t break your vows be at Oak Park tonight and be faithful to your local heroes

Social distancing to be observed!

3:00pm kickoff

Please come and get behind your local club as they continue kick off local football once more

For The Good Of The Wood!

Check out the club website here

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Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, right now!

If you, the kids or grandkids are at a loose end today, since it’s such. nice day it would be an excellent chance to grab the young ones and nip up to Stubbers Green where you can chat to, and learn all about local wildlife with the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are back there this afternoon – and every coming  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!

Ann Lawrence said:

Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Please bring wild bird seed, sweet corn, porridge oats, lettuce, peas, chopped up vegetables, rice etc to feed the birds.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use. Stickers for the children

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

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Don’t forget there’s your local Navy Cadet Force Open Day today!

Just a heads up that the local Navy Cadet Force – T.S. Vigo based in Walsall Wood in the units opposite Barons Court on Lichfield Road in Walsall Wood – are having an Open Day today, Saturday 29th August 2020.

There will be loads of family fun and games going on from 10am until 4pm, with laser fun, the Community Drum Corps Band, gamers hub, the community family library project New Chapter, vintage carnival games, Cadet Force displays and demonstrations.

This is a really good chance to find out what the Cadet Force is all about, and if you have youngsters who may be interested do pop along!

TS Vigo are  a fine group of youngsters and an absolute credit to our community.

 

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Wood stand strong against Tamworth tempest

Oh to be back where they all belong. Image kindly supplied by David Evans. That green kit is very…. Distinctive.

Walsall Wood FC last Tuesday evening (25 August 2020) got in what has been a very rare thing so far this year – a match at home. With full social distancing and pandemic safe measures, encouraging audience and gate, this will be a welcome return to business for all at The Wood whose faithful feared they might never see a match again.

The Woodmen and fans braved dreadfully windy weather and a rather wet pitch to face down Tamworth FC, and held the visitors to a respectable 1-1 draw in very challenging conditions. It’s good to see them back – and standing in the centre of a circle of respectful distance (I’m told they did this with him pre-pandemic, too) was the young and loquacious David Evans, pad and pen in hand, ready to record this momentous return.

David sent the following report:

Walsall Wood Fc vs Tamworth, Tuesday 25 August 2020:  A genuinely friendly match…

Walsall Wood Fc 1 v 1 Tamworth FC

It had been such a long time since the hallowed turf of the Theatre of Dreams last saw a meaningful pre-season match of this calibre. With due respect paid to the regulations and full application of social distancing in place, Oak Park welcomed its first spectators this season to rejoice with hearts full of anticipation as they entered by the narrow door, newly installed by the track which runs along the back of the clubroom… To sign in, hand wash, and then glory at the smart club, the freshly cut green turf of the pitch, the bright new Ron Tranter shelter, and  the corner flags, flying rigid in the thunderous winds.

Gone were the months of isolation, desperation, insulation, consolation, frustration; now the fresh air and open space, and two teams of players, busily warming up, stretching, dashing, dancing, leaping, tiptoeing through  lines of cones, reaching to touch toes, flex muscles, loosening sinews and tendons.

Now, with a beautiful new refreshment bar and kitchen to grace the occasion, and that mouth-watering aroma of beef-burgers, hot-dogs and special chips sizzling away, paper cups, bottles of sauces  all in regimental order, the scene was complete.

Visiting spectators from Tamworth and beyond were greeted with warmth and sincerity. We were all eager to see a live game of genuine soccer between two fine teams. We were going to thrill, applaud, sigh, lean forward in our seats.

The visitors wore an apple green strip bearing the word ‘Turpin’ on the back of their shirts. The visiting players seemd to be large, muscular, heavy body builders. Walsall Wood players, who wore their Lionheart Red strip, looked eager, and ready to take on their opponents with their fine display of nimble and fleet of foot soccer, accurate passing, and the grit and pluck that  characterises Walsall Wood. [Grit and pluck indeed – Bob]

The  whistle was blown and the match – contest – was under way with Walsall Wood showing their speed and deft play, to some consternation from the heavyweight opponents. The away dugout had a vocal assistant whose spirited guidance was for every ball, every pass, and whose obvious enthusiasm and perception… Was delightful.

This fixture, though classed as a friendly match, was full of  meaningful play and thrust, especially from the visitors. Walsall Wood, as always, rose to this physical challenge with patient confidence and co-ordinated play. Two very different sides, two different approaches, and quite gladiatorial in its way. This kept all the spectators enthralled at the rapid to and fro, with the unpredictable and gale-force tempest also raging, and eventually Tamworth scored the first goal from a corner kick and the gift of ‘overwhelming physical presence’… In a blur of bulbous green figures bearing down heavily on the defenders. 

Half-time brought the long-awaited break, A time, as is customary, when team managers serve their players a cup of tea and cucumber sandwich, and proffer gentle conversation.  Meanwhile, spectators busily re-hydrate, and replenish empty bellies.  Beefburgers, hotdogs, those special chips… And piping hot tea… All from the hatch to the posh spanking new kitchen.  

The second half brought new players, new tactics and the playing surface continued to delight and reward determination. This real grass surface allows for a greater palette of playing skills to be presented and employed by players.

An eventual penalty… There had been quite a few instances of heavy play… Was awarded to the  home team who scored the equalising goal in the final minutes of this entertaining and positive work-out for both teams. All the players contributed fully in their individual ways to the spectacle and joyful evening.

David Evans

Thanks to David once more for taking up the reigns of star reporter and posting an honest, entertaining match report – it really is an honour to feature them.

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here.

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The drought ends: Walsall Wood at home to Tamworth this evening

Can The Wood beat Tamworth on home turf in this momentous friendly?

Tuesday 25th August 2020

Walsall Wood FC at home to Tamworth FC

Don’t break your vows be at Oak Park tonight and be faithful to your local heroes

Social distancing to be observed: Maximum 150 spectators allowed so get there early!

7:45pm kickoff

Please come and get behind your local club as they kick off local football once more

For The Good Of The Wood!

Check out the club website here

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

Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, right now!

If you, the kids or grandkids are at a loose end today, since the rain is clearing it would be an excellent chance to grab the young ones and nip up to Stubbers Green where you can chat to, and learn all about local wildlife with the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are back there this afternoon – and every coming  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!

Ann Lawrence said:

Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Please bring wild bird seed, sweet corn, porridge oats, lettuce, peas, chopped up vegetables, rice etc to feed the birds.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use. Stickers for the children

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

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Why not join the Orange Army litter pick this Saturday Brownhills?

There is a community litter pick event taking place in Brownhills this Saturday, 22nd August 2020 from 10am, meeting at the gates of Holland Park – all are welcome to join in.

The pick is being organised by new local litter group The Orange Army who put a huge effort in to litter pick the park last weekend 25-26th July 2020 – for which I and the blog readership would like to extend our thanks for a top job well done!

Take a bow, folks.

Image from the Orange Army Facebook Page.

It’s easy and fun to join in with these community picks as all kit will be provided!

I like to give as much notice of these sessions as possible as so many people afterwards express sadness that they would have taken part if they’d known sooner…

The pick is being run by to local, committed local volunteer Natalie Dawson and others for the benefit of the the town, so it’ll be a worthwhile event to get involved with and help improve the local environment.

The organisers said:

Hi to all!

We have decided the next date for our meet if anyone would like to join us it is the 22nd of august.

Meet at the gates of Holland Park at 10am we have plenty of equipment that we can provide for you.

We have plenty of equipment for extra people if they wish to help out occasionally or regularly if they wish!

Thanks all
The Orange Army 🧡

You can check out the Orange Army’s Facebook page here.

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

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Don’t forget there’s a Navy Cadet Force Open Day in Clayhanger coming soon

Just a heads up that the local Navy Cadet Force – T.S. Vigo based in Walsall Wood in the units opposite Barons Court on Lichfield Road in Walsall Wood – are having an Open Day soon, on Saturday, 29th August 2020.

There will be loads of family fun and games going on from 10am until 4pm, with laser fun, the Community Drum Corps Band, gamers hub, the community family library project New Chapter, vintage carnival games, Cadet Force displays and demonstrations.

This is a really good chance to find out what the Cadet Force is all about, and if you have youngsters who may be interested do pop along!

TS Vigo are  a fine group of youngsters and an absolute credit to our community.

 

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Shattered Dreams

It’s not very often I do politics here anymore – it’s not that I’m no longer political, or that I’ve mellowed, even: It’s more that the current political situation in this country and the wider world is now so far beyond reason and parody that even my long lost and dearly missed friend The Plastic Hippo would have a hard time writing about it.

It’s like living in a Charlie Broker script every day. Image from the Daily Telegraph.

I received a note on the A level farce that’s unfolding on Saturday from a good friend of the blog who wishes to remain nameless. It’s very eloquent on the matter of the deeply iniquitous, shambolic and downright contemptuous handling of the estimated exam results currently wreaking havoc on a generation’s ambitions – and I feel it should be shared here.

This is such a political and statistical car crash that it’s breathtaking. The people responsible for the disastrous software that created the mess refused help from statistical experts in creating a working algorithm, because the two experts involved refused to sign five year gagging orders. That this was even an issue shows the calibre of politician we’re dealing with.

Meanwhile, can the kids count on the support of the local Tory MPs? Steady Eddie Hughes and Wendy ‘Will there be a photocall?’ Morton remain characteristically silent, Fabricant continues his usual peacock strutting. These people have nothing but contempt for the youngsters who have had their dreams dashed.

Our esteemed MP will be putting on her serious face if she comments at all. ‘Is this glum enough, Jeff?’

I had hoped that with a Boris led government, that although he would be a flag waving blowhard, there might at least be some leadership at last. I was wrong – his absence throughout the A Level crisis, and continual deputising of other issues shows the PM as weak, apathetic and his government rudderless.

This country and its youth deserve better.

Secret Teacher wrote:

As a Brownhillian now teaching elsewhere, I am proud of my roots and grateful for the opportunities given to me by my teachers. I was lucky in that my A-level results were decent enough for me to go to university and then pursue my chosen career. The same cannot be said for a large number of Brownhillians in the class of 2020.

