Conundra arising

Right, you lot. I’ve had some interesting enquiries in recent weeks and rather than spin them all out, I thought I’d post three together and see what folk know about them. I know you mostly like a challenge, and flushed with the success that was the puzzle of The Grange from last week, everyone should be on a roll…

1884 1:2500 map of Jockey Meadows. Irondish is bottom left, just off the Lichfield road.

First up, I’ve been contacted by local lady Bonita Clayton, who has connections to The Irondish, which we’ve looked at previously here on the blog. This curiously named place seemed to be a courtyard of buildings, roundabout where the car sales lot is now on the Shelfield side of Jockey Meadows, on the Lichfield Road out of Walsall Wood.

Bonita asked the following:

Hi Bob,

I was very interested in your article regarding the Irondish.

My mother was born there in 1924, she has since died but she told me many times about her life there before she and her family left when she was about 5 or 6.

Mother told me that the iron dish was a pub which stood at the front facing the road, and the houses were at the back. I would be very interested if someone could add to this information.

I look forward to reply.
B Clayton

Now, myself and top local history wonk [Howmuch?] have been through the records we have access to, and can’t find a licensing record for a pub or beer house at this location. That’s not to say it didn’t exist; what was there may have been listed elsewhere, misrecorded, or even been illicit.

The question is… what do you folks know?

The Chase Inn, as photographed by Geoff Pick, and posted on Geograph under a Creative Commons license.

Still on the subject of pubs, an enquiry came to me via Facebook. Aldridge resident Emma Smith is tracing her family history, and appears to have some connection to the Chase In, at Newton, up on the Watling Street.

Emma asked:

Does anyone have any information on The Chase Inn I have another relative a Caleb Smith who supposedly ran it for a short time – any info would be great as researching my family tree!

I’m sure the genealogy boffins can help there…

Lastly, I have a really interesting one that came in a few days ago, but I’m not sure quite what we’re going to do with it. My best option is to let Anne Bradbury put this in her own words. I’m stunned, to be honest. I never knew that the subject had such a history.

Anne enquired:

Hello Bob
My name is Anne Bradbury and I was born in Whitehorse Road Brownhills in 1954 and attended Watling Street School on the A5.
Our garden used to back onto the common which lay between Whitehorse Road and Chasewater.
I am interested in knowing a little more about the sculpture which was created by Brian Bloomer in 1962.
When the sculpture was completed it was so unusual and ahead of it’s time. The ATV television company came to film the opening of the sculpture and came to Watling Street School and in particular my class looking for children to choose to play on the sculpture and be filmed for the 6 o’clock news. I was not chosen but about 4 children were from my year.
I have been searching for footage of the event to no avail.
I am not surprised that the sculpture is still standing after all these years (50) and although it looks “thinner” I have fond memories of playing on the equipment and also taking my sons in their early years to see it.
It is fitting that the sculpture has pride of place at the entrace of Chasewater and quite ironic that the plaque states ‘this is not play equipment…’
I would be so grateful if you have anything I can view or  point me in the right direction as I would dearly love to learn more of the artist of the sculpture and footage of it’s introduction to Chasewater.
Thank you
Anne Bradbury

I’m intrigued by this, as I didm’t know the sculpture had such a long and illustrious history. I did some preliminary searches, and I think the reason you may be having trouble finding much is because the artist’s name is actually Bryan Blumer, who seems to have been notable for working in concrete.

I can’t see anything relating to it in the Mace media archive, but lots of places refer to Blumer and this work. Contacting them about the footage is your best bet. I’ll warn you though, their prices are eye-watering.

Sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance to Anne, but hopefully that’ll give a few pointers.

If anyone has anything on any of these enquires, please do comment, or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers, as ever.

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11 Responses to Conundra arising

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    Hello Emma
    Chase Inn, Newtown.
    Kelly’s Directory has: 1896 and 1904 Mrs M Loffill.
    1911 Census has publican George Shingler. I’m sure I recall reading that he was the publican in 1908, but I can’t find the reference now.
    At the same time Caleb Smith lived on Watling Street, in the Norton part of Brownhills, therefore west of Howdles Lane. I believe this record relates to a row of houses just west of Park View Methodist Church, which stood at the corner of Chapel Street, opposite the Prince of Wales.
    From the census Caleb was born about 1861 at Norton Canes and was a colliery engine winder. He was married to Ruth and had 6 children. You probably know this, but if not and you would like more information please let me know.

  2. pedro says:

    August 1899…Wanted, General Servant for the Public House, Chase Inn, Newtown near Brownhills.

    Feb 1907… Air-gun shooting match against Royal Oak, Walsall Wood…it is not often that ladies compete, but on this occasion Mrs Norris and Miss B Ryan kindly filled vacancies in the Royal Oak team and made very creditable scores.

    January 1908… Boxing Day annual tea promoted by host and hostess of the Chase Inn, Newtown, Mr and Mrs Shingler….

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  9. Peter Leek says:

    Hi dont know this item came up as a recent post but after reading Anne’s story thought i’d have to post a note. I must have been in the same class as Anne born in the same year and i was one of the pupil’s chosen to go over Chasewater for the news show. Spent many a happy hour over there its a shame its stuck on an island covered in bushes so u cant see it now.
    Pete Leek

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