Wood dominate Coventry, defeat Dunkirk and stuff Stourport

Images and captions kindly supplied by David Evans

Walsall Wood FC were at home to Coventry Sphinx yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 24th March 2019), and won somewhat resoundly, continuing this seasons run of general good form.

This match leaves Wood second in the table on 64 points – just three points behind leaders Ilkeston Town with 67 and 7 above Sporting Khalsa’s third position at 57.

David Evans has submitted an excellent match report, as he usually does:

Hi Bob

Walsall Wood 4 v 1 Coventry Sphinx

A very important match was set to take place at Oak Park today. The pitch  looked splendid as usual, the biting cold northerly wind was its usual self, a large crowd of well-lubricated spectators of all ages and girths surrounded the perimeter fence, some standing tall and proud, others just standing.

There was to be no loud fanfare  from the sound machine this afternoon and the opportunity to converse and socialise with locals and visiting fans from Coventry was taken and everyone shared in the eager anticipation of the thrilling game to come.

The match started and the Wood were  dominant and forceful from the start. Their accurate soccer and resulting early gains brought an added spark to the already fast pace of the game. But, Coventry, urged and encouraged by their vociferous management team seemed to be in defensive mode. A measure of greater confidence in themselves was yet to be apparent at this stage of the match.

Excellent passing and  tackling by both teams characterised the overall play, with the Wood showing  more maturity and coherence perhaps. Add to this the sparkling, dazzling play by some of the Wood’s team throughout the match and an understandable frustration among the Coventry side did take the edge of an otherwise positive game.

Yet Coventry, when they were two goals down started the second half by cheekily shooting for goal, from the centre spot… put their mark down  for what was to come.

The Wood, for their part, excelled, to the delight of the home spectators. An almost successful overhead scissor-kick, and shot rebounding from the crossbar, rapid running with and for the ball. Well –worked accurate passing, delightful speciality moves, challenging tactics, all gave the home goalkeeper little to worry about today.

Today the sun shone weakly and a chill northerly breeze tickled the corner flags but the spectators were treated to a match to savour and stamp their feet, cheer and shout for this afternoon. The team are on song and full of it – confidence and top class spirit, and, my word,  it shows.

Love the Wood!

Thanks to David for the pictures and report – for the Good of The Wood!

Also a couple of orphaned match reports from the last couple of weeks by Simon Evans, who’s been attending away matches when David has been unable. He sent the following reports:

Dunkirk 0 v 7 Walsall Wood
Saturday 9th March 2019

On a cold and blustery afternoon, Dunkirk hosted Walsall Wood.

From the off, Walsall Wood looked sharp, Matt Dodds thwarted by the Dunkirk defender. Javia Roberts was causing the Dunkirk defence trouble with his pace. From a resulting corner, the Dunkirk defence cleared the ball and had a counter attack, the resulting shot didn’t test LLoyd Ransome in the Wood goal. Paul Sullivan then had a shot blocked by the Dunkirk defender, the ball fell to John Atherton whose shot hit the side netting.

The opening goal came on 24 minutes, a cross was headed out to Javia Roberts, who’s shot went in off the post. 0-1

Soon after it got better for the Wood, from a long goal kick by Lloyd Ransome, Javia Roberts won a corner. The corner was crossed in, Dunkirk keeper Alex Smith pushed the ball out to Jak Barnes who’s shot found the back of the net. 0-2

HT 0-2

The second half started brightly for the Wood, Matt Dodds having a great chance but the shot hit the side netting. Dunkirk then had penalty appeal waved away, Wood countered Matt Dodds raced through but Alex Smith was equal to the effort making a fine save.

On 60 minutes Wood scored again, Matt Dodds raced through again, his pull back was met by a combination of Javia Roberts and Dunkirk sub Nat Appiah, the ball finding the back of the net 0-3 .

On 66 minutes Paul Sullivan rounded off a fine performance with Woods 4th goal. 0-4. Wood were rampant now and were looking for more goals. On 69 minutes a reckless challenge by Dunkirk keeper Alex Smith saw him yellow carded and a penalty to the Wood. Mitch Tolley making no mistakes   0-5.

On 73 minutes the Wood were awarded another penalty, Alex Smith the Dunkirk keeper getting a second yellow, which saw him sent off. Up Stepped Mitch Tolley who again made no mistake from the spot 0-6.
The next attack saw Peter Till’s pass met sweetly by Mitch Tolley, his effort just the wrong side of the post.

Dunkirk then had a half chance, but the effort didn’t trouble Lloyd Ransome in the Wood goal.

In injury time Javia Roberts raced through, but the substitute Dunkirk keeper pulled off a fine save. Not to be outdone, the next attack, Javia Roberts ran into the box, his pullback was met by Kevin Monterio who made no mistake from close range. 0-7

Stourport Swifts 1 v 2 Walsall Wood
Saturday 2nd March 2019

Walsall Wood gave starts to their new acquisitions, Kaylum Mitchell and Matt Dodd. Wood  started on the front foot. An early free kick was easily held by the Stourport keeper. The first real chance saw Lloyd Ransome in the Wood goal with a fine save to thwart the Stourport attacker. Both teams were creating half chances but there was no end product.

A great long range pass from Mitch Tolley found John Atherton who surged into the box, but shot high over the bar. A Stourport freekick was headed over by the Stourport Attacker. HT 0-0

The scond half started, the first attempt fell to Stourport, but the shot was over the bar. Wood started to get a foot hold. A freekick resulted in a corner which was cleared. A long range effort by the Stourport attacker, saw Lloyd Ransome make a fine fingertip save.

The breakthrough came just after the hour, Matt Dodd was bundled over in the box. Mitch Tolley scoring the resulting penalty. 0-1.

Within a couple of minutes Stourport had equalised, a towering header finding the back of the net. 1-1. With time running out, Wood went searching for the winning goal, John Atherton found Javia Roberts but the keeper was equal to the effort.

With time almost up, Paul Sullivan’s cross was met by Javia Roberts, who’s header found the back of the net. Soon after the ref blew for FT, Wood winning 2-1

My thanks to Simon for those reports: I know you’ve been busy old chap just been waiting for an appropriate post to attach them to.

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s 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

When Brownhills went off the rails

Since it’s Saturday and I’m very busy with work matters, I thought I’d feature the next gallery from the wonderful Gerald Reece collection, kindly supplied by the great local historian himself, and beautifuly scanned by the wonderful David Evans for blog readers to enjoy.

This montage features images mostly from 1986 of the removal of the South Staffordshire Railway line through Brownhills (the old Walsall – Lichfield line that ran under the Miner Island) which is now being beautifully reclaimed as a cycling and walking route by Brian Stringer and his pals at Back the Track, who I know will love these photos.

There are also images of the construction of Brownhills Bridge, when it was doubled and turned into an island, which would, I think, be 1985, as well as some of the Anglesey Branch aqueduct and Anglesey Sidings, by the Charringtons Oil Terminal (now Quattro Plant).

One bridge that interests me here is the one that existed behind Taylor’s Cafe and led into the Pelsall Road meadow, where the Watermead Estate is today. The bridge is long gone but its abutments can still be seen on the old line and now form part of a private garden.

I’m fairly sure this bridge crossed the railway from Taylor’s Cafe car park to the field behind. Not sure when it was lost.

I thank Gerald and David for yet another remarkable set – it really is most excellent and for me personally has stirred many memories, as they always do. Gerald, you are a very wonderful and generous gentleman.

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.

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.

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 , , , , , | 1 Comment

Walsall Wood face Coventry Sphinx at Oak Park this afternoon

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

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

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 23rd March 2019 from 10-11:30am.

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

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

BROWNHILLS STAY&PLAY
Saturday 23rd March 2019

We will be exploring our Builders sand tray! We will also have water play and messy crafts available for the children all session…

Remember we also have outdoors 😍

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

See you all Saturday!

10.00-11.30
£2 per child
Healthy Snack included

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

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery within Brownhills Community Centre every Saturday morning.

