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:
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.
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.