We now know who, but where?


OK, so this is the Sally Ann – so where is the building this photo was taken behind? Image from Maria Fitzgerald.

Last weekend I featured a remarkable image very generously supplied to the blog by Maria Fitzgerald, who’d submitted it with some other interesting local photos. Maria didn’t know much about this one, and thought it was taken behind the Brownhills Memorial Hall or Memo.  All she knew was it featured her grandmother.

It turns out (and I should have spotted the fact, really) that this isn’t the Memo.

I had an interesting email from Dianne and Cliff Jones, who knew who the group were – confirming the speculation that there were Salvation Army uniforms in the back row:

Hello Bob

The photo of a group of people.

Top row: Evlyn and Horrace Gibbs ftom Shelfield.

Third row. Second in Mrs Doody, Mrs Emily Jones, Joy Gibbs and Harry Jones all from High Heath.

This was the salvation army over 60s in Brownhills High Street.

Hope this helps.
Dianne and Cliff Jones.

Thanks so much to Dianne and Cliff – but now I’m really interested in where this image was taken. A lawn, to the rear of a dark-brick building, which looks quite old. A fire escape implies a public, or semi-public building, and it seems those may be French windows behind the group.

In the background on the right, a peculiar roofline.

Anybody recognise this place? It’s killing me. Doesn’t look like the Vicarage. The house in the background seems oddly familiar.

Please comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com – please somebody, put me out of my misery.

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12 Responses to We now know who, but where?

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Straw clutching
    Behind the Coop building in High Street..possibly Temple of Loght single story with sloping roof..then Glider garage roof in the background
    I think the Coop building was built in 1930s and had unemployment office inside
    It’s a right old puzzle, this one.
    Can any choral Society members recall that hall, please?
    Kind regards

    • Pedro says:

      During the 1920’s there are a few mentions of the Salvation Hall, Brownhills.

    • No, Sorry. Think about it. That’s possibly a bungalow in front. Certainly lots of hedges. Between the Co-op and the Temple of light there’s the small matter of all the land occupied now by Silver Court, Severn House and Linden Close. Back then, Elkins hardware, terraces, the gasworks.

      Lets look again. The young lady, front row – she has quite modern hair. 70s? 60s? The garden they’re in – there’s a trellis, a rose-arch and what may well be french windows.

      The key is the high roof out back over the hedge. I think this may be an old folks home of some kind. The people don’t have coats. There’s a lot of them. Young lady front row: care asssitant?

      Dunno, just theories, but I’d stake my bike on that being neither the Co-op – which had no garden behind – nor the Sally Ann – which was in a terrace.

      I don’t think this picture is that old.


  2. Sheila K says:

    Hi Bob and all,
    I can remember going to the Salvation Army with my gran when I was very little, so 1959-1960 ish. Their hall was in a row of terraced houses down by the Warreners end of the High Street. Can’t remember going round the back I’m afraid, so can’t swear that this is there.

  3. David Oakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    Clutching the same straw as ‘young David Evans’ I think the building featured in the photo could possibly be the Co-op in High Street. The clue lies in the ‘fire escape’ which provided a means of entrance and exit to to the Co-op Hall which provided a roomy yet secure first floor, above the store which could be used for weddings, Co-op Dividend payouts or any other function approved by the management. This access stairway follows the pattern of many Co-ops built around the same time, and is almost identical to the exterior stairway at Walsall Wood Co-op in the 1930’s’
    The Labour Exchange was accommodated in this building, pre-war, in which ‘signing on’ and the pittance of unemployment pay was doled out. Whether the unemployed used this staircase to an upper room, adjacent to the main hall, I don’t know.

  4. maria fitzgerald says:

    Hi, Bob Thanks for the right location, all ways thought it was the memo, now the sally army was mentioned I remember going to the Sunday morning service with nan ,( Dora Carpenter ) it was in Brownhills high Street I think it was next to the now job center.

  5. peter says:

    Morning……… This one has got me really interested, we haven’t really pinned down a date yet, a couple of suggestions bring it within a 20 year window of 60’s – 70’s, looking at the people on the image I think we might be skewed by the appearance of what looks to be a lot of “little old ladies” and therefore the image must be old, but looking on the back row the “couple” seem to a lot younger and are maybe Managers or Caretakers of the building? If they were relatives invited for the photograph why aren’t there a lot more relatives of a similar age? The younger girl on the front row looks completely out of kilter as does the young lad sat in the middle of the photograph.
    Looking at the bungalow in the background of the image I can’t get the old Brownhills library out of my head, the recently demolished building in Brickiln Street, but I’m far from sure, because of this I’m thinking could it be the old Calvary Mission next door? The building in the image seems to be “L” shaped as do the OS Maps of Brownhills that show the Calvary Mission, although the current Calvary Mission building, built in 1952 looks nothing like this!!!!!!! So is the current building the original one or was there another building there before 1952?. I think the process of identifying this building could be a process of ruling things out one by one. It might be that all the buildings in the image are no longer there of course, Dianne and Cliff Jones mention that the people in the image were the Sally Army over 60’s in Brownhills High Street and Maria thinks it might have been next to where the job centre is now again on the High Street…………….. Looking at pictures published on the blog previously I don’t think it was Mount Zion???
    Any ideas? I was hoping young Pedro might be passing a key board and couldn’t resist tapping on his keyboard for more information on the mentions of the Salvation Hall in the 20’s
    Mind how you go………….


  6. John Anslow says:

    Looking at the perspective of this photograph, I reckon the house on the other side of the road is a substantial semi, built in the early 1930s. The overhanging eaves, hipped roof, recessed section on its left, rendered walls and distinctive, metal-framed windows suggest this date.

    On the extreme right of the photograph we can just make out the end wall of a matching house on this side of the road.

    The main building could also be from this period. So I think we’re looking for a 1930s residential street with a public building such as a library or council house, modern church or meeting-hall: look at the part of the building coming towards us on the left, and the waste pipes from a couple of lavatories on the first floor.

    The older buildings in the distance, which go back at an angle of about 45°, appear to date from the late 1800s. What is that between the two windows on the gable? Could it be a pair of chimney flues?

    And is that a sign on the lawn (bottom left)?

    I agree, Bob, it does seem very familiar; but I suspect we might have to look further afield than Brownhills: possibly Shelfield, Rushall or even Aldridge.

    As for the date of the photograph itself, the hairstyles of the younger folk and the design of the spectacles suggest late 1960s to me.

    • John Anslow says:

      Sorry, I’ve got my lefts and rights muddled (I keep putting myself in the photo!) The sign is bottom right of the picture, and the recessed section of the house is to its right as we look at it.

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