Persistence of memory

Yesterday, whilst wandering past the former Warreners Arms pub, I stopped to look at the old inn. The condition of this landmark building continues to degrade, and the busy car wash formerly operating there now seems to have closed. I notice some thieving scrote has even nicked the old cast-iron ‘Ogley Hay’ street sign; no mean feet considering it was about 12 feet off the ground. Ijust hope it was stolen for the significance of the object than for a couple of quid at the scrap yard.

Whilst reflecting on this, I started to study the terracotta brickwork on the corner between Ogley Road and the High Street, and spotted something interesting – what was for me, at least, an undiscovered bit of Brownhills history. Scratched into the soft clay red bricks, there seems to be a century’s worth of names. I photographed some of the interesting ones, but there are probably loads I missed. I haven’t had time to research them, but W. Dorsett stood out, as did Humphries with regard to Humphries house, that stands nearby.

Do any of the following names mean anything to you? Please comment or drop me a line if they do.

F. Kerr 1928

W. Owen, J.H. Owen

W. Dorsett

The Dorsett family were notable in Brownhills in the early part of the last century for their football skills. Dickie Dorset, known as ‘The Brownhills Bomber’, was a celebrated striker. Having played for Wolves, scoring their only goal in the 1939 FA Cup final, Dickie joined the RAF, only playing a few matches during the war. After service, he played for Brentford, Grimsby Town, Liverpool, QPR, Southampton and Aston Villa. He retired in 1953, becoming a trainer and coach for Aston Villa and Liverpool. He passed away in 1999, aged 79. I guess this must be the inscription of one of the family, but no W. Dorsett is mentioned in Sue Lote’s excellent article on the family and their genealogy.

Riar Hicklin - and a bottle of pop. Anybody know what's going on here?

Harry Woodhouse

G Hammond(s?)

Abraham Greenhough, April 1 1916

J Hammonds, possibly A Holyday

Another Woodhouse, a clearly different hand to the first

T.H. 1954

J Humphries, H Seedhouse


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31 Responses to Persistence of memory

  1. warren parry says:

    Hi, the Harry Woodhouse name was my grandfathers uncle. the Woodhouse family are still in and around Brownhills. my mom reckons seedhouse had a farm by the gpo yard on Ogely rd, he killed himself.

    • dorothy james says:

      im sure it is holyman rather than holyday ,,,my grandads family [samuel holyman] lived in ogley rd at least 1930,40,50,, maybe even before that,,i started school at ogley
      rd there were at least 12 children ,,the holymans are still in brownhills

      • Roger Turner says:

        Abe Holyman married Elizabeth Jackson, daughter of Joseph Jackson and grandaughter of John Jackson who married Hannah Street; they lived at Streets Corner cottage – elsewhere on this site. Abe was a hairdresser just down from Streets Corner close to Oak Park in the 1950’s. He and Elizabeth had 2 sons, Eric and Malcom, I think. Are these related?

  2. AnotherBrownhillsBOB says:

    They certainly are still around, I went to school with Seedhouses and Woodhouses in the 1990s.

  3. Mick_P says:

    For many years during the 1960s and ’70s, possibly going back further, the greengrocer on the corner of Wolverhampton Road and Wood Lane in Pelsall was under the name of Seedhouse. Given that it’s not an especially common name, I’d suspect that it’s part of the same family, and especially given that the family mentioned above were involved in farming (I’ve read Bog Farm, though I’ve not located where that is or was).

    Also, having just had a mooch, I see that there was a mining family called Seedhouse living in Brownhills in the 1800s, and that it’s thought that Seeds Lane, just off the Chester Road end of the Lichfield Road, was originally Seedhouse Lane and thought to have been named after the family that lived there.

  4. lisa says:

    Hi Bob,

    I have access to the 1911 census on genes reunited if you would like me to have a look and see what I can find just let me know.

  5. Hi Lisa, good to see you here again…

    Yeah, sure, that would be wonderful. I’m open to anything anyone can bring to the party. Anything you’ve got.

    Thanks very much…


  6. Hayley says:

    My Great Grandad was called Frank Frederick Kerr and lived in Ogley Road so could well be ‘F. Kerr.’ He married Alice Woodhouse and following her death from cancer he married her sister Daisy Woodhouse! x

    • Julie says:

      I too was a Woodhouse (related to undertakers) Brownhills High street in 1900’s. Would be interested in any information or pictures any one has of the woodhouse family X

      • nialldorsett says:

        My Great Grandfather, George Dorsett, married Clara Woodhouse sometime before 1904. My Great Grandfather who also played football transferred from West Bromwich Albion to Manchester City in 1905, so they left the area. Niall Dorsett

        • Julie says:

          Hello Naill
          I would be grateful for as much information – or any photos you may have about Clara Woodhouse and members of the family. eg where she was born – lived – anything.
          Many thanks
          Julie x

          • nialldorsett says:

            Hello Julie – Sorry for the delay – Clara Woodhouse was born at Ogley Hay, Brownhills, Staffordshire in 1886, I do know some people who remember her. Her parents were William Woodhouse & Fanny Massey. please feel free to email if you need to know more. She was my Great Grandmother

        • David Pugh says:

          My husbands grandfather was George dorsett who played for Manchester city. You must be related to my husband. George had three children ,Molly.ralph and Gladys (my husbands mother.)

