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.
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.
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:
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…