Add our Facebook Page –
Brownhills Stay&Play 🌈🌈

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

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

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Models at the museum 2019 – a great event happening this Sunday

I see from the events list that Aston Manor Road Transport Museum in Aldridge have a ‘Models at the Museum’ event this Sunday, 24th March 2019 – It runs from 10:00am until 4:00pm and should be just the thing for modellers, transport enthusiasts, petrol heads and big kids of all kinds.

There will be loads of modellers stalls and layouts, kids activities, films and all the usual goodies for all the family to enjoy.

Entry is a pocket pleasing £5 for adults, £2 for kids and just £13 for a family ticket.

There’s a free bus service operating all day between Walsall and the museum in Shenstone Drive, and also from Aldridge Community Centre car park with a free connecting bus.

There’s more information on the event’s Facebook page here.

While you’re there, you can check out all the great stuff in the collection, and talk to the volunteers, who’re doing a fine job.

This is sure to be a great event – please do pop along. The collection needs the support of the public to survive, and it really is a wonderful thing. The 2017 events schedule for the museum is any the foot of this post.

Why not check out the museum website or their Facebook group?

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, 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

Fancy a signs of spring walk at Chasewater this Saturday?

The revitalised Chasewater Friends group are holding a ‘Signs of Spring’ walk at our favourite country park this Saturday morning, 23rd March 2019 and would like to invite interested folk to join them.

You can join the walk with Ranger Rob, and afterwards there will be tea, biscuits and chat – meet at the Innovation Centre at 10:30am, wear warm clothes and stout footwear.

tumblr_odp8f40m4n1qib2vgo7_1280
I adore Chasewater, and I know many of the readers do too. It’s time it was promoted better – can you help?

Chasewater will massively benefit from an active community of friends and I look forward to seeing their progress – Chasewater is a great asset not just to the local population but to the local ecology and we need to cherish stand look after it’s interests.

You can find out more about the Chasewater Friends at their Facebook page here.

The organisers said:


Chasewater Friends

Signs of Spring Walk.

Chasewater Friends are holding a walk Saturday, 23rd March, entitled “Signs of Spring”

Rob the Ranger will be leading the walk around Chasewater, and showing the wildlife, insects and plants who are once again returning with the promise of warmer weather! 

After the walk, you are welcome to pop into the Innovation Centre, and have a nice cup of tea and a biscuit, and chat to the Friends about their plans to help at the Park.

Meet at the front doors of the Innovation Centre at 10.30am, and please wear sensible shoes and warm clothing!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Bogus workman harasses Brownhills couple for cash: Be alert

It seems there’s no end to the activities of the bogus workmen/gardener scams locally: Yesterday (Monday 18th March 2018) a couple in Castle Close, Brownhills were targeted by a man claiming to have done fencing work at an adjoining property which they were in some way liable for.

His story was, of course, an utter falsehood.

A bogus caller has been demanding money with menaces in the Chapel Avenue area of Brownhills. Imagery from Apple Maps.

Brownhills Police tweeted:

At 11:44am today (Monday, 18th March 2019) a bogus caller knocking doors in Chapel Avenue, Brownhills claiming to have done some garden work and asking for money off residents unaware of any work.

Thankfully no money handed over and we were called.

Described as white male, 6ft, light hair, scruffy beard, wearing dark duffle coat.

Be alert & report any issues!

A neighbour posted with a report of the same incident:

Hi Bob

I hope you can put this post on, our neighbour had someone at the door saying they had done some work on the fence at the bottom of their garden from the other side due to wind damage and because it’s a shared fence he wanted £85 or would take them to court.

Long story short, they went away empty handed and other neighbour had no knowledge, police 111 informed, so if everyone can watch out for a black pickup truck please?

Please tell your relatives and neighbours about this scam, and impress upon them how important it is not to be menaced into 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 | 1 Comment

There’s a great autism support group meeting in Brownhills today and every Tuesday!

Just a heads up to let folk know that there’s a popular and regular autism support group meeting in Brownhills every Tuesday lunchtime from 1:30-2:30pm at the Smithy’s Forge pub, Lichfield Road, Brownhills, just off the Miner Island.

For parents, carers, etc. of children and adults with autism.

Weekly support group every Tuesday at the Smithys Forge, Brownhills 1:30-2:30 🌈


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

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Walsall – where grass cuttings and air conditioning are more important than supporting the vulnerable

I’m featuring here today an email I’ve received on a very important matter from someone whom I have a great deal of regard for – John Bird of Brownhills. John is a much respected older resident of our town and someone who’s very concerned about a pressing issue: That of Walsall Council’s withdrawal of the Community Alarm Service for the elderly and vulnerable.

Alarm units like this one from Lifeline24 are a genuine lifesaver for those prone to falls and collapse – and they can enable continued independent living.

This is a story that’s caused a lot of anguish over recent months – Head of Walsall Council Mike ‘Blofeld’ Bird and the ruling Tory group have pushed through this deeply unpopular cut whilst restoring brown bin collections this year to fortnightly and spending a fortune on air conditioning, IT and other fripperies.

It seems Big Mike keeping cool and Streetly’s grass cuttings are more important than the lives and health of the frail and ill.

Linda Mason wrote a beautifully excoriating blog post about this you can read here. There has been coverage at the Express & Star here and there’s a Facebook support group – Sitizens Against Cuts – run by the wonderful Amy Wolfs here.

I’d venture readers should consider these points carefully when casting their vote in the upcoming elections, and try and see the deeper picture beyond the current rash of political stunts on both sides.

John Bird has periodically written clear, eloquent and concise letters to the local press – the ones that have always stuck in mind have been the ones relating to the development and plans for Brownhills High Street, and he’s written some brilliant stuff over the years.

John Bird wrote:

Community Alarm Service.

I am very sad to note that Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council has chosen to close down the Community Alarm Service. I have a number of friends and relatives who have used this service, some of whom have actually been saved from further suffering and in one case, I believe, potentially lifesaving.

This is, to my mind, is another public service that has, effectively, been ‘privatised’ as any users of any replacement service will have to pay for it.

Now I appreciate that the Conservative government’s cuts are eating into the Council’s services but I am sure that savings could have been made elsewhere voluntarily or otherwise.

The Council membership is evenly balanced with the mayor having a casting vote. This prompts me, therefore, to suggest that if members, with a sympathetic approach to this service, had voted with their conscience, then the mayor’s casting vote would have not been needed.

As a concerned Brownhills resident I have to ask, therefore, did the two Conservative councillors, Ken Ferguson and Stephen Craddock, vote for the withdrawal of this vital service? I do hope not.

John Bird.  

Brownhills.

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

Again, thanks to John for making an excellent, thoughtful point.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

I note that since it’s such a lovely day (or at least it seems that way after the grimness of the last couple of weeks) it would be an excellent chance to nip up to Stubbers Green with the kids, grandkids of even just by yourself and chat to the Swan Patrol.

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

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

Ann Lawrence of the Swan Patrol said:

Do you want to know more about nature and wildlife?

Do you want your children or grandchildren to learn about your local environment?

Swan Patrol volunteers at Stubbers Green Nature Reserve Aldridge Walsall are there every Sunday 1-3pm. Binoculars and bird books are available. Stickers for the children as a reward for bringing suitable foods for the birds. (sweet corn, peas, porridge oats, rice, lettuce, vegetable peelings…

Posted in News | Leave a comment

The Court of Sir Gerald and the crimefighting oss

Well, since it’s a miserable Saturday here in the Hills I thought I’d feature another gallery from the selection of wonderful photos donated to the blog by noted Brownhills historian Gerald Reece – and this set of Ravens Court is rather wonderful.

This montage features a variety of images from the 80s and 90s – of the opening of the Boulevard – an Inshops indoor market in the former Tesco unit (which was never really a success) at the rear of Ravens Court, the closing of Currys on the corner (which I believe was in the 90s) and some good views with signage that should jog memories.

This set is also notable for featuring the aftermath of an attempted bank robbery at I believe, the Natwest. More detail on that would be most welcome if anyone recalls the incident.

This is also a good set for classic vehicle spotters.

