Come join the community litter pick this Thursday morning in Brownhills!

Very late notice I know, but I’ve only just spotted that there is a community litter pick event taking place in Brownhills this morning (Thursday 27th February 2020) from 10am  until 12 noon starting at Brownhills Community Centre – and all are welcome. All kit will be provided!

The pick is being run by Walsall Community Litter Watch for the benefit of the the town, so it’ll be a worthwhile event to get involved with and help improve the local environment.

The organisers said:

Brownhills Community litter pick

Come along to our Brownhills Litter Pick, Thursday at 10am.

We will be meeting at the Brownhills Community Centre. All equipment provided, make sure to wrap up and wear appropriate clothing.

All other equipment is provided.

There will be teas and coffees available after to warm us up!

Are you  able to volunteer through your employment? Why not come along to support your business with corporate social responsibility?

#cleanergreenerwalsall

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!

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

 

The inimitable soul DJ Leekie has been in touch to let me know that he’s DJing his regular Soultime event at Pelsall Community Centre this Friday evening, 28th February 2020 at Pelsall Community Centre, where he and a number of great soul practitioners in a two-room event – Ady Kisby, Rob Edgar, Little Scotty, Will Moreton and of course, Leekie – 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 a host of other great local soul scene DJs on the decks.

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

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

 

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

Walking group sets off again in Brownhills this Wednesday afternoon!

Altogether now, ‘I love to go a-wandering…’ – image from Walsall Healthy Spaces Team.

I note that since it’s a new year, new start and so forth, there are lots of opportunities to get out and about and work of some of the padding Christmas left behind.

One such thing is the new walking group set up in Brownhills by Walsall Healthy Spaces Team who will be organising 90 minute walks every week, including this  Wednesday 26th February 2020, starting from Brownhills Community Centre at 1:45pm, exploring our beautiful local open spaces.

Walsall Healthy Spaces said:

New social and friendly health walk group coming to Brownhills in 2020.

Starting Wednesday 8th January.

Meet at Brownhills Community Centre, Chester Road North WS8 7JW every Wednesday 1.45pm for a 2.00pm start.

Duration: 1½ hours approx. Intensity: Moderate; occasional slight gradients, on hard and soft surfaces.

For more information on other volunteer led walking groups click here.

You can visit Walsall Healthy Spaces Team on Facebook here. If you attend, why not get in touch and let me know how you get on?

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Alcoholics Anonymous group meeting in Brownhills this evening

Here’s an important one – Brownhills has started its own Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings at Silver Street Methodist Church in Silver Street, Brownhills that take place this and every Tuesday (25th February 2020) from 7:30pm until 9pm.

I’m told the meetings are very well attended.

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

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

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

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In memoriam Eddie Fallon: A wonderful gesture

Last autumn, Brownhills was saddened by the loss of a well respected and loved local man, Eddie ‘Jock’ Fallon, who was taken from us after a period of illness.

As an ex-Serviceman, Eddie was a member of Brownhills branch of the Royal British Legion, and David Evans was invited to a rather special presentation last week at Eddie’s local, the Prince of Wales, by Eddie’s family to the local branch.

David wrote:

Hi Bob

I attended a wonderful event this evening at the Prince of Wales Inn on Watling Street, Brownhills in order to take some photos of the presentation of a cheque for the British Legion, in memory of popular local ex-serviceman Eddie Fallon, who passed away recently.

I was totally unprepared for the magnificent generosity that the cheque represented and add my personal gratitude to those expressed by My John Bird.

kind regards
David

It’s heart warming to see the generosity here in memory of such a fine gentleman and once again I am reminded of the kind heartedness of our community.

My best wishes go out to Eddie’s family, friends an all who knew him. I include below an account of the event written by old friend of the blog John Bird, a stalwart member and campaigner for the local Royal British Legion, from whom I have another article later this week.

Image kindly supplied by David Evans.

Thanks to the Fallon family, John Bird, David Evans and all who donated. A lovely, yet sad thing.

Eddie Fallon.

Brownhills ex-serviceman, Eddie Fallon, also known as Jock, was a valued member of the local branch of the Royal British Legion.

Sadly, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This bad news prompted his friends and relatives to organise a collection for him. Eddie, being Eddie, insisted that the proceeds be donated to the Royal British Legion. It was then decided to hold an event in his local “watering hole”, the Prince of Wales, situated-on-the A5. It was here that he would present a cheque to his own branch of the Royal British Legion’s representatives.

Unfortunately, Eddie passed away before the planned event could be finalised. However, his family arranged to proceed and undertake this exercise, on his behalf, at the proposed event on the day that would have been his birthday.

He would have been extremely proud.

Needless to say, a spokesperson for the Brownhills branch of the Royal British Legion, expressed sincere thanks to everyone involved for the generous donation to the fund. This is the fund that provides support to ex-service personnel and their dependants in times of need.

“We will miss you Jock.”

John Bird.
Branch Community Officer.

Images kindly supplied by David Evans.

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Got a little one? Fancy a stroll in the park this Monday morning?

This is a wonderful thing. If you have a wee one or two, and time to spare, come along and join in!

I’ve always supported the wonderful parent and toddler walking and social group that took place weekly at Chasewater – Chasewater Strollers, which grew via the human dynamo of Esther Allen and others into the wonderful Spark movement in Burntwood – well, the original Stroller group is still strolling and I thought that deserved a mention here.

The whole Burntwood Spark thing and the Strollers it grew from are an example to us all of how direct community activism can work and build friendship, solidarity and support and I admire  them and all involved hugely.

Esther and Rachel have said this about the Chasewater Strollers:

If you fancy enjoying the beauty on our doorstep, getting some fresh air and exercise whilst having a natter on the way then we’d love you to join us. Buggies, slings whatever’s your thing!

We meet from 9:30ish and set off walking from St. Anne’s Church Chasetown promptly at 9:45. We walk a loop of Chasewater which takes about an hour, then we have a small stay and play, while we have a drink and snack. You can either come for just the walk or stay for all of it. Babies and children of any age welcome just be aware we don’t go at a toddler pace, so some form of wheeled transport or carrier is a good idea, as little legs struggle with the 3 miles.

There is parking at the Church, or buses stop at the bottom of Chasetown High Street. Don’t forget your raincover and sunshade (you never know!) There are various places to stop on the way around if you need to use a baby change.

So exercise, company, play for little ones and beautiful nature. What’s not to love? If you’re new or returning, we’d love to see you. Grandparents, carers, childminders, friends, all welcome. 🙂 I have many happy memories and lovely friends made from Strollers so can’t wait to get back strolling again!

Esther and Rachel x

They have a new group: Chasewater Strollers 2017 on Facebook

You can also mail them: chasewaterstrollers@outlook.com

Any questions please send them an email or Facebook message. Otherwise just turn up and you will be made very welcome!

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Fancy joining Brownhills Community Drum Corps Band?

 

An important one here:If you’d like to join up and help the Brownhills Community Drum Corps Band – that’s the folks who march at Brownhills Remembrance Parade – then here’s you chance today (Sunday 23rd February 2020) and subsequent Sundays.

Brownhills Community Band and Drum Corps now meet at the new venue of Clayhanger Community Centre, Church Street, Clayhanger WS8 7EG from 1pm until 3:30pm. That’s just off Salters Road. Instruments are provided, but if you have something else suitable, feel free to bring it along.

You can call for more information on 07594 284399.

There’s also going to be a band open day on the 1st March 2020.

Experience isn’t essential but enthusiasm is! Kids and adults alike are welcome.

My best wishes to all involved and if you pop up, why not let me know how you got on? this is a great project.

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

If you, the kids are grandkids are at a loose end today, since the weather seems a bit more decent it would be an excellent chance to nip up to Stubbers Green and chat to the Swan Patrol.

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

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

Ann Lawrence of the Swan Patrol said:

Do you want to know more about nature and wildlife?

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

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

We have binoculars and bird books available to use.

Donations welcome

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Why not join Sunday’s Walsall Wood community litter picks?

The next Walsall Wood community litter pick by Walsall Wood Wombles take place on Sunday 23rd February 2019 – and all are welcome to join in.

There will actually be two litter picks organised by the Womble group on the same Sunday – the first will be meeting at Beechtree Road car park at 10:30am to do local streets and canals, then reconvening at 1pm at Walsall Wood Football Club on Oak Park to cover that area and surrounds.

In both cases pickers, bags and gloves provided. All welcome!

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

You can check out the Facebook page for Walsall Wood Wombles here. They’re a great community spirited collective and you really are welcome to pop along.

Thanks to all who participate: Real community in action.

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

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It’s very wet in the park: Chasewater Parkrun cancelled again

What a fantastic environment to run in – but not in a hurricane! Image from Chasewater Parkrun on Facebook.

Sadly due to the incredible amount of standing water and mud at Chasewater, the organisers of Chasewater Parkrun have wisely but with very heavy hearts decided to cancel the event for this week which was scheduled to take place this Saturday, 22nd February 2020.

