I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about industry in Brownhills, and why so little memory of it seems to come to light – recently, I mentioned Ogley Mill and the Superalloys Works – Brownhills was never a mining town as such, it was instead a town of a fair few trades. Yes, miners lived here, but most of the local mines (except Walsall Wood) were gone by the 1950s, and Brownhills actually made its money metal bashing, casting and assembling.
Brownhills had many noted manufacturing businesses. Crabtree, Geometry International, Edward Rose, Carver & Co, Binks Bullows, Labro, Brownhills Clothing, Strumech, Castings, Midland Record, Butlers, Rowanarc and more – yet these noble companies that provided employment for generations of Brownhills folk seldom get a mention.
Like the Working Men’s Clubs, these places – mostly gone now – were little communities of their own; they provided not just employment, but a social life and meeting place for friends, family and future spouses. They are remembered with love and fondness, yet little record of the lives they contained appears to exist.
I spotted the above advert for sale on eBay last week. No joke, there’s actually some tulip trying to sell adverts cut from old magazines one by one – but helpfully, the photos they’re using in their listings are high quality. This made me recall the Timings Tools factory, tucked in between Brownhills Clothing and the Anchor Garage on Lindon Road. I had no idea they started out making this kind of hardware.
I have a feeling we have an expert on Timings amongst the readership, and I believe they had some connection to RKG Pressings, who used to be in the large factory by Clayhanger Bridge, knocked down in 2004.
So, the question is, what do you know? Please do comment, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.