A lovely thing reaches me from Jill Manchester of Walsall Wood, who’s sent me some lovely old postcard images of the village – scanned beautifully, I have to say – together with some images matched as closely as possible from the same viewpoint in 2006.
I can say as a person who’s tried to do this on several occasions, it’s much harder to execute well than it looks – and Jill has made a fantastic job of it. My attempts were atrocious, I have to say!
Jill had this to say:
Having seen photos on your blog that others have sent you, I wonder whether the attached pictures of Walsall Wood might be of interest?
The original pictures are a set of postcards, sadly undated, which were sent to my father, by his younger sister, when he was serving in the Navy during WW11,’to remind him of home’.
I took the second set from as close as I could get to original viewpoints in October 2006. By this time my aunt was quite elderly but talked endlessly of her childhood in Walsall Wood and I had the idea of reminding her of home!
My father was Harry Beardsmore and his sister was Ellen. They also had a younger brother George. They lived in Vigo Road as children, and later in Coronation Road.
If you need any further information I’m happy to help if I can!
PS I Still live in Walsall Wood!
Thanks Jill for such a wonderful thing – I’m honoured and proud to be able to run these pictures here, and if you have anything further you’d like to share, or anything you’d like to ask readers you’d be most welcome!
What the images demonstrate very well is just how much distortion there is in old photos. I’m not a camera buff at all, and optics always baffled me, so I don’t know if it’s the photographic technology of the day or the printing process itself – but if one looks at the image of St. John’s Church it really is remarkable. Does anyone have any insight on this, please?
I’m sure readers will have comments to make: and not just the Walsall Wood contingent! Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks
Glad you liked the pictures!
hi jill don’t suppose you have any pictures of the old cottage next to the hawthorn inn please as i lived there as a chlid and can’t seem to find any many thanks
A lovely piece of work, Jill, thank you very much. It’s particularly enjoyable and interesting to me because my father was born and spent the first four years of his childhood in a house adjacent to your father! His oldest sibling, my Aunt Mary (born 1913) left some autobiographical notes about the family’s time at The Vigo, that I raided for some posts on my blog. She mentions her best mate Louie Beardsmore.
Thank you for your kind words.
I think it must have been my grandad’s sister who was the friend of your aunt. She was Louisa Beardsmore born in 1909. They were a large family with10 children, my grandad was eldest, born in 1897.
Hi There Jill. My name is David Jones and Louisa Beardsmore was my mother. She married my father Horace Jones. We lived on the site where the fire station now is.
Hi David! That means you are my dad’s cousin! Did you know my dad or his brother and sister, Harry, Ellen and George? They’re all gone now sad to say. I have done some work on the family tree. If you’re interested in that sort of thing I can probably send you a link to my Ancestry tree?
Great to hear from you.
many thanks to Jill, who may be in the parade photos in Fit for a Queen blog article, in fact.
Good place to grow up in was Coronation Road!
the old photo of the church shows two cenotaphs-not the War memorial- in front of the church. I wonder whose they were. They’ve both long since been removed.
Very interesting photos. I have a special interest in the first photo, being a former resident(1965-1967) of the bungalow under construction, I have seen this photo before in a local history book, but I can’t remember the title. I do remember the date quoted for that particular photo, in the book as 1930.
Many thanks for posting.
The book is Brownhills and Walsall Wood on old picture postcards by Jan Farrow. I don’t know if it is still available, I have had mine a long time! The cover is yellow with a picture of Church Street Brownhills.
As Any one got pics of the old vigo road, near queen street I was born number 3 in the old railway house. Maiden name Plant, mom Hilda dad samuel.
Remember your house quite well, sited about halfway down the rabbit bridge. Remember your Mom and Dad and brothers Jimmy and Billy and wasn’t there a younger sister, Jean ? I was in the same class as Billy, at the local church school, in the 1930’s. Well, well, all those years ago, eh ? Best wishes.
Great pictures, good work.
In 1937 my mother’s grandfather, Daniel Carter, married a woman named Louisa Mycock, and they lived at her place, 27 Brookland Road (I don’t know if the house numbering is the same today). He, even at the age of 72, was a grave digger across the road, and she ran a chip ship in a front room. Anyone know anything? Louisa Carter died in 1945, and my family lost contact, so I don’t know if the chippie died with her.
Good morning Adny
there was a chippie, near the Boodtub cinema, in Brookland Road that was still going strong after the war…Perhaps David Oakley can help with more details. There was also a George Mycock..related? who was a well known figure in Walsall Wood.He appears in the far pavilion article. In more recent years the gravesigger was Geoff Woodward, another well knownlocal man, also a football club important figure, like George.
Louisa (nee Phillips) had a son named George, born about 1900, described as an insurance agent in the Probate Calendar (as executor) 1945. The probate also says May Cottage, number 27, so that is the place, and my Mom’s notes describe it as a double-fronted house nearly opposite the cemetery – from Google Earth it is near where the wall turns a corner at the end of the old part of the cemetery.
From a transcript of the will, I gather the place was sold and the proceeds (£500-odd) divided between nine children. Poor old Daniel didn’t get a penny.
