Local author, Clayhanger Kid and friend of the blog Brian Stringer got in touch last week with an interesting bit of ephemera relating to the Pier Hotel, the long-lost pub that used to stand at the end of Pier Street in Brownhills, in an area once known as Pike Helve. I’ve mentioned the boozer before here, in one of my earliest posts.
Brian had this to say:
Some of your older blog readers may be interested in this letter I came across when doing some research for my next book.
I spoke to Billy Horobin who as a child lived along the spot path, and he told me that he heard somewhere that the Pub at the bottom of Pier St known as the Pier Hotel was once called the FORTUNE OF WAR. Looking through some papers I came across this and thought you might be interested. Thanks are in order to Mr H Williams. I can’t make out the name of Ind Coopes District manager.
Brian included this photo of a 1956 letter, from Ind Coope, the brewery, to a Mr. H Williams, relating to the pub. It seems the name changed between 1885 and 1889:
While I’m about it, Brian is still after anecdotes and memories for his second volume of the massively popular book ‘The Clayhanger Kid’. The author recently published the following on David Hodgkinson’s site, and has been making appeals in the local press:
THE CLAYHANGER KID – Will there be a Volume 2 ? It may depend on YOU!
Brian Stringer has said……
‘I NEVER realised, when I wrote my first book The Clayhanger Kid, the impact it would have on many readers. To me Clayhanger was always a wonderful place for children to grow up, despite the few photographs taken in my day showing a grim and flooded landscape dominated by pit mounds and a refuse tip.
To me and the rest of my peers the reality was very different, with an abundance of positive features. Our own school, church, chapel, farm, three shops, pub, thriving workingmen’s club and our own bobby, with the icing on the cake being one of the best parks in the area.
Our three streets were surrounded by a large triangle of railways plus a canal on two sides. Each street was backed by acres of fields, both farmed, open wetland or common.
It was only through talking to readers of my book, that I began to sense the depth of feeling for the old place and the reverence it still held in their hearts. Someone told me that, given the chance, they would choose to be buried there because they would be back home. No one derides it, only related fond memories, and all agreed that it was a unique and special place.
I knew then I had to do a sequel, still about Clayhanger but this time not all about me, but through the eyes of others. I could even cover teenage years and spread farther afield as long as we didn’t stray too far and kept to those times.
So now I would appreciate your help in gathering material for a new book. If you lived in Clayhanger or Brownhills, went to Ogley Hay Juniors, Brownhills Central or the Girls School, or you have any tales to tell of the ‘40s no matter how insignificant you think they may be, please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org. It may be funny, sad, or even a bit of history and if you want to remain anonymous that’s ok by me.’