Scenes from the Clayhanger Kid

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.)

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23 Responses to Scenes from the Clayhanger Kid

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Scenes from the Clayhanger Kid « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog --

  2. Nick says:

    My ‘step-grandad’ was a butcher at Howdles for many years…(until sometime around the late 70’s I think) Ted Neal.

  3. Graeme Fisher says:

    My only recollection of Clayhanger was haircuts at Neville’s in the late 60s

  4. Anonymous says:

    As I remember, the lady on the far right of the Miss Whistance presentation picture is Miss Craddock, the school’s other teacher. Rather than have a collection to buy a retirement gift for Miss Whistance, she organised a ‘suprise’ school trip to Dudley Zoo. I can see us all now, lined up in pairs, hand in hand with brown luggage labels with our names written on them safety pinned to our coats, walking from the car park to the zoo entrance.

    Miss (Mrs?) Harvey followed Miss Whistance as headmistress. She was very concerned about the safety of the pupils walking to school along Clayhanger Lane, which at the time had no pavements and so she arranged for two wooden signs to be erected to warn motorists of our presence.

    These pictures have made my day. Made me smile to see Wendy Sault, who years later was godmother at my sister’s christening. Thank you.

  5. kylie says:

    hi there, I’m interested in any history about the george and dragon pub as in 1901, one of my ancestors owned it, arthur henry poxon.
    struggling to find anything
    help would be appreciated
    thanks in advance

  6. Paul Ford says:

    hi Kylie

    I replied in the other thread that Bob set up for this question. Hope it helps.

  7. Carol Smith says:

    Good to see my uncle Bill Howdle in one of the photos, he was my late mom Ednas Brother, also Ron Howdle was a cousin.
    Good to see Lizzie Wright too, we lived opposite her in Bridge Street when I was young, does any one else remember her parrot that used to have his cage put in the garden sometimes in the summer

  8. Carol Smith says:

    wondered if anyone had photos of original Clayhanger church and church school I went there when Miss Whistance and Miss Harvey where teachers

  9. Dave (Eddy) Edwards says:

    I remember Alan Brookes from my teens
    Dave(Eddy) Edwards

    • mark brookes says:

      hi Eddy
      Alan was my uncle, passed away a couple of years ago now, we used to live in bridge street next door to mrs fellows, opposite the old club, and a few doors down from lizzie and her parrot lol

      • Dave (Eddy) Edwards says:

        Hello Mark, Sorry to hear of Alans passing. You will also be aware of the passing of Bill Shaw recently. We get fewer and fewer.



    • Carol Smith says:

      Hi Ray you may remember my uncle Bill and Aunt Lily Howdle who also lived in High Street and son John Howdle

      • John Howdle says:

        Hi carol just browsing Brian and saw your email lots of memories of my aunty Edna and clay hanger life and people ,your cousin John Howdle

        • Carol smith says:

          Hi John good to hear from you.
          My mom sadly died and my dad Bill who you probably remember died last June 17.
          Saw you mentioned in the Clayhanger Kid 2 book.

          • John Howdle says:

            Hi carol,yes I remember your mom and dad meeting they used to take me to pictures with them the regent browhills and the one in Walsall wood , that must be 70 years ago

    • Brian Stringer says:

      You’re mentioned in the book Ray

    • Brian Stringer says:

      You’re in the book Ray

  11. Christine Booth says:

    I lived in clayhanger 1975 to 1977 My daughter was christened at clayhanger church. My late farther played the old organ in the church as a young man Reginald Booth..There was Mr Singhs shop corner of high st Edmond Howdles butchers Jacks Taxis Christines Hairdressers. We used to walk over the Spot to Brownhills (The tip) Happy days. (37 High st)

  12. Joan Hucker says:

    Lizzie Wright was my aunt and the parrot in question was very good at wolf whistling when young ladies walked by also at mimicking Lizzie so well that one day the insurance man went in and got the wrong end of Lizzie’s tongue because she had not heard him knock the door nor the parrot shouting “come in”

    • Carol Smith says:

      I remember the parrot mimicking Lizzie, saying Tony’s coming always sounded just like her.

      • John Howdle says:

        Hi Carol, nice to read about your memories, I’ve got a lot more ( 80 next year) do you remember cousin Sylvia? Lost touch with her when they went to keep a pub. Cousin john

  13. Len Barnard says:

    carol Smith.. the parrot was always calling Tony liz Rights son.

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