Do you give a monkeys?

wheatsheaf

The Wheatsheaf shortly before it was demolished, in a cracking photo supplied by Mike Leonard. It stood on the corner of Ogley Road and Mill Road.

Every so often, I get an intriguing question from a reader right out of the blue – and I had just such an enquiry in today which really has me puzzling from reader Margaret King – this concerns a subject we’ve covered a little before, that of wartime evacuees – and one of the favourite historical concerns of readers: local pubs.

Margaret writes:

Hello there,

Apologies for mailing you out of the blue but I Came across your website Brownhills Bob and wondered if you might be able to help me.

My dad during the war evacuated from London to Brownhills and has been thinking of trying to trace where it was he stayed. Unfortunately my grandparents have now both passed away and my dad was only young so memories are not so good.

What he recalls very strongly is a pub on the corner of the road he stayed on and he is convinced it was called the Monkey Puzzle. I’ve had a quick google for this and if this is the correct name then it doesn’t appear to still exist. Would you happen to have heard of a pub named this or similar in Brownhills during the 1940s? Or, if you don’t know or have researched back that far, would you know of any local historians for the area that you could give us the contact details for?

Many thanks for any help you may be able to give.

Kind regards
Margaret King

I have no idea. Several pubs locally were/are on street corners; off the top of my head, The Shire Oak, The Boot, The Wheatsheaf, The Warreners Arms, The Prince of Wales, The Pear Tree, The Jolly Collier and the Railway Tavern were all more or less fitting that description.

The Monkey Puzzle has me totally baffled. I know The Avenues were alleged to have been called Packman’s Puzzle, but I think that’s a more recent affectation, and there was no pub on any nearby corner, unless we count the old Middleton House club.

I welcome views on this – please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thank you.

Tavern

The Railway Tavern – another lost pub pictured here in 1993 by Mike Leonard – stood on the corner of Lichfield Road and Narrow Lane.

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20 Responses to Do you give a monkeys?

  1. Edwina. says:

    There is a pub down the Hednesford Road, I believe its a Thai restaurant now and that has always been known locally as The Monkey, it was originally the Wilkin Inn and was on the corner of Hednesford Road and Wilkin Road.

  2. stymaster says:

    The only pub I know of anywhere nearby with any type of Monkey connection is The Struggling Monkey (now the Lime pits), towards Aldridge, but I’d imagine it’s far too modern, as IIRC Northgate is a relatively recent road, and the pub itself appears modern too.

  3. Barry Gilkes says:

    I think the pub was “The Wilkin” now thw Thai Lanna at the junction of Wilkin Road and Hednesford Road. I think the locals referred to it as the “Monkey”

  4. Pat Coton (nee Hodgkins) says:

    Hi Bob,
    What about the Old Wilkin pub, had that not used to be called The Monkey by the locals years ago? That is truly a corner pub.
    Regards, Pat Coton

  5. Ronald says:

    You are right there Pat,the locals used to call it th monkey My Grandad and grandma used go for a drink ther and used to take me with them ,that has been a long time ago and my couson jack Wigly also used to drink in there,I am 74 now and is was about 7years of age then-Ronald

  6. Ade Reid says:

    Hi Pat that seems a possible explanation.isnt there a rhyme the locals used to recite about a monkey being chased up a pear tree ? All to do with the names of pubs in the area?

  7. aerreg says:

    MORNING ALL REMEMBER THE OLD RHYME THE MONKEY CLIMED THE PEAR TREE AND THE WHITE OSS KICKED HIM DOWN I THINK HE LANDED NEAR THE GOAT SURE TO BE THE WILKIN HA HA

  8. Pedro says:

    From Brownhills Past and Present 1985…

    The W:ind blew up the Watling,
    The Sun shone on the Crown,
    The Monkey climbed the Pear Tree, And the White Horse kicked him down !

  9. Thanks everyone, a huge response here and on Facebook tells me unequivocally this is The Wilkin In.

    One of the pits nearby was also known as ‘The Monkey’ according to ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’.

    We covered the ‘Wind blew up the Watling Street’ last year, which Aer Reg completed the whole poem – but as is his wont, Reg hid it on the blog and I can’t find it in the comments 😉

    The post is at http://brownhillsbob.com/2014/06/08/the-wind-blew-up-the-watling-street/

    I did, of course, forget all about this when I posted in the wee small hours.

    My thanks and gratitude to everyone who helped!

    Bob

    • I can’t help my self – but nothing is true until it is proved not to be false ……
      That’s the “Monkey” not the “Monkey PUZZLE” – is that the same or not?
      There was a landmark monkey puzzle tree nearby on the corner of Watling Street and Hednesford Road – any connection with the request?

      I’ll get my coat on the way out.

  10. Ah, here goes – Reg posted it on his blog.

    It was a winters day in the summer
    The snow was raining fast
    The sun shon on the crown
    The monkey climed the pear tree and the white horse kicked him down
    The prince of wales loft his socks off as the goat came dashing by
    Mrs Doody looked on in wunder
    And all Newtown shouted with joy
    Rule Brittania two tanners mek a bob
    Three mek one and six and four two bob
    The qeens head was not amused

    – Aer Reg

  11. aerreg says:

    HI PEDRO HERE IT COMES IT WAS CHRISTMAS DAY IN THE WORKHOUSE THE SNOW WAS RAINING FAST WHEN A BARE FOOT MON WITH CLOGS ON CAME SLOWLY WIZZING PAST HE TURNED A STRAIGHT CROOKED CORNER TO SEE A DEAD DONKEY DIE WHO LOOKED AT HIM WITH EYES SHUT AND IN SILENCE SHOUTED A CRY RULE BRITTANIA TWO TANNERS MEK ABOB THRE MEKS
    ONE AND SIX AND FOUR TWO BOB
    B

  12. jayne says:

    Yes was Wilkin I grew up there

  13. Clive says:

    Back in the 1970s when i used the Wilkin Inn we called it the monkey and the Rose Villa was and still is called the goat.

  14. Peter says:

    Who needs the TV when we’ve got Pedro and Reg? The new Morecambe and Wise, Hale and Pace, Fry and Laurie, Hinge and Bracket???? Who knows, sign them up to Big Centre TV quick before SKY gets to them………..
    Love the banter and the humour…….. Keep it going

    Peter.

  15. Julie says:

    There used to be a pub called The Monkey Puzzle on the road from Brownhills Streets Corner straight over from the fire station heading to Aldridge. It was on the left hand side on Northgate. It has since changed names but the pub is still there!

  16. Pingback: More Monkey business | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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