The distant local

For this week’s (somewhat delayed, my apologies) old pictures post I decided to dive into the warmth of the local boozer. Brownhills and Walsall Wood have had many hostelries over the years, some long gone, some more recent casualties of a declining, fading industry. I’ve delved into the subject of the lost pub before on the blog, and I’m going to make this a two-part post as there is so much great material to be shared.

There’s an excellent community project underway on the net, cataloguing Britain’s lost drinking history, called ‘The Lost Pubs Project – it’s well worth a visit.

I’m making an appeal here to anyone reading this who has photos of recent lost inns; whilst there are many old, forgotten ones in the historical record, I have no decent images of The Wheatsheaf, The Sportsman (formerly Hunstsman), The Station Hotel, The George and Dragon (in Clayhanger), The Railway Tavern or Chester’s Wine Bar (latterly Simply Blues). I am, of course, well aware of the great collection by David Hodgkinson, but please do root through your albums and see if there are any photos of these once notable establishments. Look in the background at any otherwise unrelated pictures, maybe of weddings or whatever. This highlights a fear of mine that we’re obsessed with the pre-sixties period and completely ignoring the historical record of the last fifty years.

Please help if you can. That’s BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

As ever, I recommend the work of the authors of the pictures included here. Please seek out their books and buy them when you are able.

I think this was possibly the second Warrener’s Arms in the series of three. I understand the first was no more than a brewhouse at a farm near the site of the later building. This one would have been intermediate, clearly different to the derelict husk of the typical thirties building decaying unloved today. The name comes from the hunting warren on Ogley Hay, where rabbits were kept for sport, hence Warren Place and Warrenhouse Farm, upon whose traditional land the Staffordshire Hoard was found. Taken from ‘Memories of Old Brownhills’ by Clarice Mayo & Geoff Harrington.

Find out more about the lost pub ‘The Warreners Arms’ and its convoluted planning history

There are several old, lost pubs along the Lichfield Road between Brownhills and Lichfield. There’s The Red White and Blue, at Springhill, now a private house. I’ve had several involved debates about the location of The Fighting Cocks, believed to be a farm brewhouse, in Cartersfield Lane. I previously documented the demolished Royal Oak at Pipehill, and this one, The Old Leopard, stands at the foot of Sandhills. This photo, from Geograph, is taken by John M who has this to say: This former hostelry is now a private house. It was once owned by the Lichfield Brewery who acquired it in 1864. My relative Edward Ball and his wife Hannah James were living here in 1901. He was listed as being an Underground Coal Miner (Hewer) and Licensed Victualler. A small sign on the building suggests that it ceased to be a pub in 1911.

Check out the story of The Lost Pub of Pipehill

This is the first time I’ve really thought about The Woodman, and I know very little about it. Something about the caption doesn’t quite ring right, but I can’t put my finger on it. Do you have anything to add? Taken from ‘Memories of Old Brownhills’ by Clarice Mayo & Geoff Harrington.

Yet another house I wasn’t aware of before I started this blog. The history of it is unknown to me beyond the caption – but surely there’s much to be remembered here relating to the site; The Watersplash and later Barons Court were both on this spot. Taken from ‘Memories of Old Walsall Wood’ by Bill Mayo and John Sale.

I’m very interested in The Jolly Collier. I’ve never really met anyone who drank there regularly. I remember the post box in the front wall, and it being derelict for absolutely ages before being demolished to make way for T&S Stores extension. Taken from ‘Memories of Old Brownhills’ by Clarice Mayo & Geoff Harrington.

There’s much local fondness for the old Horse and Jockey, demolished in the nineties to make way for the current aberration. It was a legendarily hard house, known for its no-nonsense regulars and basic conditions. Taken from ‘Memories of Old Walsall Wood’ by Bill Mayo and John Sale.

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36 Responses to The distant local

  1. Pingback: A body of evidence « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  2. D.Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    The Fighting Cocks
    leave Lichfield Road, Sandhils and go along Cartersfield Lane towards Stonnall. At the first junction there is a blue brick barn, now a house, very close to the lane, and adjacent to this is the low building which was the Fighting Cocks, where the farmer, Mr Ramsall used to live. This has been recently turned back into a house,too. The newer farm house is there too, close by. Yes, I was once told that Mr Richard Turpin used to hide in the cellar! I expect he didn’t need much of a push after a few swift pints ! Good stuff, local brew!
    kind regards
    David Evans

  3. Phil Wood says:

    Bob, I was looking around on the net for memories of Gordon Waddison, the singing Dustman who was compere at the Watersplash, formerly the Coronation Transport Cafe, He was better known as Ricky Disoni, and became compere at the Talk of the Midlands nightclub in Derby. Later he went over the pond to Las Vegas to seek his fortunes.
    Keep up the good work!
    Regards, Phil.

    • How ironic,have recentley burned a disc of one of his early recordings from the seventies? correct me if im wrong.Titled Why should i care.It appears he moved to warmer climbs then?having read your blog.I think it was about 73 that my dad bought the record for my mom?

    • mick c says:

      Gordon Waddison aka Ricki Disoni is alive and well and living in Stoke, you can catch up with him on Facebook as Gordon Waddison, wasn’t it the Primrose cafe that became the Watersplash ?

      • Mick Bullock says:

        You’ve got me scratching ne nut now Mick about the name of cafes,I am convinced it was the Primrose but what were the names of the one on the right past ShireOak and the one on the left further on now a restaurant?.Then there was Taylor’s transport cafe in Pelsall Road.The only Coronation cafe I recall is still there on the A5 past Longford Island,now the Truckers Rest,which ,as the name suggests,opened in 1953.Sorry to have diversified from the pub theme.

