A walk up Lichfield Road with Aer Reg

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Lichfield Road was almost as much a major artery to Brownhills as High Street itself. Image from ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff harrington.

A couple of weeks ago, I featured a poem that had been found in the personal effects of his father in law by Facebook user Jim Simpson, which he originally posted in the Brownhills Past and Present Facebook group. I had suspected at the time that the writing was the work of local poet, storyteller and churchman Reg Fullelove, and thanks to readers who confirmed this.

I had a dim memory of Reg’s poems – often written under the pen-name ‘Aer Reg’ and equally often written in, or prominently featuring local dialect – being printed in The Brownhills Gazette, a lost freesheet for the town produced by local dynamo Brian Stringer. Brian confirmed this, and sent me the poem below, which I think will appeal.

The poem is best mentally read in Reg’s voice – Reg is irrepressible and his spark is infectious. Reg, you may recall, kindly donated the 1934 Brownhills Carnival cinefilm, and can be heard narrating it.

As a side issue, the Brownhills Gazette was a remarkable publication which is sadly missed. It was focussed squarely on Brownhills, was a genuine activist thing and got stuff done, like the resurfacing of Silver Court. Brian Stringer did a terrific job with it in a pre-internet age; I can honestly say that whilst reading that, the beginnings of BrownhillsBob was incubated.

So, in essence, this is all The Ckayhanger Kid’s fault

I still have a book of Reg’s work to go up, which I shall try to do this weekend.

Come Walk With Me

Come walk with me down Lichfield Road
A second High Street, my childhood holds
Start at the Top – a club serene
Cross the road Brewe’s cakes a dream
With matronly grace the sisters oversaw
Eclairs and scones, pastries by the score
Blood tub once held in a nearby field
The smell of horse hoof as the Smithy hammer wield
In row of houses grand and tall
Was Jeffries fish shop a meal for all
Then Mrs. Pearson’s tiny shop
For a piny or toy we used to pop
Challis renown for his skill with the brush
Whitehouse the builder his cart would push
Building a shed or chicken run?
Timber from Smith the Smithy’s son
A club was started by the British Legion
Alas it faded into another region,
Seeds Lane corner stood a shop
Harvey’s for your sweets and pop

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To kids of my generation, this was a chip shop. Now demolished, there are houses there. Image from ‘Memories of Old Brownhills’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

Brothers and sisters by the name of Turner
The sale of apples a small income earner
Call in at Jones’s, Woodbines far many
The ‘Railway Tavern’s pints drunk by many
Then a front room shop, ‘Walker’ by name
Hair cut by ‘Kelly’, trim was his fame
Then the farm of Oliver Twist
Cows, Poultry and horses endless the list
Today they say organic for garden is new
But Oliver’s cow muck was there sixty years agew
The empire of Beattie of Biggins name
Open all hours to serve you her aim
And then to the Memo hours danced away
Dear old Sal Gripton taught her own special way
Fishers’ for shoes, Trussell for flowers
Then Mrs. Oak’s for pianoforte hours
For grocery or coal Suttons next stop
Dear old Gert reigned over her shop
Important to all her skills not to lack
Was nurse Seedlwuse of 109 and her maternity pack
Beacon the Printer made his mark
When the world developed the hall pen lark
Then the chips of Alice Wood
Cooked as only good food should,
Perce with trolley from the station would fetch
Ice packed fish the day’s fresh scale ketch,
For Radio Battery Electrical fame
The next shop carried Syd Law’s name
Mrs. Cooper there for Millinery
Sankeys Club one of three
Bostons, Mallard, good old Co-op
Yes in Lichfield Road, you could all shop
Ice-cream made by yow yow Plumb
Breezes Club run by  Ernie run
Craddocks Coal and the Chemical stack
Yes in my childhood walk they all come back.

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Much of this housing remains. From ‘Memories of Old Brownhills’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

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12 Responses to A walk up Lichfield Road with Aer Reg

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    A super poem! One line caught my eye…”Blood tub once held in a field…” a puzzler
    A big thank you to you ,Brian and Reg
    Regards
    David

    • Pedro says:

      One for you David…

      The second Battle Bullecourt of 1917 as called the Blood Tub by the Aussies.

    • aerreg says:

      Re the blood tub, it was the name given to the travelling theatre on that site, because the plays were good old fashioned ‘blood & thunder’. One in fact, still stays in my mind Mariah Martin in the red barn. I believe the family who ran the theatre were the Holloways or Hollowoods.

  2. Clive says:

    Great poem, so much old history of the folk of Brownhills past, big thank you to all involved.

  3. Mick P says:

    Could the ‘blood tub’ refer to the collection of fresh blood from slaughtered pigs for making black pudding? Poxons of Brownhills are still famous in the area for the quality of their puddings and are one of a dwindling number of butchers still using fresh, liquid blood rather than the powdered stuff.

  4. Pedro says:

    Oct 1921, A concert for the Walsall Special Constabulary…

    Mr Hadley, in explaining why he had called them together that evening, said it was to cement, if it were necessary, the splendid good feeling engendered when they had met in the small hours of the morning to patrol the various districts of the town while the younger members of the community were giving “Blood Tub Billl” and his associates their conge…

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  6. aerreg says:

    Re – The blood tub, this is the name given to the travelling theatre at the top of Lichfield Road. The name came from the type of plays shown, which were good old fashioned ‘blood & thunder’. One still stays with me Mariah Martin in the red barn. I believe the owners of the theatre were the Holloways or Hollowoods and it we called it the Hollowood blood tub

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