Whatever your political colours, I would hope that few would disagree that the handling of this year’s A-level results has been devastating for many of our young people. The pandemic saw public exams cancelled and centre assessed grades submitted that were then to be standardised by exam boards. Thousands of students across the country have had their teachers’ estimates downgraded by a flawed algorithm simply because of their postcode or the size of exam entry. My niece is one of many Brownhills youngsters who falls into this category. She impressed five universities enough at interview for them all to offer her a conditional place. Thanks to her teachers and her relentless hard work, she was on track to achieve three top grades and attend the university of her dreams this year. But alas her hopes were dashed when the aforementioned algorithm reduced her grades in such an unfathomable manner. She is now in limbo because her first choice of university that liked her so much at interview says that the grades she was awarded in exams that she did not even sit are not good enough.

Whilst the overall national statistics might look good on the surface and whilst I understand the government’s need to paint a national picture that is broadly in line with previous years, the fact remains that the right students have not necessarily been awarded the right grades. An algorithm that has downgraded teachers’ estimates by not one, but two and sometimes three grades in numerous cases is not fit for purpose. By all accounts, this is what has happened to so many of my niece’s friends, fellow Brownhillians that chose to do A-levels as a passport to the next stage in their life, whether that be university or another equally valid path. I have been hearing of high-performing students who have gone from A* to D. How can this be?

The government’s solution of the so-called triple-lock is of no consolation. Students can accept their calculated grade, appeal to receive a valid mock result, or sit autumn exams. For many, putting forward their mock results is futile. When students sit their mocks, they haven’t finished the course, they have less time to revise and do not take them as seriously as the real thing. Moreover, they have four months of further study after their mocks in which we as teachers see their progress soar. Furthermore, the opportunity of sitting exams in November is of no use to students who have set their heart on going to university this year.

It is clear from social media that many MPs from across the political spectrum are fighting this injustice for their constituents. I would like to call on Wendy Morton MP, if she is not already doing so, to do the same on behalf of the young people of Brownhills. If you agree with me, I would urge you to drop her a line. Our MPs are after all elected to represent all constituents and I’m sure that Ms Morton has at heart the best interests of these students who through no fault of their own have been let down by the system. I think politicians of all parties would do well to remember that these students are of an age to vote. They will not forget the way in which they have been short-changed and how they were represented the next time we go to the ballot boxes. And I have a sneaky feeling that we’re about to see same unfold but on an even bigger scale when GCSE grades are released on Thursday.

SecretTeacher

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When the fighting stopped

Shenstone: The quiet, leafy village holds a little known story of wartime, and postwar endeavour. Imagery from Bing Maps.

I’m always fond of little-known local histories here on the blog, and some months ago, old pal of the blog and top lad Ian Bourne got in touch to tell me of a history he had a bit of a childhood connection to: That of Major Eric Sadler, who was stationed in Germany immediately at the end of World War Two.

I knew nothing about this at all, but the story sounded intriguing. Ian wrote to me:

Hi Bob,

I spent some years as a lad growing up in Shenstone. My mom and dad bought our house from a retired solicitor and Major, Eric Sadler.

He kept part of the very large garden and built a bungalow to retire in, at the bottom. We had a connecting gate into his garden, and we would all look after him. I used to go down and cook his meals sometimes, and he’d surruptitiously reward me with a can of Ind Coope beer, bless him.

Lovely old fella, but he had some fabulous history. During the war, just after D-Day he was sent in to help ‘run’ a small German city, and kept a diary. This was serialised by the Birmingham Post & Mail in the early 80’s, and my dad kept the cuttings. I have them, they were spread over three days by the paper, including a few pictures.

Ian

I jumped at the chance, and Ian very kindly and thoroughly transcribed the article into three parts for me to serialise here on the blog, which I’m proud and honoured to do.

I feature the first instalment here today, and would like to ask if you knew the Major, or anything about his story at all.

The immediate postwar in Germany, and the implementation of the Marshall plan is little discussed in the UK but was key to shaping our current era.

My thanks to Ian for a lovely thing, he really is a gentleman.

If you have anything to add, please do: Comment here on this post, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my jacket on social media.

Major Eric Sadler (retd) at home in Shenstone with his wartime photographs. Image from original 1984 Birmingham Post article.

The Birmingham Post, Thursday February 16, 1984

When the fighting stops, life does not automatically return to normal straight away. One of the many British officers who were charge with the duty of setting up military government in Germany immediately after the fall of Hitler was ERIC SADLER, a Birmingham solicitor before and after the Second World War. He kept a fascinating and detailed diary of his experience, from which we shall be publishing brief extracts today, tomorrow and on Saturday.

To the victor the toils…

“I got a medal from the other side at the end of my consular seven years: Officers’ Cross First Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

“It’s the BVK1. One polite chap said, ‘Excuse my asking, but is that the number of your motor car…?’”

Gentle amusement ushers in the story of the souvenir of Eric Sadler’s stint as Consul for Germany in Birmingham, which he carried out until 1975, alongside his duties as senior partner of a Birmingham firm of solicitors.

There is more to come.

Gentle

“And I got the TD for 24 years’ undetected crime on our side. War counts double, so that’s 12 towards the 24, and I did a bit before the war and a bit after.”

At his home in Shenstone, near Lichfield, the gentle amusement becomes an uninhibited chuckle. Improbability is all, and you cannot tell Eric Sadler anything about appreciating the unlikelihoods of life.

He has been tuning in to its quirks and its incalculabilities for most of his 76 years and it is not difficult to get the impression that by now he could do it with his eyes shut while taking a crash course in Swahili.

It is a tendency which even includes the circumstances of his birth at Erdington.

“In 1907, Erdington was still in Staffordshire – so when I choose, I call myself a Brummie, and when I don’t, I am a Stafford.”

Unmistakably, Eric Sadler has got his life taped – but, somehow, it is taped on his own terms. When it manages to surprise him, he enjoys its presumption to the full.

Diary

This is a quality which adds piquancy to his Detmold Diary, a day-by-day account of the six weeks he spent in 1945 as legal officer with No. 121 Military Government Detachment, responsible for the administration of an area the size of an average English county, just before and just after the end of the war in Europe.

Detmold is a German town which lies between Hanover and Munster; unlikely to draw itself to the attention of the average British taxpayer in the ordinary course of events; of no significance to Major Eric Sadler until he and the other members of the small force of which he was a part arrived there to assume the functions of the local authority and lay the foundations of a return to normality.

Detmold is a town with a long history and I suspect this old cafe has seen a lot of it, good and bad. Image from the Detmold Tourism Information site.

Where Detmold achieves distinction is in the Sadler documentation of the birth-pangs Detmold’s peace, seen through the eyes of an outsider charged with making them as smooth and swift as possible.

The diary was originally scribbled on bits of paper, then handwritten as a fair copy and sent home, two or three days at a time, with his letters to his wife, Marjorie.

Its current, typed version, includes fading photographs of places and people. One shows the handful of officers and other ranks who comprised No. 121 Military Government Detachment.

Another is of August Herbst, resplendent in breeches, multi-buttoned jacket and epaulettes. It is a picture with special memories.

“I regarded him as my German right-hand up to the time I came home. But he had not got what every other German employee of ours had to have, which was security clearance. About two years later I learned why.

Pilot

“He may have been in the uniform of the fire brigade, but he was an ace German pilot. He had fought in the Spanish Civil War and he had Germany’s highest decoration for 20 bombing raids over London.

“We met him again when we went back in the 50s and the hotel proprietor put us up in what had been the colonel’s bedroom…”

In 1928, long before any hint of the war which was to take him to Germany, Eric Sadler had been articled to Jeffrey Parr & Co, solicitors, of Temple Row, Birmingham – the firm of which he was to be senior partner from 1952 and to which he became consultant about three years ago.

His early Territorial Army service saw him take a commission with the 5th Bn, South Staffordshire Regiment, in 1938. Later, he transferred to the 7th Battalion and went on a junior staff course at Brasenose College, Oxford. By the time war came, he was a captain.

Eventually, there was what he recalls as “the gauleiters course at Wimbledon.”

REME were stationed at Detmold Barracks during the Cold War, and I’m sure Eric would be familiar with this view of the site from an early 1950s image by Tony Briscoe.

Gap

“It was for officers destined to go into Germany and fill the gap between battle won and hand-over to full civilian government. The doodlebugs were around at that time, to liven things up.

“Then some of us went on to a bit more learning about military government with the Americans in Manchester. We had a medical examination before we could be attached to them.

“When I had joined the TA, I was simply told to ring the MO. He said, “Are you all right?” I said I was, and he said, “In that case, I don’t need to see you.”

Eric Sadler crossed the Channel some weeks after D-Day in 1944. He and a handful of others were put into the first of the American landing craft which met them a few hundred yards off Arromanches.

“We came to a juddering halt. One of the crew investigated round the back and fished up a cable which was entangled in the propeller. The American officer in charge said, “Get your bloody hatchet out and cut it” – which we did.

