Last weekend, I made a surprisingly popular enquiry about Sandhills House, Shire Oak, following the spotting of a lovely piece in the Newspaper Archives about wartime air-raid rescue practice there in 1940 – I’ve been surprised at the level of interest there.
I made a glaring mistake in my article, though: I wrote the following:
The first question is, where exactly was Sandhills House? Is it the big house that’s now a care home on the left as you head downhills to Lichfield, where Ralph Ferrie once lived, or was it the farm? The big house is now called Shire Oak House. If that’s the place, why the name change? I can’t find it marked on maps, but it’s clearly an important place as the same paper records its sale in 1925.
It has become clear I was talking out of my arse and Sandhills House is what many of us commonly think of as the farmhouse at Home Form, which from the above modern map is split into two ‘wings’.
Sandhills House appears to be the north-eastern wing of the building which can be seen from the A461 Lichfield Road. Thanks to all including Reg Fullelove who put me right!
This goes to demonstrate something: I looked at old mapping from the National Library of Scotland archive. I looked at Landranger and Pathfinder mapping. But I didn’t look at modern maps quite closely enough. Never forget the old tools like maps in research – but don’t just check the easy ones!
I’m still interested in Sandhills House and the families who lived there: I was surprised and interested to note the standing of Josiah Lane, of whom there has been little mention here before – he seems to have been quite an entrepreneur.
I’m also interested in the Brawn family, who lived there until 1925. They were also movers and shakers in their day, with Mr. Brawn causing fine, upstanding Mr. Harrison some electoral embarrassment…
Brawns also, of course, gave their name to Brawns Wood which used to stand between the canal and Home Farm.
Sandhills House was sold by action in 1925, when presumably the Lane family purchased it.
What can we find from the historical records about Brawns and Sandhills House?
All comment welcome: please do so on this post or mail me: Brownhillsbob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.