A secret affair?

A Jubilee Beacon on Ogley Hay, at the Warrenhouse. But why no publicity? Photo by Steve Craddock.

On Monday last, the 4th June 2012, there were lots of beacon lighting events as part of the commemoration of the Queen’s 60th Jubilee. The were large public events across the country, and a smaller one in Walsall, at Barr Beacon, oddly restricted to 200 people, a ticket-only affair.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the event at Barr Beacon was the only one locally, but you’d be wrong. Reader and friend of the Brownhills Blog Steve Craddock wrote today to tell me that there had been a small beacon lighting event at the site where e the Staffordshire Hoard was found, on the Warrenhouse at Ogley Hay. It appears a proper metal beacon was erected and lit as part of the national celebrations.

It seems like Hammerwich Parish Council were behind this, and did little to advertise the event to anyone, least of all the residents of Brownhills just over the road. Had I known about this taking place, I’d have plugged it, yet I can find no mention online of anything other than one PDF and one dead link. Steve only happened upon the lighting by chance – and seems to have had a cracking time.

Did you attend, and how did you know it was taking place? Did you help organise this commemoration? Do you know anything about who paid for it? Why was there no publicity?

I don’t want to insinuate anything, but it does seem like this was an event to which Brownhills clearly wasn’t invited.

Steve Craddock sent me the following:

Hi Bob

I’m a regular reader of your blog, a keen cyclist and Brownhills resident.

I went to the lighting of the beacon on the site of the Staffordshire Hoard on Monday night. There were 30 – 35 people there which was a very poor showing for the area. I am very surprised that there wasn’t more publicity about the beacon in any of the papers or the local press. I happened to drive down Barracks Lane earlier that day and spotted a large basket on a pole which had been erected only a few days before hand. If I hadn’t spotted it I wouldn’t have known about it.

The beacon was lit by Fred the farmer – who owns the land and there was a brief introductory speech before hand by an elderly gentleman who didn’t introduce himself.

It was a fantastic little piece of history that my wife and I, and two of our daughters, will always remember – but it could have been so much better if there had been a decent crowd to watch it happen.

Attached is a relatively poor picture of the beacon – sorry – best that I could do on the night.

Keep up the good work.

Steve Craddock


From the Jubilee beacon website I found this reference:

Entry_No 2916

Organiser. Hammerwich Parish Council

Beacon Site where the “Staffordshire Hoard” was found


I couldn’t find any reference on the Lichfield and district website or any other publicity. It was Fred Johnson who lit the beacon.



If you have any info, that’s BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Any contributions treated in the strictest confidence if necessary.

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11 Responses to A secret affair?

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    Odd, this. I recall the Silver Jubilee when we went to Castle Ring and could see various fires on what seem to have been traditional beacons on high points, such as Barr Beacon, Frankley Beeches and (I think) Throrpe Cloud or somehwere in that direction (it’s a long time). Anyway, I found this http://www.diamondjubileebeacons.co.uk/pages/interactive_map_171898.cfm – seems a rather eclectic mix. Wonder how selected.

  2. Peter says:

    Hi all. Shame the Hammerwich event wasn’t better advertised, deliberate perhaps? With reference to the one on Barr Beacon, I saw an advert in the Walsall Advertiser I think, and also found it odd, that it seemed as if only 200 people could attend. Given that Barr Beacon is criss crossed by Public Footpaths I wondered how they could control who attended and who didn’t. So, packed up with a blanket and some refreshments, about 10 of us set off from the “Cat and Fiddle” to walk the short distance to the Beacon. It turned out that the restriction of 200 people was actually a restriction on the number of cars that were allowed onto the Beacon, in essence Walsall Council had controlled the number of cars that could access the car park and there was no restrictions placed on the numbers of peope who could walk up and attend. In the event it was actually quite a good evening, there was a full brass band playing for around 30 minutes beforehand, various speeches by local dignatries and then of course the lighting of the Beacon itself at quarter past ten. I would estimate that there were between 300 and 400 people at quarter past ten for the lighting. I was told though that those securing tickets in advance for the event had to pay £20.00 for the privelege, (Well somone had to pay the expenses of Walsall Council) Would be very interested to see if any of the Council members claimed expenses to attend!!!

    • Would just like to clarify that no one was charged for parking tickets, and also can confirm that no one on foot was turned away. Car numbers were limited due to health and safety concerns. glad you enjoyed it, we have lots more events planned over the next three years.

      • ianrobo says:

        It does not make sense though, the publicty around here was nothing and the only link on the council site made it clear it was limited to 200 attending. If you allowed those on foot for free and charged others (was it really £20 ??) that is poor.

        • As I said: no one was charged. Perhaps you misread my previous comment.

          • ianrobo says:

            so the person above who was told £20 was misinformed, good …

            however you can not deny that the Walsall council link was clear enough ?

            I am not having a go at you Morgan, far from it but believe a missed opportunity and I am a republican !!

            • The site is open to the public at all times, the only thing that gets closed at night is the car parks. There would have been no way to prevent walkers if we had wanted to. Anyone phoning and asking was told that they were welcome to come on foot. You are very welcome to ring me at work if you would like to discuss it further, but as I am sure you can understand, once a decision is made in the interest of health and safety, there is very little us small folk can do to change it.

              I’d urge you in future to contact me if there is ever anything unclear – I am always happy to answer questions, address your concerns and help in any way I can.

              • ianrobo says:

                thats very kind Morgan and it has happened now so look forward to the future events.

                I would make one comment, Barr Beacon is not just about walsall, it should be about nearby Sandwell and Brum as well and be publicised across borders as a fantastic natural resource.

  3. Barry Carpenter says:

    I went to Breedon on the Hill, not far from East Mids Airport, last week. I Photographed the Beacon on the hill.

    The only ref. to the diamond beacon chain was the small sign to the right on the wall. So it seems that other parts of the country kept the secret as well?

  4. Pingback: Whose beacon is it anyway? « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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