Chasewater’s course is on mostly rough tracks and ground that’s now waterlogged, so cancelling the event is totally the correct thing to do.

Several other Parkruns are cancelled locally so best check this post before selecting an alternative.

It should return next week all being well – so be patient and clean those trainers!

The organisers posted on Facebook:

EVENT CANCELLED 22/02/2020

Yesterday there was still a lot of flooding on the course from the weekend, and the additional rain in the last 24 hours has made the situation even worse and so with more rain forecast over the next day or so we just can’t see the levels receeding sufficiently.

We have to think about the impact of 2-300 runners on a waterlogged course and also the safety of all the runners, and so we have decided to cancel this weekend.

it is of course very disappointing but we hope you understand. Huge thanks to Gary who has been at the park a lot this week keeping an eye on the situation for us.

With the forecast over the next 7 days we are confident we will be back for the 29th Feb – we hope to see lots of you as the next opportunity to parkrun on the 29th Feb is 2048 (apparently)

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

I know folk always complain they never caught notice of these, so this is just a note to say there the next Walsall Wood community litter pick by Walsall Wood Wombles take place on Sunday 23rd February 2019 – and all are welcome to join in.

 There will actually be two litter picks organised by the Womble group on nth same Sunday – the first will be meeting at Beechtree Road car park at 10:30am to do local streets and canals, then reconvening at 1pm at Walsall Wood Football Club on Oak Park to cover that area and surrounds.

In both cases pickers, bags and gloves provided. All welcome!

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

You can check out the Facebook page for Walsall Wood Wombles here. They’re a great community spirited collective and you really are welcome to pop along.

Thanks to all who participate: Real community in action.

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

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Walking group sets off again in Brownhills this Wednesday afternoon!

Altogether now, ‘I love to go a-wandering…’ – image from Walsall Healthy Spaces Team.

I note that since it’s a new year, new start and so forth, there are lots of opportunities to get out and about and work of some of the padding Christmas left behind.

One such thing is the new walking group set up in Brownhills by Walsall Healthy Spaces Team who will be organising 90 minute walks every week, including this  Wednesday 19th February 2020, starting from Brownhills Community Centre at 1:45pm, exploring our beautiful local open spaces.

Walsall Healthy Spaces said:

New social and friendly health walk group coming to Brownhills in 2020.

Starting Wednesday 8th January.

Meet at Brownhills Community Centre, Chester Road North WS8 7JW every Wednesday 1.45pm for a 2.00pm start.

Duration: 1½ hours approx. Intensity: Moderate; occasional slight gradients, on hard and soft surfaces.

For more information on other volunteer led walking groups click here.

You can visit Walsall Healthy Spaces Team on Facebook here. If you attend, why not get in touch and let me know how you get on?

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Supporting the Rainbow autism support group have a half term catch up today!

The popular and busy Supporting the Rainbow autism carers support group meets again today (Tuesday 18th February 2020) for a special half-term catchup at Brownhills Community Centre from 1:30pm to 2:30pm today at Brownhills Community Centre, just off the Miner Island in Brownhills.

Tuesday 18th February supporting the rainbow 🌈
Children’s Crafts 🎨 and snacks 🍭
All welcome 1:30-2:30! 😊
Brownhills community centre

There will be craft activities for the kids, and snacks too! What’s not to love?

Brownhills Community Centre is the former school located right on the Miner Island in Brownhills. Parking is at the rear, off Pelsall Road. You can’t miss it.

Supporting the Rainbow is really growing in popularity – so why not pop along to see what it’s all about?

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Distant Hoofbeats remembered

Harness racing at Chasewater in the good days. Image kindly supplied by Sue MacMillan.

In relation to the history of Chasewater and it’s ill-fated trotting track, I was contacted recently by a lovely lady – Sue McMillan – who spent time in the area with her family when she was younger, and whose father Brian Wibberley was behind the trotting track as a venue for a time. Brian also owned the service station on the A5 at Newtown that latterly became Hoofbeats, then The Terrace, and is now once again Hoofbeats.

Sue wrote:

Hi Bob

I attach a few images I have of the harness racing at Chasewater. Dad (Brian Wibberley) hadn’t moved to Brownhills when these were taken. It was the late 70’s. He loved harness racing and had a passion to renovate the race track and get it back as a harness racing track (which he achieved).

Dad sold cars in Burton on Trent, and he got Opel to sponsor a night at the track – we filled the stand… I have pictures of me as a 10 year old girl presenting flowers to “distinguished” guests (who they are I have no idea) but I was told they were important and to behave!

One for the classic motor buffs: I remember Opel as mainly selling Vauxhalls in the UK under their brand – or was it the other way around? – Look how full the stadium was. Image kindly supplied by Sue MacMillan.

So Dad put on the race night which was a great success… It was shortly after that, that he bought the transport café and opened the pumps – I sold petrol there throughout my teens along with a growing amount of weekly veg!

Everyone stopped for petrol and a bag of spuds.  The café was then renovated and Hoofbeats opened.

Dad always had his love of Harness Racing and I have pictures of American cars on the forecourt along side sulky’s all of which he had imported from America. It was called Hoofbeats after the American magazine Hoofbeats.

Hoofbeats at its opening in 1985. That carriage is remarkable! Image kindly supplied by Sue MacMillan.

Dad died on the last day of his first financial year.  Geoff purchased the restaurant and traded as The Terrace – the rest you probably know.

The new Hoofbeats want my pictures to mount a collage  of Dad and Anslow Super Star (Dad’s best horse and favourite horse) to remember Dad for what he did for Mr Chance (new owners dad and Granddad) in raising money for his bypass operation in the very early 80’s.

Sue McMillan

We’ve covered the trotting track a lot here over the years, and again, many folk have fond memories of working or visiting the trotting Stadium I had thought was a sole project of  Oscar Johnson.

Anslow Super Star – clearly a remarkable and much loved horse. Image kindly supplied by Sue MacMillan.

Thanks to Sue for some wonderful, evocative and remarkable images of something I once thought we’d never get much history of – the trotting track. That it’s history was intertwined with that of Hoofbeats is an interesting and engaging twist. Thank you for your generosity.

The BBC archive have previously published a short Nationwide TV clip from 1971 about the opening of the Chasewater Trotting Track which makes an odd claim about stadiium capacity but is actually local history gold. I feature it below..

If you have any comments, post them here, catch me on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail do com. Cheers.

Chasewater trotting track – the stadium many will remember derelict – never achieved the elusive success hoped for. Image from ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

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Many local roads flooded – Walsall Council issue update

Latest update from Walsall Council 8pm Sunday 16th February 2020:

A final (hopefully!) update for you.

In response to flooding emergencies, highways officers, Tarmac crews and Clean & Green crews have been working hard since the early hours of this morning to keep the highway network as safe as possible.

Bescot Crescent – now fully reopened to traffic
The Environment Agency have reported falling river levels.

A461 Lichfield Road Navvies Bridge – fully reopened to traffic
Two abandoned vehicles remain on site. A car and a van have been manhandled onto the footway and should be removed by early morning.

A461 Lichfield Road near to Baron’s Court – fully reopened to traffic
Water remains across half of the outbound lane from Walsall. This should naturally discharge overnight. Checks will be made early tomorrow morning.

Longwood Lane – fully reopened to Traffic
Water from agricultural run-off is draining across the carriageway but the road is now passable for vehicles, following work undertaken by Tarmac with a tractor loader this morning. Warning signs remain on site.

Aldridge Road – partially open to traffic
The inbound dual carriageway to Walsall remains flooded along one lane but traffic is able to pass. Warning signs remain on site.

A4124 Lichfield Rd near to the council’s environmental depot – partially open to traffic.
A significant volume of water from agricultural run-off is draining across the carriageway. Sandbags have been used to divert the flow sufficiently to allow one running lane to remain open. Tarmac operatives have installed temporary traffic lights to maintain a two way traffic flow. These will remain overnight and if safe to do so they will be removed early morning tomorrow.

Boatman’s Lane – full road closure
Water continues to discharge from adjacent land onto Boatman’s Lane. There is one abandoned vehicle at the edge of the carriageway. Water levels remain high but should reduce overnight. Tarmac’s gully crew are scheduled to return to site at around 5:00am on Monday morning to try to get the road open. Clean & Green may need to follow up with a mechanical sweeper to clear the road of debris, so please do drive with caution when the road re-opens.

Fordbrook Lane and Vicarage Road Pelsall – fully reopened to traffic
Tarmac crews attended to this location in the early hours of Sunday morning with the support of crews from Clean and Green.

Park Lane Darlaston – fully reopened to traffic
Tarmac crews attended and managed to clear debris from the highway; surface water is now flowing into the existing drainage systems.

A4038 Darlaston Road near to Bentley Mill Way – fully reopened to traffic
Elevated water levels in the River Tame are preventing highway drainage systems from functioning at 100%. Tarmac’s gully crew has attended to do what they can. Two way traffic flows have been restored but water continues to partially cover the inbound carriageway lane.

