Cracking up

The story of the abandoned Shire Oak Reservoir is a recurrent theme from the very earliest days of the Brownhills Blog. It fascinated me for years, and one of my earliest obsessions was the discovery of it’s history. This is documented over a number of posts, starting with this one. In 2009, the reservoir was razed, and Shire Oak Close built on the site soon after.

Chris Pattison of the South Staffordshire Water Archives is the historian who’s contributed so much to recent posts here by Ian Pell, and helped Dave Moore in his urgent work. Chris has dug out some remarkable images of Shire Oak Reservoir before it was covered over as part of a failed repair scheme in the 1920s.

What is also remarkable is the images feature a clear shot of The Shire Oak brewery, at the time operated by the Boulter family. There are not many images of this building around, and I know local historian Clive Roberts will be interested to note these.

I’d like to thank Chris for his contribution, which has shone a light on one of the earliest puzzles featured here. Chris doesn’t have to help local historians the way he does, and his patient, dedicated work is a wonderful thing of felicity and generosity indeed.

Cheers, Chris. it just goes to show: the answer to most queries comes eventually…

Shire Oak Res 2

The reservoir was built, and only used for a short period before cracks appeared, rendering it useless. Image kindly supplied by Chris Pattison by courtesy of South Staffordshire Water Archives.

Shire Oak Res 1

Shire Oak Reservoir remained out of use for a fair while. The cracks – thought to be caused by mining subsidence – were very severe indeed. Image kindly supplied by Chris Pattison by courtesy of South Staffordshire Water Archives.

Shire Oak 4

A plan was formulated to repair the reservoir with a concrete shell, and bring it back into use. This also involved covering it with a roof. Note the chimney stack and tall building in the background; that was the Shire Oak Brewery of the Boulter family; the shorter chimneys just visible to the right are the Shire Oak Pub. The brewery would today be on the pub car park. Image kindly supplied by Chris Pattison by courtesy of South Staffordshire Water Archives.

Shire Oak 3

An interesting panorama compound image. Note again, the brewery. The reservoir repairs were not a success, and the reservoir was left empty until it’s demolition in 2009. Shire Oak Close stands on the site now. Image kindly supplied by Chris Pattison by courtesy of South Staffordshire Water Archives.

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5 Responses to Cracking up

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    a big thankyou to Chris, please. These are very interesting photos..how concrete technology has advanced!
    David

  2. Clive says:

    Great photos, thank you to all involved.

  3. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    the 1926 aerial photo of Walsall Wood ( in the article “I can see clearly”) may show the reservoir with its new cover in place, perhaps.
    David

  4. Pingback: Putting a lid on it | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  5. diane says:

    These photos and facts are amazing.. very interesting… huge thank you to all involved for pics and facts.. 👍

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