“It could have been carrying all the communications for the whole of the invading force, for all he knew. A light-hearted lot, these Americans…”

He surrenders to the memory with an air of agreeable disbelief. As ever, the man behind the Detmold Diary is enjoying the improbabilities.

~~~~DIARY EXTRACTS~~~~

Tidying up in the smouldering ruins

Sunday, April 8, 1945

Detmold is not badly damaged, but it looks a mess. A few buildings are smashed or burned, many damaged and most front window glass shattered.

Rubble and glass in the gutters: streets and pavements pitted and cratered: tram wires trailing and twisting: bent and broken light and tramway standards: no gas, water or electricity. Some damage by bombs – some when the town was captured by a single American battalion.

The battle started on Sunday 1st April, reached its climax and ended on Wednesday 4th April; we are here three days after the German Army went. In a few places it still smoulders and has that same curious sweet burnt wood smell, so noticeable in ever damaged town.

Tuesday, April 10

Colonel’s Conference. In the woods around Lemgo, a town fairly near, are said to be hundreds of German soldiers. An emissary is going to tell them they may give themselves up at 2.30 tomorrow and that the British do not ill-treat prisoners of war. A food store big enough to feed an army is in the town, we have taken a few things for ourselves.

Displaced persons in Detmold include 200 Poles, 140 Jugo-slavs, but the unnumbered majority are probably Russians. A handful of British Military Police are said to be in Detmold; the only other British troops.

Wednesday, April 11

Herr Chef wants pieces of wood for the window mending. I sign an authority for him – I sign almost anything, most of us do. Whether we have authority to do so is another question.

Just the car for the job…Maj Eric Sadler at the wheel of the four-seater drop-head coupe 1700 cc Mercedes-Benz which he requisitioned. Image from original 1984 Birmingham Post article.

After I had done a little arranging and tidying, the Colonel sprang on me that I must next provide water and electricity for the Yanks up at the airfield. Called on my reliable messenger for Herr Brand and the Detmold electricity man. Herbst showed me the four-seater drop-head Coupe 1700 cc Mercedes Benz which he had selected for me to requisition. It was laid up and dusty but obviously a beauty. It was the private property of the Oberfinanz Prasident of Munster. However Herbst said the O.F.P. was a Nazi and didn’t need a car anyway.

Friday, April 13

One officer has issued all our drivers with pretty triangular yellow flags with black skull and crossbones to stick on their vehicles. The drivers quickly take them off when I point out they are sporting the emblem of the German S.S. Totenkopf Division!

A German complained  about looting. I said in war soldiers will loot and he replied that the German soldiers were the worst!

I suspect this is a very close model to Major Sadler’s commandeered car. Isn’t that special? Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Dinner with the usual courses and drinks and deep discussions about definitions of fraternisation and collaboration. An American interrupts us for some sort of pass – as usual I sign it. Retired to write. John Shadbolt came with a problem – German garage proprietor has been helpful, our colonel says he must empty cars out of his garage. This sort of question will keep on arising. C’est le guerre. And the Germans have lost it.

I doubt whether I have ever done so much in a single day before, but it is constructive. Since the war began, I have never (except on leave!) felt happier or better in health.

Coming in part two:

Learning that setting up military government means being a Jack of all trades…

References:

Detmold https://www.britannica.com/place/Detmold-Germany

German Order of Merit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Merit_of_the_Federal_Republic_of_Germany

TD award https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_Decoration

I think this is Mr. Sadler’s car https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_W136

Bad Salzuflen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Salzuflen

HITLER IS DEAD https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-44131106

VE Day Broadcasts https://www.bbc.com/historyofthebbc/anniversaries/may/ve-day-broadcasts

 

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Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, right now!

If you, the kids or grandkids are at a loose end today, since the rain is clearing andlockdown is eased, it would be an excellent chance to grab the young ones and nip up to Stubbers Green where you can chat to, and learn all about local wildlife with the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are back there this afternoon – and every coming  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!

Ann Lawrence said:

Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Please bring wild bird seed, sweet corn, porridge oats, lettuce, peas, chopped up vegetables, rice etc to feed the birds.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use. Stickers for the children

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

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A mystery of time and place – can you solve it please?

While I’m very busy elsewhere (sorry folks for continued low output), the local history work continues in the background, via the tireless and thorough work of folk like the young David Evans, who’s turned up a mystery photo in a collection he’s been donated.

David feels the photo is local, and possible the early part of last century.

Does anyone recognise this, either via the schoolroom or anyone in it?

It’s a very interesting one. David feels in may be as early as the 1920s, but to me the dress seems a little too modern and well to do.

I’m thinking more 30s/40s maybe even 1950s? Don’t know.

If you can help please do: Comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. You can, of course, always find me on social media somewhere too.

My thanks to David, all the blog contributors and readers for their patience with my absence at this time. It is certainly true we live in unprecedented times and they’re keeping me flat out. Sorry.

A school room, we think maybe local. Why is the lass in the foreground holding up a number 2? Love the flowers on teacher’s desk, suggesting maybe this was a lady teachers class. Click for a larger version, image kindly scanned and donated by David Evans.

Posted in News | 6 Comments

Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, right now!

If you, the kids or grandkids are at a loose end today, since the weather seems decent and that lockdown is eased, it would be an excellent chance to grab the young ones and nip up to Stubbers Green where you can chat to, and learn all about local wildlife with the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are back there this afternoon – and every coming  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!

Ann Lawrence said:

Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Please bring wild bird seed, sweet corn, porridge oats, lettuce, peas, chopped up vegetables, rice etc to feed the birds.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use. Stickers for the children

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

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Lichfield Waterworks Trust to recommence their vital work

P1120641

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 share the latest news for local history enthusiasts and members of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group – Sandfields is reopening at last!

In the current pandemic, the trust has had to suspend meetings and activities like any other such organisation, but with the tentative resumption of normality, the trust have taken the decision to open the station back up and recommence their restoration activities – from this Friday, 7th August 2020.

Dave said:

Lichfield Waterworks Trust are pleased to announce that Sandfields Pumping Station will be re-opening to members only on Friday 7 August 2020
 
After careful consideration, the trustees of Lichfield Waterworks Trust are pleased to announce that Sandfields Pumping Station will be commencing a staged re-opening on Friday 7 August.
 
The first stage of this re-opening will be for members only by prior approval by our Health and Safety Manager Phil Bowers. Anyone wishing to attend will need to firstly notify Phil of their intention to attend by email by clicking the link below:

phil.bowers682@btinternet.com

The trust has put in place a number of Covid-19 safety procedures that are essential you follow. You will be briefed when you arrive on site.

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

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

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

 

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

Locked out: A miner’s pay packet from 1928.

John Anslow – local historian and along with his late brother, one of the foremost chroniclers of the history of Walsall Wood – has been emailing again with another fascinating artefact from The Wood and he makes some fine observations upon it, and in particular on the General Strike and life in the 1920s.

John also has some questions to ask, and I hope readers can help with those, please – John has been responsible for some of the most important articles on the blog over the years, and I’d love to see what readers think about this one.

A miner, lost too soon, and his wife – Abe and Eliza Anslow, taken around 1918. Image kindly supplied by John Anslow.

Without further ado, John Anslow wrote:

This might interest you and your readers, Bob.

The photographs show what I believe to be my grandfather’s last wage packet, dated 8 June 1928; he died shortly afterwards, aged 38.

Abe Anslow was a coal miner (a hewer, on the death certificate) and that particular week in June, after mining one-and-a-half tons of slack and two tons of ironstone, he took home eighteen shillings and eight pence, or about 93 pence in today’s money.

According to the CPI inflation calculator, £1 in 1928 would have had the same purchasing power as £63.24 today.

This little scrap of paper set me thinking, and I should like to enlist the help of those who know much more about local mining history than I do.

 First, the wage packet itself.

Images kindly supplied by John Anslow: Click for larger versions.

 (i) The stall number, I believe, refers to an eight-yard section of the coalface allocated to a pair of hewers.

(ii) The seam is identified with the letters “D. T.” Any ideas?

(iii) What are the “percentages” referred to here? (H2 – 3s 4d and 1 @ 8s 9d)

(iv) I hadn’t realised that ironstone was mined in the coal pits hereabouts.

Next, the historical context.

From what Dad told me (8th June 1928 was his seventh birthday) the 1920s were desperately hard times for mining villages such as Walsall Wood, though he recalled many instances of people looking after their neighbours and struggling through together. I have mentioned in a previous comment on your blog the arrangement Abe had with Mr Headley, who supplied animal feed on credit and was repaid in bacon when a pig was slaughtered.

The General Strike of 1926 must have been particularly harrowing for mining families. As you doubtless know, it was called in response to the miners being locked out by the coal owners on 1st May 1926 after refusing to accept a cut in wages and longer hours – “Not a penny off the pay, not a second on the day”.

In coal fields throughout the land, miners were out of work for over six months but gradually began drifting back, on the owners’ terms, during October and November. I assume events in Walsall Wood mirrored those in the rest of the country.

It’s doubtful there’s a local resident alive today who remembers the lockout – anyone capable of doing so would now be in their late nineties – but perhaps readers can recall tales told to them by parents and grandparents.

Finally, a few comments about local industrial history.

I am dismayed that people barely twenty years my junior know nothing of the General Strike, let alone its causes or the hardships endured by the miners and their families. Nor are they aware of the poverty that was endemic in mining villages right up to the Second World War.

It is not my intention to embarrass you, Bob, but your blog plays an invaluable role in keeping the folk memory alive: helping us to remember who we are and where we have come from.

I was fortunate in being able to talk to people of my grandparents’ generation who, in turn, related stories their grandparents had told them. In two degrees of temporal separation I was back to the years when the canal first came through the village.

This experience makes me feel rather like the elderly lady who, when interviewed by a journalist in the 1850s remarked: “My first husband’s first wife knew Mr Cromwell and said he was a very nice man!”

 All the best,
John Anslow

 An afterthought

For completeness, and so that you can picture the man who spent his working life kneeling deep underground, hewing coal for such meagre recompense, I have attached a photograph of Abe and his wife, Eliza, taken around 1918.

  • John