Although the worst seems to have passed now, please do drive safely and always treat any areas of standing water with caution.

The Arboretum traffic signal junction, which is within an Environment Agency flood zone, was causing concern for some time today. If we had experienced any further rain there is a likelihood that this junction may have had to be closed to traffic, which would have caused extremely severe disruption. Resources were stretched, but we were prepared for this eventuality.

Thank you to our staff and Tarmac for your work today and thank you also to our colleagues in the blue light services who we have been in close liaison with today; they have also been busy today due to ‘Dennis’. Have a restful evening.

Flooding in Brickyard Road as witnessed by Neil Bullock.

With the inclement weather and the tail end of Storm Dennis ongoing (Sunday, 16th February 2020) many local routes and byways are affected by flooding, fallen trees and debris.

Please take care when out and about – please don’t forget an elderly gentleman lost his life tragically in local flooding a couple of years ago and it takes less than six inches of water to wash a car away.

Stricken vehicles lie submerged beneath Navvies Bridge in Walsall on the A461 Lichfield Road – the site a couple of years ago where a man tragically drowned in floodwater. Image from Ant Westbury.

If on two wheels, beware of side winds, depth of standing water, road debris and always think about whether a deep pothole may lurk unseen in that puddle.

Take care folks. Walsall Council issued the following warning this lunchtime:

The Arboretum is suffering from flooding. Video posted on social media by Walsall Council.

There has been significant rainfall overnight, which continues into today and this has resulted in some road closures across the borough, in the interest of public safety.

In Rushall, Lichfield Road (A461) in the vicinity of the navvies bridge is impassable and has been closed by West Midlands Fire Service.

In Brownhills, Pelsall Road (A4124) in the vicinity of the council’s environmental depot is being monitored and may have to be closed.

The river Tame in the Bescot area is running high and Bescot Crescent is currently closed between the junction with Broadway West and the junction with Brockhurst Crescent. The Sunday market at the Banks’s Stadium and the adjacent retail park are closing.

Longwood Lane has been cleared by our highway operatives.

Walsall Arboretum is also seeing significant flooding of some paths and the café/visitor centre is closed.

Please seek alternative routes where necessary if you need to travel today. Public transport will be affected, so please check with the travel operator concerned before setting out on your journey.

We continue to liaise and work with the emergency services and our highway operatives are out and about assisting with localised flooding issues.

Stay safe.

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Fancy joining Brownhills Community Drum Corps Band?

 

An important one here:If you’d like to join up and help the Brownhills Community Drum Corps Band – that’s the folks who march at Brownhills Remembrance Parade – then here’s you chance today (Sunday 16th February 2020) and subsequent Sundays.

Brownhills Community Band and Drum Corps now meet at the new venue of Clayhanger Community Centre, Church Street, Clayhanger WS8 7EG from 1pm until 3:30pm. That’s just off Salters Road. Instruments are provided, but if you have something else suitable, feel free to bring it along.

You can call for more information on 07594 284399.

There’s also going to be a band open day on the 1st March 2020.

Experience isn’t essential but enthusiasm is! Kids and adults alike are welcome.

My best wishes to all involved and if you pop up, why not let me know how you got on? this is a great project.

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Brownhills in the mid-1990s: A miscellany

I thought I’d continue sharing the hugely popular run of archive images today from the immense Gerald Reece collection. This set is a miscellany of shots of local businesses, shops and landmarks all taken around the mid-1990s, with some oddities thrown in for good measure.

These images have been scanned by David Evans from Gerald’s material recently donated to the blog, and show an area whose High Street and industry are still diverse, but beginning to decay and fade.

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

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

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

Gerald and Cherry Reece: on whose shoulders all my work here stands. Image kindly supplied by David Evans.
Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

There’s a lovely coffee concert this afternoon in Brownhills!

How about some lovely organ music on a Saturday afternoon, with the very talented Angela Sones? Image shared by Brownhills Methodist Church.

Friend of the blog Chris Booth has been in touch to let me know about a rather nice Coffee Concert that’s due to take place this afternoon (Saturday 15th February 2020) at the Silver Street Methodist Church in Brownhills, featuring the talented organist Angela Sones.

There’s coffee and cake afterwards, and the concert itself is free, with a collection as you leave for church funds. What’s not to love? It kicks off at 2:30pm.

Our February Coffee Concert is given by Angela Sones, Director of Music of All Saints Church Four Oaks, 45 Minutes Of organ lollipops.

Including works by J.S Bach, Whitlock, Goss Custard and Lefébure-wely. Coffee and Cake after!

Retiring Collection for Church Funds

 

 

 

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

SORRY MATCH OFF DUE TO WEATHER!

Lees Lane – home of The Shiners. Image from the club website.

Saturday 15th February 2020

Walsall Wood FC away to South Normanton Athletic FC

In light of storm Dennis, keep an eye on Walsall Wood FC’s Twitter feed to make sure the game is a goer before leaving home

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

3:00pm kickoff

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

M J Robinson Structures Arena
Lees Lane
South Normanton
Derbyshire
DE55 2AD

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

If you’ve a child or children under six years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 15th February 2020 from 10-12pm – note the newly expanded times!

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

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

🦧🦍🦓🦏🦛🦧🦍🦓🦏🦛
Saturday 15th February 2020
Down in the jungle ! 🦧

We will be exploring our jungle messy tray… With lots of different textured materials. Can you find all the animals?

Our creative table will be… Painting! 
Jungle animals and masks ! 🎨 🖌

Sandtray will be open and accessible as it is every week 👍🏼

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

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

See you all Saturday ….

Due to storm Dennis the outdoor play area will be closed today! Please take care on you journey to us!

10.00am-12.00 noon
£3 per child
Snack included
feel free to invite your friends with children aged 0-6 years and share our events

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


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

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Storm Dennis: Chasewater Parkrun cancelled

What a fantastic environment to run in – but not in a hurricane! Image from Chasewater Parkrun on Facebook.

Sadly due to the rather inclement weather forecast for tomorrow due to incoming storm Dennis (Saturday 15th February 2020) the organisers of Chasewater Parkrun have wisely but with very heavy hearts decided to cancel the event for this week.

Chasewater is often windier than the surrounding landscape and with much of the course adjacent to or in woodland, cancelling the event is totally the correct thing to do.

It should return next week all being well for the Rainbow Run which was scheduled for this week – so get out your bright colours and prepare to set the park alight!

The organisers posted on Facebook:

EVENT CANCELLED

The core team have taken the difficult decision to cancel tomorrow events due to a trespasser on the park named Dennis.

The safety of our runners and volunteers has to be our primary concern and the forecast is winds of 35 mph at 8am increasing over the course of the morning.

We want to give you all as much notice as possible so that you can make alternative parkrunning plans. There are still a couple of local parkruns that are still on but please keep an eye on their facebook pages.

Our Rainbow event has been postponed to next week so wear your rainbow clothes and make it a sea of bright colour !

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Lichfield repair cafe February 2020 meet up – get together and get things fixed this afternoon!

Never one to sit back and let life pass her by, that there Kate Cardigan from the wonderful Lichfield Lore is involved with the excellent Lichfield Repair Cafe project – which continues it’s regular residency this coming Saturday afternoon (Saturday 15th February 2020) at Curborough Community Centre, Lichfield from 2pm until 5pm.

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

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

Kate said:

It might be a little late for Valentine’s but we love our team of repairers regardless of which day it is. They’ll be on hand to help you fix your broken things* and the sewing gang will also be running workshops on how to do basic clothing repairs.

February sees the start of two ongoing new features. You can come and make a Mors shopping bag from our stash of fabric for yourself and help us to make spares to give away to others to use as an alternative to horrible harmful plastic bags.

We’ll also be having a Creative Cafe Challenge each month where you can let your imagination run free and try to turn something from our rubbish pile into something beautiful or useful (or both).

Everyone is welcome, even if you just want to pop down for a cuppa, some cake & a chat. No charge but donations always welcome.

*not hearts

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 15th February 2020 between 2pm and 5pm. As a way of reducing waste whilst learning new skills, we have a team of volunteer repairers on hand to show people how to try and mend their broken or damaged items, rather than throw them away. 

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

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

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

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

Many thanks as ever!
Kate

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Walking group sets off again in Brownhills this Wednesday afternoon!

Altogether now, ‘I love to go a-wandering…’ – image from Walsall Healthy Spaces Team.

I note that since it’s a new year, new start and so forth, there are lots of opportunities to get out and about and work of some of the padding Christmas left behind.

One such thing is the new walking group set up in Brownhills by Walsall Healthy Spaces Team who will be organising 90 minute walks every week, including this  Wednesday 12th February 2020, starting from Brownhills Community Centre at 1:45pm, exploring our beautiful local open spaces.

Walsall Healthy Spaces said:

New social and friendly health walk group coming to Brownhills in 2020.

Starting Wednesday 8th January.

Meet at Brownhills Community Centre, Chester Road North WS8 7JW every Wednesday 1.45pm for a 2.00pm start.

