I have a very strained relationship with the work I do here on the Brownhills Blog – although readership is still increasing, and there is a wonderful degree of reader participation, sometimes I struggle to understand if any of this stuff is at all relevant or makes even the slightest bit of difference. For a tiny, amateurish affair, it takes a huge amount of work and it’s only natural that sometimes I question why I do it, and what the whole thing is actually worth.
A couple of days ago, I understood – possibly for the first time – that people do take this stuff to heart, and in a small way we can make a difference by working together here.
I think most of us are familiar with the story of the lost pub The Royal Oak at Bullings Heath. Bullings Heath was once the familiar name for the hamlet on the far side of the Black Cock Bridge, around the Hall Lane junction and the Black Cock Pub.
A while back, a building that has recently been demolished – a private house for many years – was a pub called the Royal Oak. Behind the Royal Oak was the municipal sewage farm, and the local mortuary. For as long as I can remember, the whole area of Bullings Heath – focussed on the canal and bridge that stand over it – were the subject of myth and legend about the mining history and its effects on the psychogeography of the area.
We have explored all of the above things here over the years, and really brought the name Bullings Heath back into local history consciousness. This makes me happy, as I hate to see names lost over time because with their passing, often little bits of connected history die too.
When the old Royal Oak was sold and demolished to make way for a development of new housing, I suggested it might be a good idea to contact the council and see if we could get the name given to this new cul-de-sac to record some aspect of the otherwise lost local history.
I know a number of readers contacted the council, not least the Young David Evans who approached the local Councillors directly and pressed the matter. It’s with no small degree of pleasure that I can announce that the name for this new development will be Bullings Heath Grove.
After over a century of absence from the mapping record, the name Bullings Heath will return to this still recognisable hamlet. This will happen as a direct result of work done by all of us here on the blog.
Thanks to everyone who got involved, also the folk at the council, who listened to the idea and executed it. My gratitude is particularly extended to Walsall Wood Councillor Mike Flower, who took this suggestion to his heart and made it happen. We may be miles away politically, but that was a true act of community felicity for which I thank Mike wholeheartedly.
I include the documents below for your perusal. I still can’t quite believe it.