Here’s one I’ve mentioned before, but this is a request for information and an early warning. This one is important, and very, very elusive, but I think we should preserve this bit of Brownhills History for posterity, and so that it is not lost. It’s a beautiful thing, and not enough folk know about it.
Like the late, great Dicky Dorsett, we are in danger of forgetting one of the greatest sons Brownhills has ever known, and that would be a crime.
I am, of course, talking about chorister, composer and choirmaster George Fullelove.
George was a renowned choral artist, and not just in the local area. This humble man was well known and recognised in his day, but his work and memory is gradually being lost because, quite simply, nobody has ever really told his tale. I’d like, if we can, to rectify that.
George is commemorated in a number of places within Brownhills. His name was adopted for a road on the Catshill estate, and there is the Fullelove Memorial Shelter, the curious octagonal structure at the bottom of The Parade opposite the former Annex, often mistaken for a bus shelter. This is odd, as there is no plaque or sign on or around the edifice recording the name Fullelove at all.
There is a plaque in the Silver Street Methodist Church in Brownhills, which David Evans has kindly photographed for us. I wasn’t aware that this existed at all.
What I’m asking here is for anyone who has any ephemera, family mementoes or other material relating to this culturally significant chap to please comment here, share and hopefully light up a piece of lost Brownhills history. I know, for instance, the George composed a fair bit of music himself. The following piece was recorded in the book ‘ Coalming in Walsall Wood, Brownhills and Aldridge’ by Brian Rollins:
Was Yer Ferther A Miner?Was yer ferther a miner like mine Did he work in the dirt and the grime Went to work on a byke, used a bow saw and pike To dig out black diamonds that shine? – Was yer ferther a wrecked body like mine Through working in dust, no sunshine His shuky was his light, damaging God’s given sight Deep in the dark bowel face of the mine? – Did he take a piece of best Sunday cake Ter give to the pit pony, whose poor limbs ached As he dragged a pit tub through rubbish-sludge So mine owners their profit could make? – Did he bath by the fire in a tub Un yer mother his marked back did scrub Scratch caused by low roof, scars plain making proof Of the days of pit-props and horse hoof? – Did he often sit and tell the old tale Of disaster and pain that prevailed When the roof tumbled in – rock ripped at the skin And sight of widows – children their faces pale? – But if you asked this old ferther of mine Ter tell yer about it, his old eyes would shine No sad tale to tell, of the Muck – the Hell But would proudly boast ‘Ar them days of hard work were mine’.
Since George died in 1956, there must be those still with us who remember this very talented, gentle and kind man. There must be written records of his music still extant, and possibly even some kind of audio recording.
Knowing how music runs in the blood of Brownhillians, there must be a great story to tell.
Please, it you have anything, do get in touch. Please comment here, or mail me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.