I welcome all view, clarification and memories on this, and I know John will too: Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or find me lallygagging on social media.

This is a fine contribution for which I am, as ever, indebted to John Anslow. The brothers Anslow have shone a beautifully crafted light upon some of the wonderful, little-known corners of Walsall Wood history – from sneaking into garden parties to cocksure monstinks; from dignity in poverty to odd interconnected stories, the Anslow boys have been behind some of my very favourite things to share here.

I am honoured to be able to feature these contributions here. Thank you John.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

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

If you, the kids or grandkids are at a loose end today, since the weather seems decent and that lockdown is eased, it would be an excellent chance to grab the young ones and nip up to Stubbers Green where you can chat to, and learn all about local wildlife with the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are finally back there this afternoon – and every coming  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!

Ann Lawrence said:

Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Please bring wild bird seed, sweet corn, porridge oats, lettuce, peas, chopped up vegetables, rice etc to feed the birds.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use. Stickers for the children

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

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Get ready for the next Orange Army litter pick coming soon in Brownhills!

There is a community litter pick event taking place in Brownhills soon (Saturday 22nd July 2020) from 10am, meeting at the gates of Holland Park – all are welcome to join in.

The pick is being organised by new local litter group The Orange Army who put a huge effort in to litter pick the park last weekend 25-26th July 2020 – for which I and the blog readership would like to extend our thanks for a top job well done!

Take a bow, folks.

Image from the Orange Army Facebook Page.

It’s easy and fun to join in with these community picks as all kit will be provided!

I like to give as much notice of these sessions as possible as so many people afterwards express sadness that they would have taken part if they’d known sooner…

The pick is being run by to local, committed local volunteer Natalie Dawson and others for the benefit of the the town, so it’ll be a worthwhile event to get involved with and help improve the local environment.

The organisers said:

Hi to all!

We have decided the next date for our meet if anyone would like to join us it is the 22nd of august.

Meet at the gates of Holland Park at 10am we have plenty of equipment that we can provide for you.

We have plenty of equipment for extra people if they wish to help out occasionally or regularly if they wish!

Thanks all
The Orange Army 🧡

You can check out the Orange Army’s Facebook page here.

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

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All aboard – for the reopening of a local treasure!

I’m pleased to be able to gradually announce the reopening of local attractions and facilities as they happen, following closures for the pandemic response – and how strange it is to type that even still!

One of the most welcome will be the Aston Manor Road Transport Museum, based in Aldridge, which has announced reopening is to take place on Tuesday 11th August 2020 at 10:30am.

Initially opening will be Tuesdays only, and the museum will remain closed all other days including at weekends – but it is hoped that normal hours can be resumed by the end of August.

Even Salvage Hunters paid the museum a call! Image from the Museum Facebook page.

Restrictions to enable social distancing will be in place, and sadly there’s had to be a slight entry fee increase, but at at £4 for an adult, £11 for a family and kids entry staying at £2 it’s still cracking value.

The museum management posted on Facebook:

[See above for our] initial announcement of reopening – watch this page for further notices and updates.

We are not planning any events in the immediate future, but will continue to assess the situation as time goes on.

Although we are looking at the possibility of some static events – watch this space!

See our website & Facebook page for updates

Welcome back to all at the museum and I wish everyone well. Please do get over and support this gem of a local museum. It really is a fascinating place.

Aston Manor Road Transport Museum
Shenstone Drive, Off Northgate, Aldridge, Walsall W89 8TP2

More details can be found on the museum Facebook page.

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

Can you help Walsall Wood kick off again?

One of the sadder social side effects of the pandemic locally has been the necessary, and totally appropriate cessation of community sport, in particular Walsall Wood Football Club.

As things inch back to normality, sporting activities are resuming and The Woodmen are looking for sponsors for the first team and others, and they’re offering a great competition whereby you can get your name on the team’s shirts for a pocket pleasing £20.

That’s a fair old prize for the winner! Image posted on Twitter by Walsall Wood Football Club.

If you’re interested in supporting a wonderful, historic and very successful community football club, you can take part in the competition to become sponsor by texting Justin of BBG Consultancy on 07939 075285 your team selection on the card shown.

I look forward to seeing the resumption of football and the wood and the Oak Park Ground throwing the gates open once more.

Rest assure that when The Wood kick off once more, full coverage will be posted here!

For the Good of The Wood!

Pick your tea, then text Justin as above. Good luck! Click for a larger version. Image posted on Twitter by Walsall Wood Football Club.

 

 

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Ogley hay Juniors in the late 60s: Who can you spot?

Ogley Hay Juniors, May Day 1965. Image kindly shared by Gail Hughes.

I’m indebted today to local lady Gail Hughes who posted this wonderful pair of Ogley Juniors photos  – the upper one appears to be from the annual May Day event in 1965 (which has featured here many times before from different years) – and Gail thinks the class photo is from around 1969.

I always love these images as they look so relaxed and happy, not the traditionally stiff school photos we normally see. It always strikes me how content the kids were in the pictures from the various Ogley Schools, like the kids were in the Portman Collection of Walsall Wood school photos we also chronicled and shared here.

Gail wrote:

I can name quite a few.

Boys I remember starting from left:

Robert Horton, Paul Norgrove, Alan Tonks, Martin Milner, Mark Mason, Shaun Murphy, Michael ?, Raymond Woodhouse, Roy Holyman, Kevin ? , Andrew Shears, Timothy Whitehouse ( I think)

Girls: Heather Yates, Carol Toddington, Julie Probert, Christine Pearce, Ann Wootton ( I think) Karen Rhead, Susan Sunderland and Patricia Morris.

Kim Parry, Sue Whittaker , Kim Taylor, Karen Slatter, me Gail Pemberton, Joy Middleton, Sue Teece and Wendy ?

Please fill in the missing ones.

Another photo must have been taken because a lot missing from my year.

Happy Days!

So get to it – what do you remember? Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or buttonhole me on social media.

Thanks to Gail for a gorgeous pair of images that are bound to be very popular indeed.

Ogley Hay Juniors, thought to be around 1969. Image kindly shared by Gail Hughes.

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

If you, the kids or grandkids are at a loose end today, since the weather seems decent and that lockdown is eased, it would be an excellent chance to grab the young ones and nip up to Stubbers Green where you can chat to, and learn all about local wildlife with the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are finally back there this afternoon – and every coming  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!

Ann Lawrence said:

qSwan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Please bring wild bird seed, sweet corn, porridge oats, lettuce, peas, chopped up vegetables, rice etc to feed the birds.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use. Stickers for the children

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

Posted in News | Leave a comment

A journey down the lost canal in pictures

Andy Tidy, otherwise known as the Canal Hunter and creator of the great canal history series on YouTube that I have plugged before here about lost local canals – including our own lost stretch of canal from Ogley Junction to Huddlesford, the Lichfield and Hatherton canal – has published an interesting new video.

This lost line, closed in the 1950s is currently being restored by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust which will eventually rebuild the waterway through Ogley Locks, Summerhill, Wall and Lichfield near to that other newly rejuvenated gem, Sandfields Pumping Station.

Andy Tidy is of course the proprietor of the Jam Butty, a boat selling preserves that will be recognised by anyone attending a local canal event.

At wall, it’s hard to believe the canal came this way, but you can still see the line if you look hard.

The new video is an archive photo tour along the canal, and can be seen below, really bringing the history alive. I commend it, and the rest of Andy’s wonderful work, to readers.

You can find out more about the Canal Hunter series here in my previous post on Ogley Locks.

Andy Tidy has created a wonderful series that I adore, and You can subscribe here – there are already a lot of great episodes, including one on the lost Slough Arm in Brownhills and all about the Black Cock Bridge which I featured previously here.

My congratulations to Andy for a lovely, beautifully produced and informative series of films. I commend you to subscribe.

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Beware – bike theft is a growing problem locally

It’s time, I’m very much afraid, to issue another warning – theft of bikes and ebikes in the Brownhills and wider Walsall area continues to escalate in the wake of the bike boom and  general retail shortage of new machines since lockdown.

Bikes are highly nickable at the moment. Make sure yours is secure. Image from Maya Cycle.

Bikes are in demand right now with the pandemic waning and lockdown relaxation, so are easy to sell sell on the black market, sales sites, etc.

The local police posted the following helpful advice today:

Good afternoon

Lockdown has seen a lot of people dust off their old bike and get back cycling. With a lot of people holidaying at home this year you may well be planning a few bike rides.

We wanted to share our top tips for keeping your bike safe.

Always lock your bike when you leave it – even if it’s only for a few minutes. We would recommend using a D-lock.

Lock it in a busy well-lit area, where lots of people are walking past. Nothing puts off a bike thief as much as an audience!

When at home it’s safer to lock your bike in a garage or shed or keep it indoors rather than leave it in the garden.

There are more tips on our website if you need them https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/your-options/cycle-theft

We wish you a safe staycation and hope for some lovely weather.

Please ensure you lock all your outbuildings, and secure your premises as best you can. Don’t leave valuables on view in cars, and make sure anything that could be used in a burglary – ladders, garden tools etc. – is securely stowed away.

There are some good security tips for sheds and outbuildings at this page here and yet more at this link here. The most important tip I think is not just to lock your bike in the shed, but use a bike lock when it’s in there: Preferably to a ground anchor, but if not to something that will be hard or noisy to separate it from. It won’t stop a determined, professional thief but could alert you to the local opportunistic neds.

Get a decent lock too for when out and about. Tips on those and how to use them properly can be found here.

If you’re offered a cheap bike, tools, car stereo equipment or gardening kit, 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 on the recent spate of thefts is urged to contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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

Why not stay at home Wednesday and meet Walsall Humanists in your lounge?

Here’s a quick plug for Lichfield, Walsall and South Staffordshire Humanists – a philosophical debating group – who have their quarterly meeting this Wednesday 15th July 2020 at your home! They are trying this time, since Coronavirus restrictions mean they can’t meet in the usual pub, a videoconference on Zoom instead.

The meeting kicks off at 7:45pm and goes on until about 9:45pm.

Old pal of the blog, Charles Street let me know about the group and their meeting schedule a while back, and this video meet-up looks like fun! Also don’t forget the fact that’s it’s completely free to attend.

If you’re interested in philosophy, the nature of what we believe and accept, this could be a great evening with like minded people. Without leaving your house!