  4. Pingback: Spotting a Leopard « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  5. kelly gutteridge says:

    has anyone found out about gordon waddison as he is my grandad and i would love to actually know about him x

    • maurice ivor birch says:

      gordon is an old friend of mine he now lives in derbyshire, he still frequents king street progressive club on a tuesday night but not every week, he calls in to see his sister
      kind regards maurice birch aldridge

      • Phil wood says:

        I used to know Gordon when he lived in Whittington for a time, a group of us locals used to hire a minibus and see him at local nightclubs where ha was a compere-singer. I heard he went to Las Vegas for a time? Phil

    • maurice ivor birch says:

      KIND REGARDS MAurice (former friend and singer)

      [Personal address removed]

      (please request details – contact me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com if you need them.)

      • maurice ivor birch says:

        looking at your old pubs-i knew then all, visited most in my younger days held my wedding reception at the travelers rest march 13th 1965 nelly fenn was the proprieter, i have sketched many of the old buildings in and around aldridge , have them all on a scoll which now measures 111 feet in length this scroll will be on display at mapseekers studio in high street aldridge throughout saturday 29th november, aldridge advent event where they will be promoting my book,” aldridge on a roll” and taking pre- bublication orders memories of a local lad filled with skteches from this same scroll, all are welcome, i might now begin to extend my sketches to include old buildings of walsall wood and brownhills but the aldridge bit alone has taken me 45 years to produce and is still not complete i`m adding to it all the time, the book contains many poems about aldridge and walsall wood and makes interesting reading, it will be available at mapseekers studio only; retail price £14-99, this is a quality hardback edition, not a cheap paperback, i like brownhills Bob love local history and old buildings, best wishes to all those fortunate to read my book,

    • Phil wood says:

      Thanks Maurice, I shall leave him in peace. enjoy his retirement. Phil

  6. John Ellery says:

    Hello Kelly & Maurice, My name is John Ellery but Ricki knew me as John Craig Jnr. of Planet Promotions when he used to come over to Sydney Australia and perform at the Marrackville RSL Club and other venues. Ricki and I had good times together and I would always look forward to when he was coming to visit us. It is nice to hear he is doing ok. I live in Stockton-on-Tees now

  7. linda may says:

    Do u not have any old pics of the pub Roy and Dolly Heath had of the struggling monkey , before they had the Station hotel the top of brownhills , and does anyone know of Diana Heath or where she is we were friends a long time thanks

    • Diana krakvik says:

      Hello Linda it’s diana it wasn’t the struggling monkey that was in Aldridge it was the Wilkin inn known locally as the monkey

  8. PeteKelly says:

    His relation Dulcie gave me a tape which Was recorded with a full Orchestra. I put it onto a cd which I’m happy to copy for anyone who wants it

    • philip wood says:

      Pete, I would like a CD version, we used to drink together in our local, The Swan Inn, in Whittington, that has been demolished now and 9 new houses built.
      My address is 15 Spring Lane Whittington, Lichfield, WS14 9LX.
      happy to refund costs.Regards, Phil.

      • Pete kelly says:

        Fine Philip. Will do you a copy and post on to you. I think it’s back to front as he gets introduced half way though the cd in the show. Impressive performance. Had to Google him to find a pic. It’s all recorded like the tape in that you can’t just flip from track to track, it’s all in one though you can fast forward on the CD player. Give me a day or two. Pete.

  9. Pete kelly says:

    Hi Phil. Cd on the way tomorrow. No charge. Enjoy. Regards. Pete

    • philip wood says:

      Many Thanks Pete, much appreciated. Phil.

    • Tony Stokes says:

      Peter My First Wife Dorothy used to run Rickys Fan Club in the early 70’s along with Pam.We had some great times in Derby.I would love a copy of that CD as i am now divorced and lost all his music.I will pay you through Pay Pal.If your willing to do this for me please contact me at DOOGREKOOL375812@AOL.COM .I would be very happy indeed.
      Regards Tony Stokes
      Swansea UK

  10. Pingback: Do you give a monkeys? | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  11. just a quick note. I am not old enough to remember the war but I have spoken to people who do and the question of we’re is the monkey. If I remember what i was told there were several pubs with names such as them key the goat etc. if I am correct the Monkey was a pub on the corner of Hednesford Road and Waterside Way. Known now as the llama or something like that it is a restaurant. Perhaps u could check Hope this helps.

  12. Mick Bullock says:

    The Monkey was the locals name for the Wilkin pub on the junction of Wilkin Road and Hednesford Road,my was born two doors away,I was always having to fetch my Grandad from the pub for his dinner.

  13. Mick Bullock says:

    I should have said my Dad was born two doors away.

  14. Gordan Waddison says:

    Hi John I ‘ve only just seen your message you put about me on face book , are you the Agent’s son Johnny’ who drove me to my venues around Sydney in the seventies, if so contact me on messenger, love to hear from you l live in Derby, All the best Ricki.

    • Phil wood says:

      Hi Ricki, Do you recall living on Rock farm Rd, Whittington, a gang of us used to follow you to the “Talk of the Midlands”, we used to hire a mini bus 12 seater, one night the back window fell out on the A38. Had a right good laugh that night.

  15. David & Janet Wright says:

    Last week met Gordon/Ricki whilst on holiday in Lanzarote. A real character and somebody you took to.

  16. TONY STOKES says:

    I had the This is Ricki Disoni Vinyl from 1974 put on to CD.This was done @ If you want to order a copy dont know the cost RE order Reference A10310. sounds brilliant.

  17. john griffin says:

    i saw ricki at the cresta club solihull ,,in the 70s he was fantastic,,i wonder why he wasnt a big star,, maybe the right breaks never came his way,,regards,,,,john griffin

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