Anyone for tennis?


The stepping stones at the new pond only emerge in very dry spells. For trivia buffs, one of the stones is actually a capstone from the nearby demolished railway bridge.

Further to the great material sent in by Marion Jones, relating to the lost pumping station on The Spot at Clayhanger, she also sent me some interesting photos of the gardens of the Jones House in Clayhanger in the 1920s.

Marion said:

Hi Bob,

Goodness twice in one week!

I couldn’t resist sending you these photos re your article on sunk island. My Grandfather Ernest Jones took these photos around 1923 recording his hard work landscaping the old brickworks where he was living. I think you will agree the canal bank is a lot steeper these days!

Loved the article, thanks
Marion (Jones)

What most of us call the Big House has a bit of an unknown history to me; I’m not entirely sure the dwelling that stands today is the same one as when Marion’s images were taken, but the place has always been in a very interesting, marshy location.

The enclave it sits in was originally a brickworks and sand quarry run by the Jones family; in later years the void behind flooded, and was then filled with colliery spoil to several metres about the canal towpath, a bog separating the foot of the heap from the gardens of the Big House. In the early 1980s, the spoil heap was removed, and spread over the Clayhanger refuse tip as a cap; the former quarry, cut back to sand and marl, was landscaped into a pond.


What I refer to as ‘The New Pond’ was once a quarry and brickworks.

So much has changed in this area it’s hard to comment practically on the steepness or otherwise of the banks, particularly as one can’t get the same angle today without trespassing; however, to me, there isn’t that much apparent change in the levels except where the spoil was taken out.

Do note the railway bridge in the distance. No longer extant, it took the branch line from Norton Jusntion, between Brownhills and Pelsall over the Swag (now Clayhanger Marsh), over the canal and Walsall Wood line to Walsall Wood Colliey. That’s the first decent image of that bridge I’ve seen.

Thanks to Marion for some wonderful images – I’m very grateful and they add a huge amount to the shared history of Clayhanger.

While I’m about it, does anyone have any material, photos or experiences they’d like to share of the annual Round Table garden barbecues that were held at The Big House every summer in the 70s and 80s? They were a lovely event, and we seem to have no record at all of them, nor indeed of Brownhills Round Table itself, who were a fine bunch of folks.

Please, do comment here of BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Clayhanger backgarden Tennis court Ernest Jones

Walsall Wood colliery in the background, where the Maybrook Estate is now. Image very generously supplied by Marion Jones.

Clayhanger backgarden Ernest Jones(2)

That bridge stood at the end of the field-line by the New Pond, at took the railway over the canal to Walsall Wood Pit. Image very generously supplied by Marion Jones.

Clayhanger, backgarden Ernest Jones

Taken at ground level, the tennis court was a good way below the canal, even in the 1920s. Note the star-shaped flowerbed just visible in the top image. Image very generously supplied by Marion Jones.

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5 Responses to Anyone for tennis?

  1. Clive says:

    Very intresting photos, big thank you to Marion and Bob.
    On photo no2 there are sandbags along the towpath maybe a sign there were problems with the level of the canal!

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