The group said said:

Hello All
As using video conferencing it is so easy to do. You can hold an on-line meeting in the time that it takes you to get to a physical meeting.
So on 15th July we shall be holding our next on line meeting.
General consensus is to do this even after whichever year lockdown ceases.
This will be a Zoom Video Conference. By now we should all be experts at this.
I am advised with the system that we have that we can have a meeting for up to 100 for 40 minutes.
Sometimes the system allows a first meeting to continue past the time. However the other option is to schedule another meeting immediately afterwards.
So here is the plan.
We will meet at 7:45 pm British Summer Time. Wednesday 15th July. I mention BST in case, this time, any of our overseas friends choose to join us.
Then at 8:35 we will schedule another meeting and continue.
If you want to participate, if you haven’t already done so, please download the Zoom Communications app.
After setting up Room, please contact us on the following email address:  lichfieldhumanists@live.co.uk so we know who to send invites to with the relevant entry code and password. If there are any topics that anyone would like to discuss please mention that too.

The Lichfield Walsall and South Staffordshire Humanist Group LWASS meeting. 

3rd Wednesday meeting every quarter for those interested in Humanism, Atheism, Secularism and related subject areas.
We meet on the 3rd Wednesday every quarter January April July and October at 7:45 pm ish until 9:45 pm ish for those interested in Humanism and related matters.
However if you are enjoying the debate you can stay until  closing time if you like  Zoom boots us off
Venue: Your Home where we are all staying.
The Walsall Arms – 17 Bank Street, WS1 2EP
Humanists UK can be explored at https://humanism.org.uk/

Humanism is a comprehensive life stance that upholds human reason, ethics, and justice, and rejects supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition.

If you would like to know more about Humanism the following link may be a good place to start.

If you tune in to the meeting please drop me the word and tell me how you got on – the Humanists have a whole bunch of stuff going on and their website above is worth a look: I’ve always been a big fan of Birmingham Sceptics in the Pub who post some very interesting, thought provoking stuff on social media.

Tell me more: Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my coat on the antisocial media.

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Elementary my dear Watson…

Postcard view of the Grove Colliery, from whence Grove Cottages were probably names. Image from the book ‘Brownhills and Walsall Wood on old picture postcards’ by Jan Farrow.

While I’m busy today, here’s an interesting family history enquiry from Jo Clifford, who’s tracing her family which seems focussed on the Pelsall area – and I know we have lots of the Pelsall Contingent in.

Jo wrote:

Dear Bob,

I’ve been researching my family history (which is centred, for generations, around Pelsall, Bloxwich and Shelfield) and, during the course of my investigations, I came across your blog. I am not sure if it actually covers the areas I’ve mentioned exactly but I found the parts about the history of the area completely fascinating all the same.

I know it is a long shot but I wondered if you, or any of your contributors, know anything about the Watson family that were registered as living in Watson’s Lane in Pelsall in the 1901 census, at Wolverhampton Road in 1911 and at The Grove Cottages, Norton Road, Pelsall in 19030 [sic – think that’s 1930 – Bob] probate documents. The head of the family was an Enoch Watson who was a coal miner. His wife was Clara Jane.

They had many children but my direct ancestors were Harry Watson and his wife Edith (nee Nicholls) who lived at Irene Villa, Green Lane, Shelfield in 1911. Harry was a solicitors clerk at Enoch Evans & Son in Walsall (I think his boss Enoch Evans was once Mayor of Walsall and Harry was a pallbearer at Enoch’s funeral). Edith is sometimes listed as a school teacher and their children, Harry Charles, Madeline, Donald Eric (I believe Donald may have once been struck by lightning and suffered an injury that led to him dying of diabetes in 1929 but I am not sure if this is true), Joan Edith and Jean Yvonne.

Harry was my great grandfather but I know almost nothing about him.

Apologies if your expertise doesn’t cover this area but I live in Suffolk and don’t know your part of the UK at all (yet).

Many thanks, in advance, for any info you may have or any direction you could point me in.

All the best,
Jo Clifford

If you can help, please do – and thanks to Jo for a fab enquiry. Please comment here, seek me out on social media or even email on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers all!

Posted in News | 13 Comments

In good Stead

As you know I’m very into local industrial history here on the blog, and there’s an area of it that has not received much coverage since the sad death of grandfather of all Walsall local history, Jack Haddock.

Image from Grace’s Industrial Guide.

I am of course talking about Birchills and North Walsall. There were many industries here as I’ve addressed more than a few times on the blog – from iron and glue works, to the canal, to the now long passed power station. All employed large numbers of people and helped make Walsall prosperous.

One such factory was Talbot Stead tubes, latterly TI Stainless, then Stirling Tubes. This was a large tube mill on the Green Lane in Walsall, heading to Bloxwich, where TK Maxx’s operation is today. It was almost opposite the South Staffordshire Waterworks HQ.

The works closed in 2001 and was razed soon afterward.

A rather odd promotional video for Sterling Tubes from the 1980s, I’d have said. 

I have covered Talbot Stead before, and always appealed for more information; thankfully a kind man called Peter Miller got in touch recently to share the material he gathered from his father who worked there in the golden years of the plant.

I’t a joy and an honour to share material of this quality, especially at the moment when so little work seems to be. going on into recent industrial history of Walsall. I thank Peter from the bottom of my heart.

If you have anything to add, please do: Comment on this post, you can mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com of wake me up with a loud ‘Hey you!’ on social media.

Without further ado, I’ll let Peter tell the story.

Peter Miller wrote:

Hi all.

My name is Peter Miller.  I live in the Chase Terrace area but originally from Leamore, Walsall.

I was looking through Bob’s blog (which I have done many times) and noticed a post about Talbot Steads in Green Lane, Walsall.  The post date was August 8th 2013.

Myself, I know it as Talbot Steads but also as a place my dad worked at, Tube Investments and TI Chesterfield.

I worked partly over the road at the once TI Sunhouse, their other TI Sunhouse factory was in New Road, Walsall, behind the church at the top of the market.  That is where I started my apprenticeship in 1979.

Anyway, back to Talbot Steads. My dad James (Dusty) Miller worked there for almost 25 years, his employment starting on the 21st June 1947 and terminating on 30th October 1971.  He retired at the age of 61 on the grounds of ill health, although he manged to attain the grand old age of 98.

So, he was one year off getting his gold watch but sadly the company would not give him this even after all his hard work and reaching the status of Stockyard Foreman.  He did, however, get some pots and pans for my mom.

My dad, like me, kept a lot of memorabilia, this amongst his other life memorabilia has been carefully stored in my loft since 2008 (this being the year he departed this world).  So, we can calculate he was born in 1910.  He was in fact born in Sunderland and married a Leamore lass (my mom).

Having seen the post on BHB, I contacted Bob and asked him if he would like a copy of this memorabilia, he told me he was really interested.  I sent him copies and mentioned I could do a short write up to complement the images.

So, without further ado, let’s get onto the memorabilia.

What’s included:

  • Pension Documents (Personal info removed)
  • Various booklets (E.G. Work’s handbook, rules etc)
  • Plastic circular conversion tables
  • TI Stainless Tubes Monthly Magazine (October 1966)
  • An Old wage packet
  • Life assurance and general pension documents
  • Calculation of redundancy payment
  • A second calculation of redundancy payment for me as a comparison to my dad’s (This will become apparent in explanation)
  • I have also included a newspaper cutting about Paul Wellings who was killed in an accident at Talbot Steads. Paul was related to me through a marriage.
  • A Walsall Observer newspaper cutting of an article referring to my dad who sent in a photo of a Talbot Steads work outing taken in 1926

Pension Documents:

Illustrates documentation for the General Staff Pension and Life Assurance Scheme.  At the time of leaving Talbot Steads my dad was only on £25 Per week after a service of 24 years.  Not the best paid job in the world, don’t know how he manged to look after his wife and 2 young sones aged 7 and 8

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Various Booklets:

Here we can see a rule book, a works handbook, a Talbot Stead handbook and a Forman’s guide to national agreements which has some names written in the back which may be familiar to someone.  I believe J Whitehouse refers to my mom’s cousin.  There was also a Derek Whitehouse who worked under my dad, he was my mom’s nephew. Apparently and unfortunately for him, he was sacked by my dad for misconduct.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Plastic Circular Conversion Tables:

These days we just google but this was not available all those years ago.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

 

TI Stainless Tubes monthly magazine:

Here we have the monthly magazine for October 1966. There are a few articles and names that someone may be familiar with.

On the rear cover are two photos from a monthly photo competition.  The two boys eating ice cream are myself and my brother, the photo was taken by my dad.  The photo was the competition winner but it was in joint place with another.  I wonder what became of the little girl.

The articles mentioned are company news, general activity, production, staff reduction, skills transfer, quality control, diary with upcoming appointments, news of a wedding and sports pages.

You can download a searchable PDF version by clicking here, or use the gallery below.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

An old wage packet:

Not sure of the date of this wage packet, possibly, late 70’s, I think.  As a Stockyard Foreman, my dad was not on a great deal of money. So, looks like he was on 20 pounds and 10 shillings.

I remember talking to kids at school, as you did and asking what their dad’s were on, one lad said 50 pounds a week as his dad was a lorry driver, that sort of thing sticks with me.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Life assurance and general pension documents:

Next up are 3 documents relating to a life assurance scheme and the general staff pension scheme.  These documents relate back to the 40’s and 50’s and have kept in reasonably good condition.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Calculation of redundancy payments:

Here is an interesting comparison referring to redundancy and severance payments.  My dad asked for early retirement on the grounds of ill health.  He had suffered bronchitis for many years and was also affected by the results of shrapnel wounds from his activity in WWII (That is another story).

After 24 years the company offered him redundancy (with no gold watch). I imagine this was to stop his pension kicking in until the correct start date.  In the end my dad had to accept this and accepted redundancy in 1971.

His payment for this was £720.

As mentioned earlier, I worked for TI Sunhouse.  This is where I started my toolmaking apprenticeship.  Unfortunately, after just over a year the company went into administration.  For this I was paid £656 severance pay at age 17.

£720 for 24 years service against £656 for 18 months service must have felt like a kick in the teeth for my dad.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

In addition to the documents, here are some photos.  First two show my dad in the stockyard and the second two show him with the spoils of his redundancy.

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Dad (James Miller) on the right. Fred Crump (on the left) 1963

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

1960. Talbot Stead stockyard. Dad, back row second from the left with Fred Crump to his right. Others unknown.

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Retirement 1971

Retirement 1971 (DIY stuff and pots and pans)

Additional Memorabilia:

Factories can be dangerous places to work and accidents can and do often happen.  You may have heard about the incident at Talbot Steads in 1957 when two people were killed at the factory after being overcome by fumes trying to save some factory workmates.  The name of one of those people was Paul W Wellings.

He was actually related to me through marriage as he married my mom’s cousin Edna Constance Jones.