One the subject of local criminality, Gerald also supplied this image of a pair of horses tethered in the meadow where the Watermead Estate is now; it’s taken from the canal and that’s the houses of the Pelsall Road in the background.

David (from Gerald I think) has alluded to the story of an attempted holdup of Tesco in Brownhills, when the robbers made a getaway, but were apparently chased by local police, and one or more miscreants ended up the the meadow being attacked by the notoriously truculent horse whose efforts enabled arrest.

Does anyone know anything about this story at all?

If you live on the Watermead, this is what was here before your house. Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

There is, of course, also the story of the person who grazed this field for many years and successfully, I believe claimed ownership when it was sold. Must see what I can find out about that one.

I thank Gerald and David for this remarkable set – it really is most excellent and for me personally has stirred many memories.

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.

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.

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 , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll let Kate explain:

Hello! 

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

Bring your broken household items along to see if our team of volunteer repairs can help you fix them! As well as the repairs, we’ll also be running two fab free workshops – how to grow your own veg & making a fabric flower brooch. Or just pop in for a chat & a brew! All welcome, no charge but voluntary donations welcome 🙂

Volunteers from the centre will be running a cafe with hot and cold drinks and cakes. Whilst there is no charge, voluntary donations are appreciated!

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

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

Many thanks as ever!
Kate

Posted in Churches, 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

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

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 16th March 2019 from 10-11:30am.

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

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

A Play & Stay group located within Brownhills Community Centre and The Lamp.

BROWNHILLS STAY & PLAY 

Saturday 16th March 2019

See you all Saturday morning!

10.00-11.30 £2 per child

Snack provided 🥛🍎🍌🍇🍓🍊

For more information Add our Facebook page: Brownhills Stay & Play

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

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

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

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Get your car washed for charity this Saturday!

Here’s a useful one from Aldridge Fire Cadets who’re having a charity car wash at Aldridge Fire Station this Saturday, 16th March 2019 – you can get your motor looking shiny and help a very good cause at the same time.

The Cadets wrote:

Image from Aldridge Fire Cadets.

On Saturday, 16th March 2019 the Cadets are helping the Firefighters of Green Watch with a car wash in aid of the Firefighters Charity.

It takes place at Aldridge Fire Station on Northgate, from 10.00 am until 2.00 pm.

Please bring your cars for a wash and help to raise money for a good cause!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Soultime – Northern Soul and Motown Disco with DJ Leekie and pals this evening!

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

I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like a bit of classic soul and Leekie is a great DJ for a wonderful night. A two-room event, it also features Adrian Kent, Mark Morris, Mick Sly, Moldie and Reggae Rita.

It’s just £5 a head and kicks off at 8pm and runs until Midnight. What’s not to love?

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

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

Concerned about local crime issues? Meeting this Wednesday in Rushall

In light of recent events, there’s a very interesting meeting taking place at 7:30pm next Wednesday, 20th March 2019 – that of Rushall, Sheffield, Pelsall and Brownhills Neighbourhood Watch – and there’s a specific invitation to Brownhills residents.

Rushall Olympic is just off Daw End Lane. Imagery from Apple Maps.

The meeting takes place at Rushall Olympic Football Club in Dales Lane, Rushall, starting at 7.30pm.

With recent concerns about local crime and ongoing antisocial behaviour issues – this could be your chance to get your voice heard. If you’ve been unhappy with recent police performance, this would be a good forum at which to raise that, or any other related issue you may have.

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

Bob

Members and interested parties are invited to join the next meeting of Rushall, Shelfield, Pelsall and Brownhills Neighbourhood Watch, which will be taking place on Wednesday 20 March 2019 at Rushall Olympic Football Club in Dales Lane, Rushall WS4 1LJ starting at 7.30pm.

All are welcome.

With best wishes.

Kevin Pitt (Police Staff, Partnerships Engagement Officer, Walsall)

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

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

Can you identify these men? Walsall Police would like to hear from you

There’s been a working number of distraction burglaries and bogus caller scams locally lately, which is why I’m drawing to readers attention this appeal by Walsall Police posted yesterday (Tuesday 12th March 2019) – it involves a distraction burglary in Well Lane Walsall, and Police need help identifying two men.

Image supplied by West Midlands Police

They said:

Do you recognise these men? 

We are appealing for information following a distraction burglary at a house in Well Lane, Walsall at 3.45pm last Wednesday (6 March). 

An elderly man opened the door of his house to two men saying they were there to buy a boat he was selling. 

Once inside the property one of the men distracted him, while the other stole the safe from the living room. 

They made off in a yellow Suzuki Wagon, displaying registration number Y276OFU. The registered keeper of the car is believed to have sold the vehicle shortly before the offence, and it has not been registered since. 

Anyone with information can contact us, quoting crime reference 20WS/55914Z/19 via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am and midnight, call 101 anytime or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can also use the excellent West Midlands Police live chat facility at this link here.

You can, as always, email me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or give me a shout on social media in total confidence and I’ll pass any information on.

Thank you. 

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

There’s a disco at the Motivation Hub soon for adults with additional needs

It’s good to see the Moivation Hub in Walsall Wood going from strength to strength – this wonderful facility for those with learning disabilities or other special needs fills a real local gap in provision and provides a warm, safe and welcoming atmosphere for folk to socialise, learn and hang out.

This is a heads up to folk who may be interested that coming on Saturday, 6th April 2019, they will be holding a disco night for adults (18+) with additional needs.

It’s just £3.50 per head, including a drink, snack and raffle ticket. There’s a real gap locally for events like this and this is wonderful to see.

All this takes place at the Hub’s premises in the former Youth Club behind Walsall Wood Primary School at Streets Corner Walsall Wood – Call Suzanne Sant for more information on 07388 553615‬ or email her on santsuzanne@yahoo.com – you can also check out the Motivation Hub’s Facebook page here.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Help with the Brownhills Spring Clean this weekend!

There’s a community spring clean event taking place in Brownhills this weekend on Saturday morning 16th March 2019 from 10:00am and all are welcome – kit provided!

Every bit helps! Image from the event Facebook page.

This is being run by local lady Kathryn Grace and a band of volunteers for the benefit of the community, so it’ll be a worthwhile event to get involved with and help improve the local environment.

You could even win a prize!

Kathryn said:

It’s almost time for a spring clean, so take a hold of your community spirit and join us for a litter pick around the canal, Tesco and our High Street.

Add your name to the list!

There shall be a prize for the one who collects the most litter!

Do come and meet your neighbours, bring along your children and let’s ‘Make Brownhills Great Again’

Meet at 10am, 16th March 2019 by the green bridge on Silver Street, Brownhills – just by the canal there.

You can check out the event’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!

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

There’s a great autism support group meeting in Brownhills today and every Tuesday!

Just a heads up to let folk know that there’s a popular and regular autism support group meeting in Brownhills every Tuesday lunchtime from 1:30-2:30pm at the Smithy’s Forge pub, Lichfield Road, Brownhills, just off the Miner Island.

For parents, carers, etc. of children and adults with autism.

Weekly support group every Tuesday at the Smithys Forge, Brownhills 1:30-2:30 🌈


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

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Laying some pipe

Thanks again to the continued treasure trove that is the local historian Gerald Reece and his astounding photo collection, I can now shed light on something that’s made me wonder for years – the arrangements for the modern overflow system at Chasewater I explored in 2012.

When Chasewater is full, water flows out over the weir by the Nine-Foot pool, and down a cutting towards the canal, a path we’ve christened ‘The Spillway’ over the years. At the end of The Spillway is a brick sluice, that originally conducted water through a pair of culverts and gate system into the Anglesey Branch Canal.

At some point in recent years, a new, large-bore drain was constructed under the victorian brickwork to take water from The Spillway under the sluice, under the canal and directly into the Crane Brook, a natural watercourse that ultimately feeds the Footherly/Black/Bourne Brook system and connects with the Tame near Tamworth.

Well, in the huge amount of photos loaned by Gerald Reece to David Evans for use on the blog, there’s a comprehensive set – featured in the gallery above – of that drain system being constructed. They appear to be dated – on the back they say 2/87 – one assumes February 1987.