Duration: 1½ hours approx. Intensity: Moderate; occasional slight gradients, on hard and soft surfaces.

For more information on other volunteer led walking groups click here.

You can visit Walsall Healthy Spaces Team on Facebook here. If you attend, why not get in touch and let me know how you get on?

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Alcoholics Anonymous group meeting in Brownhills this evening

Here’s an important one – Brownhills has started its own Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings at Silver Street Methodist Church in Silver Street, Brownhills that take place this and every Tuesday (25th February 2020) from 7:30pm until 9pm.

I’m told the meetings are very well attended.

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

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

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

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Why not join the next Walsall Wood community litter pick?

I know folk always complain they never caught notice of these, so this is just a note to say there the next Walsall Wood community litter pick by Walsall Wood Wombles take place on Sunday 23rd February 2019 – and all are welcome to join in.

 There will actually be two litter picks organised by the Womble group on nth same Sunday – the first will be meeting at Beechtree Road car park at 10:30am to do local streets and canals, then reconvening at 1pm at Walsall Wood Football Club on Oak Park to cover that area and surrounds.

In both cases pickers, bags and gloves provided. All welcome!

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

You can check out the Facebook page for Walsall Wood Wombles here. They’re a great community spirited collective and you really are welcome to pop along.

Thanks to all who participate: Real community in action.

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

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Lichfield Waterworks Trust February 2020 public meeting takes place this evening

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Sandfields Pumping Station – a great historic building with immense history and social significance – not just to Lichfield, but to the Black Country. Lichfield Discovered and local historian Dave Moore have saved this valuable asset for the community.

Sandfields Pumping Station champion and public historian extraordinaire Dave Moore has been in touch to let me know that this evening, Monday 10 February 2020 there will be the monthly Public Meeting of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group.

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

Dave wrote:

Lichfield Waterworks Trust December Newsletter

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on:  Monday 10 February 2020 at 7.30pm, in the rear meeting room of the
 
The Bowling Green
Friary Road
Lichfield
Staffordshire
WS13 6QJ
 
Tel: 01543 257344
 
Everyone is welcome to this social event so please feel free to join us and be a part of an amazing community heritage restoration project.

Do remember, the Bowling Green serves some great food and real ales.

Latest News

Building Lease Update:

The trustees are due to meet with Persimmon on Tuesday 18 February 2020 to discuss the lease. The trustees will update the membership the outcome of this meeting in due course.

Important Note:

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

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

Tonight’s Talk

Tonight’s take is by our very own Peter Maddison:

Wrought Iron, Cast Iron and Steel: Materials of the Industrial Revolution.

It is an in depth a look at how the production of the 3 forms of iron developed roughly from the 17th century through to the start of the 20th, together with a comparison of their properties and examples of their use, including in beam engines.

As always this promises to be an engaging and interesting talk on a subject that everyone will enjoy.

Site Report

The team are back on site and in full swing mode. Progress on the renovation works is now in full swing with significant progress being made.

Just look at some of the before and after images of the office area.






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

Engineering Team Report

In early January cleaning work to the top of the cylinder was finished and the two half-covers were replaced. The only work to be completed on the cylinder-head floor is to finish the cleaning and lacquering of the teak lagging, and polishing of the brass bands, together with the cleaning of a small area of chequer plate flooring and general housekeeping. This work on this floor should then be completed.

Team members have been working on the water-return pump (which pumped cooling water from the condenser tank back to the adjacent canal) and the plug rod that operates it.

Download the full report here


Archive and Historical Research team Report

Document of the Month
February 2020

We are so fortunate in that South Staffs Water kept a very details and comprehensive archive of its activities and transactions.

This month’s document is indeed special. It is the specification for the Cornish engine by William Vawdrey.

William Vawdrey, second son of the late Rev. A. A. for many years Vicar of St. Agnes, Cornwall, was born at St. Day Vicarage on the 17th ‘of April 1840. When quite a youth he was sent as a student to Messrs. Harvey and Company’s Foundry at Hayle, where he remained seven years. He was then employed in erecting pumping- and winding-engines for Messrs. Eustace and Son and other owners.
In 1865, after passing the requisite examination, he entered the Royal Navy, but soon afterwards retiring from the service he was appointed assistant engineer to the South Staffordshire Waterworks under Mr. J. R.McClean

Two years later he assumed full charge of the works and remained with the company up to his death on the 2nd of January, 1895. During these 30 years of service Mr. Vawdrey proved himself a most able and energetic promoter of the company’s welfare.

  • At Lichfield he erected a 60-inch cylinder Cornish engine.

  • At Hednesford and Huntington, in the Cannock Chase District, he selected sites and sank two large wells, with extensive additional boreholes and heading, erecting the two 65-inch cylinder Cornish engines.

  • At Woodgreen and Wednesbury he put up two 65-inch Cornish engines.

  • At Fradley, near Lichfield, he sank a large well with a 12-inch borehole, and erected one horizontal compound engine made by Messrs. Hathorn, Davey and Company of Leeds.


 

We feel privileged here at Sandfields because it is one of the rare industrial building that still holds a comprehensive archive of materiel form the past. The archive record held at Sandfields Pumping Station is an invaluable record and a window to the day to day activity of operating a waterworks. Here we see evidence of working practices and skills, now lost.

If you hold an interest in history or are just curious about the past and want to learn more, then why not drop by for tea.

Health and Safety Report

We are pleased to say that we have had another accident free month. A very big thank you to everyone for embracing a heath and safety culture.

We never stand still with health and Safety, good safety is no accident.

We will be undertaking more training in the new year, so watch this space.

Electrical Installation Team Report

The electrical team are doing some sterling work. They have been incredibly busy removing damaged and water logged cables in readiness for the new installation. We are really pleased to announce that we will be working with both Dudley and Wolverhampton Technical College to provide on site training to students and an opportunity for students to work along side professionals.



 

3D Walkthrough

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

Please click on the image below

 

History West Midlands – Podcast

History West Midlands have produced a stunning podcast titled – Making Cholera History in the Black Country.

Presented by writer and broadcaster Graham Fisher and Directed by Andy Partington, featuring David Moore, the podcast gives a detailed history of both Sandfields pumping Station and the story of clean water.

Please click on the image below

Donations

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


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

Membership

We would like this opportunity to welcome a few new members.

Thank you for joining the Lichfield Waterworks Trust. We hope you will enjoy your membership and become part of a very exciting heritage project that will benefit the people, the place and the community.
It would really help us if we develop and grow our membership. If you are not already a member and would you like to be a part of one of the region’s most exciting heritage projects then please, join us now by filling in Membership Application Form by going to our membership page here. It is free to join and be a part of this incredibly exciting project.

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

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

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

 

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Stepping up to just get mown down

People who follow me on social media will know I’ve not been enjoying the best of health of late – you might have noticed the blog has been operating at reduced power in recent weeks for which I apologise: But this has meant more time near home, and as I’m now on the mend I’m pottering about and noticing things again.

You might be wondering where I’m going with this, but it’s something that possibly isn’t huge in the great scheme of things but has really, really angered me, and I think people in the community should know about it.

This is a fine thing I fully support: A local school adopting a stretch of local canal. Encouraging engagement and care for the environment in local kids. Top stuff.

Just before last Christmas (December 2019) I noticed signs had appeared on the canal between Anchor Bridge and Ogley Junction that the stretch of waterway had been adopted by pupils and staff of Millfield School, which backs onto the canal at Catshill. Adopting stretches of canal is a voluntary thing that individuals or groups can do, where willing folk collect litter, undertake simple maintenance, monitor conditions and generally look after the upkeep of their chosen stretch of cut. A fine idea.

So the kids of a local primary – Millfield, a school with a fine reputation for engagement with the community and outdoors – had their own stretch of water and one of the first things they did was decorate a large number of stones with designs and artwork, and lay them neatly opposite the school field on the towpath, neatly by the hedge.

You’ll need to click on the image to see, but there’s a line of pretty, lovingly decorated stones along the hedge line, made and placed by Millfield pupils. How lovely.

They were a gorgeous, happenstance thing: I came upon them by chance and they were lovely, jolly and endearing. A sign on the hedge explained their presence, and people stopped to look at them, but they stayed undisturbed, which also pleased me.

Until about ten days ago.

Canal maintenance and upkeep – like mowing grass areas, flailing hedges (clipping) and the like are performed by contractors engaged by the Canal and River Trust, the national charitable body responsible for waterway operation, maintenance and preservation in the UK.

This is the same trust the teachers at Millfield will have contacted to adopt their stretch of the Wyrley and Essington.

Well, it’s hedge cutting time around here – it’s usually carried out late winter before birds start to nest, which is all well and good. The hedges needed a trim. At the same time, one assumes the same contractors mowed the grass along the towpath too.

Hedge cutting is necessary and important before birds begin to nest.

Grass mowing is a bit odd, though: The contractors do this at regular periods throughout winter as well as summer, which baffles me. I’ve been critical of mowing operations by Canal and River Trust contractors before, as they just butcher everything in their path and seem to cut far too frequently. This might seem like a whinge, but when one considers the flora that grows by the water and the wildlife that depends upon it, regularly destroying the canalside flowers seems a bit unnecessary.

