Carving a name…

Carvers 200 Years1

Carver and Co., Engineers were a very large employer in Brownhills for years, up until the late 1990s – they were one of Walsall’s oldest companies,. In later years they made caravan heaters and other accessories, and sold the business to a German company. The high tech stuff stayed with a parent company, Carver Technology, based in Aldridge, and I believe the clamps they were also famous for are still made locally. Image from ‘200 years of Carvers Walsall’.

In a charity shop last week I had a real find, something I’ve been looking for for ages; I’d heard it talked about, but never actually seen a copy for sale in the wild – but there it was – for less than a fiver, I walked out of the shop with a copy of ‘200 years of Carvers Walsall’.

Carvers still exist as Carver Technology and are based in Aldridge, on the site of the former clinic off Northgate, but up until the late 1990s they had a large factory at the very top of Coppice Lane in Brownhills, where they manufactured caravan accessories and workshop clamps. They employed lots of local people in their heyday, and up until they sold the caravan heater business, they were still largely a family concern, and had a good reputation in the industry and in the community.


A remarkable work, that must have cost a lot of money to produce.

Carvers in various forms is one of Walsall’s oldest companies, and used to have a whole display in Walsall Museum; they started out making whips and other equine accessories in Walsall.

The book I purchased was published in 1976 in a very limited quantity, and very professionally documents the history of the business and Carver family up until that point; I’m not really sure how wide the distribution was, but I imagine it was pretty much limited to employees and customers.

The book is very professionally produced, researched and written, and bound in a high-quality heavyweight board cover. Approximately A5 in size, it stretches to 52 pages, and features a wealth of information, and some surprisingly good pictures and archive material, including maps and catalogue pages.

One of the most interesting things about this work is that it doesn’t really slip into family mawk or sentimentality; it’s a very thorough document of a manufacturing business and is a treasure trove of information. I’m genuinely impressed by it.

Carvers 200 Years 2

‘200 years of Carvers Walsall’ contains some surprising images – like this high-level shot of Church Hill, presumably from the 1970s. I assume it’s taken from the maisonettes in Lower Rushall Street.

I’ve scanned the book and assembled it as a PDF, and you can download a copy below. I’ve heard it talked about for years, and only ever seen one copy, which I never got chance to scan. Like many things in local history, I heard of it long before I could ever share a copy – like the Cinefilm Club’s relabel footage, Reg Fullelove’s 1934 Carnival Film and the BBC Domesday material.

You can download ‘200 years of Carver Walsall’ at the link below – it’s a large file so may take a while to download on slower connections:

‘200 years of Carvers Walsall’ PDF 21.4 megabytes

Please feel free to download a copy, read it and if it jogs memories – either of the saddlery, lorinery trades, or perhaps if you worked at Carvers in any of it’s incarnations, please feel free to comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

I’m chuffed to mint balls with this…

Carvers 200 Years

What a fantastic family photo. These chaps must have come over as quite the monstinks!

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8 Responses to Carving a name…

  1. Mick P says:

    Exellent find Bob. Jos Carver was one of my scout leaders when I was in the 3rd Walsall Sea Scouts in the late 1970s. He must have been in his 60s back then, so I doubt he’s with us now, though you never know. A very kind, patient and gentle man.

    • Muriel says:

      Thanks so much for you lovely comments. Jos was my dad who sadly passed away in 1990 at the age of 65. I am amazed the book ended up in a charity shop. Bob was right, the book was given to colleagues, customers and family members. I remember the celebrations of 200 years well, I was 8 years old and my big sister made me a dress for the occasion. Muriel.

      • Muriel, thanks for the kind words.

        Hope you don’t mind me making the book available here – it’s such a wonderful and unusual bit of local history.

        If you had anything you would like to share about Jos or Carvers, I’d be happy to post it for you.

        No pressure, just a thought.

        Thanks and best wishes

  2. I think the photograph from Lower Rushall Street is later than the 70s purely because it looks as though Eyland’s is ‘closed’; the display windows aren’t dressed and they were on my last day working in Walsall tax office, (seen very clearly), in 1984! Also the shop on the corner underneath the tax office was a suede and leather clothes shop when I left. It isn’t the photo. Finally, the tax office looks well and truly shut. I can’t remember exactly when the building was vacated but wasn’t very long after I left. So at a guess about 1985-ish.

  3. Clive says:

    Hello. I worked at Carvers, Engine Lane Brownhills between 1974 to 1979, some of the people I can remember are: Jos; John and David Carver also Alan Wright. on the shop floor: Ken Woodhouse; Cyril Wrighton; Glenda Wiggin; Dot Smith; Margret Lee; Phil Phinemore; Rob Smith; Charlie Mann; Ernie Boulter; Joe Terry; Paul Butler; Micky Roberts; Mrs Sault; David Swan; Clem Swan; Ossy Noble; Ron Platt; Dennis Horobin. There are lots more that I can remember there faces but not there names. Are any of you out there?

  4. Geoffrey Boulton says:

    I remember Jos as the District examiner for the Scout Mechanic Badge. I passed.
    With another leader at 3rd Walsall Sea Scouts he organised “KineScout Productions” which made 16mm films of Scouting activities, local events and film versions of books by the childrens’ author Percy F Westerman. My school friend Tony Read was in the 3rd Troop (I was in the 13th QMS) and acted and helped with production. He came from Cheslyn Hay originally but moved to Walsall when his mother kept the White ? pub on Park Street. Tony went on to be a famous TV writer and producer. He died earlier this year. Geoffrey Boulton.

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