Breaking the ground

Brownhills Gazette October 1989 issue 1_000001

The first ever Gazette – later than I thought, October 1989. Click for a larger version.

Last weekend, I had the good fortune, courtesy of the young David Evans to be able to feature here the November 1994 issue of the long lost, but not forgotten local freshet/magazine for Brownhills, The Brownhills Gazette.

Since I posted that article, Brian Stringer, sometime Editor and contributor to the Gazette has been in touch with David, and generously allowed full access to his almost complete collection of these wonderful time capsules.

David has since been very selflessly hard at work over a hot scanner emailing me the results.

Today, I share the first issue, number 1 from October 1989. I must admit I thought it started earlier than that, although there does appear to have been an earlier incarnation also published by Baker Bond in Browhills High Street – which was actually at Laburnum Cottage, not as I previously stated, Providence House. I think I man just remember that – it could’ve been printed on glossy paper, often in blue or red. Am I imagining that?

The first issue is interesting due to the heavy local school content. I have no idea what CPVE and TVEI were. The article about crack – a moral panic of the day – also raised a wry smile.

The content would soon broaden out to local news, politics, campaigns, sport and local history.

You can check out the gallery at the foot of the post, or download the PDF version.

Brian Stringer sent me a lovely email, with some more information. Here’s what he had to say:

Hi Bob,

Just been alerted to the latest blog item, by the young Dave Evans. He said I might be interested, and was he right? Thanks very much for your kind words, as its comments like that, that make one look back and realise it was all worth while.

I saw David Evans at the match on Saturday and told him that I still have most of the old Gazettes and he is keen to have a nose, so I will look them out for him.

I read the front page article on the edition you put on the Blog and it was only at the end and seeing my name that I realised I’d wrote it. That happens a lot as you get older and I’m sure in a few years time you’ll look back on your Blog and think, ‘Did I write that?’

[I already do that – very often with stuff I wrote the week before! – Bob]

I only edited the Gazette for the first couple of years, but carried on contributing for a long time after that because I enjoyed the archives column and the ‘Out Of The Wood’ reports.

Yes, I like to think we achieved a few things along the way, but the one I was most proud of was the setting up of a ‘blood donor service’ at the Memo. Previously the nearest was at Norton Canes, so I contacted a guy called Kingsley Black in Birmingham, who set the wheels in motion provided I could find a venue. The Trustees at The Memo came up trumps with tea and biscuits etc and our first session coincided with the outbreak of the war in Iraq when blood banks were crying out for supplies. I remember Crabtrees letting the staff have time off to give blood and the Memo was swarming with donors all day, me among them.

John Sylvester was the owner of Baker Bond and I saw him too, today and he will be looking at the Blog and say’s he’ll drop you a line.

I’ll be in touch later and tell you a tale from the archives, but that’s enough of hogging the blog for now.

Keep up the good work mate,

Cheers to Brian and David for sharing a wonderful thing, that’s part of our community history.

If you have any other copies, or memories, please do comment or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Brownhills Gazette issue 1 October 1989 – PDF format

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44 Responses to Breaking the ground

  1. mickysix says:

    If you come across the copy with the photograph of the whole of the school of boys at The Central 1959/60 could you please post or send me it via email. I thought I had a copy of that issue but its a later copy which my mom saved. I saw the actual photograph in the late 70’s early 80’s for the very first time. I never saw it when at school else I would have kept the original as I and my brother are both on it. John has only ever seen the picture that was published in the Gazette. Some years ago i tried to get in touch with the publishers but my letter was returned address unknown no longer here! so I gave up.

  2. David Evans says:

    Hi mickysix
    I think there will be a lot of interest in every one of the issues as they appear online in due course.Scanning on my non-decimal scanner is taking me quite a while….so sit back, relax, have a jar of tincture, chew a plug of twist….whittle a woggle..we will get there.

  3. Clive says:

    Big thank you to Dave Bob and Brian. Nice one chaps.

  4. andyropes7 says:

    Great reading and looking forward to more coming through, John Sylvester of Baker Bond and Brian Stringer played big parts of Walsall Wood FC back in the day with their Chairmanship and editing and printing of programmes ‘Out of the Wood’
    Excelprint Ltd (Mark, Ian and David Sylvester three proud sons of John and Val) now in Empire Close Aldridge continue the excellent work with our Football Programmes. FTGOTW

  5. Dennis Powell says:

    Great to see this again. I don’t think I have ever been so nervous. That meeting was so well attended and was the pre-cursor of Shire Oak School gaining Grant Maintained status.

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