I’ll keep the Holland Park thread running as long as you readers are interested. Whilst chatting last night in the pub, both I and [Howmuch?] noted how odd it was that there seem to be no photos of Brownhills Carnival (which of course, always took place where the parade ended at Holland Park) in the local historical record. Can any reader remedy this deficiency?

We also pondered the bandstand, with the longstanding graffiti in the back – ‘The Beatles – John, Paul, George and Ringo’ – clearly the fab four were on the pre-fab bandstand before iTunes. Eat that, Steve Jobs. Are there any photos of it anywhere? Better still, I never saw it used for a performance at all. Any pictures of such an occurrence would be wonderful.

Dave Bishop, regular reader and contributor, sent me a wonderful mail today. In it, Dave says:

Hi Bob

Your pics of Holland Park certainly did bring back memories! I used to go there with friends (and sometimes my brother too) to play. One of our favourite pastimes there, probably ridiculously dangerous by today’s standards, was to push each other on the adult swings to see if we could go ‘all the way around’; in other words swing right over the top of the swings! Our ‘game’ was often frustrated by someone else having achieved this goal and not returning the chain over the top, leaving it already looped and very difficult to fix.

Oh, the pram in David Creswell’s pics was a Hubcar and probably coffee and cream colour – we had one exactly the same for my sister!

The bandstand was very big and not the small shelter shown in the pics. I was a member of St. John’s Ambulance Brigade and we used the large storeroom behind (and part of) the bandstand to hold our meetings. Mr. Bagley was our commandant. Anyone else remember?

My dad was one of the retained firemen at Brownhills station. He became a sub-officer and we had to have a pair of bells fitted at home to alert him in case the siren couldn’t be heard. Many a night would be disturbed by these incredibly loud bells going off – the neighbours complained all the time! Eventually he silenced one and subsequently the other by simple unscrewing the bells from the mechanism. The resulting ‘whirr and buzz’ from the transformer was loud enough to be heard and alert him.

Once memories are triggered, other long-lost thoughts return. I was reading your blog regarding High Street shops recently and couldn’t remember the name of the big toy shop that was half way down the High Street. An imposing building, or was that just because I was a small boy? It was Princeps and the name came to me in a flash driving to work last week. And while I think about life in the 60’s, us Central School kids would often stand on the rail bridge by school when we knew a train was due. We’d be covered in steam, soot and muck, then go back into school looking quite bedraggled!

Dave Bishop

I thank Dave for his great contribution to this fascinating subject. I’ve found a picture that may be of some interest. In the meantime, if anyone has anything to add, please comment here or send me an email or Facebook message. This historical stuff isn’t my work, but the result of work by the community and you readers. I’m just putting it up here and hoping to start a discussion, so if there’s anything you can add that would be wonderful.

Princeps was, I think, before my time. This shot I'm guessing must be about mid-sixties, but I'm hoping someone can date it better. From the excellent work 'Memories of Brownhills Past' by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

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3 Responses to Parklife

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  2. Nick says:

    My stepfathers father was a butcher in the High Street in the 60’s – 70’s (i think before too but I wasnt around then)…His name was Ted Neal…married to Vi (Violet Neal) and lived a few houses up the hill from the Warreners on the same side. Anyone remember him, his shop…or his family..?

  3. Pingback: A nose for history « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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