A Bill you can’t ignore


Thought to be Mount Pleasant, Brownhills: but we’re not sure. Can you help? Image kindly supplied by Bill Mayo via David Evans.

Here’s a quick one via David Evans from that highly respected great grandfather of local photographic and oral history Bill Mayo – Bill and his wife, Clarice have been behind some of the greatest and most appreciated local history photo books about our area, including Memories of Old Brownhills, Memories of Old Walsall Wood and Memories of Brownhills Past.

Bill’s contribution to local history has been immense over the years, and I’m very grateful to both he and David for supplying material to use here. Much appreciated, chaps, thank you.

You may remember we helped Bill last year with an image that led to the recovery and rededication of a remarkable piece of local history.

Anyway, on with the images at hand.

David wrote:

HI Bob

The above image has been kindly donated by local historian and noted author Bill Mayo, with a request.

It would seem that the photo was taken outside Mount Pleasant Primitive Methodist Church, Watling Street, Brownhills, but we are not able to decipher the wording on the chapel notice boards

Please can your good readers also help to date the photo… some sort of whitewashing ‘bee’, seems to be a similar event to the one that took place in Clayhanger during the general strike

Could we possibly identify some of the decorators?

I am also delighted to be able to offer the below image the Bill has kindly shared of the legendary steamboat on Norton Pool, courtesy of local historian and author Mr. Bill Mayo.

I believe the boat is shown moored in ‘The Channel’ which was on the south side of the Pool, and would have probably been taken sometime around 1900.

I would like to thank Bill Mayo sincerely for offering this wonderful picture.

Kind regards

We have mentioned the steamboat before, in this article, in which I noted Chasetown publican J. Donaldson was the operator of the ill-fated enterprise to run the steamboat for pleasure trips on what was then Norton Pool; this advert was published in the Lichfield Mercury, as found by Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler.

From the Lichfield Mercury, May 1899.

I believe the other active local historian Clive Roberts has done a lot of research on the Donaldson steamboat service, and has some fascinating material to come in a future book. Stay tuned for news of that.

Thanks to David and Bill – if you have anything to add about either photo, please do comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at goolgemail dot com. Cheers!


Those legends of a steamboat on Chasewater? Here it is… `image courtesy of Bill Mayo, via David Evans.

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5 Responses to A Bill you can’t ignore

  1. Gill says:

    I have this photo which came to me from Edna Fletcher nee Bedford a few years ago. She told me that it was of members of Park View Chapel on Watling Street involved in a white washing of the inside of the chapel and there are about 4 Deakins/Shinglers on the photo. It was perhaps taken around 1916 – don’t think it was as late as 1926 when the strike was on.

  2. Pedro says:

    Looking at the photo it looks as if there were different types of workmen involved?

    In July of 1923 there is a mention of a garden fete held in a field lent by J Deakin, the proceeds going to the renovation of the Watling Street Prim Methodist Church…Mr R Street led the Choir

  3. Gill Gaiser says:

    There were 2 chapels close by where I grew up. Park View was the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and it was “up” the Watling St. towards the school on the corner with Chapel Ave while the Mt. Pleasant Chapel was “down” the Watling St., on the same side as Park View but past The Fault and close to the canal and it was the Primitive Methodist Chapel. I think all the people in the photo were chapel members. Our family attended Park View – but I particularly remember the Harvest Festivals at Mt. Pleasant. Central Stores was on the same side of the street as both of the Chapels while The Hollies [the house that Jonah Sr. built after Jonah Jr. took over the Stores in 1933] was on the opposite side of the street [same side as Foxes Row].

  4. Pedro says:

    As Clive is featuring the steamboat in a future book he may be interested…

    Looking back to the steamer on Norton Pool in 1899, I noticed that there was also a Norton Branch of the Midland Sailing Club for the yachting fraternity. The history of Chasewater on the Wildlife site says that it was set up around 1897 and sailed until the turn of the century. A pavilion being built near the present Sailing Club.

    The Chase Sailing Club site shows their recent 59th Annual General meeting, so was there a gap of 50 odd years?

    The Midland Sailing Club now operates from Edgbaston reservoir, and their site seems to ignore any history.

    Well it seems that the MSC was newly formed and held their first annual dinner in November 1894. The reservoir at that time was known Rotton Park.

    The first mention I can find for the Norton Branch is in 1901, and describes the first season regatta and first annual meeting. The new pavilion proving commodious in every way, and the Club doing work of great importance in enabling the rudiments of sailing to be learnt on Norton Pool, and possibly may have done a great service to the country.

    There are other mentions up to 1915, and then one in 1939 when FV Foster was Commodore.

  5. Pedro says:

    Maybe of interest is an advert for small steamer on Spade-Mill Pool at Sutton Park…


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