I’m surprised that they show the brick sluice having been dug up and actually relaid.

This is a surprise to me, I had thought this drain system was maybe created in response the the canal burst at Sandhill in 81, but it would appear not. I have no idea why this was actually done in terms of the trigger, but I can see the benefit of easing pressure off the Fordbrook waterway where all the other canal drains in Brownhills lead to.

When Chasewater is full, water crosses the weir, flows down the spillway behind and into a large drain under the canal.

I’m now asking folk to study these photos and see if they jog memories as to the work and what it’s genesis was. 

I’m hugely grateful to Gerald for his donations as ever, and for recording something I thought lost in time – and, indeed, to David Evans who scanned them all so carefully.

Thanks to the lads for this: What do you recall? Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com – or give me a shout on social media.

I include the original post where I ventured into the large drain that conducts water away from the Anglesey Branch (grilles are now fitted so entering any of these spaces is not possible casually).

Before I start, I’d like to point out that this investigation was conducted by two people – myself and [Howmuch?]. We are both sensible (well, usually) adults and have experience of, and training for, confined spaces. Entering such environments – and storm drains in particular – is a dangerous thing to do. I advise nobody to do it. Water can enter at a moments notice, there can be sudden drops, trips and gas hazards. What we did here, we undertook at our own risk, and in the full knowledge that we were trespassing and could well get into difficulty. Doing so without training, the correct equipment or suitable permission is dangerous, stupid and nobody should do it.

Since this blog started, there’s been a huge interest in Chasewater, and it’s dam. The reservoir was built as Norton Pool in the late 1700’s to feed the canal network. It’s worth thinking about this for a while, as it’s quite a concept, and one often lost on the casual observer. The canal system through the towns of the northern Black Country is almost exclusively fed by the 144m O.D. level of the Wolverhampton canal network, which runs from Horseley Junction, all the way through the suburbs of Worverhampton eastwards to Bloxwich and Brownhills in the form of the Wyrley and Essington canal. There is no canal linked to this that is higher – so where this contour canal transitioned to other waterways, downhill locks were employed. There were 30 alone on the Lichfield and Hatherton, for a start. Then there are locks at Longwood, Aldridge, At Birchills in Walsall, and several complex series at Wolverhapton. Every time a boat uses a lock, water is lost downhill. A busy canal, operating as the freight motorway of it’s day, would see huge water consumption. 

Google Earth aerial imagery with annotations as to the drainage arrangements of the spillway. Click for a larger version.

Water was precious, and Norton Pool was built to feed the canal’s voracious thirst. Over the years, the reservoir has been fed by the Crane Brook from the north (as it always has been), and has seen some water pumped into it from nearby mines. Water also seems to have been recovered from the canal at times when the level was high, and following an enquiry rom fellow Brownhills historian Dave Fellows, Chasewater Wildlife Group head honcho Graham Evans has discussed the nature of the pumping and feed arrangement last year. I’m now fairly sure water was being pumped from the coal mines on Brownhills Common into the Slough Arm. I think a mine owner may even have charged for this supply, although I can’t place where I got that impression. Together with other such sources of what would certainly have been very foul water, these contributed to the general canal supply. When the water was at a high level, it appears to have been pumped back from the canal into the Nine Foot Pool (so called because of the measuring scale erected in it). The Nine Foot is the pool on the Canal side of the dam, at the beginning of the spillway basin, designed to take the flow should the reservoir overflow. The spillway in general seems certainly to be as old as Chasewater itself, although alterations and strengthening seem to have taken place in the late Victorian period.

Ornance Survey mapping of 1902 showing the area in surprising detail. Note the ‘Basin’ – now dry – is marked full of water, possibly contained by the market sluices.

On Sunday last, after talking about the site for months previously, myself and top local history ferret [Howmuch?] decided to investigate the spillway, and it’s interesting drainage arrangements. To do this, we decided to enter the culverts to see where they went. On the way, we noticed some intriguing things about the civil engineering, and some pointers to the history. Much of this has already been suggested by the wonderful Andy Dennis.

We noted:

  • The current state of the spillway basin between Nine-Foot and the old sluice gates is stepped in profile on one side rather than a plain trough shape. We think this may be due to sediment dredging.
  • In Google Earth, and on the ground, the land within is darker. We’re thinking this is due to sedimentation from the filthy canal water it would have contained.
  • We’re wondering if the canal water was pumped into the basin to settle out before possibly being allowed to flow back into the main body of Norton Pool.
  • We have no direct evidence of that, just a hunch.
  • The top of the sluice seems to have had lock-style gates. We feel that water probably was retained by them, and they therefore sealed like lock gates.
  • The culverts on either side acted as a level control for the basin, but maybe a drain, too, depending on the location of the upper portals which are now buried.
  • The new storm drain seems to have been built any time from mid-1960’s to the late 1970’s. It’s a classic Reinforced Concrete Pipe (RCP) design.
  • The storm drain runs under the brickwork sluice, under the canal and heath, and emerges on the north of the new bypass as the continuation of the Crane Brook.
  • We think it was built to avoid possibly contaminated washdown or runoff  water from the old spillway basin contaminating the then improving canal water.
  • The above seems daft but it’s all we can think.
  • We’re wondering how it was all constructed, and if anyone has dates or photos. In places the brickwork in the sluice seems to have been disturbed and regrouted.
  • The brick sluice is probably now redundant, although in heavy flow conditions I wonder if the basin would backfill as a buffer?
Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local History, News, Panoramio photo discussions, Panoramio updates, Reader enquiries, Shared memories, Social Media, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Brownhills Canalside Festival is reborn in 2019 – and it looks magnificent

Absolutely terrific news and a huge raspberry to the naysayers – the successful and sadly missed Brownhills Canalside Festival is full steam ahead for a huge revival in May 2019 by the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society who are planning to make it a whole weekend event.

It will take place over the weekend of 17-19th May 2019 and it looks like a real belter of a do – it runs from Friday Evening and from 10am until 5pm over the Saturday and Sunday.

There will be trade boats and stalls at the canalside, and other entertainment and a bar at the Community Centre on the Miner Island (The old Annex, or Central Boys School).

On Friday evening the 17th, there will be Black Country entertainment from the wonderful Billy Spakemon and pals.

On Saturday afternoon there will be an excellent railway historical talk by the knowledgable and expert Ian Pell, a regular contributor to this blog.

Saturday evening there will be the top folk band Wild Irish to get get glasses raised and feet tapping!

You can find out more by visiting the event Facebook page here, and posting an enquiry there or mail Brenda directly at boundarypost@gmail.com – I will keep you updated as we get more news and things take shape. Please do support this, it’s great to see it return and I for one love a good canal event.

My thanks to the BCN and Brenda for taking this on. Wonderful stuff.

You can contact Brenda on the means above, or you can comment here, ping me on social media, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

An always wonderful event is reborn. Great news for Brownhills.
Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, cycling, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, Local music, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A great toy and train collectors fair at Oak Park this Sunday

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

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

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

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

The organisers would like visitors to note that although parking on the centre car park is likely to be quite busy, there is parking on the old Oak Park car park accesses from the side of the KFC restaurant.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Walsall Wood FC v Dunkirk away this afternoon!

2010_0731Summer0011

Dunkirk FC are a Nottingham team…

Saturday 9th March 2019

Walsall Wood travel to Nottingham

Walsall Wood v Dunkirk

Ron Steel Sports Ground
Lenton Lane
Nottingham
Nottinghamshire
NG7 2SA

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

3:00pm kickoff

Please get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Match report to follow!

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s 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

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

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 9th March 2019 from 10-11:30am.

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

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

A Play & Stay group located within Brownhills Community Centre and The Lamp.

BROWNHILLS STAY & PLAY 

Saturday 9th March 2019

You voted this week for our messy play tray and here we have the winning poll! Love this one 

Old McDonald’s farm messy tray

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

See you all Saturday morning!


10.00-11.30 £2 per child

Snack provided 🥛🍎🍌🍇🍓🍊

For more information Add our Facebook page: Brownhills Stay & Play

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

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

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

Posted in News | Leave a comment

We’m gooin up Norton Pewul!

