Ain’t nobody here but us chickens

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From the Lichfield Mercury, Friday 18th January, 1935. So that’s when it was sold.

A great spot here yesterday from top Walsall Wood Mon, history wonk and local author Clive Roberts, who’s been as intrigued over the years as I have by the history of Crestacre, the former ‘lost’ isolation hospital in Barracks Lane, Brownhills.

I have a feeling the hospital never saw a single patient, indeed, Dr. Maddever talks about it and the condition of the building in his 1910 report on the health of Brownhills.

Note the clerk – Norman Waine – is the man who gave his name to Waine House the now long-demolished tower block, and is also credited with coming up with the name ‘Chasewater’ in the mid-1950s. If anyone has documentary proof of that, I’d welcome it. I’ve seen it somewhere, possibly here, but can’t locate it.



The above named Council invites OFFERS in respect of the Property known as the lsolation Hospital. Barracks Lane, Sandhills, comprising two Cottages with adjacent Currugated leon Building, containing in all 2.96 acres or thereahouts.

The Property, which has recently been put in good order, may be viewed upon application to the Caretaker, who lives on the premises.

Offers must be in writing, and must he forwarded to the undersigned so that they shall be received not later than Noon on Tuesday, the 5th February, 1935. The Council is not bound to accept the lowest or any Offer.

Dated this I lth day of January, 1935.


Clerk to the Council.
Council Ofiices,
Brownhills, Staffs.

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5 Responses to Ain’t nobody here but us chickens

  1. Aha. Found it. Knew I’d seen it somewhere:
    From Chasewater Wildlife Group’s history:

    ‘1956: Sailing is revived when the Chase Sailing Club is formed. Within two years the Club has 500 members and 250 boats. Brownhills Urban District Council purchases Norton Pool from the British Transport Commission for £5,600, which is for a total area of 272 acres and 2 cottages. The land on the eastern side of the lake (170 acres) is leased from NCB at a rental of less than £1 per acre. Upon the suggestion of Councillor Waine, and the distain of the people of Norton, the lake’s name is changed to Chasewater and at the official opening in May Councillor H.V. Fereday, chairman of Brownhills Council, says: ‘It may indeed seem bleak and dreary at present but I want you in your imagination to travel forward with me to a time when the bleakness and barreness will have disappeared under a scheme of ordered development and beautification.’


  2. Pedro says:

    Bob has a a feeling that the Isolation Hospital was never used, and in the 1910 report Maddever urges the smallpox hospital, which has never been used, to be prepared for scarletina and other diseases. From the first comments it can be seen that in 1902 the Council believed that they were in possession of an Isolation Hospital and a debate took place. This debate was still taking place in 1916.

    Over on Lichfield Lore, Kate in her post “Multi Story Huts”, mentioned a pamphlet concerning the Cannock Chase Heritage Trail. Their mention of a thriving community struck me as an odd adjective to use for the period to which they refered.

    I mention this as it seems there was a proposal for a hospital for infectious disease at Brindley Heath by Staffs County Council in 1924.

    Back in 1902 the Clerk had declared that “a hospital is needed as soon as possible…smallpox would not wait for a committee.”

    Could it be that, for at least 33 years, the building was not utilised when there seems to be need of a hospital?

  3. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    the unit possibly not needed.if other , much bigger units became available?..I wonder when Goscote Isolation hospital opened in Rushall. or if Hammerwich Cottage hospital was used…..I would love to know. … Many thanks to Clive for this excellent “find”

  4. David Oakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    Goscote Isolation Hospital opened in 1929 and served as such until 1948, although the ground was purchased for this purpose as early as 1920. Perhaps an earlier Isolation Hospital for the district was Moxley Isolation Hospital which was equipped to deal with Measles, polio, typhoid, whooping cough and tuberculosis. This hospital accepted patients from our area and records a Brownhills girl from Warren Place, admitted for whooping cough, necessitating two months treatment. (GoodCuppa Blog).
    That the Barracks Lane Hospital never opened its doors to a patient, and was later sold, does not surprise me. I remember the ‘Irish Cemetery in Vigo Road, no bodies were ever buried there, and the land was later used for housing. Funny lot, these ‘Councils’!
    May I comment on Bob’s other point, the naming of Chasewater. Councillor Vic Fereday, a Walsall Wood Councillor was perfectly right in his description of Norton Pool, as it was then, as
    ‘bleak and dreary at present’. We used to go there for a picnic, from time to time. Grass and water, that was all there was, surrounded by all the visible elements of mining. We thought that Vic was looking into the future with rose-coloured spectacles, with his ‘ordered development and beautification’ but how right he was.

  5. Pedro says:

    Maybe there were doubts about the situation of the hospital…

    Aug 1910…”If the old smallpox hospital was too near the road for smallpox cases, it might be unsuitable for scarlet fever and other cases for the same reason.”

    Other references…

    July 1903…Smallpox hospital..the question of the isolation of the smallpox patients has again been considered, and it is recommended that a temporary smallpox hospital containing two wards to acomodate four beds be at once erected at Curborough. Est that cost be £250.

    (The Isolation Hospital Committee…letter received from Clerk of Lichfield District Council that discusses a possible joint venture.)

    April 1904 New isolation hospital opens at Cheslyn Hay.

    May 1925…the Mercury appeal for funds for a wireless set for the Isolation Hospital at Curburough.

    Moving to 1940 there seems to be a proposal for a Mid-Staffs Joint Hospital for infectious diseases, but cannot be sanctioned by the Ministry due to the war, but in the discussions it says…

    “a suggestion of the Lichfield Joint hospital committee for taking over the Wissage Homes was then considered. The Clerk said that at the present time they had the Borough of Stafford Hospital, which had 28 beds, the Cheslyn Hay, with 23 beds and 3 cots, and the Lichfield Hospital at Curborough, and it was evident that sooner or later that hospital would have to be evacuated.

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