In summer, important species of wildflower like this poor marsh orchid are regularly cut down by mowing contracts on the local towpaths for no reason I can discern.

I took the C&RT to task just last summer for destroying patches of marsh orchids in Walsall Wood – formerly rare wildflowers that we never used to have here. I was told the mowing specification would be modified, and all would be well.

Nothing changed.

Back to Millfield’s commemorative stones, then.

The Canal and River Trust just drover a tractor through kid’s artwork. Did they not notice?

The contractors just drove their tractor over them. Without any care or attention, the artwork kids had worked hard to create, which had been well respected by canal users was just ignored and churned into mud by the hedge cutters on a mission, followed by the mower. I hope the stones buggered their blade, I really do.

How the sign survived is a mystery, but the contractors must have seen it.

Not just that, but the signs put up by the school to inform the public were not removed and  it was clearly purely by chance that, somewhat dishevelled, they survived.

This is an outrage. Teachers guide their pupils to care for their world by graciously volunteering to look after a stretch of canal, and the body that invites them to do so then drives a tractor through their work. Unceremoniously, without thought. What a way to teach kids respect for others.

How can we teach kids respect and the value of voluntary work if paid employees treat their work in such a disrespectful way?

This is nothing short of vandalism.

I’d like the Canal and River Trust to account for this awful blunder and at the very least explain to their contractors that destroying kid’s work in this way is not acceptable.

I am genuinely disgusted.

I’ll point out here and now that I’ve brought this issue up of my own volition and have not sought contact with the school, whom I assume will be equally dismayed when they find out.

To the kids involved: Many, many people saw you work and appreciated it. Please do not be disheartened. A small minority of people are insensitive idiots. Unfortunately, several of those seem to be engaged in towpath maintenance by the Canal and River Trust.

Why the Canal overlords have to aggressively mow the towpaths is beyond me – most of us would rather see this (photographed in Pleck, Walsall, a year ago) than cropped turf.

To the Canal and River Trust: Get your bloody act together. The canal should be a haven for wildlife and biodiversity. When people volunteer and adopt your canal, respect their work please: And the grass isn’t Wimbledon court – it’s OK to let it grow a bit. Let’s preserve the flowers for the bugs and bees.

I hope this can be sorted. Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tap my shoulder on social media.

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Hey, it’s windy… Be careful out there

Watch out for falling masonry here. Council informed.

As storms batter the area today (Sunday, 9th February 2020), just a note to warn you to take care – especially when passing the former Warreners Arms (Macdonalds) in Brownhills. Slates have been falling off the roof onto the footpath – so for goodness sake use the other side of the road.

The council have been informed and hopefully the footpath that side can be stopped up until the owner of the building can sort it out.

Also, Swan Patrol at Snubbers Green is cancelled (although a member will brave the weather to check the birds) – hopefully return to normal next week.

Be aware there may be fallen trees, best avoid woodland locally while it’;s so gusty and watch out for herds of spooked deer running into roads – saw this happen last year on the common in heavy wind.

Stay safe folks.

Not Tesco, Brownhills this morning.

 

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Reg Morris’s major achievements…

Over the years I’ve featured on the blog, and received a very warm response to anything connected with the late, great and absolutely legendary Brownhillian Reg Morris – a man noted for his community spirit, mischief, bravery and willingness to undertake any stunt or challenge, no matter how silly or difficult.

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Reg Moriis – or Sam’s Son – was larger-than-life, and raised thousands and thousands for charity in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Lying on beds of nails, pole-sitting, pushing a ball bearing up the High Street with his nose – feats of daring and silliness were no obstacle. Image from Julie Le Moine.

I’ve posted here memories of the great man from his daughter, Marie and also from old pal of the blog Lisa Asby who found a recording of Reg on TV eating daffodils to support a disability support project she was involved with.

But on the whole, material relating to Reg is quite thin considering just how busy and prolific he was, which is rather sad: The lack of coverage matches the lack of carnival material we have too – and Reg often appeared at the annual event. I still find the lack of photos from these well loved events astounding, if I’m honest.

One of the most brilliant things about Reg was he never, ever took himself too seriously. Remarkable archive footage saved for posterity by the wonderful Lisa Ashby.

So I was pleased to see last week that fellow Brownhills historian David Hodgkinson had been delving in his immense collection and pulled out the article featured below from the long lost and sadly missed Walsall Advertiser of Thursday, 21st November 1996 which gives a great interview with the man himself, provides some great memory-jogging photos and also provides an handy list of some of the records Reg Morris held.

I thank David Hodgkinson here and now for his archiving diligence and for saving this one for posterity. Cheers old chap!

Reg was a remarkable man who was well loved and respected throughout the town and wider area – what do you remember of this fine, community spirited chap? Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my coat on social media. Cheers.

All in a day’s work for title holder Reg
Report by David Jones

Fire-eater turns his hand to anything for charity

To Reg Morris, breaking world records is like pulling on his socks – something he does without thinking.

Over the last 30 years, the Brownhills man has tried everything from swallowing over eight thousand torches of fire, to spending 30 days in a beer barrel on top of a pole, and even eating a hundred maggots.

All Reg’s world record attempts have been in aid of charity, with Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital being the most regular recipient and most of them have taken place in the borough.

But the stuntman, who is a welder by trade, is now in semi-retirement after injuries limited his ambitions to a new passion – fishing.

Early in his career, the perils of life as a stuntman became apparent to Reg when he had to call off a record attempt after badly burning himself.

Reg had planned an assault on the time record for lying on a bed of nails.

Incredibly enough, however, his first serious injury didn’t come when he was performing a dangerous stunt – the Black Country daredevil set his own bed on fire after falling asleep smoking a cigarette.

‘I had been preparing myself for a bed of nails, but I wasn’t plan-ning on sleeping on a bed of flames,’ commented Reg.

The record breaker’s interest in stunts was sparked at an early age by Paulo’s Circus, which frequently parked up for the winter near Reg’s house in Clayhanger.

‘There was a large field near our house and they would keep the lions and other animals there during the winter, and my summer holidays were spent travelling with them,’ explained Reg.

‘When I was 19 I got involved with Brownhills Youth Centre.

‘The Christmas panto fell through one year and we had to put on some sketches to replace it. I decided to do some stunts like fire eating and bar bending. Several people in the audience liked it and asked me to do the act in other places.’

After a few years performing at pubs and clubs in the area, Reg, who performed under the name Sam’s Son, saw a TV show which was to change his life.

‘I saw some bloke attempting to break the fire-eating record and I knew I could do better,’ he said. ‘The Railway Tavern, in Brownhills, used to be my local and it was the headquarters of the Brownhills Tartans Jazz Band. They needed to raise money for new instruments so I suggested doing the world record in the back room of the pub.

‘I had two hours to extinguish as many single sticks of fire in my mouth consecutively as possible.’

Reg nearly doubled the record by doing 6,119 in the allotted time.

He enhanced his reputation when he appeared at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – but as a fire starter not a fire-eater!

‘One year they were short of a fire-eater for the charity Christmas show so I volunteered,’ Reg explained

‘I had to do a spinner at the end of the show which involved having a brace of fire in my mouth. The combination of paraffin and the festive alcohol was lethal.

‘I got a bit boisterous with it and it shot all over the curtains and everywhere – but they managed to douse out the flames!’

Reg was not so lucky when he went to Tokyo to do a show for the Guinness Book of Records.

Our hero was attempting to break the flame-throwing record in a large studio, when someone opened a door at the wrong time.

The flame blew back in Reg’s face.

‘I breathed it in and did myself some considerable damage.

‘I scarred my lungs and had to stop the fire-eating after that.

‘As a result I’ve still got had bronchitis’

Possibly Reg’s most famous record in the borough was his barrel squat outside the Spring Cottage, in Walk salt Wood, in 1984.

Reg spent more than 33 days 30 feet up in the air in a beer barrel, on the end of a pole.

He prepared for the record pole squat by having his had shaved for purposes of hygiene. The barrel had all the comforts of a normal home, with a sink and a toilet, but no roof.

‘When I was in the barrel I broke two other records’ said Reg.

‘I spent the longest time ever on a toilet – after sitting on it continually for 33 days. And I also got the beer drinking record.

‘While I was up there they were supplying me through a tube attached to a barrel in the Spring Cottage. I drank 11 gallons over 24 hours.

‘I’d still be in the barrel now but AnseIls couldn’t afford to keep me up there.

‘That one is in the Alternative Book of Records by Nick Barwell.’

As well as raising £1,800 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s leukaemia research unit, Reg decided to turn his talents to eating food rather than fire.

Reg raised £150 for the Manor Hospital cardiac unit by eating three-and-quarter pounds of sprouts in six minutes, taking over 12 minutes off the previous record.

More fame was to come when Reg did five record attempts in succession at the Spread Eagle Pub, in Bloxwich, in one evening.

