The far pavilion

Readers may remember there was some debate of a historic appeal for a new stand at Walsall Wood F.C. recently, and whether it was the one that’s present today. Whilst chewing the fat over that, we also mused on how the club was funded, who started it and the involvement of Mr. F. G. Peake, of Walsall Wood Colliery.

I think this may prompt a few answers, and also some new questions. What a great find these two items represent.

I’ve commented quite a lot lately about how this blog stands on the efforts of it’s many contributors. Here’s a great example of collaborative working at its best. This piece contains material found by both David Evans and Peter ‘pedro’ Cutler. David wrote the passage asking the big questions, and Brownhills Dog transcribed the newspaper cutting.

My gratitude to all three of you!

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A vintage Walsall Wood F.C. lineup: but who, and when? Image supplied by David Evans, via Walsall Wood F.C.

David Evans wrote:

The amazing image above, which was featured in the official matchday programme of Walsall Wood Football Club’s memorable F.A. Vase Quarter Final  match against Guernsey on Saturday, 2nd march 2013 attracted the attention of a remarkable blog researcher, Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler. Peter subsequently located the press cutting below from September 1935.

There are so many fascinating details in the report that it, and the image above both merit close study. So many questions… Is the pavilion and dressing room shown in the image the one mentioned in the report? Who is the gentleman standing on the far left of the photo? Who are the players? Why is George Mycock not wearing his cap, for goodness sake? Are there any photos of the team in their original stripy strip, or their ‘new’ strip of 1935?

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News of new facilities at Walsall Wood Football Club, from the Lichfield Mercury of Friday 6th September 1935. Click for a larger version.

WALSALL WOOD F.C’s. NEW PAVILION.

Opened by Managing Director of Colliery. 

HOT BATHS AND SHOWERS.

An outspoken statement as to the future of the Walsall Wood Colliery at which large numbers of men in the Brownhills district are employed, was made by Mr. F. G. Peake (managing director) when, on Saturday, he opened a new pavilion and dressing room which members of the Walsall Wood football club have erected by voluntary labour at a cost of about £80.

Mr Peake, after congratulating all concerned, said the ground on which the club played was provided from the Miners’ Welfare Fund. Originally the collieries were supposed to be making handsome profits. The money for the fund was provided partly out of the miners’ wages and partly from the owners’ profits. In the Walsall Wood district there had been very little profit in the last six or seven years. Walsall Wood was an old colliery with a broken up area, and many of the most valuable seams were worked out. It was only by the co-operation of the management and the men that the colliery could be carried on much longer. Collieries could not go on making losses or practically no profit for very long. There had been a certain amount of reserves, which, to a large extent, had saved the situation. He was hoping that with an improvement in trade the colliery would be able to carry on.

‘If we don’t make more money than we made during the past year,’ said Mr. Peake, ‘I don’t know what the life of the Walsall Wood Colliery is going to be.’

Congratulating the club on their successes last season, Mr. Peake expressed the hope that their record in the coming autumn and winter would be even better. Sport, he said, was the backbone of the British Public, and the important point was not whether a team won or lost, but whether they played the game.

Mr. R. Stokes, who presided, accorded a welcome to Mr. Peake, who, he said, had been president of the club since its inception, and had proved a true and loyal friend. The club had every reason to be proud of their new pavilion, which should prove a great acquisition. Members had worked hard in erecting it and looked forward to a continuance of loyal support. They were very satisfied with the play last season, and hoped during the coming months to do even better.

The new pavilion, which is a wooden structure on a brick foundation, with a verandah, provides dressing room accommodation both for the home and visiting sides, and also a bath and shower. It is equipped with a modern hot water system. The home dressing room can be used as a committee room.

At the opening ceremony, two cups won by the team last year- the Birmingham and District Junior Trophy and the Rugely Charity Cup – were exhibited.

Prior to a match win with Wellington Town Reserves the players and crowd of some four hundred stood in silent tribute to the memory of the late Mr. Edward Leonard, one of their oldest supporters.

Walsall Wood played in new colours-blue shirts with white knicks, instead of black and white stripes. They defeated Wellington Town by two goals to nil, as reported in another column.

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8 Responses to The far pavilion

  1. Andy Roper says:

    I really appreciate what this site has provided for the football club, getting some really interesting articles, facts etc.. that will help the club move forward and progress to a suitable lease with the council that is at present in limbo. Without the lease we are unable to do the necessary changes for the club one in particular is seeking funding from the FA and other agencies/groups who will only invest if a lease is over 25 years. At present, the regeneration of Oak Park which involves the fooball club to provide adequate changing facilities is under threat as we have no lease but have been only offered a 21 year lease verbally, but as yet have not received anything officially from the council. We will continue to challenge and represent the club in the right manner and will need as much help as possible
    Andy Roper – FTGOTW

  2. Clive says:

    Nice one, well done to all involved. Some more local history solved.

  3. Pedro says:

    The Miner’s Welfare Fund was set up under the Mining Industry Act of 1920, placing a mandatory requirement to provide social welfare opportunities to each and every mining community. Funds were raised from a levy on the coal owners, initially 1d per ton of coal produced, and after 1926 a levy of 5% of coal royalties. Statutory Miners Welfare provision required mineworkers to donate a penny a week to their local welfare, so that these buildings’ revenue costs could be met.

    “The Fund shall secure as far as reasonably practical the provision at all coal mines, to the satisfaction of the committee, of accommodation and fascilities for workmen taking baths and drying clothes.”

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1926/28/pdfs/ukpga_19260028_en.pdf

  4. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    many thanks for putting this article on the blog, and especially to the kind scribe ! The local football club has such a rich history and is an important part of our heritage in this village. With the apparent latest governmental “encouragement” to competitive team sports I look forward to the footbal club being able to continue its ongoing contribution. To this end I do hope that the words of Andy Roper are taken to heart by our three ward councillors and that the relevant support by the local authority is seen to be given to the football club.
    kind regards
    David

  5. Pedro says:

    Walsall Wood seems to have had a football team, in one shape or another, as part of the community since at least 1890. Reading Andy Rogers’ comments above it seems they face yet another crisis.

    In 1914, as can be seen in the article “The Social Contract”, 1,200 men were working on a contract liable to be terminated at a day’s notice, due to negotiations for the renewal of the mining rights between the coal owners and the land owner Lord Bradford. In the 1870s 7,000 individuals owned four fifths of the British Isles. Twenty nine peers owned over 4.5 million acres.

    At the time of the Mining Act of 1920, Lord Bradford would be part of the 95% of mineral royalty owners who did not mine the land themselves. The Miner’s Welfare Fund was set up as part of this Act, and it was not until a further Act in 1926 that the Mineral Owners contributed to the Fund. It was not until 1942 that coal reserves were nationalised.

    Looking around the country it seems that many of the facilities built by the Fund became centres of community life. Some were entrusted to local charities and societies who would ensure that they were used for recreational pursuits only.

    In 1935 when the Pavillion was opened, FG Peake warned of more tough times to come. FG among other things was a member of the Brownhills Urban District Council.

    So it appears that the “Council” now have the “rights” the land, and perhaps they should take notice of one of their predecessors FG Peake…

    Sport, he said, was the backbone of the British Public, and the important point was not whether a team won or lost, but whether they played the game.

  6. Pingback: Woodmen of old | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  7. tony bickley says:

    i played for walsall wood and live in beechtree road,mr. mycock was the most loyal servant to the club and the best gentleman i ever met

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