Meet me on the corner

This blog is getting quite large. At over 1,050 posts and over 5,000 comments, there’s an awful lot of material, and my mind, addled by caffeine, work junk and bicycle gear ratios isn’t all it could be. This leads occasionally to stuff we’ve already touched on being covered afresh, or questions being fretted over that already have some information available here. It’s thanks to the genius and positively pachiderm-like predisposition of top local history boffin [Howmuch?] that I can shed some light on and earlier subject currently being by discussed by the Walsall Wood contingent.

Davids Evans and Oakley have been continuing their chat and have expanded to talk about the chapel that once existed in Beechtree Road and King Street in Walsall Wood. I was a bit lost with this, as is my wont. Walsall Wood – particularly the backstreets, aren’t my natural territory and that area isn’t the place I went much as a child. [Howmuch?], on the other hand, is a true Walsall Wood Mon™ and, over a pint last night, he recalled the post in which Graham Harrison sent an image – perhaps of said chapel – in it’s latter days as a shop. It’s worth clicking through to that post, as there’s some great stuff in the comments from The Edditer and Roger ‘Ziksby’ Jones, amongst others.

Interestingly, it’s not a tin tabernacle, it predates that technique. Here’s the text and image from the original post in January, 2010:

Dear Bob,

My grandfather Henry Harrison was a miner living in Walsall Wood (the old school house on Beech Tree Road, see picture attached). His father was William Harrison, who is described in the 1911 Census as a “night rail foreman” with the U.D.C., living at Salters Road. He was born in Dodderhill, Droitwich–if I’m reading the original entry correctly. I haven’t been able to trace his move from Droitwich to Walsall Wood so far. I imagine that perhaps the majority of residents of Walsall Wood were newcomers to the area, for the coal mines. Most of my relations on both sides of the family were miners.

Is there any way in which I can get in touch with the U.D.C. About possible employment records for this William Harrison (born about 1850)?

All the best,
Graham Harrison
County Donegal,

The old schoolhouse on Beechtree Road, residence of Henry Harrison as sent by grandson Graham.

What’s making me think this is the chapel is that it’s the right shape (see below map) and it bears the street sign for Beechtree Road – suggesting it was at the junction as the chapel on the map is.

1884 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey plot of Walsall Wood, with the chapel highlighted. There’s lots of stuff for Walsall Wood history buffs on this one. Click for a larger version.

A further map for 1902 can be found in and earlier post, and that doesn’t label the chapel as such, neither does any subsequent map of this scale (1:10,0000 drafts show it later, but that’s clearly artefacts from earlier surveys not being revised to the 1:2,500 plans).

The 1919 issue, for instance, shows a growing wood and lots of name changes. Something very civic seems to have been done between 1884 and 1919.

1919 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey plot of Walsall Wood, with the chapel highlighted. Note the changes to road nomenclature – Occupation Road becomes Beechtree Road, etc. Click for a larger version.

In addition to the mapping record and the great Harrison photo, David Evans has collected some great information by his own means.

Beech Tree King Street Chapel

Working notes

Source: David Oakley

First mentioned by David Oakley in quiz 1:

On the corner of Beechtree Road and Queen Street, on the right hand corner, tin tabernacle type building, later converted into shop owned by Collins family whose son Alan played for Walsall Wood FC in important 1951 match.

Mentioned dates that chapel functioned: 1878 to 1883

This certainly ties in with the mapping record.

In private e-mail [David Oakley] also mentioned that Mormon Church had registered a building near the Horse and Jockey pub for worship.

And gave dates 1855 to 1878 when it ceased to be used

This would fit in with Sue Lote and Andy Dennis’s work on the Derry history.

1901 OS map England Staffordshire SEOS 1;10,560 Epoch 1 18887 ( 1887 ?)

I need to look that one up, but mapping of that epoch at that scale is pretty lousy, to be honest.

Source: Marjorie H

Has asked at S. Johns for information. Known that there had been a chapel there… not known what demonination. Map show this on the wall of St Johns Medical Centre.

I’m fairly sure the St. Johns hand-tinted wall maps were produced from the 1884 epoch, so should match the 1884 above, but if you’re in there, can you ask them to do something about the bloody muzak they play? Repetitive, or what?

Source:  Jenny Langford

Is related to the Collins family

Remembers the Collins shop from very early childhood. Did not know the building had once been a chapel. She mentioned that a building or room by old Horse and Jockey was used by non C of E denominations, and pre-dates St Johns construction of 1837. She has read Irish Question article and had seen David Oakley’s note on the quiz re-little chapel, but she did not know that the building had been a chapel, and it wasn’t mentioned by her parents.