In the last few days there has been a lot of interest in the subject of Chasewater in the old days – when Brownhills Urban District Council ran it as an amusement park, which was sadly, ultimately unsuccessful.

Many of us remember the paddling and boating pool, the miniature railway, those lakeside shelters, and the iconic but strange Brian Blumer concrete climbing Frame sculpture.

Well, sent in a few days ago, I feature this wonderful set of Chasewater from the Gerald Reece collection, o I’m fairly sure in the late 70s or 80s. This is part of a continual run of material from Gerald that he’s kindly shared with David Evans who’s done all the scanning so well.

You can see previous sets of Brownhills bridges here and Superalloys Chimney being felled here.

I thank Gerald and David for this remarkable set – it really is most excellent and for me personally has stirred many memories.

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 the these days of Chasewater? 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 , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lichfield Waterworks Trust March 2019 public meeting next Monday

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 let me know that next Monday evening, 11th March 2019 there will be the monthly Public Meeting of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group.

The meeting is at the Bowling Green pub, Lichfield from 7:30pm and is of course open to anyone interested.

Dave wrote:

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on:  Monday 11 March 2019 at 7.30pm, in the rear meeting room of:
 
The Bowling Green
Friary Road
Lichfield
Staffordshire
WS13 6QJ
 
Tel: 01543 257344
 
The Bowling Green serves some great food and real ales.

February meeting notes are available here

Latest News

Building Lease Update:

Following the trusts instructions to Persimmon that we would vacate the building, Persimmon Homes Ltd contacted the trust to clarify what they said had been a misunderstanding in the wording of the lease and instruction passed to the solicitors.
 
With the objectives of the trust and a commitment to work with the owners in a productive way, the trust agreed to postpone vacating pending further talks. Ian Prichard, Deputy Leader of Lichfield
District Council kindly offered to facilitate an initial meeting with Persimmon.
 
This meeting has now been completed and some revised offers have been placed upon the table. The trust will be meeting with the owner’s early March 2019.

Important Note:

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

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

Tonights Talk

Tonight talk is from our very own railway historian Ian Pell
 
The Lichfield Diamonds
 
This illustrated talk takes along the South Staffs Railway from Sandhills to Lichfield City and discusses the evolution of the Lichfield City Station; its use; its signal boxes, and, its almost unique platform arrangement.   We also look at St. John’s Street Bridge and the origins of the crests which adorn it.

So what are the Lichfield diamonds, and are there any still to be found?

Health and Safety

We are really pleased to report that we have been working for another month where there have been no incidents relating to health and safety. A very big thank you again to everyone for working safely and looking after your fellow volunteers.
 
Engineering Team Report

The engineering team are continuing to make steady but continual progress. They have made an impressive job of cleaning the chequer plate floors and the cylinder landing. The work is time consuming but showing amazing results.
 
Read more on the link below:
 
Progress notes from the engineering team are available here.

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

We will also always invest in our people and we are planning further training days soon. All these costs soon mount up, so if you can donate, then please visit our donation page here.
 
Any amount is helpful, is well appreciated and will be carefully spent preserving our industrial past for our future generations, developing skills for our people and making our community a better place
 
Please make cheques payable to; Lichfield Waterworks Trust, and send to our address:
 
22 Walsall Road
Lichfield
WS13 8AB
 
Membership
 
Do we have your correct details? We do our best to get things right, but occasionally something slips of the tray. Please let us know if we have your correct contact details, or you would like any additions or amendments.
 
We would like this opportunity to welcome a few new members.

Thank you for joining the Lichfield Waterworks Trust. We hope you will enjoy your membership and become part of a very exciting heritage project that will benefit the people, the place and the community.
It would really help us if we develop and grow our membership. If you are not already a member and would you like to be a part of one of the region’s most exciting heritage projects then please, join us now by filling in Membership Application Form by going to our membership page here. It is free to join and be a part of this incredibly exciting project.
 
Finally
 
Thank you everyone for your continued support and helping to make a difference in our community. We hold work days every Friday between 10:00 and 12:00am, please feel free to pop in a see us, we make everyone welcome and have free tea and coffee!

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

The Brownhills Christmas Tree fund has started!

Further to the very successful public meeting regarding the plan by great friend of the blog Susan Forster to raise funds for a Christmas tree for Brownhills this year, an appeal page has been set up and is already doing well.

You can donate at this link here or by clicking the screenshot below.

There’s now a Facebook page for the appeal which will have details of events and progress. Click here to visit it.

Since Christmas trees in Walsall have for many years had to be privately or community funded, if we want one here in Brownhills, we’re going to have to raise the money, and we need to get is sorted by midsummer.

Click on the screenshot to donate. GoFundMe is safe and easy to use.

The organising committee said:

The Brownhills Christmas Tree Appeal in partnership with The Brownhills Community Association is looking for help in funding a Christmas Tree and Lights for the Tin Man Island.

Funding for the first year is £1950 and subsequent years in the region of £700.

The community has expressed their desire to make this happen but can only take place with fundraising.

We need to make the first payment to the Council by June

Please help the community and look at the island in December, decked out and shining and think to yourself ‘yeah, I helped do that!’

Every year I receive complaints that Brownhills has no Christmas tree, the lights aren’t good enough and so forth – we even made the national news over it over it a few years ago.

As I promised all those years ago I will be making a substantial cash contribution myself to this. But we all need to help, and we need to raise a lot of money to carry it off.

Collection boxes will soon be in local businesses, and corporate and commercial sponsors are welcome, as are suggestions for fundraising events.

if you want to contact the committee, you can visit the appeal Facebook Page here and send them a message. You can also contact the committee via the GoFundMe page here (right hand side).

I will be sharing news from the appeal here, and I’d like to publicly than Susan for taking on this huge task – Brownhills has a true asset in this fine lady and I wish her and the appeal well.

If you have any comments or enquiries, comment here, pin me down on social media or email me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

The one that didn’t get away

Just a quick one I’ve been meaning to dig out for a week or more, following the ongoing interest in the monster of Norton Pool as detailed here a few weeks ago.

Most focus seemed to be on the monster being a pike – well, there was actually a large pike – said to be caught in Norton Pool (Chasewater) in 1912 that was stuffed and mounted on display in the now long gone Queens Head Inn on Watling Street.

I’d love to know what happened to this peculiar item of ephemera. Clarice Mayo and Geof Harrington featured the following images in their book ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’:

Do you know what happened to the stuffed pike? From ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice May and Geof Harrington. Click for a larger version.

Come on then folks: What do you know? Comment here, shout me on social media or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks. And er, tight lines!

Posted in News | 3 Comments

There’s a great autism support group meeting in Brownhills today and every Tuesday!

Just a heads up to let folk know that there’s a popular and regular autism support group meeting in Brownhills every Tuesday lunchtime from 1:30-2:30pm at the Smithy’s Forge pub, Lichfield Road, Brownhills, just off the Miner Island.

For parents, carers, etc. of children and adults with autism.

Weekly support group every Tuesday at the Smithys Forge, Brownhills 1:30-2:30 🌈


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

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Good news: Ashley Hammerton Challener home safe and well!

Great news everyone!

Lynne Challener has been in touch to tell me that Ashley has just (this morning, 4th March 2019) returned home following going missing on Friday evening.

Lynne says he’s OK but hungry.

Thanks to all who went looking, shared and spread word. True community. Thank you all.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The lost Brownhills tramway: Did they give a dam?

The mystery over the long lost tramway that is thought to have followed the route of The Parade over Brownhills Common in the 1800s continues today, as I feature another article from Ian Pell, who’s really got stuck in to the subject.

With this one, I really think he might be on to something! I think this might well spark some debate amongst readers.

Little trace today here of any industrial past whatsoever. Brownhills Parade, from my 365days journal.

I love being able to feature articles from local railway historian and expert Ian Pell, who has done so much to expand railway matters here on the blog, and he’s sent a couple of passages on the matter previously that you can read here.