The photo below is one that was supplied to a local newspaper by my dad.  It shows Paul Wellings as an ARP, photograph taken during the war in the 40’s.  My grandad William (Bill) Fellows is also shown, front row, left.

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

The second photo shows 38 Former employees of TI Chesterfield, Walsall, trip to Blackpool to lobby trade union leaders to increase pensions, dated 2nd September 1973.  My dad is shown centre holding a newspaper.

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

The third photo was also supplied to a local newspaper (The Walsall Observer) by my dad and shows a Talbot Steads works outing in 1926.

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

If anyone has any information with reference to people in the various photographs this would be most appreciated.

Posted in News | 11 Comments

A heartfelt happy birthday to Aer Reg!

 

Aer Reg contemplating the unveiling of the refurbished George Fullelove Memorial Shelter at The Parade, Brownhills. Image Kindly supplied by David Evans.

Today, Thursday 25th June 2020), is a very important date for one of the foremost members of this little online community: Happy (belated) birthday to the Grandfather of the Brownhills Blog, Reg ‘Aer Reg’ Fullelove, now resident in Norton but a Brownhills lad through and through – and 90 years old today!

Reg is a wonderful local historian, poet and community elder, and his comments on the blog have their own cult following and we all love every one. But more than that Reg has donated over the years a huge amount of meterial, from films like this one of the 1934 Brownhills Carnival that opened up the remarkable history of Edgar Pritchard, to photos of old times, to local ephemera, great tales of his youth and of course, his brilliant poetry.

Happy Birthday old lad, you’re a star and the blog would not be what it is today without you.

All of us here look up to you, and I can’t think of a better Grandfather the blog could have – but you’re not just that, you’re a most excellent friend to us all, too.

Posted in News | 16 Comments

Some mystery Brownhills photos, Walsall Wood Cricket team and young Violin wranglers – a photo special!

I’ve had some terrific photo submissions for the blog in recent weeks and also some great articles in the bag – including a mammoth one that’s very special indeed from old pal Ian Bourne. Sorry updates and new material is limited at the moment: I have not given up but with the wider state of things at the moment I’m working very long hours on a number of occupational projects and my time is sadly limited. I had hope things would slow up by now, but it seems not.

Anyway, here’s a couple of remarkable images beautifully scanned by reader Jean Willey, and a bit of a mystery set from reader Carole Roper.

Walsall Woos School violin class, 1953/4. A great photo with some great faces in it. I’m particularly intrigued by the three girls on the right of the middle row. They look like real characters, I must say – but such a happy picture all around.  See text for some names. Image kindly supplied by Jean Willey.

Hello Brownhills Bob

Can you make use of these?

The first photo is of of Walsall Wood school violin class, 1953, teacher Miss Tann.

Top row – 2nd person Dennis?  3rd person Jean Ensor, 6th Glyn Evans, 7th Miss Tann.

 2nd row – 1st Christine Mansell, 6th Sheila Pratt.

3rd row – 4th Hilary?   5th Andrew?  7th Glenda Fulilove.

Bottom row – 5th Arthur?

The second photo is of members of Walsall Wood Cricket Club, around 1948/50ish. First person top row is George Cresswell and 4th person bottom row is Jack (John William) Ensor.

Update: I think I could be 10 years out with the date of the Cricket club photo. The appearance of my dad, he has a full head of hair! And looking at his 1940 marriage photos, leads me to believe that the date was more likely 1938.

[From the clothing to the gents on the left I would agree – Bob]

Perhaps others can fill in the rest of the names?

Regards
Jean Willey (nee Ensor)

Walsall Wood Cricket Club – date in question – some great local faces here. I also welcome opinions on if this photo is local, and if so, where taken? See text for some names. Image kindly supplied by Jean Willey.

Thanks to Jean for two bits of WalsallW good local history gold there – so very much appreciated.

Secondly, I have four images which are sadly a bit compressed from reader Carole Roper, which nonetheless I hope can great a debate.

I feature them below:

Carole said:

Hello

I was brought up in Brownhills and have just been looking at some old family photos I found in an envelope marked old Brownhills photos.

I know one is of the rising Sun pub. Not sure where others are. I thought maybe you or your readers might be interested.

I do have a few more also.

Regards
Carole Roper

Well, I know the upper right is the Rising Sun – I’d know those gables anywhere, but the rest have the better of me. Can you help at all?

And Carole – I welcome any images. Thanks so much. Please send any you have, and thanks for your generosity!

It’s submissions that keep the blog going, and thanks for every one. Please be patient with me while this strange time passes. If I don’t stop work soon I’ll drop with exhaustion…

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

Thanks to all!

Posted in News | 26 Comments

Can you help Ray find an old workmate, please?

Just had this interesting enquiry from Ray Hart, who’s looking for a former workmate who lived at least for a time in the high rise blocks in Brownhills, and worked at Hardy Spicer (Now GKN Driveline) in Erdington, near Castle Bromwich.

Hardy Spicer in the old days, as maybe Ray would remember it. Image found on Pinterest.

I’ll let Ray explain:

Good afternoon Bob.

I’m searching for a very old pal of mine Ray Fryer.

Ray and I worked together at Hardy Spicer in Erdington circa 1962, at the time Ray and his wife lived Lozells. In 1967 I think? They lived in one of those blocks of flats on the left as you drove into Brownhills from Birmingham. Waine, Bayley & Humphries Houses.

There’s no problem at all. I’m sure many of us have been having a good sort out as a result of Covid 19. During one such sort, I came across some photo’s of Ray and his toddler daughter playing with my toddler son, in our garden taken in the summer of 1967.

Like me he would be in his mid seventies. It would be brilliant to meet him again, and of course, give him the photographs.

Look forward to any info my may be able come by.

Many thanks
Ray Hart

Did you know Ray Fryer or his family? I don’t recognise the name, but I do know many people in the Brownhills and wider area worked at Hardy Spicer so I think we have a good chance of reuniting old workmates here.

If you can help, please do. If you know anything, please mail me, preferably on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com and I’ll hook you up.

Hardy Spicer – now GKN Driveline – was just a quick hop down the Chester Road from Brownhills and id still a large employer of local people. Imagery from Apple Maps.

 

You can comment on this post too, but obviously I may have to edit any personal info posted, but will pass it on.

Thanks to Ray for a lovely enquiry and I wish him luck in his search.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Abnormal load likely to cause traffic issues in Brownhills this week

An important one here from Staffordshire Police who are warning that a large, abnormal load is coming through Staffordshire and through Brownhills this week.

The load is a 40-metre oxygen tank being transported from Cheshire to Warwickshire.

Tanks for the tipoff: Image from Staffordshire Police.

The tank will progress through the county of Staffordshire over five days in total, but dips into the West Midlands on Thursday when it will traverse the Watling Street and Chester Road in Brownhills, from where it will got to Four Oaks and back to the A5. That’s a long way to avoid a railway bridge!

This is the first of four similar loads in coming weeks. I’d ask for people’s patience and welcome any photos of this remarkable load readers would like to share – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

This kind of work is exactly what we need to get the country moving again. so best wishes to all involved.

Staffordshire Police wrote:

Warning to motorists as police set to escort large oxygen tank through county

Police are warning motorists of likely delays and diversions next week as officers help escort a large, medical grade oxygen tank through the county.

The tank – which is empty, 40 metres long and 6.5 metres in diameter – will be picked up on Monday 15 June and will make its way from the Cheshire border through areas including Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stone, Stafford, Rugeley, Cannock, Brownhills and Shenstone – finishing up in Warwickshire on Friday 19 June.

This is the first of four similar pick-ups over the next six weeks and we’ll be working with tree cutters and BT telephone engineers to ensure the load fits under trees and cables throughout the journey.

The full route:

Monday 15th June, Day 1:

  • At roundabout, turn right onto A34 in Congleton
  • Turn left onto A34 at Talke
  • Continue on A34 through 4 roundabouts
  • At roundabout, turn left onto A52 in Newcastle under Lyme
  • At roundabout, turn right onto A527
  • At roundabout, turn left onto A34.

Day 1 stops at Strongford

Tuesday 16th June, Day 2:

  • Continue on A34 through 9 roundabouts

    End of Day 2 at RedHill

Wednesday 17th June, Day 3:

  • At roundabout, turn left onto A513 Beaconside
  • At roundabout, turn right onto A518 Weston Rd
  • At roundabout, turn left onto A34 Queensway in Stafford
  • At roundabout, turn left onto A34 Lichfield Rd
  • At roundabout, continue on A34 Queensville
  • At mini roundabout, turn left onto A513 Weeping Cross
  • At double roundabout, turn right onto A51 in Woseley Bridge
  • At roundabout, turn left onto A51
  • At roundabout, turn right onto B5013 Station Rd in Rugeley
  • At double mini roundabout in Rugeley, continue on B5013
  • At roundabout, continue straight onto A460 Hednesford Rd
  • Continue on A460 through 10 roundabouts to Cannock

    End of Day 3 Great Wyrley

Thursday 18th June, Day 4:

  • At roundabout, continue straight onto A5 Watling Street
  • Continue on A5 through 1 roundabout
  • At roundabout, turn right onto A452 Chester Rd at Brownhills
  • Continue through 1 roundabout
  • At roundabout, turn left A454 Aldridge Road
  • At roundabout, turn left at Four Oaks Station onto A5127 Lichfield Road all the way back up to the A5
  • At roundabout, turn right onto A5
  • At roundabout, exit onto Roman Rd/Watling Street through Hints

    Day 4 Stops half way along Watling St

Friday 18th June, Day 5:

  • At roundabout, in Fazeley, turn right onto A4091

You can keep up to date with the movements on Twitter via @Tactical_Police.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

A token of my curiosity

Here’s a quick one for a Sunday afternoon – reader Elaine Griffiths has sent me the below image of a token that’s been dug up in a Norton Canes garden.

A curious find dug up in a local garden: But what was the Pelsall March? Image kindly sent in by Elaine Griffiths.

The question is simple: What is it, and what does it commemorate?

It bears the legend ‘Pelsall March 1906’ I think, but that could be 1900 or 1908. It’s a heart-shaped double pierced token, and from the green staining possibly brass or copper.

Anyone got any ideas? A quick Google threw up nothing.

I know there were lots of church and chapel related parades in the period, but I don’t think I’ve seen a token like this before.

Any ideas? Please do shout up: Either comment on this post, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or whisper in my ear on social media.

Cheers to Elaine for a great enquiry!

 

Posted in News | 4 Comments

A hundred years apart: Way out west of here…

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Old friend of the blog Ian Broad has been in touch again to continue his series of hundred years apart photos – this is the eighth set – he’s creating as part of his lockdown exercise bike rides.

This set are from a place to the west of here most readers will know well – where do you recognise? I think these are easy this week!

The first three images be seen in this post here, the second set can be seen here and the third wonderful set can be seen here. A couple of weeks ago, the fourth set also caused a lot of debate on social media and the fifth set covered some great pubs. The sixth set last weekend was a good talking point, too. Ian’s seventh set here of notable junctions was a hit too.

These brilliant images have caused quite the stir – a wonderfully popular project from a great blog contributor.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

Jill Manchester did this with great success a few years ago in Walsall Wood.

As usual, I shan’t identify locations, I’ll let readers work them out…

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Thanks to Ian for another great post and very thought provoking set of images, and if you have any views on this wonderful work, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Beware – bike thefts from garages and sheds occurring locally again

