This is an interesting question from reader and friend of the blog Peter, and I’m intrigued to to see what readers make of it. We’re all aware that there’s a local tradition of Working Men’s and politically affiliated clubs locally, that now seems largely to have drawn to a close. But how early did this start?
This is a conversation I’ve been having with [Howmuch?] lately, and coincidentally, Peter has spotted the same thing; on the 1876 Inclosure Map of Walsall Wood featured here in 2012, there are several ‘clubs’ mentioned, two in somewhat unexpected spots.
Peter’s question, like mine, is what was the nature of these places, and is there any information available about them anywhere? When did they cease?
Peter also makes an interesting observation on the ongoing debate about Pepper Alley, which is seeming as elusive as ever.
I’ll let Peter explain:
Very interesting reading regarding the subject of Pepper Alley at Bullings Heath, not sure it was really nailed but certainly a huge amount of activity on the site itself. I spoke to a chap recently who has lived in Green Lane for the past 45 years (a few doors down from the BlackCock Pub) who when I mentioned to him Pepper Alley he immediately, without hesitation, said to me that it was the lane running behind the Blackcock pub from Hall Lane to Oakwood Close. He referred to it as Pepper Pot Alley.
I also was interested in a map that came across your site recently as attached, I’ve annotated a couple of items that may be of interest.
Walsall Wood Club, which according to the map seems to be on the other side of the canal from where there are houses today and Aldridge Club which is shown on Coppice Road.
A couple of things that seem strange, the Walsall Wood Club being on the other side of the canal, I’ve been up that area very recently and had a good scout around, with the naked eye and a big stick there is absolutely no evidence of any earthworks, bricks or anything giving any clues to it’s existence there, in comparison if you come back towards the canal bridge on the same side of the canal by a 100 yards or so it is possible to find earthworks and some evidence of the old house that stood there and is marked on some maps. Indeed a friend of mine who up until very recently lived in Barns Close does as a child remember the old house because she remembers that from Barns Close you could only see the top floor windows and roof!
Aldridge Club in Coppice Road? Would it not be in Aldridge? Or am I thinking too narrowly? The friend of mine from Barns Close does remember a large house there years ago but not as a club!
I’ve attached the map annotated, maybe it could be a point of interest I don’t know, I’ll leave it with you if I may Bob.
Cheers to Peter for a great question. What do you know? Any help you can give, please do comment here, or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!