This one seems very likely to me – it hadn’t occurred to me that Chasewater Dam is faced with loose limestone rocks – but it is. That material isn’t available in the immediate locality in volume – and there’s a lot of it – so must have been taken there in a time possibly before the Anglesey Branch was navigable. That would have been a horrendous task by horse and cart. It does make sense.

Horse drawn tramways – like this one pictured – were common before powered rail. This is offered as en ample of Jessops Tramway that was built in the early 1800s serving the Ellesmere Canal. Image from Pals Kynaston Canal Group.

Ian also gets bonus points for featuring one of my favourite Brownhills quotations, from Charles G Harper – Charles was one of a breed of Victorian writers creating travelogues for the wealthy wanderer and explorer with a wry, often disparaging take on they places they visited – like an early Dalrymple.

You can read The Holyhead Road by clicking here for free.

Ian Pell wrote:

Hi Bob

Limestone to a Reservoir?

Further thoughts on the tramway to nowhere – people of a nervous disposition read no further.

Charles G. Harper writes in his book The Holyhead Road (published in 1902) a vivid description of the area immediately south of Norton Pool:

‘We have reached that abomination of desolation called Brownhills. Words are ineffectually employed to describe the hateful, blighted scene, but imagine a wide and dreary stretch of common land surrounded by the scattered, dirty and decrepit cottages of the semi-savage population of nail makers and pitmen, with here and there a school, a woe-bygone chapel, a tin tabernacle, and a plentiful sprinkling of public houses. Further imagine the grass of this wide spreading common to be as brown, and innutritious as it is possible for grass to be, and with an extra-ordinary wealth of scrap iron, tin clippings, broken glass, and brick-bats deposited over every square yard, and all around it the ghastly refuse heaps of long abandoned mines. Finally, clap a railway embankment and station midway across the common (Brownhills West), and there you have a dim adumbration of what Brownhills is like.’

Wednesbury Oak in this picture gives a startling likeness for what Brownhills would have been lime. Image kindly supplied by Ian Pell.

While the above photograph shows the area around Wednesbury Oak, I would suggest that this bleak landscape would not be dissimilar to that of Brownhills Common in the 1800’s.

Having been pondering the ‘tramroad’ across the common, I remembered that a tramroad was constructed to the west boundary of Norton Pool (Chasewater) to aid the stabilisation of a section of the reservoir; its formation can clearly be indentified on the 1884 OS map.  

This has set me thinking as to where the limestone for the dam’s inner lining came from after the 1799 dam burst.  The original 1797 dam I believe was solely constructed from clay and other materials scrapped from the bottom of the reservoir, whereas limestone was added in the rebuild.  The question is therefore where did the limestone come from?

In the immediate area there were few tracks capable of carrying large lumps of limestone, could it be that the ‘tramroad’ was constructed for horse drawn carts (not necessarily railed) from a canal wharf at Brownhills to the Reservoir?


This postcard shows the tramway on the dam at Chasewater. This is looking towards Brownhills, the main pool right and nine-foot on the left. I suspect the image is late Victorian. Image from ‘Brownhills and Walsall Wood on Old Picture Postcards’ by Jan Farrow.

The answer as to where the limestone came from could well be as a result of the opening of the Daw End Canal in 1800.  This was initially constructed only as far as Hay Head Limestone Works, Longwood Lane, and Aldridge (south of the Airfield site).  The works were closed for a time around this period but were still able to supply limestone of “exceptional quality”.  Could this be the source, and was the canal used as part of the transportation?

The ‘tramroad’ is also quite narrow and would appear to be only able to take a single line.  This would suggest a hauled tramway of the ‘Main and Tail’ variety where one rope is attached to a rake of wagons.

While I appreciate this is pure speculation on my part, and I am ready to be shot down in flames, is it possibly an answer?

Pedro is quite correct regarding the mists of time, the mine workings and the time frame for the use of this ‘tramroad’.  The Anglesey branch of the Wyrley & Essington Canal was indeed un-navigable until 1850 so would have been unable to be able to import stone for the re-build. 

Thoughts, greatly appreciated. 
Kind regards
Ian

I’d like to thank Ian for yet another expert article on railway and local history, which I’m flattered and honoured to feature. It fills me with pride that I can share material of this quality here.

If you have anything to add to this, please do feel free: Comment here, hit me up on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | 7 Comments

The bridges of Brownhills county…

Lately, I’ve been featuring a selection of wonderful photos from the collection of well-respected Brownhills historian Gerald Reece, which he’s kindly allowed David Evans to scan and share with readers here on the blog.

Earlier this week, we featured a photo that prompted a lot of interest, of Brownhills Bridge – what is now the Miner Island – taken just after construction in the mid 1980s.

David Evans asked at the time if anyone was up for a game of Name That Bridge, and has sent me a whole bunch of local bridge images, many of which have interesting backgrounds as well as subjects.

I thank Gerald and David for this remarkable set – it really is most excellent and for me personally has stirred many memories.

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.

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.

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 , , , , , | 2 Comments

Walsall Wood away to Stourport Swifts this afternoon!

1214687_a0a8e129

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

This afternoon, Saturday 2nd March 2019

The Wood are away on their travels again!

Walsall Wood FC versus Stourport Swifts FC

Walshes Meadow
Stourport on Severn
Worcestershire
DY13 0AA

Kickoff 3pm

Hopefully, a match report will follow…

For the Good of the Wood!

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here

 

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

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

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 2nd March 2019 from 10-11:30am.

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

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

A Play & Stay group located within Brownhills Community Centre and The Lamp.

BROWNHILLS STAY & PLAY 

Saturday 2nd March 2019

This week our messy play tray will be filled with the ingredients to make messy tray pancake play.

We will also have on a separate with table pancakes ready to be decorated and adding on toppings you may like… We will be using play dough to create our very our pancakes with mini pans and mixing tools to do some great flipping!

Our sand tray will be outdoors this week.    

Our outdoors area will be open with slides, climbing frames, bikes, scooters and construction play.

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

See you all Saturday!

10.00-11.30 
£2 per child 
Healthy Snack included 

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

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery within Brownhills Community Centre every Saturday morning. 

Add our Facebook Page – 
Brownhills Stay & Play 🌈🌈

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

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

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Can you help with the Brownhills Spring Clean? It’s coming soon!

I see from the local grapevine that there’s a community spring clean event going on in Brownhills in a couple of weeks on Saturday morning 16th March 2019 from 10:00am and all are welcome – kit provided!

Every bit helps! Image from the event Facebook page.

This is being run by local lady Kathryn Grace and a band of volunteers for the benefit of the community, so it’ll be a worthwhile event to get involved with and help improve the local environment.

You could even win a prize!

Kathryn said:

It’s almost time for a spring clean, so take a hold of your community spirit and join us for a litter pick around the canal, Tesco and our High Street.

Add your name to the list!

There shall be a prize for the one who collects the most litter!

Do come and meet your neighbours, bring along your children and let’s ‘Make Brownhills Great Again’

Meet at 10am, 16th March 2019 by the green bridge on Silver Street, Brownhills – just by the canal there.

You can check out the event’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!

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Bogus gardener strikes in Brownhills West stealing cash and bank cards

Walsall Police have issued an alert today via the excellent WMNow service to say that the bogus gardener distraction burglar is operating again.

The latest incident took place in Hednesford Road, Brownhills West but it’s worth flagging up with elderly friend and relatives throughout the area..

Many bogus callers can appear very plausible. Warn the elderly and vulnerable to be careful. Image from West Midlands Police.

West Midlands Police said said:

A bogus caller crime has been reported in Brownhills.  

The offender, described as a white man, aged around 35 years, 6′ tall and having a local accent, arrived in a white van at around noon yesterday (Thursday 28 February).  

He approached his elderly victim, a resident of Hednesford Road, enquiring if she required any gardening work done.  He was allowed into the house where he stole a purse containing cash and a bank card, leaving by the front door.

If you were around the area yesterday and saw anything suspicious please contact us via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am to midnight, call 101 anytime or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting reference 20WS/50360T/19.

Please remind your elderly neighbours to be on their guard, and not to allow unexpected visitors into their homes.

If you’re not already receiving WMNow updates, you can sign up for the service here – it really is most useful.

