The march of time

I think it’s fair to say that in writing and curating this blog, fate occasionally turns up some remarkable material. Whatever else this thing I labour over has done, it has actually seemed to have connected people to their history, and on rare occasions it has put back in touch people who were once familiar, but became separated by time or distance.

A great contributor to this blog has been Stuart Cowley. Stuart has written with passion and clarity great articles on his childhood at Chasewater, his love of broadcast radio, and perhaps most passionately about his time as a member of local marching jazz bands.

Remarkable footage from the Wendy Jones collection. Note the train in the background, the detail in the costumes. How busy Chasewater seemed!

A few weeks ago, I spotted some interesting photos on Facebook, posted to the Memories of Burntwood and Chasetown history group by Wendy Jones. I approached Wendy and asked if I could post some, and the result was a collection of images that were immensely popular, detailing the Wharf Lane area before the M6 Toll came through.

I stayed in touch with Wendy, and recently she pointed out that she had lots of material that was collected by her late father relating to local marching jazz bands, including films and newspaper clippings.

Wendy was kind enough to share a sample of this material with me, and it’s remarkable stuff. Recognising that I’m almost totally ignorant on the subject, I spoke of Stuart Cowley, and it turns out that Wendy and Stuart remembered each other from those days. They are now back in touch and I’m interested to see what comes out of the pairing.

In the meantime, here’s the material Wendy has kindly shared with me and allowed me to  post for readers. In between, I intersperse her comments.

The film is particularly interesting – not just for the incredible footage of the bands, but because it’s so far the only concrete record of the little train that used to run around the sourh shore at Chasewater – you can see it pass in the background.

My immense thanks and gratitude to Wendy and Stuart. I know I say it a lot, but stuff like this is why I continue to work on gathering our local history. I’m bowled over.

If you have any recollections or comments, please do join in. Comment on this post or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Wendy wrote:


Kindly supplied by Wendy Jones from her collection.

Brownhills Carnival, Lindon Road, 20 May 1972, I have old scrap books from the early 1970s of a lot of the events we attended. I’m not sure how interested you are in Jazz Bands

I have managed to get some of the old films on DVD in small clips from 3 mins to 8 mins long, I have only done one old video at the moment (and that took me most of the day), Dad had the old cine films put onto video during the 1990s.

I had brought the DVD recorder in the summer to put my films on, at least I learnt how to use it today!

I also have a few newspaper cuttings from the 1970’s of other bands, and most of the programmes of what we attended during 1971/72, there are also newspaper cuttings about the ‘Take Me High’ film [That’s the odd film starring Cliff Richard on the canals of Brum I’ve mentioned here before – Bob]  and Dad also filmed a small part of the day, I found that one today, I didn’t know was there. There was also a documentry on the television in 1973 about the filming of ‘Take Me High’, he filmed some of that from the television

There is also footage about the Chase Wakes when the French Dance Troop came to England and the Blue Birds returned to France the following year.

The Chase Wakes shows in the background the old grandstand and swimming baths, there is over 4 hours altogether


Brownhills Carnival programme cover from 1972. Thanks to Wendy Jones.

Photograph taken January 1974, newspaper article, I remember the photograph being taken in one of the side rooms of the old wooden pavilion on the old CCCC ground.


Kindly supplied by Wendy Jones from her collection.


Kindly supplied by Wendy Jones from her collection.

20th May 1973, Brownhills Carnival, Anchor Bridge and cover of Programme.


Brownhills Carnival programme cover from 1973. Thanks to Wendy Jones.


Kindly supplied by Wendy Jones from her collection.

This newspaper article from 12th January 1974 mentions Stuart Cowley as the tallest member of the jazz band (although they have spelt his name as Colly), the photograph was taken in the old Brendewood Suite, Burntwood.


Kindly supplied by Wendy Jones from her collection.

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5 Responses to The march of time

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    a big thank you to Wendy and Stuart for offering all this wonderful material..and to yourself for the excellent presentation. Brings back quite a few good memories..of trying to sail a model yacht in the boating lake/pond.. ..but I had completely forgotten the miniature train. Who owned and ran it?
    kind regards

  2. Pingback: Strike up the band! | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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  5. I used to be a member of the sovereign paraders I remember the bluebirds they was part of our competitions I also remember Ann and Ron.

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