The orignal Middle Oak…

Fine scan of a fine image kindly supplied my Micheal Edwards.

I’ve received a wonderful email from Micheal Edwards, late of Clayhanger, who wrote so wonderfully a while back about his childhood experiences there. I so pleased to hear from Micheal again, his contributions are always a joy.

An addition to your local pub collection. This rather scruffy photo is of my Great Great Grandfather William Cooke. He was the publican of The Royal Oak Inn (Middle Oak) situated on the Chester Road. He was the Grandfather to my Grandmother, Annie Edwards (Cooke), who also lived on Shire Oak. About three houses up from the current pub location. He was also Grandfather to my wonderful Great Aunt, Betsy Kingston (Cooke)who lived in a cottage on Friezland Lane. Sorry no date for this pic. Unfortunately as you can see, this a poor scan, and won’t suffer much of an enlargement.

Bye the way, many thanks for the numerous maps you have posted. I do enjoy exploring them.

Cheers. Michael Edwards. From the woods of Central Ontario, Canada.

Oh, my brother, Arthur Edwards sent me a copy of ‘The Clayhanger Kid‘. Talk about a trip down memory lane.

Rest assured Micheal, the scan is just fine and contains some wonderful detail. Please click on the image to see it full size.

This entry was posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Features, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Uncategorized, Walsall community. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The orignal Middle Oak…

  1. CAZ says:

    This is a fantastic picture.It almost looks like a little terrace house was built onto the side of the pub as an afterthought .I love to see the people and the style of clothes they wore in their day.Those poor women back then must have baked in the summer months in those long skirts, and even the young boys wore caps.
    Thank you Micheal for sharing it with everyone.
    Pure coincidence, but my Dad was Arthur Edwards and one of his friends was Sammy Kingston from the Friezland lane area.
    best wishes Caz

    • Brian Edwards says:

      Sammy Kingston was married to William Cooke’s daughter Betsy and they lived on Friezland Lane. As a young boy I was at Sams side when he died along with my Mother Alice Edwards, nee Ansell and Betsy his wife. All that I remember are heavy green velvet drapes and a large brass bed.

  2. D.Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    my great grandma used to wear umpteen petticoats and could justify every one..She had the same hairstyle all her life. Like many other ladies she kept her hair in place with a “correctional” hairpin. The lady in the photo has just used hers to good effect by the look of things. Look at the young boy!
    best wishes
    David Evans

  3. D.Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    I wonder where the Lichfeld Brewery was….and why the Royal Oak didn’t sell the ale from the nearby Shire Oak Brewery …just up the road from the Royal Oak Inn, in fact
    Local intrigue! Then there’s the “to do” over a lady in the Anchor! But that’s another story.
    best wishes
    David Evans

    • paul ford says:

      The Lichfield Brewing Company is still there (well, the building is). It is a fantastic looking building at the railway bridge just as you get into Lichfield.

      For interest, i was asked when the new ‘Middle Oak’ was actually erected. I found it in the plan register of new buildings for Brownhills UDC – plan 1054, submitted by the LBC on 12/6/37 for the rebuilding of the Royal Oak, Chester Rd. Approved 15/7/37

  4. Andy Dennis says:

    I thought I would see if I could help date the picture. The Censuses are of some help. In 1891 William Cooke (search for Corke) (coalminer, 55), wife Betsy (51) and family lived there. In 1901 William was still there as beer retailer / inn keeper, but widowed and with a housekeeper, Margaret Andrews (39). Both were still there in 1911. I’m no great expert, but the lady’s costume looks more Edwardian than earlier, so I suspect this was not William’s wife, but his housekeeper. In 1911, William would have been 75 and Margaret 49, which seems a reasonable fit.

  5. BEV says:

    my great great grandfather also was the innkeeper of the royal oak not sure of exact dates but he was there on the 1871 census, his name was John Woodhouse and he was listed as Farmer & Innkeeper he was born in 1814 at catshill. There was also a Rebecca Woodhouse running the Anchor Pub and a Richard Woodhouse shopkeeper at catshil in 1896, they are probably related to John Woodhouse too but i haven’t managed to check this out yet. Its wonderful to see a picture of this pub as it was in those days. Keep up the good work, its a wonderful website, and brings back lots of memories of my youth in Brownhills
    Thanks from BEV

    • Dave Woodhouse says:

      Hi Bev, Very interesting to read your comments regarding John Woodhouse,he is also my Gt Gt Grandfather but i haven’t been able to find any information on him other than his Marriage and Death dates; I would particularly like to find out his date of birth and who his parents were. I have found him on all the census returns along with his family. My father was Alfred, grandfather Arthur, and great grandfather George, all were born in the Walsall Wood, Shire Oak and Catshill areas. Are you and your ancestors from the area? Thanks from Dave.

  6. Steve Green says:

    When I was a schoolboy at Shire Oak in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the landlord of the “Middle Oak” was Edward Turley (“Ted”), who prior to that was the Landlord at the Crown in Long Acre Street in Walsall.

    The reason why I recall all this so well is because I have been trying to seek out Ted’s son, Graham Edward Turley, a Brownhills boy who was a formidable bass guitarist. I remember meeting Ozzie Osbourne (yes, Sharon’s husband!) and Noddy Holder with Graham in 1973 at “Henry’s Blueshouse” in Birmingham.

    Anyone remember Graham? If so, please let me know.

    Steve Green (these days living in Sheffield, but originally in Howdles Lane)

    • Yvonne Burford says:

      Hello Steve, I have just come across this page and read your comments. I am Graham’s sister Yvonne Turley (married name Burford). Are you the Steve who played the organ/keyboard? If you’d like to email me I’d be pleased to hear from you.

  7. Pingback: The Acropolis cafe shuts; Middle Oak to close and B&M to open in Focus, Aldridge | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  8. mistyjoyce says:

    I really wish to contact Michael Edwards- because William Cooke was my great grandfather, and I have quite a few photographs of him and the Cooke family. I cannot find Michael Edwards email address anywhere, please can anyone help.I would also like to contact Michael’s brother Arthur Cooke, still living in Brownhills. It would ne very exciting to be in contact with relatives.

    Joyce Cooke Taylor, Worcestershire- Born Walsall.

  9. Maria Smith says:

    Hi Joyce,I’m Michael Edwards youngest sister,Maria and I’ve only just read your message regarding trying to contact my brother,has you ave read unfortunately he passed away last would be lovely to contact you in some way if that’s ok? I will leave my email address below and hopefully we can get in touch!! Maria!! X

  10. Rob cooke says:

    Is there anyway i can get in touch with the person who posted this as my last name is Cooke and this is my great great great grandad

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