The wonderfully generous Ruth Penrhyn-Lowe has again been in touch with some fascinating Aldridge imagery for readers to pore over; these four photos are really, really extraordinary and I’m hoping you lot can expand on the wonderful descriptions, maybe put some names to the young faces and generally expand the knowledge as you never fail to do.
Ruth has previously sent scans of some remarkable local postcards of Brownhills, and another large set of Aldridge, all beautifully scanned and explained. Contributions like this make compiling this blog such a fun thing to do, and I can’t thank Ruth enough.
I know it’s Aldridge, but hey, we have plenty of soft southern readers down in there, and I know lots of you are interested in Aldridge history too.
Ruth had this to say:
Firstly – Thank you so much for you blog – it makes this displaced Midlands lady very homesick! I remember hours of walking across Cannock Chase with our dog, cold evenings enjoying the lights at Walsall Arboretum and so much more, all memories triggered by the wonderful articles you feature.
Secondly – sorry I know these are photos that stray over your borders as they are Aldridge but I hope that they are of interest to some of your followers – and if anyone can name any other team or class mates that would be amazing! Also sorry for the long description of the brickworks photo – I have edited some of Dad’s more personal memories, please feel free to cut again if it then fits better with your blog.
Leighswood Brickworks: From front to back – open scrubland then Beddows clayhole, then brickworks. First chimney stack from left Joberns Brickworks. To the right row of fence posts would have been the boundary of Woods Cottage, the level crossing keepers home which became derelict after the line closed in 1930s and was gradually demolished during the war by people scavenging for wood for fires and any other useable materials.
The line of fence posts and telegraph poles going from left to right was the line of the railway between Aldridge and Shefield.
In the cluster of buildings surrounding the fourth major chimney stool the “Aldridge Bricks and Coal” offices also within this cluster stood the older two storey house of Harry Bounds.
The kilns were surrounded by outer screens during the war to prevent any glow seeping out for enemy planes to see.
Amongst other memories this photo triggered (my Dad thought was probably taken late 40’s, possible even early 50’s) was the abundance of wildlife supported on this scrubland – skylarks, lizards, rabbits and the occasional slow worm. Many of Dad’s relatives worked at Joberns and I have a glass paper weight my paternal grandma won, I believe in a chapel poetry writing competition, which is apparently made from an old milk bottle melted into a greenish splat in one of the kilns!
Dad also recalled his granddad showing him how to crack open iron-stone rugby ball shaped lumps which could be found here – together they sometimes drank the rusty coloured ironstone water contained within… health and safety Dad!
Sorry this is so bitty, but Dad’s hand written description of this one photo (the original was destroyed I’m afraid so all I have is this scan but it was taken originally by Dad) covers two A4 sides and is quite difficult to get my head around, but I hope these few notes make sense.
The other photos, which are all scans from originals I do have are:
The Canal Basin Leighswood with remains of railway support. Canal boats were loaded with coal from Leighswood Colliery” – Dad thought this image was contemporary to the brickworks photo
The football team, the ball reads ‘Tigers 1923-4’ I believe my Granddad George Shaw is the goalie with the flat cap, my Dad thought there was another Shaw (possible Jack), a Baker and a Sly (he thought it might be Len Sly 4th from left on the bottom row)
The class photo is of Aldridge School Class III 1921. My Granddad George Shaw is at the extreme right of the back row. The teacher is possibly Percy Stephens and the only other name my Dad thought he remembered was ‘Leggy’ Hawkins, 4th from the right on the second row down.
I do hope these are of some interest. I can’t help thinking that it might be best, at some time, to arrange a visit up to the Midlands so that you can see what there is in this collection, because while it is all treasure to me, some of it is more than likely stuff you have already seen or will be just too personal or outside your patch to be of interest and I don’t want to drive you bonkers with a drip-drip of emails or inundate you with floods of unusable stuff!
And can I just finish by saying PLEASE keep your blog going, it isn’t just a resource for locals it is a wonderful and fascinating place for all those of us ‘far from home’! Thank you!!
Very best wishes
Ruth – thanks so much for your continued, lovely contributions. I’m really grateful for your generosity. Feel free to bombard me with scans – I don’t mind and haven’t rejected one yet! It’s all interesting, and in my experience, people find fascination in images that are very often mundane to the uninitiated, so please do feel free to continue!
And readers – you know what to do. Please feel free to comment here, or mail me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.
Observations welcome, and handwriting expertise would be welcome, just like last time, please.
Comment here or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!