The Bloodtub Cinema is unfamiliar.
gooin up the wood blog article has a photo of the road and shows the cinema..proper name was the Palace..there may other photos in other articles. i believe there was another bloodtub….a sort of travelling theatre in lichfield Road Brownhills not far from the miner island.
Lovely name for a cinema or theatre,!
i think George lived along Salters Road Walsall Wood.He was a Dads Army soldier and president of Walsall Wood football club, if its the same chap.
I don’t know anything else about George.
Presumably the flats at Lee Court are where the cinema used to be.
My sincere thanks to Jill for the series of photographs of Walsall Wood, particularly the older views , which I still remember so clearly. I remember the Beardsmore’s living in Aldridge Road, which was the heart of the Vigo, and the subsequent removal to Coronation Road by a section of the family in 1937. Remember your father quite well, Jill, perhaps a couple of years older than me, and your Aunt Ellen, who I remember as quite a fine singer as a young lady.
To Andy, with the benefit of Google Earth, I was able to see that May Cottage is still there, albeit a little ‘poshed up’. The front has been rendered quite nicely, and the downstairs windows are smaller than the original windows as I remember. I remember Mrs Mycock who ran the fish shop from the 30’s until the early war years, it was then taken over by Mabel, Mrs Mycocks daughter, who married a Mr. Clayton. As is usual, the name ‘Mycock’s ‘ for the business, persisted for some time, before ‘Clayton’s ‘ became familiar to customers. I believe the business was closed while Mabel ran it, after a few years. The husband of the proprietor was quite a shadowy figure, at the time, appearing infrequently with a container of potatoes and a muttered brief consultation with the missus. I think I remember Mr. Carter in this capacity. As a white-haired elderly man.
This train of thought led to memories of the fish shops which served the village in the 30’s and early 40’s. Five in all, plus the Wye Knot, which came later on the scene, at the bottom end of High Street, the name was later corrupted to Why Not by villagers. There was Mycocks, already mentioned, Copes at Vigo corner, Beamands, opposite Oak Park, Boden’s in Coppice Road and Corns, in Lindon Road (Pauls Coppice area). All serving delicious fish and chips. Particularly to our voracious young appetites. Thanks for the memory !
Thanks, David. That all fits. Daniel Carter was a keen grower of vegetables, even very late in life, and from photographs he did have a thatch of white hair. He died in 1950, age 85, at Chapel Street, Brownhills, where he lived with a daughter after Louisa died.
Hi David. Great to know you remember my dad and my aunt. My grandad lived with his parents and 9 siblings in Aldridge Rd. until he moved, with his wife and three children, to Coronation Rd. in 1937. (according to my mom on Coronation Day!) My Grandma died in 1940 and in 1951 he remarried. My dad was his eldest son, Ellen was the only daughter and George was their younger brother.
My auntie Ellen was still singing at every opportunity until her death! She performed professionally all over the locality in various venues, including variety shows at the Avion in Aldridge in her younger days but she was well known in the family for bursting into song on many, many occasions!
Hi Jill, glad you mentioned the Avion, as this was the first time I heard Ellen singing professionally on a large stage, to a large audience. Most people in Walsall Wood were aware of Ellen’s singing capabilities, from the modest little concerts at the Church Hall, where she appeared from an early age. I worked as a projectionist at the Palace cinema in Brookland Road, during the start of the 1950’s, a largely wooden structure, which unfortunately caught fire at that time, needing extensive rebuilding which closed the cinema for some months. The projectionists were seconded to the Avion, who owned the Palace , together with the Dale, at Willenhall. Just as the variety shows were starting up. These shows were first-class, with many top national artists engaged. I learnt so much about lighting and other artistic requirements, as well as seeing and hearing the lovely Ellen, an more than one occasion.
On a more sombre side. I recall the sad news that one of your great-uncles had been fatally injured at the Hamstead Colliery, a pit just outside Great Barr. As a mining village and as a close-knit Vigo community, these tragic losses occurred all too often and everyone grieved for the young widow, Violet and baby son Brian. Incidentally, Brian. A big strapping lad, turned into a fast bowler of no mean achievement, a few years later. Best wishes, David.
Thank you for the lovely comments about Auntie Ellen – she would have loved to have known that I was talking to you about her!
Your reminiscence of the young miner who perished intregued me as I had never heard the story in the family. I did some research on the family tree and found that his name was Arthur Beardsmore, who lived at 7, Castle Road, and was only 29 at the time of his death. His young son was only 4. So sad. Arthur was actually a first cousin to my Grandad, Harry Beardsmore. I have updated my family with the information you provded – thank you!
Jill, have you seen the articles in Lichfield Mercury 18 & 23 May 1940?
No I haven’t Andy. Can you send me a link? Or a clue as to how I can find them please?