He ate 20 fluid ounces of jelly in 9.6 seconds, 144 prunes in 16.1 seconds, 100 yards of spaghetti in 12.6 seconds, and nearly four pounds of chicken in 8.5 seconds, beating the speed consumption records for each one.

He also equalled the existing record of one minute 13 seconds for eating one pound of cheddar cheese.

Reg still does the odd eating record now, but he is not as prolific as he was: ‘Now it’s got to be for a really special cause,’ he said.

‘My chest has made me partially disabled but I don’t regret that lire-eating attempt.

‘It was an accident, but I would do it all again.’

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Walsall Wood away to Lye this afternoon

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Can Walsall Wood beat the lads from Lye? Image from The Mowdog.

Saturday, 8th February 2020

The Wood are away to Lye town

Come watch the lads at the Stourbridge Road ground
Sports Ground, Stourbridge Road, Lye, DY9 7DH

Kick off is 3:00pm

Hopefully, a match report will follow…

For the Good of the Wood!

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here.

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

If you’ve a child or children under six years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 8th February 2020 from 10-12pm – note the newly expanded times!

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

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

🧼 💧 🖐🏽 🧼 💧 🤚🏿 🧼 💧🖐🏽 🧼 💧 🤚🏿
Saturday 8th February 2020

Soapy water play tray- learning rhymes and basic self care skills washing our hands… do you know the wash wash wash your hands song?


🖐🏽 🤚🏿 🧼 how many bubbles can your little ones make? 🤗

Our creative table will be all about LOVE …. getting those valentines cards and pictures created for those we love 💓

Sandtray will be open and accessible as it is every week 👍🏼

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

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

see you all Saturday ….

Don’t forgot the outdoors area which is loved by all 🧊 🧊 🧊 (even in the cold weather – wrap up warm!) – outdoor ice play (weather permitting)

10.00am-12.00pm
£3 per child
Snack included
feel free to invite your friends with children aged 0-6 years and share our events

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

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Aged 6-16? Fancy being on stage? Auditions for Bugsy Malone in Brownhills today!

Late notice I know, but Thespian Arts are auditioning youngsters from the age of 6-16 at Brownhills Community Centre today (February 8th 2020) for their upcoming musical production Bugsy Malone.

The open auditions take place at the centre – the former Central Boys School, or Annex just on the Miner Island in Brownhills – from 11am until 1pm and everyone who attends will be offered a space in the show!

You can find out more about Thespian Arts CIC at their website here and at their Facebook page here.

Break a leg!

CASTING CALL – OPEN AUDITIONS 📣🚨

We are delighted to announce that our 2020 show will be Bugsy Malone. Well done, if you guessed correctly!

Here’s your chance to be a part of the musical, Boys and Girls aged 6 – 16 years are able to audition on Saturday 8th February 11:00am – 1:00pm. Rehearsals will then begin Wednesday 12th February from 6:30pm till 9:30pm.

Bugsy Malone is part of a new project: Musical Theatre Juniors. Which will cost £5 for the session.

The auditions will be workshop based where students will have 40 minutes of dancing, 40 minutes of singing and 40 minutes of acting. This sort of style ensures it is a non pressured environment.

Everyone who attends will be offered a space in the musical!

 

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Fancy a bike ride from Walsall Wood this Saturday?

Walsall Bike Project CIC look like a great thing – why not pop along to this Saturday’s ride and find out what they’re about? Image from the project’s Facebook page.

Here’s something that’s clearly been going on for a while but hasn’t been on my radar – the interesting Walsall Bike Project which seems to be doing a lot of interesting cycling stuff in Walsall Borough, as well as organising fun family rides, including one this Saturday February 8th 2020 from Oak Park Active Living Centre, Walsall Wood.

It’s been politely brought to my attention that this ride is not being organised by Walsall Bike Project, merely advertised by them; it’s actually being organised by the Wheel We Make It cycling group, who I now have all the info about and will do a post in coming days.

They are longstanding, local and rather fab!

Thanks for the correction and apologies for any inconvenience caused. All other details spot on.

Saturday 8th February

WWMI Family Cycle Ride – start 9.30 am.

Mostly ‘Traffic Free’ Mountain or Hybrid Cycle.

Start from Oak Park Active Living Centre Coppice Road Walsall Wood WS8 7DG at 9.30am with a breakfast/coffee stop.

Ride finishes around 1.00pm-ish

Family Events – Under 16’s must be accompanied by a responsible adult

Walsall Bike Project CIC have a Facebook page here and it looks jolly interesting. They say about the project:

All aspects of cycling in Walsall, promoting and encouraging cycle use. We are a registered community interest company. We want to get people cycling and provide bikes, training and education.

I look forward to hearing more about their activities and events – if you pop along for a ride do let me know how you get on. Comment here, feel free to mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or hit me up on social media.

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Community litter pick in Shelfield this Saturday morning!

Sheffield Pickers in action. That reminds me: Must be due another Dexy’s reunion about now. Image from the Sheffield Pickers group.

There’s a community litter pick this Saturday morning (8th February 2020) in Shelfield, organised by the fab Shelfield Pickers group.

It kicks off at 10:00am outside Kat’s Cabin Cafe, Spring Road, Shelfied – within a stones throw of the Spring Cottage junction. Wrap up warm! All gear will be provided.

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

Thanks to all who participate: Real community in action.

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

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Fancy a Parkrun at Chasewater this Saturday morning?

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

What a fantastic environment to run in! Image from Chasewater Parkrun on Facebook.

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

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

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

It’s on this Saturday (8th February 2020) at 9:00am and the organisers have this to say:

What is Chasewater parkrun?

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

When is it?

Every Saturday at 9:00am.

Where is it?

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

What does it cost to join in?

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

How fast do I have to be?

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

Chasewater parkrun needs you!

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

We’re friendly!

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

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

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

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Fancy some Northern Soul and Motown tonight? Aldridge is the place this Friday!

DJ Leekie has been in touch to let me know that he’s DJing with his superb Northern Soul and Motown set this Friday evening 7th February 2020 at Aldridge Social Club from 8pm until late.

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. 

It’s just £4 a head (£3 members) (payable on the door) and takes place at Aldridge Social Club, High Street, Aldridge WS9 8LZ. 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

New walking group sets off again in Brownhills this Wednesday afternoon!

Altogether now, ‘I love to go a-wandering…’ – image from Walsall Healthy Spaces Team.

I note that since it’s a new year, new start and so forth, there are lots of opportunities to get out and about and work of some of the padding Christmas left behind.

One such thing is the new walking group set up in Brownhills by Walsall Healthy Spaces Team who will be organising 90 minute walks every week, including this  Wednesday 5th February 2020, starting from Brownhills Community Centre at 1:45pm, exploring our beautiful local open spaces.

Walsall Healthy Spaces said:

New social and friendly health walk group coming to Brownhills in 2020.

Starting Wednesday 8th January.

Meet at Brownhills Community Centre, Chester Road North WS8 7JW every Wednesday 1.45pm for a 2.00pm start.

Duration: 1½ hours approx. Intensity: Moderate; occasional slight gradients, on hard and soft surfaces.

For more information on other volunteer led walking groups click here.

You can visit Walsall Healthy Spaces Team on Facebook here. If you attend, why not get in touch and let me know how you get on?

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Brownhills very own autism support group meets this Tuesday lunchtime!

Just a heads up to let folk know that the popular local autism support group ‘Supporting the Rainbow’ is meeting today (Tuesday 4th February 2020) – and they’re back to meeting at their original base, Smithys Forge pub in 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 good while now and is still growing in popularity – so why not pop along to see what it’s all about?

 

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Got a little one? Fancy a stroll in the park?

This is a wonderful thing. If you have a wee one or two, and time to spare, come along and join in!

I’ve always supported the wonderful parent and toddler walking and social group that took place weekly at Chasewater – Chasewater Strollers, which grew via the human dynamo of Esther Allen and others into the wonderful Spark movement in Burntwood – well, the original Stroller group is still strolling and I thought that deserved a mention here.

The whole Burntwood Spark thing and the Strollers it grew from are an example to us all of how direct community activism can work and build friendship, solidarity and support and I admire  them and all involved hugely.

Esther and Rachel have said this about the Chasewater Strollers:

If you fancy enjoying the beauty on our doorstep, getting some fresh air and exercise whilst having a natter on the way then we’d love you to join us. Buggies, slings whatever’s your thing!

We meet from 9:30ish and set off walking from St. Anne’s Church Chasetown promptly at 9:45. We walk a loop of Chasewater which takes about an hour, then we have a small stay and play, while we have a drink and snack. You can either come for just the walk or stay for all of it. Babies and children of any age welcome just be aware we don’t go at a toddler pace, so some form of wheeled transport or carrier is a good idea, as little legs struggle with the 3 miles.

There is parking at the Church, or buses stop at the bottom of Chasetown High Street. Don’t forget your raincover and sunshade (you never know!) There are various places to stop on the way around if you need to use a baby change.

