Putting a lid on it

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. A couple of weeks ago, Chris dug out some great images of Shire Oak Reservoir before a doomed attempt to cure it’s leaks and put a roof on it had commenced.

Chris has now found some more fascinating 1924 shots of the work to create the roof and reseal the walls an floor. This operation failed, however, and the reservoir spent most of the subsequent 90 years empty and derelict, until it’s demolition.

One of the most interesting things is the building technology isn’t too different to that of today, and that the Shire Oak Brewery is clearly visible. This will be of interest to many people, not least local historian Clive Roberts who’s been researching the pub for an upcoming book.

My immense and sincere thanks go out to Chris and South Staffordshire Water, and their archives. This blog stands or falls on the quality of the material we can find. Without images of such stunning quality and unusual interest, the whole of Brownhills history would be the poorer. The steps Chris has taken to share these with us cannot, and must not be underestimated.

Thanks, Chris. Wonderful.

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In January, 1924, work had started to cast the concrete supports for the new roof – note the mixing apparatus, upper right. From the rear, looking towards Lichfield Road. Image kindly supplied by Chris Pattison by courtesy of South Staffordshire Water Archives.

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A great deal of work seems to have been carried out in relining the reservoir walls, but was ultimately doomed. Looking from the rear, towards the Lichfield Road. Image kindly supplied by Chris Pattison by courtesy of South Staffordshire Water Archives.

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By March, work had progressed to the Shire Oak Crossroads end of the tank. This one if from the rear, looking towards the Shire Oak pub. Most notable is the brewery of Boulters, and this is the clearest image of it and the chimney I’ve ever seen. Note that the brewery stood where the pub car park is now, and the chimneys to the right are the ones of the pub; this is a very tall building indeed. Although partially obscured by the shed on the bank, it was actually the other side of the road. Image kindly supplied by Chris Pattison by courtesy of South Staffordshire Water Archives.

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By March, 1924, the roof is taking shape. This is taken from the rear, facing Lichfield Road. The house is till there today. Image kindly supplied by Chris Pattison by courtesy of South Staffordshire Water Archives.

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10 Responses to Putting a lid on it

  1. Clive says:

    Great Photos, thanks to all involved. Your right Bob, nice to see the Brewery in the back ground very intresting indeed.

  2. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    a big thank you to Chris, please. These are super photos. The brewery was a much bigger and taller building than I would have imagined. I look forward to Clive’s forthcoming book with eager anticipation.
    regards
    David

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