Personal delivery

Collins parcel service ww2

Collins I believe later became United Carriers, and had a long history in Walsall Wood. If anyone can help with information on this photo, that would be great cheers. Image supplied by Clive Roberts.

I’m always keen to promote the work of other local historians here on the Brownhills Blog; we can never have too many voices in this thing and Clive Roberts, Walsall Wood historian and author is one of the nicest and most diligent of them all – his work on Walsall Wood and Shire Oak has been thorough, but understated, and from his emails to me, Clive is always working on something new of interest.

You’ll no doubt remember Clive has supplied much great material to the blog and has published two books: one on Shire Oak and another on Walsall Wood, both of which have been very well received. Do pick up copies if you can.

The author is now happy to issue copies of either of his books in PDF form on a DVD if required. Comment here if you’re interested and I’ll pass the message on.

I hear he’s now working on a third book, which seems to have some surprises in store. I look forward to seeing what he has up his sleeve!

In the meantime, Clive has supplied this excellent photo of a Collins Parcel Service van. I have no idea of the date or location, but Collins later became United Carriers and were a noted Walsall Wood company for many years.

Any information welcome.

Clive has also tipped me off that he’s started a history resource site to bundle found useful material together in one place: there are great maps, unusual photos, newspaper clippings and more. The maps are brilliant and I may well borrow some…

I wish Clive all the best in his continued careful and thorough work. He really is a local treasure.

Please, comment here or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!


Teesdale 1842 map of Shire Oak: What a poster this is. Note the pubs marked, and Clayhanger Common, and older name than many think. Click for a larger version. Image courtesy Clive Roberts.

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23 Responses to Personal delivery

  1. Pedro says:

    Clive’s site counter on goes up to 99,999!

    All the best for the site.

  2. Dave (Eddy) Edwards says:

    I was only a lad when this photo was taken, I remember the van but have no idea where the photo was taken…..sorry.

  3. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    well done Clive and all the best with the site…the Shire Oak map..seems to show the Fold in Friezland Lane !
    kind regards

    • Hi David

      Don’t think it’s the fold, more The Cape – I’m convinced that farmhouse is one of the oldest continuing presences in Brownhills?Walsall Wood…


      • Peter says:

        I’m not sure Bob, I think David is right in that the map does show the Fold at the top end of what is now Friesland Lane. The Cape was further down and stretched from Lindon Road towards Pauls Coppice etc. I stand to be corrected (like the man in the Orthopaedic shoe) but I think David is spot on.
        Keep up the good work …………


        • Hi folks.

          Can we have a reality check here for a minute, please?

          I understand the attachment some members of the Walsall Wood contingent have to The Fold. But the fold, as documented here, was a close of high-density housing, for most of it’s existence, wedged in amongst other housing on Friezland Lane.

          The Farmhouse – now a cottage – was the only reason Friezland lane existed in the first instance, and that’s why I’m convinced that either the current building, or a precursor of it, is certainly the oldest building in that part of Brownhills, and one of the oldest local sites of modern settlement.

          It’s quite clear from early maps and work done by Clive Roberts and documented in his last book (we’ve all read that, yeah?) that the lane originally came off what is now the Chester Road purely to serve that farm, farming the land that was common in Shire Oak.

          Looking at the roads and tracks, if one wanted to get from that farm encountering the least gradient from Lichfield or Stonnall, the best route topographically is the track through Lanes (formerly Brawns) from Snadhills; up the Chaseter road and straight across the shelf contour Friezland Lane sits on on it’s northeast side. That’s how it came to be.

          Friezland Land didn’t actually go anywhere else for years; this is shown in the mapping record quite clearly. Later, it was extended to the junction with the Brownhills Road, and modern Shire Oak was born.

          The Fold makes no sense existing before the farm. Why build a square or close of high-density houses in the middle of a common serving no industry or resource, with better options close by? Why so dense if there was so much open land?

          However, if one sets The Fold in the context of say, labourer’s housing for a farm growing to supply and increasingly urbanised area, it makes sense, and in keeping with the ribbon development evident in the cartographic record.

          Further – the shape of the mark on the maps mostly shows a block oblique to the road with a lane behind it. That’s still extant.

