I’ve a bit of a treat for canal fans in this week’s old photo feature, but nice as the narrowboats are, it’s the backgrounds that are most interesting to me.
All four of these images are held on the excellent site Black Country History – a collaboration between museums, archives and history centres across the wider Black Country area. The site is a huge resource and a perfect tool to find other material preserved for the future by dedicated history wonks throughout our area. If you haven’t, check out these valuable resources yourself. Theres a list published on the site itself – and all are staffed by top people who really, really know their stuff.
Three of these pictures are described as being of ‘Brownhills Rally’ in May, 1975. I certainly don’t remember the event, and wondered if any of you readers do? It certainly seems to have been a considerable undertaking. Why were there no others? The pictures clearly show the incremental change that has happened over the years. It’s odd to see the tip just open and unfenced. It also shows how nasty the towpaths were before they were resurfaced a few years ago.
Have a look at the pictures and other Brownhills items on the site. This really is a top effort.
Brownhills Rally, May 1975. Photo clearly taken from the old 'Iron Bridge' - the footbridge crossing the canal at the bottom of Pier Street. Note the old refuse tip, to the right (now Clayhanger Common) and the still tree-less appearance of the flats. Taken from BlackCountryHistory.org and Walsall Local History Centre.
Brownhills Rally, May 1975. Shot taken from Catshill Junction bridge, looking towards Humphries House. Again, note the lack of greenery, particularly on the canal banks. Taken from BlackCountryHistory.org and Walsall Local History Centre.
This is a very interesting photo, taken from almost the same position as the one above, but 21 years earlier in 1954 - the area in the background shows Brownhills Gasworks, the houses along High Street where Philip Cheetham would have lived, and the white building is the SNC spiritualist Church, still extant today.Taken from BlackCountryHistory.org and Dudley Archives & Local History Centre.
Read about the tragic Brownhills figure Philip Cheetham – teacher, eccentric and electronics whizz.
Brownhills Rally, May 1975. Again, from Catshill Junction Bridge, this time looking up the Anglesey Branch toward the Anchor pub. The yard to the right contained Watney Plant Hire, Autocraft accident repairs and Raden Engineering, all now replaced by Chandler's Keep. I remember the wee hut with the chimney well. Taken from BlackCountryHistory.org and Walsall Local History Centre.