Flying into history


A framed Express & Star image of Brownhills from the late 1960s, anyone date it precisely? Image shared to Facebook by Steve Martin.

Reader and regular in the popular and fascinating Old photos from Hednesford, Chadsmoor and Cannock group on Facebook, Steve Martin has done something rather wonderful he’s been generous enough to share with readers of the blog.

It all started last weekend, when Steve posted an aerial image of Brownhills, taken from above the Pelsall Road area in the late 1960s, which I’ve included above. Now, Steve is an accomplished drone photographer with some great gear, and he decided to see if he could get the same image today, showing all the changes in the 35-40 years since.

I think you’ll agree the result is wonderful.


Such a wonderful, clear image – and it shows something I’ve been going on about for years – how very green our area actually is. Image kindly shared by Steve Martin.

Steve also compiled the following excellent video of our town from the air – the quality of images and video is stunning. Just how magical is this? Drones are clearly wonderfully useful things, and get excellent results in skilled hands.

Steve is an ex-Brownhills resident, and his work can often be seen of other areas – particularly Cannock Chase – on the Cannock old pictures group, where he’s also available for chat and further enquiries.

Steve’s family had the chip shop that used to be on the Lichfield Road, Brownhills for a while, and Steve has great memories of the Lichfield Road area, of which I’m currently looking for old images if you know to any, please do get in touch.

Thanks to Steve for a stunning collection of material and a wonderful application of new technology in a historic context. Steve’s email is in the video above, or contact me and I’ll pass it on. You can hook up with him on Facebook here.

Check out the gallery of images from the flight below – and if you have anything to add – particularly the date of the original image – please do get in touch.

Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment

Some late vows…


And… wow. The same image restored by Lisa Ashby. What a terrific job by a very talented lady!

Here’s a fun thing I’ve been meaning to share for ages, but haven’t actually got around to, sadly – things are so busy at the moment, I’m having difficulty fitting stuff in, but hopefully soon the rush will ease off…

For Black Country Day which was on July 14th, friend of the blog and long time supporter Lisa Ashby created a lovely photomontage video of Brownhills and other images and posted it on YouTube. I’ve been meaning to post it here for ages, as it’s a lovely thing.

This is of course intertwined with the whole debate on what is the Black Country anyway?

Lisa said this about her work:

I made this video in honour of Black Country Day with a cheeky homage to The Black Country, old and new pictures of Brownhills and some family photos.

Photos of: Brownhills High Street; Local School; Grove Pit (including the memorial to the Grove Pit Disaster and the funeral procession); Brownhills Gas Works and the Canal. Credit – public domain, Jason Ashby and myself. Thanks also to Brownhills Bob who kindly asked me to restore a couple of pictures which I used on the video

Family photos include: Grandparents; mum and dad on their wedding day; me as a child; aunts and uncles as young children. Credit – myself

Black Country photos: Teet Shirts and public domain.

Music by The Empty Can – still available on iTunes

Thanks to Lisa for sharing a lovely piece of work, and I hear she’s working on something else which should be… interesting!

Lisa is available to carry out restorations of images for anyone who’d like projects undertaken, and if you drop me a line I’ll hook you up. Lisa’s previous remarkable work can be seen at this article here and her stunning restoration of the Royal Oak image a few years ago.

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Great live music at The Chase Inn tonight!


Looks like a real hoot!

Kim Morris from the Chase Inn at Newtown, Brownhills has been in touch to let me know that there’s live music on again at the popular Brownhills pub this weekend (Saturday 30th July 2016), with top 70s tribute act Rob Cairns live tonight from 9:00pm.

There’s a bar until 1am and now there’s Budweiser on draught too, so what’s not to love?

You can check out the Rob Cairns Facebook page here.

Why not get down there? You’re guaranteed an excellent time…

For the satnav folk, the address is: 6 Watling Street, Newtown, Brownhills WS8 6JS

You can contact the pub on: 01543 899568 or visit their Facebook page.

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

Local kids fight to raise disability awareness


A great bunch of local kids are fighting to improve disability awareness. Image fro Equilibrium Facebook page.

