Sometimes, something so special happens that it can’t possibly 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 itself in 1934/5.
I’ve known of the existence of this film for some time – it’s been talked about by historians and Brownhills elders in hushed tones for years. Thanks to the patient, dedicated work of Reg, the Young David Evans and Bill Mayo, we can now see a wonderful historical record of the first Brownhills Carnival.
David Evans visited Reg at his home, and with his permission, recorded the film and a great, captivating narration from Reg himself. Listen to the memory, the warmth; the passion in Reg’s voice. The great memory of the pig roast, the pride at a town beautifully turned out.
Without the time freely given by Reg, David and Bill, none of this would be possible, and the history would stay hidden. I am proud and honoured to be able to share this with the community.
Please note that the film has been shown in public before, at a presentation by Brownhills Community Association, which I think occurred in the mid-1990s. Bill Mayo allowed scans of the accompanying programme leaflet to be taken, and I’ve provided these below, as well as a transcription of the main text in order that it’s searchable. The leaflet was prepared, apparently by one T. Mason, who clearly did a whole tranche of supporting research, to which I tip my hat. If you have any further information regarding this presentation, please do get in touch.
The film and narration remain the property of Reg Fullelove, and the leaflet by T. Mason. Please, please share this post as much as you like, but don’t link to the film directly – it’s disrespectful to the material and it’s owner to separate the explanatory content from the film, as I’m sure you all understand.
I’ve been working on this all week, so I hope folk can understand why posts over the last few days may have been a bit patchy.
While we’re on the subject of film, and the Fullelove archive, we have more footage to come, but it’s a little bit different to this, as well as (hopefully) audio and diaries of the late, great George. This has been a great community effort, and I thank all involved.
I’m aware there is also a film circulating in local history circles made by the camera club in the 60s. If anyone knows about this, and how I might share it, I’d be grateful. BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.
Brownhills First Carnival, 1934
The first united Brownhills carnival was held on Saturday September 1st, 1934. The ceremony took place during the Carnival Dance held at the Memorial Hall on Thursday, August 30th, both the King and Queen being crowned by Councillor J. Blakemore, chairman of the Brownhills Urban Council. Little Miss June Hopkins, presented the Queen with a bouquet of carnations and sweet peas.
Master John Sadler, the Crown bearer, looked resplendent in his suit of blue brocade satin matched with White breeches, white hose and black, silver buckled shoes. Whilst the King, Mr Wal Deakin, cut a regal figure in his fiery red wig, green velvet suit, adorned with the ‘official’ chain of office and high cavalier boots.
The Queen, Miss Lily Barrington, aged l6, who was the niece of Mr Jack Barrington, the well known local sports handicapper, wore an ankle length dress of white Chiffon and a royal blue velvet cape edged with ermine.Her three beautiful Maids Of Honour, Misses Neenan, Heath, and Neale wore gold taffeta dresses, with puffed shoulders and gold leaf headresses.
The entourage was completed with two young train bearers, Master Denning and Miss Denning. Master Denning in a suit of Dark green velvet edged with gold lace, and Miss Denning in a Taffeta dress of a lighter shade of green complimented by a silver leaf headress.
The procession commenced at the ‘Warreners Arms’ and the route embraced Walsall Wood, Shire Oak and Ogley Hay, streets and houses along the way being lavishly decorated with flags and bunting. Apart from two light showers the weather was favourable, ironically the first of these started just as the musical acocupmiment to a merry-go-round began with the tune ‘Come over to the sunny side’.
The Queen and her retinue were carried in an ornately decorated chariot, and behind followed over twenty picturesque tableaux. Judged to be the most effective was ‘Bluebells I’ll gather’, arranged by Mrs Rose Owen of Ogley Square. It was happily reminiscent of the old song with a party of children apparently romping in a glade that bad been constructed with charming natural effect.
Second was ‘Faith Hope and Charity’ by Mrs M.A. Bowker of Holly Bank, Walsall Wood, the three virtues being represented by a group of children dressed in blue and white costumes. A creditable third place was awarded to Mrs T. Dewsbury of Ironstone Rd, Chase Terrace for ‘Nursery Rhymes’. Little Boy Blue, Little Jack Horner, The Queen of Hearts, a Maid of Honour and Jack and the Beanstalk were among the characters portrayed. Mrs. Dewsbury herself, dressed as Old Mother Hubbard, had a part in this happy little scene.
For the younger children there was a special section that provoked fierce competition. The first prize together with tbe R.A. Jones’ challenge cup was awarded to Mrs Chris Wood of Brawnhills for ‘A Welsh Tea Party’. The children being clad in typical Celtic attire with the well known quaint conical hats. The second prize went to Mrs Pearce of Brownhills and the third to Mrs Wheal of Shire Oak.
The boys of Brownhills Central school, carrying scenery painted by themselves, and under the direction of their art master Mr D. Marklew represented the characters from ‘Puss in Boots’. Whilst the children from the Walsall Wood senior school, dressed in attractive sailor costumes, composed a ‘Gilbert and Sullivan’ type operatic party
An interesting tableaux was put on by the Brownhills British Legion, for drawing the van that carried the legicmaires and their standards was a grey horse named Tan. A notice fastened to his harness stated ‘I’m an Old Soldier too’.
It transpired that Tan had served with the artillery in France during World War 1 and on his demob in 1919 he had been bought by Mr W. J. Baines of Brownhills, to begin a career in road haulage.
The Brownhills Nursing Association furnished an appropriate scene with a neatly arranged haspital ward complete with nurses, doctor and patient. ‘Noah’s Ark’ was adjudged to be the best trader’s exhibit and it won the Steers’ Challenge Cup for Saddlers Ltd, timber merchants, from Brownhills.
These were but a few of the eye catching features of the large and extremely varied procession, marshalled by Mr C.B. Rcbinson and with the Cannock Chase Band at it’s head. Other music was provided by the Brownhills Boy’s Brigade and three jazz bands, Tolson’s Music Weavers from Fazely, the Lilacs from Wednesbury and the Melody Makers fran Smethwick.
Cycling and foot races opened a generous programme at the fete ground, these included displays by the Handsworth Motor Cycling Club, the Brownhills Fire Brigade and the pupils of Miss Gripton’s Dance School, Hednesford.
Two whole pigs were roasted by Mr Harry Johnson of Cradley Heath, who was said to be the World’s Champion Roaster. Originally it bad been intended to roast an ox, but thinking that this might be a little too ambitious, the carnival organisers decided on a pig, this was subsequently increased to two pigs when it became evident that the carnival was to be well supported. The sandwiches provided by these two unfortunate beasts were sold at sixpence each.
Despite clashing with the Nortal canes carnival, approximately 5000 people attended the festivities and a profit of over £160 was made, half of this given to the Nursing Association and the other half donated towards the reduction of the debt on the Memorial Hall.
Among the receipts were £55 12s 6d from the ‘gate’, £16 Os Od from the dance and from the collecting boxes £29 16s 6d. The champion collector was Miss Yates with £1 16s Od, closely followed by Mrs Woodfield with £1 l5s Od to her credit.