A Walsall Wood mystery…

A group photo featuring some very dapper gentlemen. But who are they, and when was it taken? Image courtesy of Julie Le-Moine.

Long time blog reader Julie Le-Moine sent me the above photo following our recent discussions, but she has no idea when it dates from, or the identities of the people featured – apart from the fact that one of them is her grandfather.

Julie said:


Please find attached the photograph I posted about re: the men folk of Walsall Wood. Sorry it took so long, I forgot where I had put it! I have absolutely no idea, who is in the photo, when it was taken or why… One of my grandads is in it but I even have no idea which one!

I hope you can throw some light on it and find out its story…


Julie Le-Moine (daughter of Marion Chetter nee Hollender who lived in Queen Street)

So, there it is. Thanks to Julie for sending this in.  Can anyone help?

BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com, or comment on this post. Cheers.

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15 Responses to A Walsall Wood mystery…

  1. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    possible tea party at vicarage…hedge and high trees…or opening of King Street WMC event, committee ? cricket club?

  2. Julie Le-Moine says:

    David….both are possibilities…..my grandad definately played cricked for the wood (i have photo’s somewhere) and King St Club was his local ….(along with the old Horse and Jockey!)…not sure about his dad..grandad, uncles etc….?

  3. Clive says:

    hello to all. the chap on the righthand side of the photo the one standing up wearing the watch and chain, can`t have come far as he is wearing his slippers not leather shoes!

  4. pedro says:

    Very observant Clive!

    One tie back row, one tie next row down, and one tie in front seem to be very similar. Also the scarf in the front.

    A club? or did they just use the same curtain material!

  5. David Evans says:

    HI Julie
    Working mens club suggested by two friends to date..King Street possibly 1920s..when was it founded,does anyone know? There was also a bowling club at the Horse and Jockey pub around then.(20s,30s)(did it have a high hedge and garden bench?).Saturdays, bowls;Sundays, fishing contests. We’ll get there, I think!

  6. Jimbo says:

    It’s got to be around the late 1920s early 1930s in my opinion judging by the clothes the younger gents are wearing.

  7. David Evans says:

    HI Julie
    cup of tea and a chat with a dear old friend..Horse and Jockey did not have hedge or trees..just low rails to the field. Westons shop became King Street Club..no hedge or trees there, just “open”..which leaves the vicarage garden or cricket club just behind there..thats if the photo was taken in Walsall Wood. She didn’t recognise anyone in the photo, by the way. She grew up in Queen Street, Walsall Wood.

  8. Julie Le-Moine says:

    Hi David…how bizarre…if your old friend didn’t recognise the surroundings or the people in the photo….where was it taken?? The mystery deepens!! The only other explanation I can think of is the photo originates from my dads side of the family and not the Hollenders from Walsall Wood….perhaps I should try to find a local historian from Bloxwich and throw it their way?? Many thanks ..Julie..

    • david oakley says:

      Hi Julie,
      Being a rather ancient Walsall Woodite I took a long look at your
      picture, but failed to recognise anyone. I would rule out any connection with
      King Street WMC, as the club was not formed until the early thirties and the photo appears to be older than that. In any case, membership of King Street was popular in the Vigo, being just a short walk down Vigo Road and I knew
      quite a number of members, I am a little older than the club.
      Historically, the photo is very interesting, and throws a light on the relationship between pub landlord and customer that existed years ago.
      At that time, there were very few “managed” houses, most were tenancy
      agreements, in which the landlord’s income was dependent on the amount of beer, etc., sold. This set up a closer relationship between the “gaffer” and his clientele. the landlord would often travel with his team for away fixtures of
      darts, dominoes, and would be on the team if good enough.
      Notice two men on your photo with watch chains ? one wearing carpet
      slippers? Probably the home landlord and the visiting landord. This could indicate a morning fixture as the home landlord would be serving his customers in the morning session in comfortable footwear, leaving his formal
      footwear for the evening session, and just popped out for the photo. Billy
      Burton, who kept the Red Lion in the thirties and forties was rarely out of a
      pair of cut-down wellies, which he deemed to be the most comfortable footwear available.
      Now to the significance of the watch and chain. No one else is wearing one. Perhaps the most important part of the landlord’s dress. In those far-off
      days, licensing hours were 10am. to 2pm. and 6pm. to 10pm. and at 2pm and 10pm the dreaded watch would be taken from the landlords waistcoat
      pocket and the cry “Time, gentlemen, please !” would echo around the pub.
      never mind the bar-room clock, the landlords watch was sacrosanct.
      A peculiar feature of the time was that you could order a pint, legally at
      a minute to ten but at a minute past ten it was illegal to drink it. It was not
      until “Ten minute drinking up time ” was allowed that you didn’t have to choke
      yourself to finish it.
      Sorry that your picture didn’t accomplish all you had hoped, Julie, but this
      short walk down memory lane has been quite delightful. Thank you.

  9. David Evans says:

    HI David
    thanks for your wonderful notes! If you look up the article “Polished Oak” there’s another pocketwatch..the gent in the bowler and muffler! I wonder if Lisa Downes could tidy up the torn 1926 Walsall Wood photo!(article;Wood work )
    kind regards

  10. Julie Le-Moine says:

    David, thank you for that. It was lovely to read it and to absorb it all.. no I didn’t achieve what I set out but I can just close my eyes and imagine how it all would have been all those years ago in King Street Club and the Horse and Jockey, Red Lion etc!! My Grandad used to leave the club and walk up the Vigo singing away quite merrily to himself after a good night in the club. On one night, story has it, he apparantly won a bottle of whisky and he had drunk it before he got home…my aunty heard him coming down the road quite happy and oblivious to his singing waking the street up! . I will make further enquiries about the photo…. but I do love to read and see photographs of the Wood…it’s part of my history…and very proud of it I am too….Regards Julie x

    • Jean Willey says:

      I have just posted elsewhere on this site, probably wrongly, about the machine that is on the right of the photo, can it be identified and better still can anyone read the notice on it?
      The sun is shining on some of the men in this photo. It is low down, judging by the shadows. One of the front men is holding a drink so with both these clues it is probably evening. The sun sets in the West. The sun on the photo is going from right to left so very roughly, the men are facing North, with something on the right of the photo blocking the sun from all but a few on the left back row.

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