Friend of the blog Chrissie Ismay has written to me to ask if I’ll mention a workshop her daughter is involved with that will be operating in Walsall next Wednesday – it’s to raise awareness of issues affecting the disabled, and takes place outside Wilkinson in Park Street between 11:30am and 3:00pm.

You can check out the event’s Facebook event page here, and the Equilibrium group running it can be found here.

Chrissie wrote:

Hi Bob

I wonder if you could help me?

My daughter and other teenagers from Walsall are doing the national citizen course, and part of it she is doing a campain to bring awareness of the day to day struggles that people disabilities with face.

For this they are running a free workshop which includes games etc. to be held outside the Wilkinson store in Walsall town centre, next Wednesday 3rd August 2016 from 11:30am until 3pm.

They have been pitching for funding and doing a sponcered dancerthon to raise the money to be able to fund the games they are doing.

Would you be able to put it on your blog so that people can come along if they are in town to support the teenagers.


It’s good to see local kids involved in such issues, and heightened awareness of them can only be a positive thing.  My best wishes to all involved.

Don’t forget folks, if you have an event, fair talk or whatever going on and you’d like me to share it, please feel free to drop me a line: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

It’s all about community, after all:-)

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cockfest 2016 on this weekend!


Already a queue forming in Newtown for the greatest festival for miles around!

Here’s a really, really great thing happening this weekend, Friday 29th – Sunday 31st July 2016 at Newtown, Brownhills – a weekend music and fun festival with proceeds going to the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.

Last few tickets are now available so book quickly!

Cockfest runs over the whole weekend with camping available, and live music on Friday and Saturday. It’s a great, friendly and warm hearted affair in a field just off the A5 at Newtown, Brownhills. There’s not just music, but food, a licensed bar, campfire and all manner of entertainments and fun…


So much going on and such great, friendly people.

Organizer Keryl Jenkins had this to say:

This is the third year of Cockfest, and I can’t wait as this year is going to be better than ever!

The humbling part for me is how our team of volunteers have grown from last years success and how the local community has really stepped up to support us.

Cockfest is more than just a music festival, it’s a gathering of like minded charitable people raising money for a popular charity available to everyone.

A weekend pass is £30 for adults and just £5 for kids under 16, and day passes are £20 and £3 respectively. Under 5s go free! You can book tickets by calling Kez on 07966 611170 or by visiting the event’s Facebook page here.

This is a very professionally run event now in it’s third year and some of the bands look terrific – and it’s for charity so what’s not to love?

It’s apparently called “Cockfest’ because it’s on a chicken farm…


Some great local bands performing, and in memory of popular local man Carl Findon-Kent who sadly passed away last year.

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

Funeral details for Roger Mosedale announced – and more of Roger’s music emerges


Roger Mosedale (third left) and freinds in 1971, outside Terry Heath’s home in Park Ring, Norton Canes – thanks to Glenys Jones Smith for the location information. Image kindly supplied by Jake Williams.

Following the announcement of the sad passing of local lad and noted musical talent Roger Mosedale last week, and the subsequent huge interest shown in Roger’s music, kindly donated by Jake Williams, Jake has been back in touch with funeral details and more of Roger’s music, this time dating from the late 1960s.

I thank Jake for his continued generosity, and for allowing me to share Roger’s music with all the people who have noted Roger’s sad passing and ave commented and paid tribute to him.

Jake wrote:

Roger’s funeral will be at the West Chapel – Streetly Crematorium on August 12th, at 12 – 45 pm.

Anybody who knew Roger is welcome.

The enclosed songs are tracks that Roger and Barry Peacock made with the B’ham singer Gerry Levene (Michael Gibbs). We think it was around 1967.

Don’t Cry

A Little Bit Of Heaven

The Ship

Gerry Levene died on December 20th 2011.

Roger’s niece Rachel also sent the following lovely message detailing memorial arrangements:

To all,

I am Rachel, Uncle ‘Dodges’ niece. The family would like to thank Colin Corbett for posting this memoriam and for all your lovely comments and thoughts. Bought tears to our eyes.

If any of you, and others you may know would like to attend his service it is being held on Friday 12th August at 12.45pm, Streetly Crematorium, West Chapel.

