Pigeon post

Homing and racing pigeons are strong in the hearts of local folk. There was at one time a huge pigeon keeping culture in Brownhills and Walsall Wood, now sadly on the wane. I can remember being in the Black Cock pub in Bullings Heath, Walsall Wood in the early 90s on a Friday evening and watching as the local club clocked in birds and prepared for the weekend’s sport.

The champion pigeons locally are celebrated – the silhouette of one even made it onto the Walsall Wood Pithead sculpture. A few weeks ago I found some great film in the Mace media archive recording pigeon fanciers at Ogley Club in Brownhills, where I asked about recollections and past champions.

Local chap, friend of the blog and former Crabtree employee Fred Butler responded kindly with a great photo.

Fred responded to the original post:


The champion pidgeon you are refering to, I would think will be ‘Breakaway who was owned and trained by Ronnie Green from the locality.

Ron and Breakaway were registered in the Guiniess Book of Records for their feat, I am not sure as to whether the record still stands.

If readers would be interested I have a photo of RG when he worked with me being presented with a copy of the book by the management of Crabtree.

And later, with the photo:

Hi Bob,

As requested here is the photo of Ronnie Green receiving a copy of the Guiniess Book of Records to commemorate the inclusion of himself and his champion pidgin Breakaway.

The guys making the presentation was Mr Walter Purser, Manufacturing Director of Crabtree, Mr Peter Williams, Works Manager, and Mr Don Scragg , Production Manager.

Fred Butler


A great photo from 1979 showing the directors of Crabtree making a presentation to Ron Green, whose pigeon made it into the Guiness Book of Records. Image kindly supplied by Fred Butler.

This raises a couple of interesting questions, too. I’m still after information, photos and ephemera relating to the pigeon fanciers. This was a massive hobby and little seems to survive in the photographic or historical record. I think we should try and correct that, and Fred’s picture and information are a great start.

Thanks, as ever, to Fred for that.

Secondly, local companies – we had lots, and they weren’t just factories, they were small communities, most now long gone. Crabtree, Edward Rose, Strumech, Geometry International, Superalloys, Ryford, Rowanarc, Flip,  Binks Bullows, Lew Ways, Carvers. So many places of work lost, yet so little in the historical archives.

What do you know? Please comment here or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

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5 Responses to Pigeon post

  1. Pedro says:

    Knowing very little of pigeon racing, I came across a link to a fascinating and sometimes disconcerting mine of information…


    “One miner noted that many of his peers ‘became as knowledgeable about Charles Darwin and his principles of selectivity as he was about Humphrey Davy and the principles underlying the safety lamp”


  2. David Oakley says:

    As a point of interest I would point out that there were two local lads in Fred Butler’s picture. Don Scragg, the Production Manager was born and lived in Lichfield Road, Shire Oak, son of Joe Scragg who drive for Collins’s and was the Sunday School Superintendent at the House of Prayer, Coppice Road in the 1930’s/40’s. Sadly, I believe Don died, shortly afterwards.

  3. Pingback: Rhyme and reason | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  4. lesley jones(was Bailes) says:

    Ron Green was a big friend of my father Johnny Bailes who was a keen pigeon flyer also. He ran the flying club at Ogley WMC. They also raced at the Black Cock pub and Grangemoor in Burntwood and one in Pelsall too. The whole family would be involved. Cleaning the lofts and baskets out..(hoping for pocket money!) I used to type up the results from the Saturday race on an old black typewriter. The whole family went to the presentation evenings! We still have certificates, trophies, photos etc.

  5. Emma Smith says:

    I grew up with pigeons my granddad was Denis Hewitt from Coppice Road every Saturday night he would stand waiting for his pigeons to come home. We were only allowed half way down the garden when they were racing and never allowed to make sudden movements. I can still hear him shouting “come on” and shaking his pigeon corn tin and I have just watched the video above and swear he is in the background in the first few seconds!

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