Rhyme and reason

Looking the other way now, toward Mount Zion and the Town Hall. I just about remember going into Elkins Hardware with my old man in the seventies, before it was knocked down. I remember the smell, a mix of peat and paraffin. Taken from 'Memories of Brownhills Past' by Clarice Mayo & Geoff Harrington.

Looking the other way now, toward Mount Zion and the Town Hall. I just about remember going into Elkins Hardware with my old man in the seventies, before it was knocked down. I remember the smell, a mix of peat and paraffin. Taken from ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice Mayo & Geoff Harrington.

While service is operating on reduced power, I thought I’d share this curious mystery. Over the new year period, a Brownhills history group was created on Facebook, and it’s proved to be very interesting indeed. I’m normally wary of such groups,  but the moderators and creators of this one have been ready to attribute photos and have a positive, open attitude, which is very refreshing. They are nice folk running a decent group.

Last week, Facebook member Jim Simpson posted the poem below in the group, and I was taken by it; there’s a lot in there, and it was clearly written by someone with an excellent recall of Brownhills history. I asked Jim if he’d written it, and it turns out he’d found a copy of the work in his Father in Law’s effects, and doesn’t know where it originated.

So, in a nutshell, over to you lot. Who wrote this, where did it originate? Someone out there must know – I suspect Brian Stringer may know if he’s passing. Is it accurate? Does it ring any bells for anyone?

There is one clue I can see in the verse – it mentions both Brownhills Market, which didn’t commence until the early 1970s, and it also refers to Caters Electrical, which closed sometime around 2000.

My compliments to the writer, and to Jim, for sharing it; I really would like to attribute this if possible. If you know anything, or have anything to add, please comment here, or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!


Coopers: everthing you wanted, and quite a bit you probably didn’t… from ‘Memories of Old Brownhills’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

A Walk Down High Street Brownhills.

Brownhills High Street where have you gone?
Your family shops that character shone
Once like a book with a story to tell
Right from the top with its Council House bell
To some it was known as the three face liar

But to Jack Tabberer and ‘oss it was the call of a fire
The feet of Jack and his steed day touch the ground
To the council yard they would both fly
Their fire fighting duties to deploy

On Lichfield Road corner stood the cake shop of Brewes
With grace and finesse and fine pastries to choose
Jack worked in the bakery from dawn to three

And still had time for his duties with the A.R.P.

For a hat that had style and hair tempting bliss
The shop of Miss Bagnall was one not to miss
Bacon, fresh coffee and grocery so super
They were the fine stock of dear old Tim Cooper

John White’s best leather and shoes of renown
Were sold by Gregorys, top shop of town
Then there was Joss of Harding fame
Moleskin or corduroy, he knew the outfitting game

Jessops a chemist was there for the sick
From yer toos to yer yed he knowed how yer ticked
He could mix up a bottle or meck yer sum sarv
Pull out a bad tooth or the odd corn could carve

Birches and Bladons, Ethel and Frank Poynton too
Richards and Denning, Poxons meat you could chew
Remember the cook shop with it’s nose tempting smell
Beef dripping sandwiches, roast pork as well

The post office had its place of family name
For heritage of management carried Sid Lloyd’s name
Now across the road of old Church Hill
Where Timmy Johnson his shop did fill

Stood Robinsons butchers and Mason’s flowers
Jellymans bike shop for your pedalling hours
Ken Sadler would suit you from head to tail
Teadale for fish with fresh sea scale

Freda King sold shoes her dad mended soles
The next shop put oak boxes down six foot earth holes
Yes when life’s span sadly came to an end
The Woodhouse family their service would lend

Fashion came next of Bradbury fame
Brother George and his sisters were top of the strain
Rogers fruit shop with character shone
For the best in greengrocery he was the one

Remember the chip shop of dear Mrs Daft,
Chippin’ and frying to her was a craft
Talking of craft Jack Princep was good
Ironmongery and toys he was also a craftsman with wood

Diamonds or gold Jones and Bird knew the trade
And then Mr Dean with the sweets his shop displayed
Now on Brickiln corner where Caters shop stands
Was once Fletchers clothes shop with styles oh so grand


Brownhills Markey in the early 80s by BrownhillsGeorge.

