Not only customers, but friends

1950 Deakin Jonah & Jane founders of Deakins the Grocers

Image from Gillian Gaiser.


A lovely bit of ephemera relating to Deakins’ Central Stores and Jonah Deakin has been sent in by the wonderfully generous Gillian Gaiser, who donated her wonderful writing about the Deakin family to the blog, published last weekend.

There’s clearly a lot of love for the Deakins and that area of Brownhills, which to be fair is critically overlooked historically.

Gillian has sent scans of a centenary celebration and Christmas card sent out by the Deakin family to customers at Christmas 1950: the hand produced nature of the artwork is gorgeous and the message speaks of a vastly different retail age. What a wonderful thing – I’m so grateful to Gillan for sharing it.

While I’m on the subject, what is the Howdles Lane/Deakin Avenue/Whitehorse Road/South Chasewater called? I’ve been struggling with this for ages; previously I’ve said ‘Newtown’, which I’ve been chided for, as that only really starts at the Chase Road Junction.Or does it?  So what is this locality called?

Please comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Gillian wrote:

Hi Bob,

Further to the photo of Central Stores which I sent to you I am attaching jpgs of the Christmas card sent out by my parents/grandparents on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Central Stores which may be of interest.

It says the business started in 1900 however in 1901 at the time of the census Jonah and Jane with son Charles were noted as living on Hednesford Road and Jonah’s occupation is given as Insurance Agent. It could be that The Stores were in the process of being built at the time… who knows?

I doubt there is anyone left now who can give us the full story!

Good wishes from Gill Gaiser

1950 Deakins the Grocers Jubilee brochure

Image from Gillian Gaiser.

1950 Deakins the Grocers Jubilee brochure inside

Image from Gillian Gaiser.

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8 Responses to Not only customers, but friends

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    It always used to be “Watling Street” or, for postal purposes, “off Watling Street”, even “the back lane” or Chapel Street as it became.
    We’ve seen the use of “The Fort / Fault” for Castle Street and the Knaves Castle area.
    The junction of Chase Road and Watling Street used to be known as “Newtown Bridge” (as distinct from MIddleton Bridge over the canal) and I think my parents saw that as the start of Newtown and the old censuses reflect that. Somewhere there is a transition to Ogley Hay; Coop Corner (Chase Road / Lichfield Road / Ogley Road) included.
    As we have seen from the mapping you have posted previously the area has changed almost completely since about 1960 and these distinctions have been lost. I bet most people passing along Watling Street today don’t notice the bridge at all, but, before the dualling in 1970-ish, there was a kink in the road and the bridge was much more apparent.
    I guess if you want to coin a new generic term for the area, you could say Brownhills North?
    Right then, I’m taking my armchair to Lansdowne Road for the next couple of hours …

  2. Ade Reid says:

    We used to call it the “forgotten corner” on account of it was on the other side of the A5 and if you were ever asked where you lived people would say “that aint Brownhills its Chasetown”Seems people thought that the A5 was the boundary between Walsall and Staffs. I do seem to remember there was talk at one time of it coming under the borough of Hammerwich.Wished it had of done cos I’d of got more money for my bungalow when we sold it just before they built the BNRR..

  3. Andy Dennis says:

    It was in the parish of Hammerwich and the south side of the Watling Street was in Ogley Hay parish. I’m not sure when that changed; maybe it hasn’t, but for administrative purposes, Lichfield was important, then Brownhills, then Walsall became the centre. One change was when Aldridge-Brownhills Urban District Council was formed (1965?), but I think it more likely changed following the Local Government Act 1972, which enabled creation of the Metropolitan Counties and Boroughs, including Walsall, and abolished parish councils in those areas.

  4. aerreg says:

    hi bob aer reg calling i recall when we crossed the parade we went to brownhills west the council houses on jonahs side were under lichfield rural new town started from the bridge toward lichfield caylip smith coaches on the right were the terrace restorant was we never realized there was gold in them there fields ha ha

  5. Gill Gaiser says:

    I don’t recall that area ever having a special name – we were just between Newtown and Brownhills West – we never thought that we belonged to either of those areas. I guess we just lived “on the Watlin”!!

    • Ivor Osborne says:

      Hi Gill My names Ivor Osborne don’t know if you remember me but it was nice to read your story relating to your dad’s shop and the cottages next to it,my grandparents Annie & Sam Shingler lived in one 0f them and when i visited them i seem to remember playing in a sandpit in your back garden.I think the last time we met was at Brownhills Wesley Y C in the 1950’s and alot of water gone under the bridge since then i have been married for 51 years have 3children and 7 grandchildren i look forward to hearing from you love and best wishes Ivor(ps i think 2nd cousin)

      • Did Your granddad show Rabbits – I have a book about Rabbit and Cavy Standards which has the name Sam Shingler of Watling Street Brownhills inside the cover

  6. Victoria Evitts says:

    Hi Gill,

    I just found this wonderful excerpt whilst searching for information about my Grandparents Kenneth Townsend and Margaret Brown. My Father, Stephen, still lives in Hull but he has lost touch with most of his Father’s family so I have started to find out any information I can for myself. It would be very interesting to chat to you.

    I live in New Zealand but can be contacted at vjt(at)mail(dot)com and am also happy to Skype on vjtownsend.

    Thank you – I’m so happy I found this!

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