So exercise, company, play for little ones and beautiful nature. What’s not to love? If you’re new or returning, we’d love to see you. Grandparents, carers, childminders, friends, all welcome. 🙂 I have many happy memories and lovely friends made from Strollers so can’t wait to get back strolling again!

Esther and Rachel x

They have a new group: Chasewater Strollers 2017 on Facebook

You can also mail them: chasewaterstrollers@outlook.com

Any questions please send them an email or Facebook message. Otherwise just turn up and you will be made very welcome!

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

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

If you, the kids are grandkids are at a loose end today, since the weather seems a bit more decent it would be an excellent chance to nip up to Stubbers Green and chat to the Swan Patrol.

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

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

Ann Lawrence of the Swan Patrol said:

Do you want to know more about nature and wildlife?

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

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

We have binoculars and bird books available to use.

Donations welcome

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Walsall Wood pipped by Coventry in last minute clincher

Images and captions kindly supplied by David Evans

Walsall Wood FC were at home to Coventry United yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 1st February 2020) for a game dedicated to the memory of club stalwart Ron Tranter whose passing has been deeply felt by all the club faithful.

Much to the chagrin of the faithful, they Woodmen were pipped in the last minutes of the match to a 2-1 defeat.

David Evans was there, and sent the following report:

Walsall Wood 1 v 2 Coventry United
Saturday 1st February 2020

This was to be a very memorable game for everyone. Visiting supporters, in fine form and well-lubricated, arrived in large numbers and were made welcome by the large number of home supporters. A cold, unfriendly biting wind straight from the Welsh mountains had thrust its way far above  bleak  Shropshire to drop  over the stadium and smack corner flags and  spectators’ faces in equal measure.  

The players emerged from the warmth of the changing rooms to the bright sunshine, to assemble, respectfully, for a minute to the memory of Ron Tranter. Not a sound was heard. Silence. Total, respectful silence.

The game got under way and both sides, now composed and ready to give their very best – for different reasons, of course, but it was the home side that broke through the visitors defences first, and within a few moments.

The capricious blustery wind played an important and challenging part throughout today’s encounter. Bright, accurate play characterised the match in the early stages, with hard, meaningful challenges. This was not to be a friendly kick about game. Not today.

A new spring in Walsall Wood’s step brought positive comments by the home supporters and vocal critical comments by the visiting supporters at times, and yet they were fully behind every positive move their team accomplished. The large contingent of home junior team children joined in the choral appreciation, in their young, fearless and direct way.

The first half, and the close nature of the challenges, accurate passing, fine off the ball moves was enjoyed by everyone. The wind had a negative effect on the accuracy of some passes. The frequent  stoppages and the need for a ball boy to leave the stadium to retrieve a ball, some less than elegant moments – perhaps from frustration as the delights of playing football on a heavy, real grass pitch – gave the 45 minutes a chameleon quality. 

Half time brought respite from the wind, beefburgers for the hungry, a glass of home-made lemonade or a horn of Viking Ale for the thirsty, and the traditional cucmber sandwiches and Earl Grey tea for the players in the privacy of their boudoirs.

With the score at one goal to nil in favour of the home side play recommenced, after some moments’ delay. Both sides had employed  a variety of moves and tactics in their first half. Now it was time to ring the changes, perhaps. Unlike the games played on artificial grass, which have their own features, here at Oak Park, a greater  palette of  skills  is required.

Frustration, born of desire or determination changed some of those features. The match officials’ presence  was required more.  But, this was to be a physical, hard game throughout the whole match.

That was until at 73 minutes play, every  single spectator around the pitch and in the stand, burst in to spontaneous applause… A moment I will never forget.

Play continued, although in a muted way, on the pitch. The applause rang out – and for that moment, time stood still in our hearts as every person there stood at attention and clapped til their hands were raw… All for Ron Tranter, a legend here at Walsall Wood Football Club.

Full respect and thanks, too, to all the visiting fans who shared this tribute.

Meanwhile the tempo of the football match had increased,  the temperature had hotted up and spilled over when a home player was shown a red card, leaving the squad depleted for the final part of the game.

Coventry took full advantage and inevitably scored the winning goal in the dying moments of the full measure of extra time allowed by the hard worked referee.

Coventry deserved the win today, but, for me, the day was for Ron.

David Evans

Thanks to David Evans once more for an honest, entertaining match report as ever complete with great photos. It really is an honour to feature them.

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

If you’ve a child or children under six years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 1st February 2020 from 10-12pm – note the newly expanded times!

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

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

Saturday 1st February 2020
DINOSAURS 🦖 💧🦕 🍃🦖💦 🦕 🍃🦖 🥦🦕We will be down exploring our dinosaur swamp! With lots of different textures to explore 🍃🥦

Our creative table will be continuing with play dough as it was such a big hit! I’ll be adding different natural resources to explore.

Rolling, squeezing, bashing, creating playdough creations 😍

Sandtray will be open and accessible as it is every week 👍🏼

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

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

See you all Saturday ….

Don’t forgot the outdoors area which is loved by all 🧊 🧊 🧊 (even in the cold weather 🥶)(wrap up warm 😂)

10.00am-12.00
£3 per child
Snack included

Feel free to invite your friends with children aged 0-6 years and share our events

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery 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.

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Fancy a Parkrun at Chasewater this Saturday morning?

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

What a fantastic environment to run in! Image from Chasewater Parkrun on Facebook.

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

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

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

It’s on this Saturday (1st February 2020) at 9:00am and the organisers have this to say:

What is Chasewater parkrun?

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

When is it?

Every Saturday at 9:00am.

Where is it?

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

What does it cost to join in?

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

How fast do I have to be?

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

Chasewater parkrun needs you!

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

We’re friendly!

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

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

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

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Exhibition of local artists work at Brownhills Community Centre this weekend

Hey you lot – there’s an exhibition this Saturday and Sunday 1st and 2nd of February 2020 featuring artwork by local creatives at Brownhills Community Centre, just by the Miner Island in Brownhills from 11am until 4pm Saturday and 11am until 3pm Sunday – and it’s free to enter!

These exhibitions have had great reviews in the past, and a certain Aiden of this parish is said to be exhibiting his wonderful work, so what’s not to love?

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 – check them out on Facebook here. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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Ron Tranter rest in peace – memorial match and funeral details announced

I was very sad to hear recently of the passing of a Walsall Wood and local football legend  Ron Tranter, who passed away on 11th January 2020 aged 73.

Ron was a huge character and a very respected elder of the local football scene – not just at Walsall Wood but at many other local clubs he worked with over the years.

I’ve had a lot of people ask for the details of Ron’s funeral, so thanks to Andy Roper at Walsall Wood Football Club, I can share them here – Andy wrote:

Ron Tranter’s funeral details are as follows:

Service taking place at Streetly Crematorium, 1pm Friday 7th February 2020.

Afterwards celebrating his fabulous life at The Victoria Club, Norton East Road, Norton Canes

Flowers from immediate family only, however during the day we will be collecting any donations for children with cancer.

My sincerest condolences to Ron’s family and friends: Local sport and the wider community have lost yet another dear, dear friend and great champion.

With this sad loss in mind, another great local football advocate and star, Brian Green has pointed out that this coming Saturday’s home match agains Coventry at Oak Park will be played in memory of Ron Tranter, with monies raised going to the Tranter family.

Brian Green said:

Morning all, Saturdays game against Coventry United at Walsall Wood FC, you need to be there, all gate money will go to Ronald Tranter family.

Ron was sadly taken away at the small age of 73, so on the 73rd minute we need to make as much noise as we can so the LEGEND himself can hear us 😔

RIP Ron miss ya mush 🍻 x

For the Good of The Wood!

The game is £6 entry for adults, £4 for kids/concessions and kicks off at £pm at Walsall Wood FC’s Oak Park ground.

Everyone is welcome, as usual for an afternoon of great football in memory of a great man.

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New Year 2020 photo competition – the results are in!

Nigel Frost – you are a winner!

Kym Waterson-Green – you are a winner!

Elaine Massey – you are a winner!

David Burns – you are a winner!

Brett Riordan – you are a winner!

Dave Tucker – you are a winner!

Right, it’s been a hellishly difficult thing to do, but the judges (Myself Bob, Phil Griffin, David Evans, Linda Mason, Phil Griffin, the young David Evans and the Wee Pickle) have pondered and head scratched in the last week to find the winners and runners up of the BrownhillsBob/Brownhills Blog 2020 New Year Photo Competition.

I’d like to thank all entrants for their patience, and for their wonderful, beautiful entries. If you haven’t won, our commiserations, but there were so many brilliant images it was a very tough task. Yet again we were astounded and very proud of the very creative, talented folk out there. You’re all fantastic.

You can see the entire gallery of entries by clicking here.

If you were unlucky, there will be, I hope, a similar competitions over the midsummer and next Christmas (time allowing).

The winners, who each win a mini keg (8.8 pints) of Backyard Brewhouse ale which is brewed in Brownhills to great acclaim – (you’ll have to collect from the Brewery in Lichfield Road) are Brett Riordan, Dave Tucker, David Burns, Elaine Massey, Kym Waterson-Green and Nigel Frost . We all agreed these were superb images that conveyed the spirit of competition and group.