          • graham birch says:

            Hi, just to let you know, my mother you have listed as Molly Dorsett was called Margaret Clara (after her grandmother Clara)
            Regards Graham Birch.

        • graham birch says:

          my grandfather was george dorsett married clara woodhouse in 1904. played for west brom and manchester city as did his brother joseph arthur dorsett they were from a huge family of footballing brothers and all were the uncles of dickie dorsett (Brownhills bomber) wolves and aston villa who i met and spent a memorable day with just before he passed away, My mother was margaret clara dorsett. to contact me 07788197932

  7. Louise says:

    Dear Brownhills Bob

    I wonder if anyone out there knows if the Warreners Arms is a listed building. I seem to remember growing up that it was Grade 2 listed but I dont know if that was/is truth or rumour?

    The reason for the question is my mom told me today that they are building 58 flats/apartments on the site and that the Warreners Arms will be totally demolished.

    Obviously if it is listed somewhere Walsall Council need to be made aware of this or will the Warreners still stand and they will just convert the inside to flats?

    If anybody could shed any light it would be much appreciated.


    • Hi Louise

      The saga of the Warreners has been covered here in a post entitled ‘Arrested Development – type it in the search box top right and that should pull it up. The Warreners Arms is not, and never has been listed. The only two listed buildings in Brownhills are the old railway brigade over the canal near Pelsall Road and the canal aqueduduct near Newtown on the A5. The plan isn’t to demolish the old pub, but incorporate it into the flats. However, I suspect the outstanding permission for that has probably expired.
      Had the building been listed, this would have been addressed at the planning stage – a full list of such buildings is available from Walsall Council’s website.
      I hate to say this, although the Warreners is socially significant, it’s not special architecturally. It’s also in quite a poor state. It’s a symbol of what happens when people fudge the planning issue.

  8. J somerfield says:

    I am a member of the Woodhouse family – undertakers in Brownhills. Would be interested to find as much information as possible.
    My late grandfather was Alfred Woodhouse who died in Pelsall 1940’s

    • graham birch says:

      Hi Julie, My grandmother was Clara Woodhouse from the undertakers. She married George Dorsett who played for West Brom and Manchester City. I was born in Manchester but went to Brownhills to see what I could find out about the Woodhouses and had some correspondence with a family member who emigrated to Spain. He remembered my mother and told me that the undertakers had been sold and was no longer there. My grandfathers home on High Street is now the H.S.B.C or Natwest bank. I have lots of info on the family if you want to get in contact. You can contact me on e-mail or call me on 07788197932.
      Regards Graham Birch.

  9. pedro says:

    From the Lichfield Mercury 12 May 1905, Ernest Seedhouse is granted full transfer of the Warreners Arms.

  10. pedro says:

    The Mercury of 22 July 1904 reports the inquest on the tragic death of Florence Seedhouse (11), daughter of William, miner, Cannock Road.

    She was walking, with companions, along the towpath of the B’ham Canal and lost her balance. A verdict of Accidental Death.


  11. pedro says:

    No mention of a Harry Woodhouse, but there is a Henry of Brownhills who was sent to goal for one month with hard labour, for stealing pigeons!

    Lichfield Mercury 14 Sep 1906

  12. pedro says:

    I think we have hit the jackpot!

    The Lichfield Mercury on the 16 Aug 1912 reports the Children’s Court.

    There is a Abraham Greenhough (13), who along with others, was caught stealing apples from the property of Stephan Cooper of Watling Street. They were fined 1s and 6s 6d costs.

    (Bob’s brick says 1916 and so he would then have been 17 years old!)

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  15. Lauren greenhough says:

    Amazed to find this blog whilst on google. My granddads brother was Abraham Greenhough. Thankyou for listing this picture it’s of great interest to me and my family. There is a Greenhough road in Lichfield

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  18. kathy bull [nee cooper] says:

    dickie dorset and my grandmother Nellie were brother and sister her married name was cooper she and my granddad reared me from the age of 3 I grew up in the avenues .the photo of uncle dickie [as I called him ]I have a small original version that was my grans they were very proud of him and my uncle who I grew up calling brother timmy cooper was also a good footballer winning cups at school and playing in the school boy international in London ,my name was Kathleen cooper [now married bull]and strangely enough my husbands cousin is steve bull the footballer .

    • graham birch says:

      Hi Kathy, just saw your post. Dickie Dorsett and my mother were cousins, she was the daughter of George and Clara Dorsett (nee Woodhouse) George played for West Brom before moving to Manchester City in 1904. I tracked Dickie down about 12 months before he passed away and went to see him at Brownhills. We spent a full day talking family and football and had a great time. He remembered my mother with fond memories about how they use to play on Cannock chase when they were young. If you contact me I will add you to the Dorsett family tree I have put together over the last 15 years. You can e-mail me on or call me on 07788197932.
      Regards Graham Birch.

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