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

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

Scumbags engaged in the robbing of OAPs are lower than a snake’s knees.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can also use the excellent West Midlands Police live chat facility at this link here.

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

Young boy taken to hospital following suspected hit and run incident in Brownhills High Street.

The air ambulance was called this afternoon to an incident in Brownhills High Street when a two ear old was hit by a van in what is suspected to be a hit and run incident.

The boy sustained a head injury that it not believed to be life threatening.

A 45 year old man was arrested in Lichfield Road.

There’s a report here at the Express & Star or click on the screenshot below.

Update: There’s also a report from the Birmingham Mail here.

I’m waiting for a statement from West Midlands Police which I’ll share as soon as it comes in.

My sympathies to all involved in this awful incident.

Click on the screenshot to read the report at the Express & Star.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Local media, News, Shared media, Social Media, Uncategorized, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Under the bridge

Another quick one from the huge number of images generously donated to the blog by Sir Gerald of Reece recently, and this time we have an image of somewhere familiar to all of us, but I bet the folk from Back the Track will be particularly interested.

This is an interesting image of the new traffic island in Brownhills from the mid 80s, and typifies Gerald Reece’s attention to taking photos few others were, that have been hugely useful to document change incrementally.

Gerald took this photo from the trackbed of the old railway, under what is now the Miner Island, in all probability around 1986. Note the bricked up left hand arch, which led to the long-gone goods sidings. He is facing Pelsall, and the Parkview Centre is up the bank on the right out of shot. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

Brownhills Bridge, to give the traffic island its real name, was created in the mid 80s using the existing bridge and adding a new one alongside. It was constructed not long after the rails were lifted following the last goods train in 1984.

The wonderful Peter Booth covered the construction in this remarkable photo set too.

A photo I took last autun from near enough the same spot as Gerald – but around 33 years later. It’s now The McClean Way, the walking and cycleway being created on the route of the former railway by Back the Track.

David Evans, who sent me the scan, had this to say:

Hi Bob

I am slowly working through the photos Gerlad Reece has given to me…

This is one of an album of some 70 plus photos of local bridges… Most of which I do not recognise!

But this one..yes. I have phoned Brian Stringer to check…

I think the photo dates from soon after the new bridge was completed…

Perhaps an ongoing irregular name that bridge series during the year?

What do you think Bob?

kind regards

David

I’m well up for a game of Name that Bridge – go for it David! Thank you, as always.

Now of course, the track is being brought back to the community by those wonderful folk from Back the Track, who are now very near the A5 in their clearance work. My respect and thanks to Brian Stringer and all the crew for their hard work.

If you want to find out about the Back the Track campaign and group, you can visit their website here and Facebook group here. They also have a twitter account here.

The donor of this remarkable image, 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.

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 , , , , , | 1 Comment

There’s a great autism support group meeting in Brownhills today and every Tuesday!

Just a heads up to let folk know that there’s a popular and regular autism support group meeting in Brownhills every Tuesday lunchtime from 1:30-2:30pm at the Smithy’s Forge pub, Lichfield Road, Brownhills, just off the Miner Island.

For parents, carers, etc. of children and adults with autism.

Weekly support group every Tuesday at the Smithys Forge, Brownhills 1:30-2:30 🌈


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

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Looking for a local folk musician from the early 70s…

A quick enquiry here from reader Ann Horrell who’s looking for an acquaintance who she believes lived at Little Wyrley Hall in the early 1970s.

Image from Urbanape on Flickr, via the splendid Handed On blog.

Ann wrote:

I am looking for a man that lived in Little Warley Hall in the early 1970s.

His first name was Bob and I think surname was Newton or something similar.

He was a teacher also an artist.

He sometimes played guitar at The Barrel folk Club in Heath Hayes. He lived in a wing of Little Wyrley Hall.

Thanks Bob.

I know we have a few old folkies in here and I bet one or two of those must remember Bob.

If you can help with this one, please do get in touch with me – you can comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or find me on social media.

I’d ask that you don’t share Bob’s details publicly, or without his permission. Cheers!

Posted in News | 12 Comments

Please look out for this stolen motorbike taken last night from central Brownhills

Hey folks – please be on the lookout for the above stolen motorbike, taken last night/this morning (23-24 February 2019) from the Watermead Estate, just by B&M in Brownhills.

The bike, as shown above is a Leximoto 125 registration BL16FLC, and was stolen some time between 12 and 5am.

If someone you know has just inexplicably tooled up on a new bike, check it out, please – after all, it might be your stuff they steal next.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can also use the excellent West Midlands Police live chat facility at this link here.

You can also contact the owner, Brandon Gamble on Facebook here or his dad Karl Gamble on Facebook here.

You can always mail me in confidence if you’d rather – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

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

Woodmen prove the equal of Westfields

Yesterday afternoon (23rd February 2019), Walsall Wood F.C. finally had a match at home following a few weeks away, having a looser schedule this year to help cover any bad weather.

The Woodmen held their own against Hereford’s Westfields, coming away with a respectable two all draw after a cracking game. With all four of the league’s top teams – Walsall Wood, Sporting Khalsa, Westfields and Ilkeston Town in matches against each other, yesterday’s results left Walsall Wood at second in the league.

The young David Evans makes a welcome return to match reporting after his recent illness, and sent the following photos and match report:

Images and captions kindly supplied by the young David Evans

 
 Hello Bob

Walsall Wood FC 2 v 2 Westfields FC

Today Walsall Wood FC welcomed Westfield, all the way up from Hereford. They have played here before, of course, and the quality of the visitors’ football, the positive sporting nature of their players, and the genuine greeting from their managers and directors always brings a note of  pleasure and good nature to their visits.

Today’s encounter was an important one for both sides. There was no animosity or grumbling from any of the players, no whinging or disrespect of the officials, who played their positive part in this memorable match.

The game started at a measured pace as each side were understandably careful to settle down to play  the strategy and moves they had practised and rehearsed in training.

The large body of spectators, in the stand or around the touchline were to thrill at the top class display of football skills on show by both sides. Fine  midfield jumping, passing, rapid wing dashes along the touchline, accurate tackles, searching long kicks, all were there in abundance this afternoon. 

Time fled past for the spectators. Goals came from largely well-worked manoeuvres, penalties were correctly awarded. Corner kicks were taken and delivered well by both sides.

It was difficult to keep up with the sheer pace of the play for spectators.

Blink and you surely missed something important. A large contingent of local youths joined in the vocal appreciation chorus line and applause as they, too, enjoyed the famous  WWFC Red Army in action.

The final whistle was blown, applause and cheers rang out all around the ground. Players shook hands. An excellent game in every sense. A fair result.

As ever, thanks to David for the report – always appreciated. Keep gwarnin, for The Good of the Wood!

 

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

Finally a match: Walsall Wood FC at home to Westfields this afternoon!

P1000426
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.

Saturday 23rd February 2019

After weeks without a home match, the boys are back in town – and what’s more it’s a crunch league match!

The Wood are at home!

Walsall Wood FC versus Westfields

Kick off is 3:00pm

Hopefully, a match report will follow…

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

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

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 23rd February 2019 from 10-11:30am.

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

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

A Play & Stay group located within Brownhills Community Centre and The Lamp.

BROWNHILLS STAY & PLAY

Saturday 23rd February 2019

This week our messy play tray will be filled with Gelli Baff (a safe sensory play) plus our creative table will be open to all requests and our sand tray will be open as always…

Our outdoors area will be open with slides, climbing frames, bikes, scooters and construction play

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

See you all Saturday!

10.00-11.30 
£2 per child 
Healthy Snack included 

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

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery within Brownhills Community Centre every Saturday morning. 

Add our Facebook Page – 
Brownhills Stay & Play 🌈🌈

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

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

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Looking for Les Hudson, please

Hey up – an interesting enquiry here I’m hoping readers can help with regarding a gentleman who served in the army, and married a lady from the Avenues in Brownhills.

Do you know of a lady from First Avenue, Brownhills that married Les Hudson? Imagery from Apple Maps.