It’s time, I’m very much afraid, to issue another warning – it seems local burglars are at it again – In the last few weeks there have been a number of break-ins to sheds and outbuildings in the Brownhills and wider Walsall area targeting in particular pedal bikes and eBikes.

Bikes are highly nickable at the moment. Make sure yours is secure. Image from Maya Cycle.

Bikes are in demand right now with the pandemic waning and lockdown relaxation, so are easy to sell sell on the black market, sales sites, etc.

The local police posted the following warning last week:

Good afternoon

We have noticed an increase in the reports of theft of pedal cycles from sheds, garages and other outbuildings over recent weeks, particularly in the Bloxwich area of the borough.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind residents to review the security of your outbuildings. In many cases outbuildings are extremely vulnerable to crime and are often out of view, especially at night, or at the bottom of the garden. The security of these buildings is often overlooked, however many residents keep expensive bikes and tools in them without considering the security and vulnerability of the shed or building.

Please ensure you lock all your outbuildings, and secure your premises as best you can. Don’t leave valuables on view in cars, and make sure anything that could be used in a burglary – ladders, garden tools etc. – is securely stowed away.

There are some good security tips for sheds and outbuildings at this page here and yet more at this link here. The most important tip I think is not just to lock your bike in the shed, but use a bike lock when it’s in there: Preferably to a ground anchor, but if not to something that will be hard or noisy to separate it from. It won’t stop a determined, professional thief but could alert you to the local opportunistic neds.

Get a decent lock too for when out and about. Tips on those and how to use them properly can be found here.

If you’re offered a cheap bike, tools, car stereo equipment or gardening kit, 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 on the recent spate of thefts is urged to contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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

Can you identify this mystery cottage?

Image of a cottage once in Hall Lane, courtesy of Colin White.

Here’s a fascinating one that’s literally just come in: Aldridge history buff and genealogist Colin White posted this picture this afternoon, found in his family effects, and asked where it stood.

Colin believes this image was where his wife’s family lived in Hall Lane and thinks the image dates from 1900.

The cottage bears the number 237 and that is, I think, a clue: The canal cottages at the Black Cock end of the lane still bear their canal plaques 238 and 239, despite having street numbers of 178 and 180.

I think it’s possible this cottage was adjacent to the right of these two:

Imagery and mapping embedded from Google Maps/Streetview.

Colin added:

My wife’s great grandparents resided in hall lane early 1911 and we discovered this photo.

I think it still stood in 1921 looking forward to the next census info!

I believe hat my wife’s great grandmother died in 1936 living in Hall Lane number 140 by then so the cottage may have come down by that time not sure ?

My question is simple: Can you help Colin with more info about this house? Do you remember it, or know when it came down? Do you remember number 140, which seems to have been replaced ivy modern housing in the 60s or 70s?

David Evans recalls a Snail Bank Cottage being in the Hall Lane area: Was this it?

If you can help, please do get in touch. Either comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my coat on Social Media.

Cheers to Colin for a great photo and very intriguing enquiry.

 

 

Posted in News | 8 Comments

A hundred years apart: Up the junction

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Old friend of the blog Ian Broad has been in touch again to continue his series of hundred years apart photos – this is the seventh set – he’s creating as part of his lockdown exercise bike rides.

This set are from some notable local junctions – where do you recognise? I think a couple of these are quite hard.

The first three images be seen in this post here, the second set can be seen here and the third wonderful set can be seen here. A couple of weeks ago, the fourth set also caused a lot of debate on social media and the fifth set last week covered some great pubs. The sixth set last weekend was a good talking point, too.

These brilliant images have caused quite the stir – a wonderfully popular project from a great blog contributor.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

Jill Manchester did this with great success a few years ago in Walsall Wood.

As usual, I shan’t identify locations, I’ll let readers work them out…

Thanks to Ian for another great post and very thought provoking set of images, and if you have any views on this wonderful work, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Posted in News | 7 Comments

I live where it’s grey: A mystery image surfaces

The image is definitely Brownhills, and I’m 95% sure of where it was taken. But what do you think? Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reece via David Evans. Click for a larger version.

A quick one as I’m busy at work right now but here’s a puzzle from the immense and popular Gerald Reece collection I’d like reader comment upon.

This photo has been found by David Evans in the huge amount of material donated to the blog by Gerald. It is of Brownhills, and would be in the postwar: I’m 95% sure I know where it was taken from and that would make it unique and remarkable.

What I can’t make out is the writing on the back, which obliquely, doesn’t tally but is kind of related to the same area, in my opinion.

What do you think? My query is that simple! Where is it and what’s the note on the back about? If you have any thoughts on this2, please do share them – comment here, find me on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

I thank Gerald and David for yet another remarkable find – you are a very wonderful and generous gentlemen.

The rear of the mystery image says: ‘Gibson, Block 7. Safety Equipment. Bhills 1949.’ Now, I can think of a reference to Block 7 in Brownhills history, and in this probably area: but this doesn’t tie up if 1949 is a date. It may, however, be a phone number. Any ideas? Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reed via the wonderful David Evans.

The donor of this remarkable image, Gerald Reece is of course a talented and superlative local historian, now resident in Devon, who wrote the seminal work ‘Brownhills – A walk into history’ upon which this blog stands.

Gerald and Cherry Reece: on whose shoulders all my work here stands. Image kindly supplied by David Evans.
Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

New allotments for Brownhills and Chasetown – what do you think?

Hey folks – a couple of weeks ago I featured an article prompted by an email from Declan Hammonds of Sewell Hammods Group who have purchased a site near Chasewater that was for many years occupied by a sewage works. It sits on the area of land between the canal and Chasetown Bypass/M6 Toll interchange, in an area sometimes referred to as ‘The Sandhills’.

I’ve tried finding a web presence for Brownhills Allotment Society mentioned on the flyer but can’t find anything, which is curious. They appear to have had a twitter account which was deleted. And contact for them would be useful please.

You can read that post here, which gives the location, or see the foot of this post where I’ve included it again for completeness.

The approximate proposed site. Imagery from Apple Maps.

Declan is fielding views from readers about converting the site into allotments, which seems like a fine idea to me.

Declan wrote to me last week:

Good Afternoon,

I write further to my previous email concerning the former Brownhills Sewage Works in Walsall. We have read with interest your post on the matter and the replies of your readers.

After a number of enquiries into our intentions at the site, we are exploring the possibility of providing allotment gardens. We would be interested in your view/opinions on the matter.

We would also be very keen to hear from your readers as stakeholders in the site, being that many of them probably use the footpath network that crosses it.

Regards
Declan

Declan Hammonds BSc (Hons) MICFor MArborA
Director

So, what do you think? Please do comment here or mail me – comment is probably better here where it’s easier for Declan to find than on social media.

Cheers all, and thanks to Declan for being so considerate.

I originally posted:

1938 1:2,500 ordnance survey plot of Anglesey Wharf overlaid on recent Google Earth imagery. The lost sewage works is circled. Click for a larger version.

An interesting enquiry came in recently from Declan Hammonds, who is interested in the history of a bit of edgeland in Brownhills, between the former Anglesey Wharf and the M6 Toll/Chasetown Bypass interchange that used to contain a sewage works.

The works is marked on some maps as Lichfield Rural District Council, and on others, Brownhills.

Declan asked:

Good Evening,
We have recently purchased the site of the former Brownhills RDC Sewage Works off Whitehorse road in Walsall (over the canal bridge) and wonder if this is the site mentioned and photographed in your blog.
Whilst the land has been purchased through our company, I take great interest in historical land use and wonder if you have any information on when the site last operated or was demolished.
The site has been cleared in its entirety and all that remains of its past is the sign (picture attached) and a few sporadic manhole covers.
Regards
Declan

The sewage works – clearly demolished – as seen in the 1963 NCB aerial survey. Click for a larger version. Image courtesy of Lichfield District Council.

The facility seems to have been gone by 1963, when the NCB did their aerial survey of the area – this above shows the adjacent sand quarry growing and what appears to be the remains of the circular filter beds on the ground.

If I’m honest, I’m unclear whose sewage this installation would have been filtering unless there was a sewer under the canal, but I’d say it discharged into the nearby Crane Brook. The White Horse Estate doesn’t seem to have grown until after the plant’s demise.

This 1962 1:1250 Ordnance Survey excerpt shows the sewage works expanded and still functional – but this will have been exhibiting mapping lag so it wasn’t necessarily there in 1962 at all. Click for a larger version.

Can anyone help please? It’s a really good question and a local feature I’d noted before but not really thought about. There has been some discussion of this in the past, but nothing solid. As it were.

If you can help, please do: Comment on this post, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tap my window on social media. Cheers to Declan for a really interesting enquiry.

The only remnant? Image kindly supplied by Declan Hammonds.

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A hundred years apart: Meet me on the street

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Old friend of the blog Ian Broad has been in touch again to continue his series of hundred years apart photos – this is the sixth set – he’s creating as part of his lockdown exercise bike rides.

This set are from the more southerly e and of town – where do you recognise? Not too hard this week…

The first three images be seen in this post here, the second set can be seen here and the third wonderful set can be seen here. A couple of weeks ago, the fourth set also caused a lot of debate on social media and the fifth set last week covered some great pubs.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

These brilliant images have caused quite the stir – a wonderfully popular project from a great blog contributor.

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

Jill Manchester did this with great success a few years ago in Walsall Wood.

As usual, I shan’t identify locations, I’ll let readers work them out…

Thanks to Ian for another great post and very thought provoking set of images, and if you have any views on this wonderful work, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

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The demolition of a much loved local

I thought I’d continue sharing the hugely popular run of archive images today from the immense Gerald Reece collection. This set is a remarkable set I had no idea existed of the legendary pub ‘The Sportsman’, formerly The Huntsman, and before that Brownhills Working Mens Club [Not Ogley as I originally asserted, sorry – Bob] – being demolished.

This would I think be early to mid 1990s. It was replaced by Smithys Forge pub.

These images have been scanned by David Evans from Gerald’s material recently donated to the blog, and shows the loss of an very much loved, if frankly ugly, local icon.

I thank Gerald and David for yet another remarkable set – you are a very wonderful and generous gentlemen.

The donor of these remarkable images, Gerald Reece is of course a talented and superlative local historian, indeed now resident in Devon, who wrote the seminal work ‘Brownhills – A walk into history’ upon which this blog stands.