If winners are teetotal or too far away we’ll sort something out.

Jan Davis – you are a runner up!

Jodie Bordas – you are a runner up!

Kathryn Grace – you are a runner up!

Julie Horton – you are a runner up!

Lucy O’Hare – you are a runner up!

Natalie Fitzpatrick – you are a runner up!

Sam Williams – you are a runner up!

The runners up will each receive a book prize: I have a selection of used but good condition books on local history or local themes and I’ll pass the list around: Pick the one you want and I’ll post it to you. Runners up are Jan Davis, Jodie Bordas, Julie Horton, Kathryn Grace, Lucy O’Hare, Natalie Fitzpatrick and Sam Williams. Again, all are excellent images. It was very hard choosing winners.

Sam Williams was an extra, honorary running up for a great feel good image and a fantastic anniversary. Well done mate. Onwards and upwards.

My thanks to my fellow judges with whom I burden this responsibility every time: They are fantastic and very patient. My appreciation is huge.

I will be in touch over the next week or so with prize winners – please bear with me as I’ve not paid for the beer yet and I’ll need to know what they have available at the moment and what your choice is. Sorting out the prizes is always a fairly long process. Please be patient 🙂

Prizes are as ever, are funded out of my own pocket – there are no sponsors and no funny stuff, this is purely for the community and the fun of it. The judges decision is final.

This competition has been for enjoyment and good feeling, thank you all for being so wonderfully community spirited, and for sharing the very best of what you found. It’s been a blast.

Thank you everyone.

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Tuning in to some new aerials

A quick post here I’ve been meaning to do for ages. I discovered through the young David Evans a while pack a surprisingly diverse archive of aerial images, many of which are local.

Unlike the Britain from the Air archive, they’re still a bit low res, but the service is still growing. Tap any image for a larger version.

For a talking point on a dull Sunday afternoon, here is a random sample of images gathered. They all date from 1955-1965 and show our area undergoing great change.

I’ll give more detail in a subsequent post, but feel free to browse the gallery.

Spot anything? Give me a shout – comment here, tug my coat on social media or mail me on BrownhillsBoab at Googlemail dot com.

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

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

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

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

Ann Lawrence of the Swan Patrol said:

Do you want to know more about nature and wildlife?

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

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

We have binoculars and bird books available to use.

Donations welcome

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Walsall Wood beaten by boys from the brown stuff

Images and captions kindly supplied by the young David Evans

A chilly afternoon downwind of the rather aromatic Minworth Sewage Works at Romulus FCs Castle Vale ground punished the Walsall Wood faithful yesterday (25th January 2020) as their lads were hammered 3-0 on the astroturf.

David Evans was there, and sent the above images and the following report:

Romulus FC 3 v 0 Walsall Wood FC
Saturday 25th January 2020

The inimitable thrills of driving from Walsall Wood  along the merry A452 to the modern motte and bailey Spitfire Traffic island is not totally dissimilar to the unrivalled pleasure of a gentle drive through the back lanes of Lower Stonnall, mucky lanes,  stuck behind a  tired old tractor. The pace is painfully slow in both instances.

Amazingly unscathed and  yet with teeth set on edge, I arrived at Chateau Romulus. A fine edifice, to be sure, set among scented glades, and nearby carp ponds. [Ah yes, downwind from Minworth Sewage Works – Bob] Matchday programmes, a localised manly snip at only £2 each, were bought with entrance tickets and the scene was set for a thrilling game of ten pin skittle soccer played on synthetic grass.

The first third of the match is best characterised as fast, accurate passing by both sides, with the visitors perhaps having an edge over the home side. Both sides had solid defences which repelled all approaching threats by opponents.  It would be unkind to call this stalemate soccer as there was positive endeavour here.

A seemingly disallowed goal by the visitors may have been a moment where the balance, fine though it was, began to gently slip away from The Wood. Romulus were coming back from attacks with lightning breakaway speed, catching the Woodmen cold.

Half time, cucumber sandwiches and Earl Grey served by the managers for their broods; Castle Vale beef burger with plenty of necessary red sauce for the rapidly freezing spectators. A time to stomp feet and thump gloved hands. This, and a cup of piping hot tea with loads of sugar is what sport is all about, isn’t it?

The second half, as so often, brought fresh moves and manouvres, espcially by the home side who gained two shock goals within a few minutes. Ouch blinking ouch.

The visitors were dumbstruck. Their moves were becoming predictable; the home side were far more inventive in their play. The Wood faced a mighty uphill struggle to get back in the game. They battled and struggled, ran like red noses in winter, kicked hard like stallions feeling the blacksmith’s  searing irons, leapt high like River-dancers on Herbal sweets, but, it was not to be their day. Not today, by the thunderous M6 motorway  and the carp ponds.

To pour salt on the wound a back header by a Wood defender went straight over the keeper and into the net. The final whistle came, mercifully, and ardent fans were brought back from the brink of  imminent low core body temperature.

The Wood’s lack of competitive games on synthetic grass helped the home side gain their well-deserved win today. The journey back to home  for me was a miserable one with little to be joyful, other than comparing  today’s game with  the events of the mid-week’s ‘Find the Ref in the Fog’ game last Tuesday.

That is another story.

David

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

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

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

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When Chasewater nearly became a zoo: An eyesore that proved a financial flop

Chasewater in 2018. I can’t really ever have envisaged this place being a zoo, can you?

One recurrent theme I get when discussing Chasewater’s recent history as a public amusement venue from the 1950s to it’s decline in the 80s and 90s is how wonderful it was. Well, there’s no doubt we’ve all got fine memories of the place – as kids we looked upon a day there as akin to visiting the seaside, and we all formed many lovely memories within the park and on the shores of the lake.

Recently here I covered the creation of the ill-fated trotting track which although popular in the early 70s, never really fulfilled it’s promise and ended it’s life in dereliction. It seems that about this time, Brownhills Urban District Council was desperate to rid itself of the white elephant that was Chasewater.

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

In that trotting track article, I found reference to the park being redeveloped as a zoo, which I’d never heard before. Well, having time to archive dig, I’ve found and interesting series of articles about the proposal, which councillors were apparently only too happy to agree to.

The one here today is from the Birmingham Daily Post of Saturday 13 June 1970.

Brownhills Urban District Council that invested in it with such lofty hopes of a high class amusement park in the 1950s was losing money hand over fist – £20,000 a year according to this article, which was a massive amount for what was a tiny council. No wonder this was so warmly welcomed.

Scarborough Zoo and Mainland – students of the period’s brutalist leisure architecture ethic will see similarities to that at Chasewater and ill fated ventures like the Isle of Man’s Summerland. Image from Scarborough Stories.

Scarborough Zoo and Mainland seems to have been in existence until 1984. I’m keenly digging to find out what became of Donald Robinson’s proposals and why there was no zoo at Chasewater.

Zoo in £250,000 Chasewater plan
By JOHN NICKSON

A £250.000 scheme to build a zoo and park on the southern shore of Chasewater at Brownhills will be considered by Aldridge-Brownhills Chasewater Committee on Monday.

The scheme has been proposed by Scarborough and Marineland Ltd. and the company wants similar facilities to those it has established at the Yorkshire resort.

Mr. Donald Robinson the company’s managing director hopes to acquire the lease of the whole of the lake’s southern shore for 40 years, and has said he is prepared to invest £250,000 in the enterprise.

The project was welcomed by council officials at Aldridge-Brownhills yesterday. They felt that it would give the lake a much-needed boost as a recreation centre.

Mr. H. G. G. Nicholls. clerk to the council, said: ‘It seems an excellent idea, almost too good to be true. The scheme is in its infancy and detailed plans have still to be submitted, but I support it in principle.’

Mr. J. Walker. the council’s parks superintendent, said that the annual cost of keeping Chasewater open to the public was £30.000, but only £10.000 was taken in admission charges each year.

He added: ‘This private scheme will not cost the council a penny, and we shall receive a share of the profits.

‘The council could not afford to establish these kinds of facilities at Chasewater. and I feel it is time we took advantage of private enterprise. The only drawback is that it will mean leasing a large expanse land, which the council may wish to use for other purposes, for a long time.’

Coun. Douglas Whitehouse, the vice-chairman of Chasewater Committee described it as ‘a very interesting project,’ and said his committee was likely to support anything which would help to boost the revenue from Chasewater.

He said: ‘The amusement park is an eyesore which has proved a financial flop. The lease for this has expired and the council has decided not to renew it.

‘The committee will back this scheme if the developers can give an assurance that they will not abandon it half-way through if business is not as brisk as expected.’

Coun. Whitehouse said that the company had invited committee members to visit Scarborough Zoo and Marineland, and this would be the next step before final approval.

I’d love to know what became of this plan, and those involved. Someone out there must recall it.

If you have any comments, please do post them here, catch me on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail do com. Cheers.

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