Choir mastery

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.

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A remarkable plaque to a remarkable talent. Image very kindly supplied by David Evans.

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.

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9 Comments

  • David Evans

    HI Bob
    I understand that George Fullelove founded the Brownhills Music and Verse Speaking Festival in 1944. Perhaps readers may have certificates , rosettes, cups or photos etc from this important long-standing important annual event they would like to submit to the blog…….
    Thats a huge please!
    with kind regards
    David

     
    Reply
    • Roger Fullilove

      Hi David, please be in touch via email. I too have a significant interest in the Fullelove name any should like to work towards joining Reg’s family to the Fulliloves of Leicestershire c1525 which I have documented extensively. You can mail me at roger.fullilove@blueyonder.co.uk Roger

       
      Reply
  • Roger Fullilove

    I was in correspondence with Reg Fullelove some 15+ years ago. We shared lots of Fullilove/Fullelove family history. Have recently been researching those names in Coventry / Birmingham, but those lines appear to die out c1807. It would be interesting to prove a link from these places to Borwnshill. Be in touch if this interests

     
    Reply
  • David Evans

    Hi Bob
    Brownhills Urban District Council minutes
    Meeting of the Council, 13th march 1957
    minute 916.The Late Mr G.E.Fullelove
    ” A letter was received on behalf of friends and associates…asking the Council’s consent to the provision of a Summer Arbour on Holland Park to commemorate Mr Fullelove’s long service to the community in musical matters. The Clerk was instructed to inform hthe applicants that the Council would welcome the project. Arrangements were left in the hands of the Engineer and Surveyor”

    regards

    David

     
    Reply
    • hi bob re uncle george as you can imagine my life from the very early days has been the choral ihave many stories to tell itravelled miles with the choirs one important record of uncle george in his early life he had a bad accident in the pit which damaged his chest and lungs the story dad told me there was a 50 50 chance of survival it was was ex plained to him by the surgeon uncle george gave the go ahead the result a special baratone vouce he and my dad proceeded as al the fulleloves did to sing exceppt me tone deaf i talk the leg off an iron pot but tobe serious the choir members of brownhils should not be forgot to name a few doughbirch rylis booker bert plant charly yardley the portsmouth family purchasez family excuse spelling but so many many wonderful people gave and still are the wonderful gift of the choral god bless from aer reg

       
      Reply
  1. Songs to sing, and voices to sing them | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  June 30, 2013

    […] of squeezing great memories from David Oakley. No, David has thrown himself into researching George Fullelove, the great musical son of Brownhills, the Choral Society he was an exponent of, and the rich and surprising choral culture […]

     
  2. A present from the past | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  July 10, 2013

    […] The fact is two great threads on the blog of late – that of Brownhills Memorial Hall and the history of the Fullelove family have […]

     
  3. Film footage of Brownhills Carnival, 1934 | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  July 12, 2013

    […] be bettered. Personally, I think this is that moment for the Brownhills Blog. Thanks to the generosity of the Fullelove family, and particularly Mr. Reg Fullelove, I can share a very rare, beautiful and fascinating record of Brownhills at play and at ease with […]

     
  4. If you’ve a song to sing, sing out! | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  July 14, 2013

    […] one for a lazy, languid Sunday. The Young David Evans – working with a number of sources, including the Fullelove family and members of the Choral Society – continues his meticulous and fascinating documentation of […]

     

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