The Model


North side. Not the the canal basins, centre left bottom, and the Lichfield Road, High Street junction, centre left. Image courtesy of Bill Mayo via David Evans.

A remarkable pair of images surfaced a couple of weeks ago from local historian Bill Mayo via the wonderful David Evans – these are photographs of a civic town planning proposal by, or to Brownhills Urban District Council in 1965.

The photos were most probably taken by Edgar Pritchard, brother of Sid, whose book of memoirs compiled by Bill Mayo is still available from Brownhills Library at the Parkview Centre.

The model is fascinating – sadly my efforts to join the two images failed due to the contrasting angles, but there is only a little bit missing in the lower centre. Note that Ravens Court, Silver Court, the ‘new’ clinic in Pier Street are all there, but the town is bypassed by a dual carriageway cutting through the Silver Street area. Sadly, the heights look a bit odd, because to clear the underpass at Lindon Drive, it would have needed to look like the Westway.

In a lot of ways, it’s sad – brave new world, right there – but in others, maybe not so much.

David had this to say:

Hi Bob

Some weeks ago I was helping Bill Mayo with preparation work for his latest book. Among the piles of notes and scraps of paper being studied and sorted we were astonished to see these two large photos, which may be of some interest to your blog readers and may generate some discussion.

The two top quality, clear photos measure 10 inches by 8 inches and at first sight seem to be of one model. But I wonder, were there two models and hence two possible schemes for a new town centre in Brownhills in January 1965, as the photos dont actually seem to fit?

[They are the same model, but the angles are wildly different, and join briefly in a triangular overlap at the top – Bob]

I believe at the time of the model – 1965, Brownhills UDC was part of Staffordshire County Council, and then merged with Aldridge UDC in 1966 to become Aldridge-Brownhills UDC, but still remaining part of Staffordshire County, until 1974 when the UDC become part of Walsall Metropolitain Borough, and therefore the West Midlands.

kind regards

Thanks to David and Bill for a remarkable thing.

What happened to the model? Does anyone know the circumstances of the construction of it and related plans? This reminds me of something from much later

Please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.


South side. Catcall canal Junction is bottom right, the long gone Silver Court Gardens on the lower left. Note Silver Court and the blocks of flats. Image courtesy of Bill Mayo via David Evans.

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4 Responses to The Model

  1. Adam. Derry says:

    The hills is a great place I’ve lived here all my days with good people at its heart but we are sick to the back door with no investment from the people we pay our tax’s to . yes they have built a lot households witch the town needs but what about the high street we need investment .just look at what we have about us ….. The spot common chase water and all the open woodland brownhills is a goldmine but Walsall council seem to be missing that . come on fellow browhillians lets make our town a great place to live again

  2. Alan Dawson says:

    As always the last place to have any improvement done to it,with all the derelict land available the place could have been completely transformed , all the plans and promises have not been kept ,so now we are left with House building on land that could have been used to transform the place and a rubbish Town centre with no proper bus station just bus stops every 50 yrds down the main street I have lived in Shire Oak for over 35yrs And nothing lasts in Brownhills Not even a McDonalds. Its all a load of Tosh.

  3. There was vision. I do wonder what happened to it. I also wonder if it had all gone ahead whether Brownhillians would be moaning about the awful state of the 60/70s architecture that replaced the slum, I mean twee dwellings and shops and then I remember what you are actually stuck with. Complicated isn’t it? I do like the fact that there was such a vision though

    • I think, had it been built, it would be worse now than the grottiest bits of Coventry with the elevated highways. That bit around the tower blocks sticks with me – that would have been higher than shown and would have been awful to live near

      But yes, civic vision. The loss of it – however misguided it occasionally was – is very sad.


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