The room at the Horse & Jockey was used for all sorts of things, including inquests I think. It’s use is mentioned by the wonderful Paul Ford when discussing the Bullings Heath mortuary.

She wondered if the chapel was connected to Irish cemetery and was it a Catholic chapel for the navvies who built the railway circa 1880?

Walsall Wood line opened 1876, so if this is the case the chapel must predate this by some margin. The station didn’t come until 1884. The construction style seems to suggest this.

Source: Roy C.

Grew up in Coppice Road, near to Camden Street, but moved to Brownhills some years ago, when he married. He is in his 80s.

Knew the building as a grocers shop circa 1950-60. Described location as ‘…leave Beechtree Road to enter King Street (called Queen Street by David Oakley) and the shop was on the right, on the corner. It was a funny-shaped building. Part had been coverted from a house to the small shop he delivered to.

Did not know about it having been a chapel.

Shop was owned by Harrison… married Ruby Allsop from Burntwood.

So, that neatly brings us full circle to the Harrison link at the start of the post. As ever, comments, criticisms, clarifications and catcalls, please do comment, or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

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17 Responses to Meet me on the corner

  1. David Evans says:

    HI Bob and Howmuch
    Many thanks for your help with this. I owe you one.. single malt.?

    I think I need to go and sit quietly in a corner for a while…and sup my fish oil !
    kind regards to you both

  2. pedro says:

    The Church of the Latter-day Saints registered a building near the Horse and Jockey in 1855; they had ceased to use it by 1876. (fn. 55) There was a chapel of unknown denomination at the west end of Beech Tree Road between at least 1878 and 1883. (fn. 56)

    For all worship in Walsall Wood see British History online here…

    Regards Pedro

  3. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    a very big thankyou to Pedro, please. A super reference ! I wonder if we will ever find out what deNoMination that little chapel was….but, you never know , this blog and and its incredible readers, continue to amaze !
    kind regards

  4. Clive says:

    Looking at the photo of Mr. Harrisson holding the pup at the old schoolhouse, I`ve just noticed there`s a cat on the photo. spot the cat and win a coconut!

  5. Annie says:

    Re the Collins family in Beechtree road the shop was” 62 Beechtree road” and was was my nan and granddads and “Alan ” is my moms twin brother

  6. David Evans says:

    Hi Annie
    many thanks for this. Do you know when the shop was demolished or when it was built?
    Kind regards

  7. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    of the 43 Harrisons living in Walsall Wood in April 1911( census;ancestry) a William Harrison,aged 60 was lving with his wife and three children. The address shows as “School Cottage, Beech Tree Road, Walsall Wood”
    (census class RG14’piece17204schedule no 242 ). His job was a night soil foreman and was born in Northwich.

  8. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    just in case Graham Harrison reads this entry for the 1911 is a summary page which shows Northwich..which could be a transcription error by the ancestry clerk. Certainly William was living in Salters Road at the time of the 1901 census. He had three children, two sons and a daughter in 1911

  9. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    your blog article “Going by the Book” , gives two very interesting points;-
    the school room ( the one in the photo) appears to have been built in 1829, and a certain Miss Littley was one of the two previous teachers who had taught in houses before that schoolroom was built. Readers may recall that surname being mentioned in the Goblins Pit “papers” some while ago.
    ( Not Pedro or Zigsby quality, but I do my best! )
    Kind regards

  10. Pedro says:

    Thanks David, but I assure you anything I find is down to serendipity!

    Regards Pedro

  11. Annie says:

    Hi David
    “collins shop ” was the first house in the row of three that looks down king street .The shop was sold when my nan passed away in the early sixties ,and when i was growing up in the wood it was “beryls” sorry can’t remember her last name.
    Do you remember mr Glover. the cobbler at ’71Beech tree road’ who worked out of his shed ?he was my nans brother.

    • david oakley says:

      Hi Annie,
      Charlie Glover is well remembered from my childhood in the thirties.
      We took all of our shoes there. Black-haired and often seen with a mouthful of
      tacks, a completely contented man, never short of a joke, even to us kids, My Aunt lived at 47 Coppice Road at that time, prior to the war.

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  15. Simon Burgess says:

    I lived in 58 Beech tree and brought it off my Aunty Kath Harvey whos family owned it and a lot of other houses in Beech tree. I remember her telling me that there was a chapel at the bottom of my garden years ago where the new houses are in the grounds of The Hollies. When I started to clear the garden I found loads of old bricks enough to build a shed and blue paving bricks.

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