Down to the bottom to a white cold dream
For everyone relished Selwyn Smith’s ice cream
We have walked a long way so lets take a rest
At the old Anchor Bridge for beer at its best

Feeling better? Lets make our way back
Our first memory call is of the wheel and the jack
For coach travel memories never to fail
Were Glider tours run by old Dun and Hale

For fireworks, comics, newspapers or sweets
Young taffy Roberts could always compete
Rag and bone Skarrat had a field for a thrill
Each time Pat Collins with his fairground did fill

May Bevan for hair care Masie Cockran too
Medicine at Poxons was real good for you
When flying pigeons or feeding pigs
At Cockrans seed shop you could rely on old Syd

If short of money and down on the rocks
You could always pawn things with Big Florrie Cox
Davies and Tomlinson more shops for you
And then Simpsons old palace for pictures to view

Now perhaps you were posh and owned a motor car
There was no need to worry Barkers would see you go far
Yes even old High Street could your needs entertain
There was also the Regent with Jack Turner to reign

Pountney for sweets, Gwilliam for clothes
Fresh meat from Haines, James greengrocery and Roe’s
The toys of May Bevan, Salt’s chips made your lips smack
And we must not forget the hair styles of Tommy the Black

The chapels of Wesley and Mount Zion too
But you only drank ale from pubs one and two
I’m sorry, I forgot – of pubs there were three
The Warreners Inn and the top of the tree

For I mentioned the Anchor earlier on
But for brewery beer there was only one
The Station Hotel of Roberts family fame
For real good brewed beer they were best in the game

Well we have walked up and down the old Monkey Run
It’s seen hard times and tears and yet had some fun
So lets rest for a while on the old market site
Once covered with stalls on saturday night

And full of nostalgia for High Street of old
Thank god for our memories more precious than gold.


A later image of the High Street, from ‘Memories of Old Brownhills’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

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23 Responses to Rhyme and reason

  1. Ivor2302 says:

    There was a small market on the car park next to the Station Hotel in the 40s. Ir sold various useful items, I once had to go there for a “gus under” (chamber pot) when I was 8 or 9 years old. I had broken the handle off the one at my grandmothers. She lived down Coppice Side and I lived with her for a few years. I think Roberts the barber at the bottom of Church Hill is also missing. I first heard the expression “anything for the weekend” there. It wasn’t addressed to me, I was only in my very early teens at the time.

    • David Oakley. says:

      I remember the ‘old market site’. mentioned in the poem. It was on the car park, next to the Station Hotel, as Ivor remembers. Amazing how many stalls could crowd into that tiny area. The crockery stall referred to was owned, in the 1940’s by the Harris’s from Friezland Lane. The son, ‘Tanter’ Harris went to Brownhills Road School, but could be seen every Saturday morning helping his parents unload crockery from a small red van,

  2. Andy Dennis says:

    Yes, that’s where I heard it too – Sid Roberts.

    Some strange omissions? Jaygor, the diy in Silver Court. Elkins, hardware shop on the corner of Silver Street. I would have said Cater’s went long before 2000.

  3. ivor230240 says:

    There was also Roberts DIY. I don’t know when they darted in business but they were there and well established in the 50s.

  4. ivor230240 says:

    should be started, not “darted”

  5. Jenny Parry says:

    What about Brawns shop, just up from the warreners pub on the opposite side.

  6. Warren Parry says:

    Brawns shop opposite the Warreners is one of my earliest memories.
    Jaygors DIY was my favourite shop ever. The smell still stays with me to this day. Oh the joys of a small frendly diy store.
    I also recall a cloths shop, opposite the co-op i think it was called Brooks, but not entirely sure.

    • Brooks was epic, and quite posh, really. Jaygor was ace, but the best was Elkins, which was on the corner where Farmfoods car-park is these days. That was incredible.

  7. oakparkrunner says:

    The poem was written by Reg Fullelove pen name AER REG

  8. oakparkrunner says:

    It was Reg Fullelove’s uncle. who the shelter was built for at the bottom of the Parade.

  9. Hey folks

    It appears the poem is – as I suspected, but didn’t say – the work of Reg Fullelove. Reg is a direct descendant of George Fullelove, the remarkable Brownhills chorister, poet and singer, to whom the shelter is dedicated to at the bottom of The Parade, as Oakparkrunner has noted.

    (Brian Stringer also thinks it’s Reg, he emailed me this afternoon).


    Reg did indeed write under the pen name Aer Reg, and I actually got hold of a pamphlet/book by ‘Aer Reg’ a week ago. It was published in 1980 and was a tie-in with Radio Birmingham and a program in local dialect called ‘The Bonkies’ – I intend to scan the work and put it up. There’s a fair bit about Brownhills in there, but not this poem.

    Reg also, of course, donated the film of the 1934 Brownhills Carnival, which he can be heard in fine voice narrating. Reg is still sharp as a tack for all his years and a lovely man to boot.



    Stay tuned, folks.


  10. alvin cox says:

    had there used to be a jewelers shop on the corner of ogley hay rd opposite the warreners pub

  11. rob says:

    yes that was lotes if that’s how you spell it

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  14. kathy bull nee [cooper] says:

    i wonder if reg remembered st james square just down from claridges shop i was born there my father was george kelly, also were silver court shops are my gt grandad had a hardware shop carnt find any pictures anywhere ,would be great if i could ,thanks kathy .

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  16. Violet jelves says:

    My great grandparents were the Masons who ran the florists shop,it was opposite the picture house spent some great times there

  17. ivor230240 says:

    There was also Taylors Bread and Cakes and Dennis Haynes the Butcher opposite Bradburys’ shop

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