Old pal Fred Seabury is trying to trace Les Hudson for a reunion. He wrote:

Hello Bob

I am an ex serviceman and I am trying to trace a fellow named LES HUDSON.

Les came from Kidderminster but he married a girl from First Avenue, Brownhills.

We are holding an army reunion shortly and we would like Les to attend.

We were in 19 Tank Transporter Company, Royal Army Service Corps and we were based at Retford, Notts.

If there is anyone out there that can help me to find Les I would appreciate it very much.

That’s all the details I have I’m afraid – but I’m sure we can find someone who can help.

If you can assist, please do: Either comment on this post, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or grab me on social media.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

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

Late notice from Leekie, but he’s been in touch to let me know that he’s DJing his semi-regular Soultime event at Pelsall Community Centre this evening, 22nd February 2019 at Pelsall Community Centre, where he and a number of great soul pals will be fulfilling all your Northern Soul and Motown requirements.

I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like a bit of classic soul and Leekie is a great DJ for a wonderful night. A two-room event, it also featuresGary Watts, Brian Nield, Rocho and Rob Edgar.

It’s just £5 a head and kicks off at 8pm and runs until Midnight. What’s not to love?

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

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

1987: The end of a landmark

I’ve long been interested here in the lost chemical works in Brownhills that once produced tar and cleaning chemicals, and latterly scrapped old aeroplanes and military waste for the valuable metal alloys they contained.

The final hours of the Superalloys stack, 1987. Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reece.

The adjacent area of canal has always locally been known as ‘The Chemical’.

The stack begins to fall…
Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reece.

In the scrapyard days, Super Alloys as it was known was a magnet for local kids and tatters alike, and often had an interesting array of decaying military waste around the building.

One of the things it was most notable for, though, was the huge chimney that was a landmark visible for miles. It was finally demolished in 1987. The site is now, after a long period of dereliction, a warehouse for the Castings company.

The Chemical, or latterly Super Alloys, was located where the large Castings warehouse is now. Imagery from Apple Maps.

Recently, in the whole heap of stuff donated by Sir Gerald of Reece to the blog, he sent some really clear photos of the Super Alloys stack being demolished, which I intersperse through this post. They are wonderful and I can’t think where I was when this happened, but I certainly missed it.

I think this is what remained of the Superalloys furnaces. Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reece.

I also think that the curious image I featured here on Saturday was the remainder of the smelting furnaces at the site after demolition.

Nearly down… Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reece.

Gerald Reece had this to say about The Chemical in his book ‘Brownhills A Walk Into History’, which he features the following passage.

Brownhills Chemical Works opened in 1870. In its early days it was a chemical plant producing acids and other coal based derivatives. It took some of its raw material from the Gasworks in High Street. The Chemical Plant took on many guises during its lifetime. One of its functions during and after the 1939-45 war was to recycle the scrap alloys from crashed aircraft. Brownhills Smelters was formed on 2nd December 1947. They were superseded by Super Alloys. When this Company went out of business the buildings were allowed to fall into an unsightly and unsafe condition. The Chimney, ‘The Chemi Stack’, a landmark for 120 years was felled in 1987. The demolition was carried out by Colin Jones of Porthmadog.

The Super Alloys chimney was demolished in 1987, but do you know who pushed the plunger? These images are from Gerald Reece’s book ‘Brownhills a Walk into History’ but another set are on display in Brownhills Community Centre.

Now somewhere else (and I can’t for the life of me think where) it’s been stated that the famous chimney at the factory, pictured above beeing blown up, had the charge detonated by someone local who entered a competition to do it. Who was it? Possibly a local child?

A landmark is reduced to rubble. Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reece.

Gerald has also asserted that a number of souvenir hand bells – which are surprisingly common – were cast out of metal recovered by Super Alloys and sold as mementoes. You can read about that here.

Gerald Reece believes this bell was cast from metal recovered possibly by Superalloys in Brownhills.

Local historian Clive Roberts stated in his book ‘Snippets of History in and around Brownhills’ that for a while, before the war, the factory produced tar and the like, which would tie in with the gas works; but I’m also under the impression that Brawns of Home Farm Sandhills had something to do with the factory in the early days.

Obviously, I’m interested in anything you have to add here. You can comment on this post, tug my sleeve on social media or email me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Years ago, I wrote a post enquiring about the war scrap days, postwar and in to the 1980s, after finding some photos on an aviation forum – you can read the original post here. Forum contributor Wildcat back in 2006 said:

I spent many hours ‘browsing’ around the Super Alloys yard in the mid/late 60’s. What a treasure trove, if only I had realised exactly what I was playing with.

Entry as Matt said was from the rear ( I went in round the back of the ‘egg factory’). A couple of menacing dogs kept most away, but for reasons unknown they were always friendly to me and little brother. I remember seeing a few cockpits/fuselages as well as Anson Mainplanes and a large white fuselage under a canopy.

Nuff of the memory lane waffling, hears a couple of pics from the front of the yard. The condition of the Javelins is remarkably tidy ( doubt they had been there long) What price those fuselages today!!

I also found the images below on Flickr. in user Bobdcuk’s stream, from 1979:

The Chemical, or in the time pictured, Superalloys works. Picture taken from The Aviation Forum, as posted by user Wildcat on the 21st February 2006.
Listed as ‘Brownhills Scrapyard 1977-York wings’ Photo taken from the Flickr photostream of user Bobdcuk.

Browse Bobdcuk’s Flickr stream, where I found the 1977 images.

Listed as ‘Brownhills scrapyard 1977 – Typhoon’ – the remembered military vehicle scrap is piled in the background, and also note the familiar view to the rear. Beneath the soil in the middle distance lies the Staffordshire Hoard, as yet undiscovered. Photo taken from the Flickr photostream of user Bobdcuk.
Listed as ‘Brownhills Scrapyard 1977 Typhoon’ – notice the welly being used as a glove, times were hard then… Photo taken from the Flickr photostream of user Bobdcuk.
Posted in Brownhills stuff, Followups, Interesting photos, Local History, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Spotted whilst browsing the web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Urgent help needed with the Daffodil Appeal in Brownhills…

I have an important and urgent request here from reader Julie Gray who is staging a collection for Marie Curie cancer care this Sunday, 24th February 2019 at Tesco in Brownhills and she needs some help if at all possible.

Julie wrote:

I am the community fundraiser for Marie Curie – we have a Daffodil Collection this weekend, 24th February 2019 at Tesco, Brownhills

I am struggling for assistance – could anyone spare two hours of their time please to help for a great cause?

Please call me on 0797 907 5877.

many thanks
Julie Gray

If you can help, please do call the number above – cancer charities are very important to me personally and make such a great difference to those suffering.

You can find out more about Marie Curie Charity’s work here and about the Daffodil Appeal specifically here.

You can of course also contact me on social media, by commenting here or mailing BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com and I’ll pass any messages on to Julie.

My thanks and best wishes to Julie for helping this charity.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Tree, cheers!

Here’s an important one from old pal and top Brownhills community person Susan Forster of Brownhills. Every year I receive complaints that Brownhills has no Christmas tree, the lights aren’t good enough and so forth – we even made the national news over it over it a few years ago.

Well, Susan is proposing to do something about the situation. Since Christmas trees in Walsall have for many years had to be privately or community funded, if we want one here in Brownhills, we’re going to have to raise the money, and we need to get is sorted by midsummer.

To this end, there’s a meeting at Brownhills Community Centre (The old Central Boys School or Annexe on the Miner Island) in the Lamp Arts facility there this coming Saturday, 23rd February 2019 at 10:00am where those interested can share ideas, hear proposals and get the ball rolling.

As I promised all those years ago I am happy to make a substantial cash contribution to this. But we all need to help, and we need to raise a lot of money to carry it off.

Every year I get bombarded with complaints – well, if folk want this sorting, now’s the time to get involved. It will not sort itself.

I will be sharing news from the appeal here, and I’d like to publicly than Susan for taking on this huge task – Brownhills has a true asset in this fine lady and I wish her and the appeal well.

If you have any comments or enquiries, comment here, pin me down on social media or email me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Posted in News | 1 Comment