          David documented only a few months ago that The Cape appeared to reference just that area in documents.

          Clive has done loads on this, and his book is really worth a look.

          Speculation is what this blog’s all about, but lets think about basics here.


          • Hilary says:

            Is it possible that the dotted line on the map above that appears to pass through “Shire Oak” up to the point marked “Anchor” represents the old boundary with the parish of Shenstone. As far as I can tell this runs broadly along the route of Commonside. If this is so, doesn’t that put this settlement further up Friezland Lane than the Cape or am I missing something?

          • Peter says:

            Hi Bob. According to Darryl Preston, who used to live in the Fold, and has previously supplied a hand sketch of the Fold and it’s occupants as he remembered them, the Fold was very close to where Friezland Way is these days. As you suggest perhaps it was demolished as Wrekin View was being built, there or thereabouts.
            Keep up the good work………..

            • Yes, I take that as a given, since it was in the original articles, and dug the maps out. It seems to fall between St. Marks Road and Friesland Way. (it’s circled)


              Really do suggest reading Clive’s book on this one – copies still available. Hopefully he’s passing and will offer sagely counsel.

              Part of the issue is the map you’re looking at – until the OS got on the scene, maps like Yates and this Teesdale one were all over the shop. Hillary raises an interesting point, but if the boundary existed before the roads, do they follow the same route or were they ameliorated together? I’d tenure on the Teesdale that’s a lost watercourse it’s following.

              Note the scale and course of the canal is way out, and other geographic relationships are sqew-whiff….

              Her’s a map broadly contemporaneous with the Teasdale – I think about a decade older.

              This is produced by the OS – it shows the lane terminating at a settement I believe to be the farm.


              Still not great, but I can’t see any sense in this without there being a farm there. A farm needs a cart track. Houses just need a footpath.

              • Hilary says:

                Hi Bob, can you please look out for an e-mail I have sent this afternoon re the roads in this area and how they were set out in the Inclosure Award documentation….don’t know if it helps at all but see what you think. Also, I would be interested in buying a Dvd of Clive’s books if one becomes available.

                • Clive says:

                  Hello Hilary. My first book on Shire Oak is now avaible on DVD in PDF format. My second book on Walsall Wood is available as a book only at the moment, there just a few copies left, and you can obtain one from the corner shop in Friezland lane, also Egans shop Brownhills High St and Walsall Wood Library. If you don`t live local you can get a copy off Ebay, just type in Walsall Wood and you should find it!
                  With reference to the boundry that runs down Commonside it also goes upto Street Corner to the old Shire Oak tree which was a boundry marker and that tree was menstioned in the star chamber report; date c1535.
                  forgot to say if you want my first book which is in PDF fomat they have a copy at Walsall Wood Library.
                  Hope this is of use to you!
                  Cheers Clive

  4. Clive says:

    Cheers Bob I`m blushing now. Yes I`m doing some research for my next book, which will cover Brownhills and sorounding villages. Should be complete in about 2 years time.
    Snippets of history in and around Walsall Wood there just 8 books left.
    Cheers Bob, and the readers of the Blog.

    • Dave (Eddy) Edwards says:

      Hello Clive
      I worked at Collins Express and then United Carriers for most of my working life
      (and before as a lad) I don’t have any photos and my memory may not be the best
      but as I started at Collins as a van boy in 1961 and worked at Walsall Wood till 1979
      and then at depots in Kidwelly, Caerphilly and Bidford on Avon before returning to Walsall Wood in the late 90s I may be able to assist in some way with your research.
      Dave (Eddy) Edwards

  5. Clive says:

    Hello Dave. Thanks for the offer, any memory or names of people that worked there would be very usfull mate.

  6. Hilary says:

    Hi Clive, that’s brilliant, thank you for the info.

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  9. Peter Green says:

    Collins had a significant fleet of Bedford vans painted blue . The photo however is of a smaller Austin . They were on the 461 more or less where the car spares retailer is now .

  10. David Evans says:

    Hello Peter
    if you earth Walsall Wood and wind the clock back to 1945. The Collins Express Parcel yard shows the end of Brook Lane where it meets the A461, more or less opposite the Methodist Church , which is still there. Kind regards

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