Can anyone help a desperate reader, please?


Watling Street is a great school with a proud history – but can we find the book?

Hi folks – this is just a quick enquiry from reader Adrian Reid. He’s after a book on a very specific bit of local history that has become rather rare, like most such volumes do. I’ll let Adrian explain.

Hi Bob

Wondered if you could help me?

Im trying to get hold of a book called ‘Memories of Watling Sreet School 125 Year Anniversary’, by Jan Farrow.

Any help would be appreciated.

Many thanks.

There’s a copy in Walsall Local History Centre for inspection, and I’m sure I’ve also seen in in Brownhills Library, but I think Adrian is after one to purchase – can anyone help?

The book was published in 2003, and doesn’t seem to have an ISBN number. Jan Farrow has written several books on local history, so if anyone knows her and could ask if she’s got a copy spare, that would be very much appreciated.

Please comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.


I reckon these railings are the oldest in Bronhills, and form part of the wonderful frontage of the school on the A5; they are without question pre-war and clearly survived the drive to remove such ironwork for ‘The War Effort’.

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12 Responses to Can anyone help a desperate reader, please?

  1. Mike says:

    I can not help with the book, but i also went to Watling St,1949-1955. I have great memories of the place! My first Kiss of the female of the species. Getting hammered by my younger brother for losing a fight. having to spend a day sitting in the baby class after having a go at Miss Jones because she started on my sister just after she had started school. I remember Miss Topliss, Mr Halsall (or Hassall, not quite sure now) I never got on with Miss Jones/Price at all during my time there.I well remember the days after my gran died (1953) and my parents sent me to school as though nothing had happened, but on the day of the funeral, we were outside at playtime as they went past on the way to St James church for the service. She’s buried just over the wall back of the church hall. I used to have school photos from both Watling st and Central Boys, in those days we had class photos, but they were lost in a fire.I keep saying that i will do a blog about my early days over the west and up the avenues, but never seem to get around to it.

    • Hey Mike

      Thanks for that, great stuff. Very few schooldays memories from that end of town.

      If you would like to write a few notes, I’d be happy to publish them for you here.


  2. Clive says:

    Hello Ade. Just done a search on Google. and Walsall Local History Centre have the publishing rights for the said book, may be worth phoning them if they have a copy they may copy the book for you if you can`t get one!

    • Ade Reid says:

      Thanks Clive.Will give that a try.Would mean a lot to me if I could at least view the contents.Thanks again..Ade

  3. bob houghton says:

    I have also been doing some research on the school.

    There is a photocopy of the final published book in Walsall Records office. But it looks as though it was only produced in small quantities for sale at the school anniversary do. It does not have a ISBN No, and I have not been able to find a copy to purchase either.

    Visited the school and they have copies of an earlier versions with more details. They do not have any spares and did not offer to run off a copy for me.

    The school have also retrieved the old school registers etc from Walsall Records office and are currently doing some research of their own. Again I have asked to see them, but not heard anything further yet, probably because of the Xmas break.

    I am particularly interested in the period 1895 to 1905 and there are some school photographs of the period in Walsall records office.

    I did notice one difference between the early edition and the final edition though and that was a photo of a class of children that was said to be of the queens jubilee in 1895. In the earlier edition it said that the class was of 1930. A pity because I thought I had found the only surviving photograph of Thomas Fairfield, whom I had been researching.

    Bob Houghton

  4. Peter Leek says:

    Ahh good old Watling Street School, like Mike i have some great memories from there. Miss Topliss used to scare the life out of me, being taken over to Chasewater for the opening of the kids play area which was shown on the news on ATV. Play ground with no fence so we could go play in the woods or anywhere on the common and meeting loads of great friends between 1958 and 1965 even liked the school dinners,

  5. Got a copy in front of me Bob as my daughter was at the school in 2003.
    If you want to pass my details on to Ade he’s welcome to access the book if he wants to.
    Kind Regards
    Matt C

  6. Pingback: Watling Street School: The class of 1903 | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  7. Eryl Powell says:

    If we still have the original on the school computer system, then it would be a pleasure to run off a few copies. We are thinking of updating if we can find the time. Things aren’t like they used to be, when all we had to think about was teaching our kids, – most days, the office is like the new Walsall roundabout – but we still have the best kids and parents in the universe!
    Contact me at and I’ll see what we can do when school reopens.
    Have a great Christmas
    Eryl Powell, Watling Street School

  8. Eryl Powell says:

    Yes – found the book on the school system, so copies can be obtained from us at Watling Street School if you contact me first.

  9. Pingback: Burnal Martin and the class of 1922-3 | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  10. Bee says:

    Hi Does anyone remember the talking clock that stood at the side of the Station Hotel on the High Street Brownhills and are the any pictures of it….. im try to help an old aunt wth dementia and i am looking for some things to help bring back some memories for her.

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