Bicycles. Always a problem.

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Lichfield Mercury, 16th August 1935. Click for a larger version.

A great spot here from Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler regarding a report in the Lichfield Mercury of Friday, 16th August 1935.

It seems Brownhills, even then, had distinctly self-interested groups of the great and good, all pushing their own agendas. Just as today, there seems to be some overlap in the membership.

I had no idea we ever even had a ‘Chamber of Trade’. But for the language, this report isn’t too far from what might emerge from the Community Association, Local Committee or Town Centre Partnership of today.

I particularly like the haggling over the land price and concern over parked bicycles. In the middle of a great depression and seemingly unconcerned for the men’s employment, their bikes are the real bugbear, the obvious answer being to engage the police. Be unemployed if you must, but don’t make the town look untidy…

I’m unclear about the connection between the Labour Exchange and the Co-op. I know it was in the rooms above the store, but whether there was a greater link, I’d welcome enlightenment. As far as I can remember, the ‘labour Exchange’ (or Job Centre) was above the Co-op right until the end of the 1970s.

Some things never change…

Cheers to Peter for another great find. Really couldn’t do this stuff with you guys…


Price of Norton Land too High.


AT a meeting of tlse Brownhills Chamber of Trade, held in the Mount Zion Schoolroom on Wednesday evening, Mr. C. L W. Bradbury apoke on the propoaed Norton Canes sewerage scheme, following an explanatory talk by Councillors H. V. Emery and R J. Humphries on the scheme the previous week.

Reviewing the matter, Mr. Bradbury aaid that a five-acre piece of ground belonging to the Conduit Colliery Co. would be available. but to obtain that the Brownhills Urban Dietrict Council would have to purchase the whole of a 38 and a half acre farm at £70 per acre.

True a portion of the ground was stated to be suitable for building purposes, but Norton Canes was definitely open to subsidence owing to the shallow nature of the pits, and the Chamber of Trade as ratepayers had got to see that nothing elaborate waa put up owing to that subsidence.

Councillor Emery had stated that it would entail a 7d. rate, but they had also got to remember that something like £40,000 would have to be borrowed for the sewage plant. There bad been several cases of subsidence taking place at the Walsall Wood Farm, but this was covered to a certain degree by compensation from the Walaall Wood Colliery, but at Norton they would have no claim. While appreciating the fact that Norton Canes should certainly have a sewage scheme,  he framed a resolution that he thought £70 an acre was exhorbitant and that a letter be written to the Minister of Health and the Brownhills Urban Diatrict Council to see if it was not possible to have a more economic scheme.

Mr. Bradbury was fully supported by Councillor J. Deakin, while the Chamber unanimously agreed.

A discussion followed about the congestion caused in the High Street by the men attending the Labour Exchange; bicycles, besides being ranged along the pavement, were also reared [sic] against the shop windows. The Minister of Labour had said that as the men had definite times to sign on there ahould not be any congestion, and anyone hanging about ahould be under police supervision. The secretary of the Walsall Co-operative Society bed given his word that he would do all he could to obviate the nuisance, but what seemed necessary was a place off the main atreet where the cycles could be placed while the men were in the Labour Exchange.

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2 Responses to Bicycles. Always a problem.

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    this is a super news article and thanks must go to Pedro! I wonder if the cycle store wasprovided?
    From another source; Walsall Observer and South Staffs Chronicle,;- Sat Sept 1st 1934 details the move from the old Temoporary Institute to the Hall (Co-op Hall in the Brownhills High Street ) over the new Co-op Stores “which are being built and are well on the way towards completion.”
    The same newspaper reports that a local society met in this hall on Wednesday 5th September 1934 . So we have an approximate date for the opening of that building. I think there is a photo of this somewhere.. My thanks to Mr Bob Watson for this research and for providiing this information
    kind regards

  2. Pingback: He staked his all for the miners | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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