Sid, Roger’s lifelong friend, is conducting the service. The family have requested no flowers but any donations to be made to St Giles Hospice, Walsall, where he spent his last days.

You will be able to do this on the day.

Once again, thank you for all your lovely kind thoughts and memories.

As Uncle Dodge used to say to me, night and god bless to you all xx

Thanks to Jake for a true act of community and remembrance, and to Rachel for such kind, thoughtful words.

My sincere condolences remain with Roger’s family, friends and all who knew and remembered him. Rarely have I seen this strong a reaction to such news on the blog; Roger was clearly a very special and well-loved man.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Clayhanger stuff, cycling, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reports bogus Dyson engineer scam operating locally again


It’s a brave man that vacuums his cat. Image from Pookles Cat.

I’m running this post again as a notable hoover enthusiast and blog contributor the young David Evans has been called by the fake Dyson engineers, and he’s just one of several who’ve reported calls in our area lately.

I first warned readers about this last year, when it was new to me – it’s still going, and the con merchants still appear to be plying their business. Which? have an article about the problem here, and Dyson themselves reassure customers here.

If you are called by these people, decline and don’t give them any details is my best advice.

Reader Gina wrote to me last August:

Dear Bob,

I though I would let you know about a scam that is happening at the moment in the local area. On Tuesday night I was cold called by a man who said he was from Dyson saying that their engineers would be in Brownhills on Thursday and would be able to service your vacuum cleaner for £14.99 instead of the usual price of £40.00.

I thought this was good so I have booked a slot for this morning. I was told by the man called Connor that one of three engineers called either Gary, Thomas or Daniel will call and will have identification with them.

After thinking about it yesterday I felt uneasy and contacted Dyson direct who said under no circumstances do they cold call customers and there are none of their engineers in Brownhills or the surrounding area on Thursday or any other day and the identification these men have is fake.

Please ask people to be careful as I have arranged for these people to go to my Moms this morning between 9.00 and 12.00 and I and quite worried.

Best wishes

How worrying – I’m sorry to hear about this, and that you very much for the tipoff. I am, of course, happy to share this with readers of the blog.

Dyson say they won’t ever cold call customers offering them anything, as one would expect from such a respectable, well known brand. They ask that victims of this practice or those who have been called contact Dyson themselves and let them have details, as this helps them take action – you can call them on0800 298 0298.

Here’s what they say on the matter:

Genuine Dyson engineers are on hand to support you

Dyson engineers clock up over three million miles a year visiting homes and workplaces to carry out service and repair work. They drive Dyson vans, wear a Dyson uniform and carry a Dyson ID. Call or email us if your Dyson vacuum is not functioning properly. A Dyson engineer will only visit you if you’ve pre-arranged a visit through our contact centre.

We don’t ask anyone else to call you on our behalf

If someone calls you to talk about your Dyson vacuum, check that they’re from Dyson. Unauthorised companies are cold-calling UK households – offering to carry out service or repair work. Because we are the UK’s best-selling vacuum manufacturer, there’s a one in three chance they will speak to a Dyson owner.

Unscrupulous sales tactics

Some unscrupulous businesses are making speculative calls offering cheap services. They offer to service Dyson vacuums for sums as little as £20. However, customers have told us that these visits actually end up costing them up to £150. Poor workmanship carried out by these engineers can also invalidate your guarantee. They regularly use fake parts that don’t function properly and can cause damage that won’t be covered by your guarantee. There are even examples where the visitor has sabotaged Dyson vacuums in order to sell new machines.

Dealing with bogus engineers

If you think you have been contacted by a bogus engineer, or would like some help or advice, please email askdyson or call a Dyson expert free on 0800 298 0298 (open from 8.00am to 8.00pm Monday – Friday, and 8.00am to 6.00pm Saturday and Sunday). The information we gather helps us build legal cases against companies employing misleading or fraudulent business practices. We also work with Trading Standards to stop companies operating illegally.

It’s good practice never to buy at the door or from any kind of cold call – please advise your friends and any elderly or vulnerable relatives about this. You can always call West Midlands Police on 101, or Trading Standards at Walsall Council on 03454 04 05 06.

Thanks to Gina for the heads – reader information like this is vital and very much appreciated.

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