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…
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:
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.
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?
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.
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.
Hello BobMy 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 youAnne 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.
- I referenced it obliquely in my post ‘Under the influence’, where late-80s local band ‘Split in Two’ are pictured posing on it in a fanzine of the time by Dave Frost.
- David Hodgkinson mentions it on his excellent local history site – scroll down to his mention of Chasewater. He also records the name incorrectly. Must have a look at the plaque to see if that’s the source of the confusion…
- There’s a discussion of the work in the book ‘Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and The Black Country’ by George Thomas Noszlopy, George T. Noszlopy and Fiona Waterhouse, available to read at Google books.
- There’s a huge article containing discussion of concrete play equipment (no shit) and the Blumer sculpture in the July-September 1962 issue of Concrete Quartery. Skip to page eight. As an aside, the whole publication is a timepiece, which on reflection, shows the point at which a lot of civil engineering went wrong. Oh, brave new world.
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.