From Brownhills to Brandwood – a sad but fascinating history

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A brilliant blog by Paul Ford, top local history wonk from Walsall Local History Centre. Click on the image to visit the article.

Hanging on by my fingernails as I am at the moment, I keep meaning to push this remarkable post from the excellent Wyrleyblog – a  from Walsall Local History Centre’s top researcher and historian, Paul Ford.

As one would expect from Paul and his stunning blog, it’s an excellently presented and information-packed description of the records relating to Thomas James, a soldier lost to a bullet from the Great War, but in a very tragic way. Thomas lived in Brownhills for a while, and both I and Paul would welcome anything you can add.

Please do go and read this article – it’s a brilliant example of how the internet is bringing local history closer to all of us in a way that wasn’t possible before.

Paul has other great recent articles – one on an interesting bit of detective work in Walsall after a body was fopund in the canal at Pleck in 1915, and on the history of Highfields House in Bloxwich (Highfields is a remarkably common name, it seems, a point other historians may wish to consider when making wild assertions…).

While we’re on a Great Wyrley tip, Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler found this today in a the Village’s Millennium Souvenir publication. I love the way it’s written:

Great Wyrley Millennium Souvenir

It was in the middle of the night, during October 1940 that the chickens at Hall’s poultry farm in Norton Lane had an early awakening and Mr. Evans cows at his smallholding known as Cocksparrow Hall, in Norton Lane, had an awful fright.

The few houses in the cart track called Love Lane felt the shake from the bomb that fell near where Love Lane became a footpath to the Watling Street. Being way out in the fields it took some 14 hours to locate the crater, which was about 14 feet in diameter and 10 feet deep.

In that same year Mr. Herbert Badger was walking along Gorsey Lane when he heard the swish, which he recognised as that of a falling bomb. Together with others they searched the open fields between the lane and the railway without success. It was in early morning when a Mr. Smith on his way to Sadlers Farm with his pony and trap to collect his milk, that the bomb exploded.

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The road system, and ever-expanding urbanisation has taken it’s toll on the lanes around Great Wyrley, but I do wonder if there’s witness to the explosions still in the landscape? Imagery from Google Maps. Click for a larger version.

Ernie boasted that his pony moved faster than any Derby winner!

A pile of stones used for repairing the roads and which had been stacked at the junction of Gorsey Lane and Holly Lane, was scattered over the lane and a slight crack was seen in Holly Lane.

Earlier in August 1940, 100 incendiary bombs were dropped in a field at Little Wyrley, setting fire to a few sheaves of wheat.

The ARP likened it to firework night.

The bus services between Cannock and Walsall had to be suspended for some hours when an unexploded bomb was found in a field near the Walsall Road at Newtown…

If you have anything to add to this, I’d be glad to hear it – please do comment here or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

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2 Responses to From Brownhills to Brandwood – a sad but fascinating history

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    huge thanks to three people for this fascinating Paul, Pedro, and to your good self….Appreciate all your hard work..Give your fingernails a rest now and then.
    kind regards

  2. Pingback: Our Albion | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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