This week, I’m delighted and fascinated to hand over the ‘Pictures from the past’ slot to Brian Stringer, author and local historian. Brian is, of course, the writer of the excellent, recently published book The Clayhanger Kid’, chronicling Brian’s childhood in the village of Clayhanger. I’ve mentioned this touching, funny and evocative work on the blog before, and now, having read it fully, cannot recommend it highly enough. Engagingly written, with clarity, warmth and affection, I commend anyone interested in the history of our area to get hold of a copy. It’s priced at a wallet-freindly six quid, and is available from Downes newsagents in the High Street, Brownhills Library at the Parkview Centre, Chasewater Innovation Centre and Walsall Local History Centre.
Brian has kindly submitted some pictures from his childhood to share with readers of the Brownhills Blog, they wonderfully and evocatively illuminate the book, showing some of the great characters Brian so vividly recalls. Brian has submitted the captions, and invites comment and additional information from readers. What do you know?
If you want to read some background history to Clayhanger, I posted about it some time ago, with some old maps and a history of the landscape around the village. Former resident and emigre Micheal Edwards wrote a beautiful, moving piece about his memories of the village.
I’m happy to open this section to anyone with images or memories to share… please contact me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.
The unveiling of a stained glass window in the church. In raiment, Ron Howdle, next his wife, next May Sault, end Florrie Brookes. Old Mrs Francis next to boy, Barry Marriot, then ?. The two boys in front are Alan & Roy Brookes.
In one of the old classrooms. You may spot Old Mother Riley from my book, directly behind the vicar. Tall lad under the heater Mickey Lenton. See the "Drowning of Topsy", in book.
I know most of these. The Greta Garbo siren used to be licensee of the George and Dragon, Mrs McPhereson. Edmund Howdle the butcher's mother, is the lady in the check coat. The vicar I am told is Mr Stackhouse. Front are Mary and Mrs Weston. Behind with Mrs Howdle are daughter Madeline and Mrs Brindley who kept the Church Street shop, on the end. Behind from left are Jack and Mrs Shaw seperated by big Liz Wright. Behind Mrs Shaw is Bill Howdle, and on his left A. J Jackson who lodged at the George & Dragon. Jack Richards is under the window.
This is a presentation to the old headmistress Miss Whistance. Behind her is the Reverend Stackhouse and I think the other clergyman is the Reverend Edwards.
The new photo was taken at a party at Jones's big house, you can see the pool behind. Ray Jones is back row left, with Wendy Sault sitting at his feet, and bottom left is Brenda Owen. (Bob's note: the house Brian is referring to is the large one, just over Clayhanger Bridge, overlooked by the canal. Jones Pool is the old pool in front of the house, not to be confused with the new one behind, created by the removal of the slag heap. The house and grounds are huge, and up until the late eighties at least, summer barbecues were held there for the public, organised by the Rotary Club.)