Sometimes I get emails or contacts out of the blue with subjects that just knock me flat – and overnight I received a lovely, kind email from Malcolm Clarke, an ex-local now residing in New Zealand – Malcolm has an interesting bit of history I had no idea had occurred locally.
I’ll let Malcolm explain:
What a wonderful variety of subjects you collect and comment on in your website. I only discovered it about a year ago and I find it fascinating.
I was born in Nottingham in 1940 but we moved to Granmas in Barns Lane rushall when I was 3 years old, their name was Birch and was quite a large family.
My mother moved us on to the army camp at Linley Wood as they opened it up for squatters to live there in the huts, I was 5yrs old then.
I have been trying for a long time to contact other squatters or their decendents without much success and I was thinking that you might be able to help. The 20 odd families that lived there came from Rushall, Aldridge, Brownhills, Pelsall and Sheffield. Some names I remember are Lavender, Parkes, Mason, Kirby, Weals, Graham, Johnson and Mathews.
I delivered milk for Woolners dairy in all of these areas for many years as a supervisor but I only ever met one person that I remembered, Daisy Kirby. I’ve lived in Walsall in Shelfield and Aldridge, worked at the Aldridge brick and tile company also Joberns brickyard.
I remember a lot of the history of all the area from Rushall to the Chase. I have only just realized that some comments I’ve replied to are a little bit outdated dating back to 20 13 and20 14 so I am not expecting any reply.
Just while I’ve got you has anyone ever mentioned the old horse pulled bus behind Ralph Ferrie’s farm,it was a double decker with a circular staicase at the back?
Also does anyone remember the famous high wire act that performed on Holland Park. All the very best Bob from New New Zealand.
My wife and I hope to visit next year.
Malcolm – thanks for your very kind words, which are much appreciated. Rest assured that comments on old articles do get noticed, and many enquiries lay unanswered for years before someone finds them searching for the same thing and solves the problem. That’s the power of the internet and is most satisfying.
The squatting thing was a whole movement, beautifully documented in this paper here, and critics of the housing boom of the fifties and sixties really don’t get the pressure councils were acting under – as this history shows. Imagine large sections of modern Britain being reduced to tacitly approved squatting…
I was aware squatting had occurred up in Cannock or on the Chase, but had heard of none hereabouts. Can someone help with the finer details? We have, of course, covered Linley Woods as a former ammunition dump. How close were the two sites?
The bus, I have no idea. Might it be one of the old LNWR busses that were operating for a very limited period out of a shed behind the Station Hotel around 1910?
I have a feeling the high wire act was the Traber-Renz Troupe and I’ve covered it here before, in this post ‘Bird on a Wire’.
Thanks for a great enquiry Malcolm – and readers, you know what to do. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.