This one has largely, I’m sad to say, passed me by. In the run up to Christmas, subsequent busying about and illness, I’ve not had time to dedicate myself to this particular subject, for which I apologise wholeheartedly. David Evans and David Oakley, with the help of a host of other Walsall Wood folks, have been digging out a bit of very specific local history.
David recalled a close, or small terrace of houses perpendicular to Friezeland Lane, close to where Friezland Way is today. I’d never heard of this, and was intrigued, as was co-conspirator [Howmuch?]. In our own discussions, we’ve mentioned this area of Shire Oak quite a few times and noted that the oldest remnant seems to be the old cottage just between Linden View and Commonside, which we suspect to have been a farmhouse.
Best thing I can do is throw it over to David Evans directly.
On 28th December, David Evans sent me the following email:
Good old David Oakley has come up trumps again, bless him. On Christmas morning one of the carol singers at my home, a first-time visitor who I had not seen for many years in fact, mentioned the Fold in Friezland Lane… a bolt out the blue! Another friend who had lived in Friezland Lane many moons ago agreed and tried to describe the settlement. Perhaps not the time to try to go further, but hopefully in a few weeks I may be able to put something together about this Fold.
If you or some of your wonderful contacts are able to trace a map it would be super.
I think the Fold was between Pauls Coppice and Friezland Way or even Hillside Close, on the Shire Oak School side of the lane.
There seems to be so little published about pre-coal mining walsall Wood’s settlements, and this might be a very very useful exercise. It sounds to be pre-war or immediately post war but possibly dating back a long time.
I will keep you posted.
Now, I’d be aware of the discussion, but like much of the stuff that comes in, I took a mental note and carried on for a bit, planning to cover it over the New Year break, when lots of folk would be bored and surfing for local history. On the 30th December, David emailed me again, a remarkable document. I think this is a first for The Brownhills Blog, the only thing to touch it for hand-draw user content being Andy Dennis’s wonderful profile plan of the Hall Lane area.
Please find attached a plan of the Fold, which was a row of houses off Friezland Lane. Please, my personal thanks to David Oakley, Jenny Langford, Bill Bacon and especially to Darryl Preston who was born in the house marked with a star (in 1935), and who has kindly drawn this plan to show the workshop, the three lime-washed houses of the Fold, up the path by the side of his parents’ house. It is interesting to note that location of the air-raid shelter also.
Darryl, who still lives very close to this location, has put the names of those who lived in the houses when he was a child, and I hope that readers will recognise these names and may be able to add further information on this little piece of local history. The questions which stand out are why was this called The Fold? What was made in the workshop there?
The RAF 1945 photo is not sufficiently clear to show the details that Darryl has added, and in all of this his contribution is quite unique.
The occupants’ names are:
Mosedale, Roc(k), Hodgkins, Snape, Ball, Hodgkins, Davies, Nicholls; The workshop is shown as ‘A’ on the plan
with kind regards
Obviously, I’m fascinated by this, and am immensely grateful to all involved. If this information jogs any memories, please do contribute. The is an area I know little of the history of, so rarely cover.
For my own contribution, such as it is, I decided to do the thing I’m noted for – digging out old maps. Sadly, the mapping record kind of fragments at 1938, as there’s a sudden step in surveying and the information in the 1:2500 and 1:10,000 maps becomes so divergent – even between subsequent issues of the same scale – that it appears meaningless. It doesn’t settle again until the late 60’s, by which time it was clearly long gone. I would imagine the fold to have disappeared at about the time the houses in Wrekin View were constructed; the post war development there and along the Friezeland Lane seem about contemporary.
The maps below not only show The Fold, but an area gradually being populated by a growing industrial community. There are some interesting nuggets appearing, like the Laundry that pops up out of nowhere in Commonside.
If you’ve anything at all to add, comment here or contact me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.