What do you recall from this gallery? 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.

Gerald and Cherry Reece: on whose shoulders all my work here stands. Image kindly supplied by David Evans.
Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Ogley Hay May Day 1952-3: A historical Staple!

Images kindly supplied by Elizabeth Staples. Click for larger versions.

In the last couple of weeks old friend of the blog Elizabeth Staples – mother of the remarkably talented Mark Staples who, with others, created the 1880s Brownhills local history book whilst still at school – has posted the above gallery of Ogley Hay Infants School’s May Day celebrations from 1952/3.

This is a wonderful set, a little different to the many May Day pictures we’ve had before: Rather than the usual posed class photos – which are always excellent, but in a different way – these show a school busy and having fun, and really convey the spirit of the event, the same way that the gym photos shared by Dawn Hayton a couple of years ago did. There are real gems to be found in the detail.

Apart from the school and year, I have no information, so get to it – what do you remember? Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or buttonhole me on social media.

Thanks to Elizabeth for a gorgeous set that is bound to be very popular indeed.

I include Dawn Hayton original set below, for further memory jogging!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reports of bogus workmen preying on local elderly: Please warn your friends!

I note with concern that the bogus workmen touting for gutter clearances and gardening and then bullying victims to pay an inflated bill are once again in operation and targeting the local elderly folk.

Picture from Police Scotland.

I have seen several reports in the last week in the Burntwood, Brownhills and Norton areas of this chancers door knocking and being  intimidating. 

Never take on gardeners or workpeople do do jobs on your property in response to a knock at the door. Always use reputable, known traders and get quotes beforehand. 

Please tell your relatives and neighbours about these scammers, and impress upon them how important it is not to be menaced into buying, or giving money for services  at the door, no matter how plausible the people demanding cash are. 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, fence repairs, tree pruning etc., and that if they are at all unsure of any caller, to close the door and contact the police.

Scumbags preying on the elderly and vulnerable are lower than a snake’s knees.

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

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

Time to be careful around the local deer, please…

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

I need to alert readers if possible to the issue of the local deer population at the moment, many of whom will be giving birth or nurturing this season’s young – last year a concerned local came across a newly born fawn on Brownhills Common and was challenged by the mother.

They can be very aggressive in protection of their offspring.

The man who made the discovery was concerned for the health of the fawn and called rangers and the RSPCA – who judged that the fawn was fine and should be left alone.

If you are concerned for the health or other aspects of a deer, you can call the police on 101 who will contact the on call ranger for help. But fawns should be left – nature will take its course.

If there’s been a serious traffic collision, of course dial 999.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks, all.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Cannock Chase, Chasewater, Clayhanger stuff, cycling, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A further sad update from New Hall Mill

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

Yesterday, I had another sad update from Alan Dawson about New Hall Mill, that fabulous historic gem of a working watermill just down the road near Sutton Coldfield.

Regular readers will know well I always plug their events and am a keen supporter of what they’re doing.

So it’s very sad, but of course, totally understandable that the Friends of New Hall Mill have now decided to keep the attraction closed throughout 2020 and hope to open again in May of next year.

One of my favourite things about curating the blog in summer is knowing I can direct a healthy flow of interested folk to great, otherwise hidden local attractions like New Hall Mill. I love the place and adore getting them better known – the mill is gorgeous and so quintessentially English it’s impossible not to love.

To see it closed for a whole year fills me with sadness.

This is absolutely the correct action, but by jove, I’ll miss these folk and their events.

Alan Dawson, on behalf of The Friends of New Hall Mill, said:

Hi Bob

              New Hall Mill – Coronavirus Update

I hope that you are well and keeping yourself socially distanced from others during these horrendous times.

As I have previously indicated – We are aware of the interest that your blog creates, many visitors to the mill indicating that their attendance was the result of your promoting the open days, for which we are immensely grateful.

Could you please post the following updated information on your blog?

NEW HALL MILL – Unfortunately, we have to report that New Hall Mill will not be open to visitors during 2020. This decision has not been taken lightly as we know how much pleasure is gained by both visitors and ourselves.

We cannot open the site owing to very important Health and Safety issues –

  1. Many of our volunteers fall into the “At Risk” category, we had already received notifications that a number would not be available for attendance on open days this year due to the pandemic.
  1. It is impossible to be “Socially Distant” in the Mill, Tea Room & Gift Shop.

The Health and Well Being of our volunteers, event exhibitors and the public has to be our number one priority during these unprecedented  times.

We hope that readers understand our situation. We expect to reopen in May 2021 and look forward to seeing you then.

Our Face Book page NEW HALL MILL will post updates throughout our closed period.

Many thanks in anticipation, Best wishes from New Hall Valley

Alan Dawson – A friend of New Hall Mill

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

Obviously, I would imagine the same goes for similar attractions locally like Balleny Green miniature railway at Little Hay, Clay Mills pumping station near Burton, Klondyke Mill at Draycott and so forth.

This is so very sad but I will be so ready to welcome them all back when this strange time passes. My best wishes to Alan and all at New Hall Mill, and to all those volunteers, organisers and grafters who put events on and now find themselves oddly spare for a season.

My sympathies. See you on the other side.

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

Walsall tips to reopen with limited operations – but please be patient!

On your marks – get set – and toss! Image from Walsall Council.

An important note here to point out that Walsall Council’s tips – known as Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) reopen today, Saturday 16th May 2020 following their closure during the coronavirus pandemic in line with government guidelines that declared tip runs were not ‘essential journeys’.

Readers will find all the relevant information below and SHOULD BE PREPARED TO QUEUE. Strict social distancing will be enforced, and the actual waste that can be accepted is limited, again by government instruction. Traffic will not be allowed to enter Merchants Way in Aldridge from Snubbers Green Road.

You can find out all you need to know in the details below, on the council’s Bins and Things site by clicking here  and Facebook group by clicking here.

If your trip can be left until another day, for heaven’s sake leave it a while. It’s going to be hellish.

Remember, however angry you get, this is going to be very busy indeed, and the staff manning the sites, marshalling queues and manning social media are just humans, doing a job. Give them a break and be polite, please.

Council officers are so concerned you know the regulations, they’ve created a video for you starring Mike ‘Blofeld’ Bird to chivvy you through it. I notice the famous charm has never waned.

Note also that there are now live webcams so you can see how busy the sites are on the recant HWRC webpage – Merchants Way Aldridge here and Fryers Road Bloxwich here.

Walsall Council said:

 

Walsall tips to reopen with limited operations

From Saturday, 16 May 2020, Walsall Household Waste and Recycling Centres (tips) will reopen with limited operations.

Only essential trips to dispose of waste, or recycling that cannot be stored at home without causing risk of injury, health or harm, are permitted under new government guidelines.

Opening Times from Saturday 16 May 2020:

From Saturday 16 May you will be able to ‘view the queue’ at each site via a live web cam feed at the above links. This will be a live feed and will not be recorded.

Accepted waste

  • Black bags, containing items which can decompose and may cause a hazard to health (excess food waste, nappies, hygiene products, pet waste etc.)
  • Garden waste (grass and hedge cuttings, leaves, weeds, old plants and flowers)
  • Large electrical items (fridges, tumble dryers, televisions etc.)
  • Furniture (three-piece suite, mattress, drawers etc.)

If you bring items we cannot accept you will need to take them back home with you.

Making your way to the sites

Traffic management systems, including a one-way traffic flow, will be in operation at both sites.

Please expect to queue

We expect demand for both sites to be high, so expect to queue when you approach the HWRCs.  Our site operatives will be on hand along the queue to guide you.

Identification and proof of residency

You will need two forms of identification. One must be photo ID (drivers licence, passport, etc.) and the other must show proof of Walsall residency (recent utility bill, current council tax summary). Please remain in your vehicle whilst in the queue, and show your ID through the closed window of your vehicle to HWRC operatives.

Safety and social distancing

Social distancing measures are in place throughout both sites and you need to remain within your marked bay whilst unloading your vehicle.  Bulky items can be left in the marked zone at the side of your bay.  Our operatives will remove them when your vehicle has left.  Please exit the sites using the traffic management guidance and direction from site operatives.

Please note:

  • Journeys to HWRCs must only be undertaken if waste or recycling cannot be stored at home safely or disposed of safely by other means. By this we mean the waste cannot be stored without causing risk of injury, health or harm. No other reason for the journey would be considered a legitimate purpose. If residents can temporarily store waste or recycling in a way that does not pose a risk to their own or others’ safety or human health, they must do so.
  • Residents who are showing symptoms of COVID-19, in a 14-day household isolation or who are vulnerable and remaining at home for shielding purposes should not attend HWRC sites.
  • For households with residents showing COVID-19 symptoms, waste should be left for 72 hours before being double-bagged and brought to the HWRC.
  • New, temporary traffic management arrangements will be in place at both sites and sites will operate on a ‘one car out, one car in’ arrangement, controlled by the staff on site who will direct residents where to park and unload.
  • Residents who travel to HWRCs must remain in their vehicle while queuing to aid with social distancing and must not leave their vehicle until it is necessary to get out.
  • Pedestrians walking in with waste will not be permitted access to the sites.
  • Only one person will be permitted in each car, unless bringing a bulky item that requires two people to unload it or if the person is registered as having a disability and carries an authorised Blue Badge. If two people are required they must be from the same household.
  • Site staff will be unable to offer any assistance with unloading vehicles or carrying items.
  • To comply with social distancing restrictions both sites will be operating with revised layouts, marked with signage and barriers to limit pedestrian movement.
  • Visitors to HWRCs must observe social distancing at all times. Residents who do not comply with social distancing guidance will be asked to leave. If social distancing is not being maintained by visitors, sites may have to close temporarily.
  • Residents bringing items to the site that cannot be accepted will be asked to keep the items in their vehicle and take them home. Prohibited items include items such as gas bottles, car batteries, tyres, rubble, oil or chemicals.
  • Vehicles which will be permitted entry to Walsall HWRCs include cars and smaller vans only. Large cargo vehicles such as Transit vans or similar will not be permitted. Trade waste is never accepted at either HWRC site.
  • Residents returning home after any essential journey, including visits to HWRCs, should remember not to touch their face and to wash their hands for 20 seconds on arrival at their destination.

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