Nothing primitive

Sorry I’ve been largely missing in action for a couple of days. Festivities, and other stuff, including quite a bit of research, have kept me very busy. The research has been a revelation, the value of which will become clear in the next couple of weeks.

Posts may be a little odd over the next couple of days. I have had lots of odd, but important little queries to cover. Stick with it if things seem a bit disjointed.

In the mean time, blog stalwarts David Evans, Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler and Andy Dennis have been doing their bit to cement Anglo-Antipodean relations by helping Aussie reader Kesa resolve her family Genealogy in Brownhills.

Kesa’s enquiry found its way here all the way from Tasmania, itself a heartland of mining. It really is an odd thing that the reach of this tiny blog seems to stretch so far!

David Evans sent me a few images for the blog, one of which I never knew existed, to help Kesa get a feel for the history of Brownhills, and I include them here. Some have featured before, but they bear repeating.

Thanks to Kesa for her enquiry, and please do keep the questions coming! It has been a thing of fascination and true community so far, and I’ve been thoroughly gripped by the whole saga. Great stuff.


An incredible picture of Mount Zion, which stood in the High Street, Brownhills, round about where the Kwit-Fit garage is today. This wonderful image was found on Walsall COuncil’s ‘A Click in Time’ collection by David Evans.


This image – a 1926 Aerofilms classic of Brownhills shot from somewhere around the Catshill Junction area – shows Mount Zion clearly. It’s the large barn-like building, just down and right from centre. Click for a larger version.

This oddly-named chapel stood on the spot now covered by the Rising Sun Island, and was demolished to make way for it’s construction. Taken from ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice Mayo & Geoff Harrington.

Mount Zion seems to occupy a prominent place in the hearts of many old Brownhillians. I can recall being told by an old lady that as children, they would stand in the road in front of Mount Zion and strain to see the time on the Council House clock. I hope it was more accurate then than now. From ‘Around Pelsall and Brownhills in old photographs’ by David F. Vodden.

I’m quite pleased to locate this picture. This church stood at the corner of The Parade and Watling Street; I remember it being demolished in the early seventies, watching the bulldozer destroy it from the field of Watling Street School. The perimeter wall remains to this day, as do the footings if one carefully explores. From ‘Memories of Old Brownhills’ by Clarice Mayo & Geoff Harrington.

Another illustration of why one must be wary of statements in local history books. The chapel itself – the building on the left – is still extant and converted into apartments. The one on the right – the hall where I remember Jack Smith taking Sunday School is now a car park. Taken from ‘Around Pelsall and Brownhills in old photographs’ by David F. Vodden.

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8 Responses to Nothing primitive

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    Smashing collection here, Bob!

    Am I right in thinking that the Brownhills West Chapel stood on land that is now the traffic island at the Rising Sun? That would mean the last building on the right would be the Rising Sun itself. I’m normally pretty good at orienting things, but, for some reason I can’t quite get, I’ve always had a doubt about this one.

  2. Bruce G. littley says:

    I have just commented to my wife, I had entered “history, chapels Brownhills” and all this info came up. Many thanks, so many memories.
    Query does anyone have similar information for the chapels and denominations in Norton Canes.
    Bruce G Littley

  3. David Evans says:

    Hi Bruce
    I think there was a big brick-builtPrimitive Methodist church in Chapel Street in central Norton Canes..there may be photos of this somewhere. There was also Trinity Methodist the corner of Poplar Street and Brownhills Road, Norton Canes.(.not sure whether it was Wesley or Primitive) near the present church, This was a large corrugated tin tabernacle chapel and the pulpit from it was put in the newer building. Norton East Road chapel was a Primitive Methodist chapel (Jim Braidley). Perhaps Norton readers can help Bruce, please…
    kind regards, … wherever you may be!

    • Bruce G. littley says:

      Many thanks for your reply, it is the one on the corner of Poplar Streeet and Brownhills Road, (described as Trinity Methodist), that I am particularly interested in. I used to attend there, during the years 1946 -1953. Any info or photographs would be appreciated. I particularly remember the lantern projection presentations in the evenings, that took place and of course the Anniversary services.

  4. pedro says:

    The newspaper archives do not reach as recent as the Bruce is looking for, but there are many references between 1900 and 1916 for Norton Canes Primitive Methodists if anyone has any specific query.

    Regards pedro

  5. Thanks for this page and the information it contains. The Museum of Primitive Methodism at Englesea Brook is gathering information about the 5,000 or so Primitive Methodist chapels that used to exist and I’ve added this one to the my primitive methodist ancestors website, together with some information about the previous 1856 one. You can see it at:

  6. D Colin Dews says:

    The architect of Mt Zion PM, 1895, was Thomas Howdill of Leeds see ”Birmingham Daily Post 16.4.1895 for an account of the foundation stone laying

    D Colin Dews

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