Slight error – Birmingham Daily Post. I subscribe to findmypast dot co do uk which includes a newspaper archive. Other suppliers are available. Such a lot of fascinating stuff! Will send a PM via Ancestry.
hi david you have got my old brain working am i wright in thinking that years ago yhe simpsons family from brownhills were owners of the cinema up brooklands road also in my mind i can recall a double fronted house on the right hand side opposite that became a workshop or garage i spent a lot of my early working days in walsall wood names like charley glover in queen street echob chemist mr yomens tommy blakemores yard brook lane was just a track the cutting to shire oak holly lane was just a lane the imortal black cock bridge oh happy days god bless
So many old memories, Reg, and all of them spot on. Enoch Simpson from Brownhills , did own the Palace cinema for some years, with Harry Russell his right-hand man. Harry went on to be manager of the Avion at Aldridge, later on. My earliest memory is of walking up the three wooden steps and seeing Mr. Simpson in the paydesk, armed with a roll of tickets. He always acted as his own cashier, and would leave shortly after the start of the film with the takings in a carpet bag. His car was always parked in front of the cinema.
The house you refer to Brookland Road, used to belong to Adam Smith, a milkman, who went on his daily round with two heavy cans of milk and a half pint measure. The sheer weight of these cans, carried for so many years, took its toll on Mr. Smith, bowing him down, so even when relieved of his burden, he stooped as he walked. The house had a very large, brick-built garage, with so much headroom that a coach house would be a more accurate term. Mr. Smith had a daughter, Margery, who married a man never seen out of overalls , a true mechanic, who, I believe , assisted by other young motor- bikers in the village, used the place as a workshop, although I never saw it used, commercially.
Charlie Glover ! Always a pleasure to take a pair of shoes to cobbler Charlie, for soles and heels 2s/3d, if I remember right . Always a joke and a little chuckle, often from a mouthful of tacks. Mr. Ecob, a courteous chemist and a true gentleman. Mr. Yeomans, I still picture him in his little shop, in a brown cowgown, surrounded by wires and accumulators of all shapes and sizes.
Brook Lane, yes, you could be over your shoe tops in mud in the wet weather. This never stopped us sailing our homemade boats or bits of twig in the brook, and peering anxiously under the bridges which gave access to the houses for a recalcitrant boat. Holly Lane, or Lovers Lane as the locals termed it was an unmade track, but look at it now !! and the Black Cock bridge with its coating of red ash, bit of a doddle from Camden Street, but from Green Lane, Whew ! approach with caution !
Well Reg, you’ve taken us through the highways and byways of ‘The Wood’, from years ago, so much so, that I think you deserve honorary membership of the Royal and (very) Ancient WalsallWoodian Society. Don’t worry, it won’t affect your membership to your beloved Brownhills memorybank.com. I’ll have a word with our President, the young David Evans. A couple of pint (or money in lieu) should swing it !
I was born at 35 Brookland Road and the mechanic that Margery Smith married was Jack (John) James. They had a daughter Margaret. The young motor bikers were Ray Hatton and someone called Geof, I think. They went scrambling at weekends on their bikes. The garage developed into quite an enterpise. Selling petrol, having a workshop and being agents for Vauxhall cars. I believe the car of the day was a Vauxhall Victor which Jack wanted to sell to my father. My father bought a Hillman Minx instead! When buying petrol you usually asked for 5 shots 5 gallons – the shots were supposed to give the petrol some umph. They kept 2 black limousines that were kept for wedding and funeral hire, and also for their personal use.
would prefer both, aer kid…and coins of the realm!
young David of whom it has been said, and with just cause..
As a walsall wood,wallar i remember,the BARONS COURT being a lorry drivers cafe,back in the 50s,also remember blakemores yard by the church,iv known Ted drive the lorries his dad had when he was young,any one remember Mr Powel,who had the second hand timber yard in Vigo Rd by the clay pit, and his sons used to drive a van selling fire lighters
very nice to see some old-photographs of walsall wood i just go to the youth club it was at the school
I was born in 1954 and lived In Blakemore Rd, and can recall as a child spending many happy hours having adventures in the woods,I remember my dad taking us to see the motorbike racing there to .loved spending time in the library opposite the big park.i can remember catching the bus on my own at 5 can you imagine that now down to the infants school on the main road ,then going to castlefort school when it was built,going to Sunday school and guides in the hall on the main road,my dad taking his racing pigeons or being collected in their baskets in a big lorry,down to the brickmakers arms ready for race day on a Saturday,going to the social club on Saturday nights on salters road (not sure if that the name of the road) playing with friends outside while mom and dad had a drink and a game of bingo inside,spending my pocket money on penny sweets at mr pearces shop,going to fetch sawdust for my rabbit hutch ( I used to love the smell in there) from the wood yard ,I have so many lovely carefree memories of my childhood being brought up in Walsall Wood,moved when i was 17 to get married to live In wolverhampton and have now ended up not to far away living in Bentley Walsall
i am seeking photo;s or images of old buildings in Walsall Wood, views from Aldridge road, Salters road , Vigo road, Brookland road, Castle hill road junction,known as Knights corner, Copes chip shop and terraced houses in Aldridge road, the prefabs in Vigo road, houses on Sunny side, houses which stood where the fire station now stands, where Horace Jones lived, i need them so that i can complete my scroll of sketches which presently contains over one hundred yards of drawings of old or interesting buildings in and around the Aldridge area,which i have been working on for over fifty years. kind regards Maurice
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