Cattle class

Dairy Farm 2

A fantastic image of when Dairy Farm was a working farm. Image courtesy of John Anslow.

There’s still a very large degree of interest in the history of Walsall Wood’s Dairy Farm and particularly the barn. The strength of curiosity in this well built, intriguing structure has quite baffled me to be honest; when writing about it originally I assumed not many folk had noticed the existence of it, yet many folk seem to be fascinated by the history.

I originally mentioned the barn in my post on The Black Cock and subsidence legends in Bullings Heath, and the young David Evans really set the topic alight with a wonderful urban exploration of this splendid edifice. There was further interest when he returned for more pictures, creating even greater speculation

We’re still none the wiser about the farm beginnings and early life, but reader and friend of the blog John Anslow has really come up with a cracker of a photo form the early decades of the last century.

I’ll let John explain in his own words:

Hello Bob,

I’ve been following with particular interest your articles about Dairy Farm on Hall Lane, Walsall Wood and thought you might like to see the attached photograph.

The farm was, I believe, rented from the Colliery and when the tenant, Mr. T. Sheldon, left in 1914 (David Evans’s piece of 22nd March) the tenancy was taken by Sid Reece.

My grandfather, Harry Newbould, his wife Mary and their daughter Doris lived with the Reeces at Dairy Farm till the early 1920s; I assume he worked for them though he might have simply lodged there, as Sid was his brother-in-law. Harry and Mary’s second child was born at the farm and given the name Sidney.

My grandmother told me that a character called Bob used to sleep in the barn; she described him, not unkindly, as a simpleton and said that he did odd jobs around the farm.

I don’t know the identities of the two men in the photograph; it was in my grandmother’s possessions so I thought the fellow under the flat hat might be my grandfather. After studying it carefully, however, I’m convinced it isn’t him and can only guess that it might be Sid.

The picture probably dates from around 1918 and Sid died in 1945.

Many thanks once again for your invaluable blog.

John Anslow

Thanks to John – not just for a brilliant and intriguing period image, but for such great historical detail, too. Cheers, old chap.

I bet you can guess what I’m going to ask here: what do we know about Messrs Sheldon, Reece and Newbould and their families? What became of them? And what of my namesake who stayed in the barn?

Thanks to John for a wonderful addition to the local history record. Please, comment or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Untitled 7

Dairy Farm in Walsall Wood – no longer farming, but still there. Is this remarkable barn the oldest local building? Imagery from Bing! Maps. Click for a larger version.

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11 Responses to Cattle class

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    Presumably, the advert submitted by Pedro coincides with the departure of Mr Sheldon (Milking It, 22 March –

    In the 1911 census was a farmer named Thomas Sheldon and family and one domestic servant at Hall Lane, Walsall Wood. In 1901 they were listed at Dairy Farm, Hall Lane. In 1891 Thomas was a maltster at a farm near West Bromwich.

    In 1891 the Farmer in Halls Lane was Thomas Butler (54, born Darlaston). In 1881 Hall Lane, farmer of 60 acres. But in 1871 agricultural labourer, Walsall. I have not found a relevant record in 1871.

    In 1861 I can find no farmer in that part of Walsall Wood.

    • Hilary says:

      Don’t know if this is helpful but there is a Jesse Sheldon and his son (could be Thos) living at Bullings Heath in 1891, both born in West Bromwich. It’s the entry two down from The Royal Oak. Also there might be a reference to Sheldon at the sewage farm in the Lichfield Mercury, 23.10.1896, in an advert for a “good milker”. I don’t have the whole advert because I ran out of credits.

  2. Clive says:

    Great photo John, thank you.

  3. Pedro says:

    Thanks to John for a great picture. It gives an idea of the overall shape and use with the addition of the lower section.

    However I am almost certain that Dairy Farm was not rented from Walsall Wood colliery, although there would be a ready made supply of bricks for building.

    The Colliery leased land and paid royalties to Lord Bradford, and as mentioned in the book written by Brian Rollins…

    “…the underground workings extended and approached the limit of the coal in the of ownership of the Earl of Bradford. To enable the coals beyond this limit to be worked, leashes had to be negotiated with the owners of these other coals. One of these was the coal under Dairy House Farm, Walsall Wood, which lay between Hall Lane and the Green Lane and south of the Black Cock Inn. The surface area being 70 acres. The land was owned by the Trustees of Queen Mary’s school in Walsall…”

    The School seem to have owned various other pieces of land around Walsall which was let out to tenant farmers, including one in Shelfield.

    Also from the book by Brian, that the School still had land at the time of Nationalisation.

    (Would make a good investigative history project for present pupils!)

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  5. Pedro says:

    A bit more info on the School from White’s Directory of 1834…

    The Free Grammar School founded in 1554 and endowed with land at Woodend, Shelfield, Bloxwich, Norton and Tipton which now (1834) consists of 298 acres, and let for £418 per annum. …the objects were changed by Act of Parliament in 1797 so enabling the Governors to sell certain mines under parts of their land….sold coal under Tipton on lease of 40 years at £505 per acre, and built a new chapel

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