Laburnum Cottage, Brownhills: What do you know?

Laburnum Cottage on 3rd June, 2012.


One wet Sunday over the summer – 3rd June, to be precise – I featured the now-empty Laburnum Cottage on my 365daysofbiking journal. This house, which stands on the corner of New Road and High Street, Brownhills, just opposite Silver Court, was a printing shop for as long as I can remember, but now seems to be empty. At the time, I wrote the following:

June 3rd – The weather was atrocious today. It rained solidly for most of the day. Finally hauling myself out in heavy waterproofs late evening, I took a spin round Brownhills and noticed that Laburnum Cottage was now empty. This building, stood prominently on the junction of New Road and High Street, was built in 1871 and has served a variety of purposes, it’s last being as a print shop, which it had been for at least three decades. The long lost – and much missed – local free sheet, ‘The Brownhills Gazette’ was produced here in the late 80s and early 90s by Brian Stringer.

I note now that the building is empty, with all signage and even the advertising hoarding on the side removed. There’s no planning applications outstanding, so it’s fate remains a mystery. At 141 years old, I hope the building is accorded the respect it deserves in any future use.

Well, it seems something is happening. I was recently contacted by Matthew Bedworth, who emailed me the following question:


Just a quick message as I saw you posted up about Laburnum Cottage a few months back on Tumblr. We are the new owners of the property and will hopefully be living in the upstairs of the property in early 2013.

Do you know much about the history as I have been trying to look for some with no success as we are only very local.

So, the question is simply this – what do you know or remember of this building? Whilst I can only recall it as a lithographic printers, I’m sure older readers can recall it having other occupants. Does anyone know who built it, and any of the folks who may have lived here at all?

As usual, please comment here or mail me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Laburnum Cottage is quite a large property. Doesanyone know who built it, or why? Imagery from Bing! Maps.

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16 Responses to Laburnum Cottage, Brownhills: What do you know?

  1. Pedro says:

    11 Dec1908…Public auction, Laburnum Cottage, substantial modern household, formerly owned by Mr Daniel Hopley, and office furniture the property of the British Workman’s Sick and Life Assurance Society.

    16 Aug 1912 George Martin, Laburnum Cottage, applied to build a picture palace in High Street Brownhills…consent given by District Council. The building would be corrugated structure, with the usual outlets…The bench adjourned the case for a month…a similar application was made by a P Sharp to build a picture palace within a few yards of the last applicants structure…neither applicant new of their proposals until the day of the application…adjourned for a month

    13 Sep 1912…George Martin, Laburnum Cotage applied for cinematograph licence…adjourned until building complete.

  2. Pedro says:

    There is mention of an Empire Picture Theatre in Brownhills, 1915, anyone know where it was?

  3. Andy Dennis says:

    A punt for discussion, derision, or whatever.

    The censuses don’t really help, but looking at 1880s mapping, the building appears at the corner of New Road. Going west there is then a gap before a group of houses round a courtyard known as St James’s Place, where Wessex Close was. Going in the same direction in the 1911 Census, starting from the Warreners Arms to get bearings, the record before St Jame’s Place was a 6 roomed house, therefore the largest in the area, occupied by Robert Tuckley, second had dealer (Ogley Hay, district 20, page 206). He had a son named Robert born 1903, who it seems is mentioned in your post “We’m gooin up the park” as a coal merchant. Am I in the right place?

    Of course, the best source of information would be the deeds …

  4. David Evans says:

    HI Andy
    equally for discussion etc.. I think Tuckley coal merchants is the cottage by the catholic church, not by New Road. Delighted that Matthew has kindly started the ball rolling on this,..and hope that more fascinating information comes to light…you and Pedro have made a super start !
    Then, there’s Rose Villa..opposite Silver Street…a vicarage at one time?

    • Pedro says:

      Brownhills Rose Villa junior football team Jne 1912

      Thomas Emery, Rose Villa, Colliery Under manager, Norton Canes stood for the BUDC in March 1908

      Melrose Villa for sale, Lichfield Road Brownhills, 3 minutes from station Nov 1915

  5. Andy Dennis says:

    Must be losing my marbles! 1911 census Laburnum Cottage, High Street, Brownhills, head John Preece, born 1879 Willenhall, Insurance Branch Manager. Youngest child, Jessie M, born 1906 Wolverhampton. The house had 7 rooms. Ogley Hay, dist 20, p186.

    I haven’t found him in 1901, but in 1891 he was at Chester Road, Brownhills, scholar, a few doors from one Daniel Hopley Insurance Agent. Hopley was there in 1901, as well as 1881 and 1871. In 1861 he was in Friezland Lane. It seems he died 5 Mar 1908 (leaving the princely sum of £798 10s 5d), hence formerly owned by … Clearly doing somewhat better than the victims of the boiler explosion!

    Three doors west of Laburnum were Jubilee Buildings or Cottages. Victoria’s diamond jubilee 1897?

    David, you’re probably right as Tuckley was nearer to the Warreners.

  6. Pedro says:

    Unable to shed any further light on the outcome of the above appeals but there seems to have been a picture palace..

    BROWNHILLS Concert…

    An excellent concert and variety entertainment was given at the Empire Picture Palace, on Tuesday evening to a large audience. the proceeds were on behalf of Mr James Lathom, who has been unabble to follow his employment for ten months, owing to illness.

    The Chair was taken by Dr RG Pradford, and the principal artists were…

    Miss Benlab Blount (soprano)
    Miss Prenella (singer and dancer)
    Mr CW Fredericksburg (tenor)
    Mr G Fullelove (baritone)
    Mr JW W??????ch ( bass)
    Mr W Sherwin’s Quartette Party
    Mis D Porter
    Mr W Sherwin
    Mr James
    W Walters (comedian)

    Mr Mathews (Walsall) was the accompanist

    Lichfield Mercury Friday 17 December 1915

  7. Working around New Road and into High Street on the 1901 census, I believe that the building was then occupied by Mr Charles Gullick, (the name has erroneously been transcribed as “Cullick” for anyone looking to check). He was a “License Holder and Dairy Manager”, who was born in Comberford in 1872. His wife Clara was born in Amington in 1868, and by 1911, when they had moved on to Ivy Cottage, Hatton, he still a dairyman, they had children Mary Edward and Edith.

  8. “Laburnum Cottages” is, confusingly, also the name of a pair of dwellings in Lichfield Road, a few doors away from the pair called “The Firs” – which still bear their 1901 name plaque. “The Elms”, “The Hawthorns”, and “The Laurels” are all there on the 1911 census, the homes of schoolteachers and such-like.

  9. Bedworth says:

    THank you for all your help people, its good to see that people are still interested in the history of areas

  10. Pingback: From one end to the other… « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  11. eunice says:

    Mr Workman bought Laburnum Cottage from Mr Green in about 1950, where he lived with his 3 sons. He later converted it into flats. He died in 1986, and it was sold to the printers about 1987. In the back garden was a well which he filled in with the help of his brother. It also had a cellar but that was also filled in when the printers bought it.

  12. Marcus Overend says:

    Hello to all. My name is Marcus Overend and I am the great-great grandson of Robert Tuckley. In order to clear up any confusion, I thought that it would be useful to post what I have heard.

    My Grandad Brian Tuckley (son of the second Robert) states that Tuckley Coal Merchant’s was at the rear of 169, High Street, and opposite to the site on which Pat Collins would hold funfairs. The cottage by the Catholic Church was in fact Harold Humphries’ house and where he owned his coal yard. There was also a furniture store on the high street at Brownhills which was run by (the second) Robert’s sister Lizzy (or ‘Betty’)

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