New local history book published

Stuart Williams of the Walsall Local History Centre has sent me a press release for the new book he’s written. Stuart, as regular readers will be well aware, is a top local history operative and one of the team working hard to preserve our communal history at Essex Street.

Stuart is well known for his work in local history and community writing – his Bloxwich Telegraph blog is very popular, and he’s published great books before under the auspices of Walsall Local History Centre.

Here’s what he had to say:


Looks like a cracking book – Stuart is an accomplished and engaging writer as folk will be aware from his Bloxwich Telegraph blog, previous books and newspaper columns.

Reflect on Walsall’s history this Christmas with new book launched by borough archives

An exciting new book is all set to be launched next week by Walsall Local History Centre – just in time for Christmas!

The Essex Street archive’s latest, ‘Reflections of Old Walsall’, is written by staff member Stuart Williams and contains twenty illustrated articles on aspects of local history in and around Walsall Metropolitan Borough.

And the book is being launched at a special FREE public event at Walsall Museum on Thursday 6 December from 10am – 12 noon, with a talk about the book at 10.30am followed by book sales and signing at 11am then videos and refreshments to conclude.

The author, who has been writing on behalf of the borough’s archives service and local studies library for the past twelve years, said about the book:

‘Walsall Metropolitan Borough includes a number of distinctive towns and villages.  The long history of these places and their people is full of fascinating facts, strange snippets and obscure origins.

‘Reflections of Old Walsall includes subjects from local heroes like Walsall’s greatest aviator Flt Lt Webster to coalman’s son and Bletchley Park code-breaker Harry Hinsley via spooks and spectres, the remarkable Highgate Windmill, Aldridge’s Naval VC, Bentley’s ‘Giant’s Causeway’, one of Queen Victoria’s greatest diplomats – from Birchills(!), the time Sherlock Holmes came to Walsall, Walsall’s electric trams which were “better than Blackpool” and Bloxwich’s war poet Harold Parry – plus many more!

‘If you thought the story of old Walsall was just about the leather industry and Sister Dora, then you’re in for a few surprises with this book.  Even the essential Sister Dora article takes a very different track to the usual story…”

The titles of the articles are:

• A Bridge By Any Other Name

• Bentley’s ‘Giant’s Causeway’

• Things that Go Bump in the Borough…

• From the Earth to the Moon – Highgate Windmill

• From Red Books to the Red Planet – W. H. Robinson

• One Man and His Books (to say nothing of the dog)

• Remembering Aldridge’s Naval VC

• Sister Dora and the Steam Engine

• The Battle of Walsall

• When Sherlock Holmes came to Walsall

• Better than Blackpool: Walsall’s Victorian Tramways

• An Englishman’s Castle: Council housing in Walsall

• From Dixon of Dock Green to Gene Hunt

• Flaming brilliant: Walsall Fire Brigade

• From Guild Hall to Civic Centre

• Going to the ‘flicks’ in ‘Sixties Walsall

• From Borneo Street to the Stars

• The Hinsley Enigma – Decoded

• From Birchills to Beijing – Sir Harry S. Parkes

• Remembering Harold Parry – Bloxwich War Poet

The illustrated A5 72pp softback book is ideal for dipping into, and costs just £6.99.

Stuart’s previous book for the Centre ‘Billy Meikle’s Window on Walsall’ is also available separately for £5 – making the pair a great present from the past this Christmas!

After the launch the book will be available from Walsall Local History Centre and Waterstone’s in Park St, Walsall, plus Walsall Museum and Walsall Leather Museum.  Other local history books on numerous subjects are also available from the Centre.

Telephone 01922 721305 for details and to check stock availability – or pop in to Walsall Local History Centre in Essex Street, Walsall, WS2 7AS.  Walsall Local History Centre is part of Walsall Council.

Stuart Williams with the new book Reflections of Old Walsall - hot off the press

Ho, ho and indeed ho. Get your copy now – they make great presents for older folks, or anyone into local history.

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3 Responses to New local history book published

  1. Clive says:

    Look forward to getting a copy of the book. Now I know what father christmas look like! your looking well for you age mate.

  2. Pingback: How to do local history | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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