Saturday night’s alright for fighting


Brownhills Memorial Hall as captured by Brownhills George.

Here’s one for the the ‘Kids today!’ crowd. I spotted it in the newspaper archive whilst looking for something else last weekend. It seems some things rarely change, and yobbery and the aggressive nature of youth remain as they ever were.

Even back in 1935 those Bloxwich lads were a problem…

Nice to see the honour of Brownhills defended, though. Dratted outsiders, looking for trouble.

Thanks to reader and regular commentor Peter Killopps for transcribing this piece so beautifully. Cheers, old chap, all help always appreciated.

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Grim stuff… From the Lichfield Mercury, Friday 14 June 1935.


Several Visitors Ejected


Described as a ‘Small Riot’ a regrettable Saturday night fracas in a Brownhills Dance Hall had a sequence at the local Petty sessions on Wednesday, when the several defendants were charged with disorderly behaviour at the Memorial Hall at 11 p.m on May the 11th.

They were:

Charles David Lawrence (22) 15, Barracks Lane Leamore, Walsall; Edward William Maley (20) 16, Stanley Street, Bloxwich; Harry Stackhouse (17) 4, Marlborough Street, Walsall; Arthur Leon Bakewell (18) 105, New Street, Bloxwich; Frederick William Hayward (20) 68, Field Street, Bloxwich; John Charles Sheldon (23) 22, Bank Crescent, Chasetown; Benjamin Wall (22) 33, Ogley Road, Brownhills. With the exception of Wall, all the other defendants were also charged with disorderly behaviour in Lichfield Road the same evening.

Prosecuting, Mr. F. Cooper said the Memorial Hall was a building which had been erected by public subscription and by the gift of so many public-spirited men who ran it for the benefit of the township. One would have thought from that name that it could have been used without fear of rowdy behaviour. With the exception of Wall all the defendants did not belong to Brownhills, and they came there on that particular Saturday night to that building, where there was a dance in progress. The bench would hear from the witnesses that both in the building and subsequently outside they were guilty of behaviour which was disgraceful. They made threats and caused the dance to be broken up. When they got into the street they continued their disorderly behaviour. He thought the defendants were guilty of hooliganism and that they endeavoured to turn the building into a bear-garden. If found guilty he asked the Bench to inflict such a penalty that it would not only be a warning to them but would act as a deterrent to other hooligans of a like kind as themselves and so help the gentlemen who were carrying on the building for the purpose for which it was intended.

George Walter Bott, 25, Checkett Street, Walsall, said he was employed as M.C. At the dances on Saturday evening in the Memorial Hall. On May 11th there were 150 present, including all the defendants with the exception of Bakewell, whom he could not recognise.

At 10.30 p.m without permission the lights were switched out and witness had to stop the band. There was a bother and Sheldon had to be ejected from the building.

P.C. Sawyer said all the defendants were in a fighting attitude, and witness ejected Sheldon and Wall from the premises. On coming in the hall witness saw Maley taking his jacket off, and when he got hold of him he became extremely violent. With the help of Lawrence, Stackhouse and Bakewell, he put up a strong resistance. It was a small riot, and defendants were undoubtedly the ringleaders of it.

Their behaviour in the street afterwards was very disorderly.

Maley said when he spoke to Massey the latter said they had got a gang and would stop his gang’s game.

The Chairman (Brig.-General De Falbe) said the cases against Bakewell, Hayward and and Wall were dismissed. It was perfectly clear, he said, that the other defendants were out for trouble and creating trouble.They came from other parts of the neighbourhood and came apparently with the intention of kicking up a row. If they wanted a row they had better have it in their own place. Lawrence, Maley and Stackhouse would be fined 35s each, but Sheldon, who had a previous conviction, would be fined £2.

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3 Responses to Saturday night’s alright for fighting

  1. David Oakley says:

    Was acquainted with Walter Bott, or ‘Botty’ as he was known, as a waterman, working for South Staffordshire Waterworks. A gregarious, larger than life individual, well suited for the role as M.C.
    at the Memorial dance. For many years, Walter’s wife kept the flower shop, directly opposite the old entrance to the Manor Hospital, as older bloggers may remember.

  2. Pedro says:

    1935 MERCURY SHOCKER. Boer and WWI veteran called to deal with slogging gangs.

    Brigadier General Vicant William De Falbe was born in 1867, and entered the army in 1888. He served as Adjuant in the North Staffs Regiment in South Africa and again saw active service as L Colonel in WWI with N Staffs and West Yorkshire Regiments. Promoted to Brig Gen in 1916, and full Colonel in 1917, and seems to have resided at Whittington Hall in 1921. For more info see below..

  3. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    many thanks for publishing this news item, and especially to Peter Killopps for transcribing it and for making the words large enough..etc..etc. I do appreciate all the unsung “backstage work” that goes in to the presentation and editing of these articles, day after day and without fuss.
    I am still smiling over the phrase “slogging gangs”.. and can imagine the venerable Brigadier in full tilt!
    kind regards

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