Sweet James


I’d love to date this if we can. And what happened to that huge memorial? Click for a larger version.

That there Clive Roberts – documenter of the history of the Shire Oak Inn and collector of local postcards – has been at it again. He’s picked up another postcard of Brownhills at a fair, and mailed me scans of the front and back to post here on the blog.

Clive, you’ll remember, supplied the two fascinating cards earlier in the year, which seemed to keep the researches busy for a while.

This one was postally used on the 18th August, 1967, and is a well known image that’s featured in a couple of local history books. The card was published by A.W. Bourne of Leicester. It’s a picture of St. James Parish Church in Brownhills, from the top of Church Road. To the right, is Ogley Hay School. To the left, the houses that would be replaced by the later school building. Immediately in front, the entrance to the church, before it was desecrated like so many local churches with a hideous extension.

What’s great about this image is that although familiar, the scan is very high quality and detailed, and detail can now be discerned that hasn’t been possible from the book versions. Note the car behind the railings – could auto buffs use this as a guide to the date?

The other thing interesting me here is the white memorial in the churchyard. That’s a big old chunk of stone, and it’s not there now. What was it, what happened to it, and why was such a striking monument removed? It looks like the current War Memorial, which sits central in the churchyard to the right of this picture, but the proportions don’t look right. If it was relocated, was it moved after the Second World War? What’s the story?

The card was sent from Bill to Derek Porter of Bramford, Ipswich, Suffolk, I think. As far as I can tell (and I’m no good with handwriting, please feel free to correct me if you can), it says:

Dear Derek

Cannock Chase today seen your old camp and rlwy(? Railway) halt. Quite nice little change. More when I see you.

Best wishes

Thanks to Clive for donating such a wonderful card. Anything we can find out about this image or the two correspondents would be wonderful.


Bill sounds like he’s just visiting. I guess we’ll never know why. Click for a larger version.

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10 Responses to Sweet James

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Super photo. Possibly Austin Somerset or Devon early 1950s ..but there seems to be a spare mounted on the boot…Ford v8 pilot ….good puzzler….thanks Clive!

  2. Andy Dennis says:

    Nice one, Clive.

    Is the white object the cenotaph that is now on the south side of the church? You can see it right of centre in the Google image, Bob.

  3. David Oakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    The Guide and Short History of St. James mentions both the dedication of the Cenotaph and its original position, together with particulars of its later movement. The history states,
    ‘ On the 29th January 1921, The Great War Cenotaph was dedicated by the Bishop of Lichfield (John A. Kempthorne) . It was sited on the right of the west gated entrance to the Churchyard and Church, where it could be clearly seen by all who approached the Church from Church Hill, now Church Road’.
    While in the summer of 1965, the History states, ‘The removal of the War Memorial from the West Gate entrance to its present central position in the graveyard on the south side of the Church’ .The are also a couple of ‘before and after’ photos, which may be of some interest to readers.

  4. Terry Harrison says:

    It looks like an A40 Devon. Not sure I see the spare on the boot.

  5. David Evans says:

    Hi Terry
    …agree…the rear bumper does look like a Devon…some good google images to help..
    Was the car the headmaster/mistress’ car?
    The house on the left.?.original schoolmasters house …as per St Johns derelict school in Walsall wood.?
    Thanks Terry

  6. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Austin A40 Devon..1948 to 1952.. rejoiced in Armstrong front dampers, and gutless engine, which some may recall!

    • Peter says:

      David, Terry. Hi guys how you both doing? I’m not so sure about the A40 Devon you know! Sorry to challenge you on this but I’d like to put forward a couple of thoughts 1) A70 Hereford / Hampshire or better still 2) the Austin A30 (Austins answer to the Moggy Minor) The problem we have is we can’t see properly the wheels or arches, door handles, bonnet or boot. I think the profile is probably more that of the A30………….
      Good puzzle anyway lads

      Cheers Peter.

  7. David Evans says:

    HI Peter
    I was seeing a chrome strip under the window level..hence thought A40…the Dorset two door and four door Devon was made from 1947..but if its only a trick of light and is a two door A30 these were made from 1953, the four door A30s from 1951. The A40 Somerset’s trafficator switch was on the steering wheel.the others had the switch on the dash….and had no sidelight on the front wing….
    Good fun….

  8. David Evans says:

    Hi Peter
    oops..yes it did! time for my tonic wine and blanket!

  9. Pingback: Small increments | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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