Come fly with me

Following on from the previous posts featuring the excellent 1963 aerial images kindly supplied by Gareth Thomas form Lichfield District Council, I today feature two more from the collection. These are rather special, so I saved them for the weekend.

The previous posts have covered south Chasewater, and north Chasewater.

These images are from Lichfield District Council’s archives, and have been very kindly scanned and supplied by top council officer Gareth Thomas. Gareth really is brilliant and I offer my profuse thanks for these. To an unreconstructed map and local history geek like me, these are a gift from above, their donation a great act of kindness.

I shall refrain from making too much comment now, as I’d like to see how the conversation goes; but look at Clayhanger, Walsall Wood Colliery, Central Brownhills. Observe a community caught during massive change.

If you have anything to add, please either comment here or email me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Central Brownhills – Shire Oak is at the top. Is that a caravan encampment in Clayhanger? Note the gasworks, Brawn’s Wood and lack of tower blocks. Taken on Sunday, 9th June, 1963, and reproduced by kind permission of Lichfield District Council, 2012. Click for a larger version. A full quality PDF can be downloaded below.

Central Brownhills, PDF format, Sunday 9th June 1963

Shire Oak, Sandhills and Stonnall. Stonnall is at the top. The quarry boundaries are very interesting, as is the detail around Springhill. Taken on Sunday, 9th June, 1963, and reproduced by kind permission of Lichfield District Council, 2012. Click for a larger version. A full quality PDF can be downloaded below.

Shire Oak and Sandhills, PDF format, Sunday 9th June 1963

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18 Responses to Come fly with me

  1. PorkTorta says:

    These are great! I’m giving dad a nudge, as he’d appreciate these. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    super photos..again..thanks to Gareth Thomas and to your goodself.
    Where to start? There’s so much..firstly, it looks as though there has been recent work done to the canal embankment near Black Cock Bridge..or just a trick of the light?
    The old primary school in Church Road, Brownhills, the Civil Defense building (Aldi) two active quarries,twin canal wharfs by Tesco petrol station, a cinema on Brownhills HIgh Street..the infamous Spot tip. Oak Park ,pre-Leisure Centre in Walsall Wood
    Do you know why this series of recon photos was taken?
    kind regards

  3. Clive says:

    Great photos, thanks to Bob and Gareth Thomas, form Lichfield District Council,

  4. Dave Fellows says:

    Remembering the recent discussions on the supposed subsidence of the canal at Walsall Wood, the banking of the canal looks white and fresh on the photo just past the pit. Just wondering?


    • Hi Dave

      We’ve noticed this before, in the 1945 photos on Google Earth, and think it’s probably sunlight reflecting of the shale they used for surfacing. Although it doesn’t show, these would have been taken on a bright, sunny day so some detail is exaggerated by sunlight.



      • Geoff Dowen says:

        I just love these images. I,at the age of 65 thought it was a dream! Iived in Middleton Rd from 1958 with my brother Michael, we used to play on these old “kites”maybe the reason I joined the fleet Air arm.remember playing on Lightnings and the searchlights, we accessed these planes from the back of the egg factory . I remember one day seeing a huge plume of smoke rising over our home in middleton road, and my dad, brother andmyself went along the towpath to the chemical Bridge(as we new it) to see a huge fire had taken hold and the fire brigade in attendance.this was early 70’s in think as I joined the Navy in 75. I am writing an autobiography for my grandson and having had the most wonderful childhood in brownhills thought I would have a look on google and i came here, also it was good to see the location of the Hoard. I used to play in the fields near the old Lock gates in the photos, on which the hoard was found. great site Bob, inspirational. what a gift to us godbless you mate.

        Geoffrey Dowen
        ex; Middleton rd, Brownhills boys schools, Brownhills comp.
        around the 70’s

  5. David, for many years during the 60’s and 70’s local councils would pay for periodic flights to help the planning process and challenges council faced at that time with increased developments. Today we buy aerial imagery on a three year basis from the top chaps Ordnance Survey.. Aerial photography is a business tool we very much rely on.

    Hope this answers your query on why these photo’s exist.

    Kind Regards

    Gareth Thomas

  6. pedro says:

    Wow! I think Apple Maps should go back in Time!

  7. Doopster says:

    Great stuff, much obliged to both Bob and Gazzla.

  8. David Evans says:

    Thanks Gareth

  9. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    interesting to see the old “Isolation Hospital” tin building in Barracks Lane, the crop patterns in Burtons fields at Stonnall, the small “sandholes” , Bullings Heath buildings at that time, the coalmine railway still in use, Peake’s house at the corner of Friezland Lane/Brownhills Road, and the farmhouse by Shire Oak crossroads. Was the A461 a dual carriageway at that time? Cranebrook’s soggy fields, by Springhill, look unusually dry ! The brook is under the Tollroad now, is it?
    good fun. Many thanks to Gareth and Bob

  10. Laurence Thacker says:

    Many thanks to Bob and Gareth Thomas for these fascinating aerial photographs.
    There is one area of photo 5941 which is of particular interest to my family, where Camden Street meets Coppice Rd. My grandfather Levi and his brother Fred used to own a small manufacturing company called Brownhills Sheet Metal Co Ltd which was situated between Coppice Rd, the canal and the railway line. They owned the company from 1955 until my grandfather left to start another business, with his son and daughter in law, in 1965. The company produced Wheelbarrows and at the time of this photo would have been making 6-700 per week. The photo shows the new workshop, with white asbestos roof, built just a year or so before and was in front of the original factory.
    You can see from the photo that the railway bridge, which used to cross the canal, has been removed. The railway line, between the canal and Coppice Rd, was later bought by Brownhills Sheet Metal for extra storage space. The business, latter called Chillingtons, sold the site for redevelopment in around 2002 and there are now new houses there. The industrial heritage of the site is recalled with the naming of the new road, which is Barrow Close.

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