Can you help find a lost local band?


Shire Oak Grammar class of 1964: image held at Pelsall Local History Centre where a full size version can be inspected.

I’ve just had a wonderful enquiry from ex-Shelfield resident Moira McCormick, who’s after some help tracing members of a lost band from Shire Oak Grammar School, and also memories of Sheffield Youth Club and Walsall Wood.

This is a wonderfully detailed enquiry, and I hope readers can help. Moira wrote:

Hi Bob

As usual at this time of year I go for a sentimental journey down Memory Lane and came across your blog. I grew up in Shelfield in the 1950s and sixties and worked at Walsall Wood Library for a while before going to Teacher Training College after which I lived in Jersey until relatively recently.

I always feel sad when my internet searches fail to locate any of the places I used to go to and any of the people I knew. I am really keen to catch up with any of the people who went to Shelfield Youth Club and Shire Oak Grammar School around 1964-67. I can’t remember the names of many of the people I knew then, but I do remember a pop group formed by guys from Walsall Wood. They were Ian Gwilliam whose mum managed the group, the other members being Lawrence (known as Boz) Barry the drummer and Brian, who all went to Shire Oak. I’m quite curious to see on part of your blog that Shire Oak School opening day was in 1967, but my classmates from St Francis School Primary in Shelfield were among the first year’s intake for Shire Oak in September 1961, not 67. I went to the Catholic Convent Grammar in Wolverhampton, hence not knowing the names of many of the people who went to the Youth Club as well as I would if I had gone to school with them. I remember Patsy Butler by name, David Kirk and that is about all.

If you have any info about any of the guys in that pop group or any of the Shelfield Youth Club members I would be really grateful. I look back on my days spent in the West Midlands with great happiness and would be so happy to meet again some of the people I knew at that time.

Thanks a lot
Moira McCormick

The confusion over the opening day pamphlet is because Shire Oak School was originally just the Grammar School; in the mid-60s the Secondary Modern was built, and opened in 67 – which is what the opening day program was for. The two schools co-existed in the same grounds until being merged as a comprehensive in the 1970s. To this day you can still see two distinct schools on the same site, although they’re the same institution now. I think it’s still divided at the east and west building or something like that.

Untitled 9

Shire Oak today, as shown by Apple Maps. The ‘new’ Secondary Modern was on the left here, the Grammar to the right. You can actually see the difference in construction styles between the two.

Thanks for a wonderful enquiry Moira – that should get heads scratching! If you can help, please comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

In the mean time, do you recognise anyone in the film made by Brownhills Camera Club in the early 1960s? The school is Sheffield Comprehensive…

You can find out more about this film here.

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7 Responses to Can you help find a lost local band?

  1. John Anslow says:

    The band played at a Shire Oak reunion about 5 years ago, and very good they were too. If I can find the email address, I’ll alert them to this post.

  2. lesley northall says:

    The band were called ‘Mail’. Barry didn’t go to Shire Oak school, unfortunately Ian has now passed. Brian is still playing in bands with his 2 sons. I know the guys well and have done since 1967

    • Moira McCormick says:

      Hi Lesley
      Thank you so much for this info.. I am so upset to hear that Ian has passed away. I remember him vividly. He was so lovely. Hopefully I’ll soon be in touch with friends from so long ago. I really appreciate you taking the time to post.


  3. Alan H says:

    The old Cannock Chase Division of Staffs County Council education service had at least three examples of a grammar school and secondary modern on a shared campus, with a view to possible future merger as a comprehensive. The others were Cannock GS and Calving Hill Sec Mod and Aldridge GS and a sec mod called “Tynings Lane” I think.

  4. Brian Eustace says:

    Hi Moira I am Brian, and I was in the band – called “Go Generation”, or something like that, not “Mail” as Lesley commented earlier – it was before “Mail”. I am still playing in bands occasionally, and have been in touch with “Boz” recently, and we played at a recent Shire Oak GS reunion as mentioned by John Anslow. It was a great night and brought back some great memories.

    • Moira McCormick says:

      Wow, Brian! I have only just seen this. I’m over the moon! Do you remember when you played at Tenby Wells. I went with you and the driver of I think the minibus got drunk. I can’t remember which one of you drove back. Someone posted that Ian had passed away…I really, really hope that isn’t so. I rememember you all so vividly. They were some of the happiest days of my life. You were all so kind to me. How fantastic that you still play.

      I shall let you into a secret…although it won’t be for much longer once on this website!! I had an enormous crush for a while on Boz and he was the first guy I ever kissed properly at my 16th birthday party in the Methodist Chapel Hall in Shelfied. How delightfully quaint and innocent Spin the bottle seems now! I wasn’t a Convent schoolgirl for nothing!

      My family live in Burntwood so I come over fairly regularly. I would dearly love to catch up with you all and hear how life has treated you. The drinks are on me!! Do please email me on

      Really, really hope to hear from you

      I’m so chuffed


  5. Brian Ansell says:

    Hi Moira. You will not remember me but I was a friend of some of the Butler family. Patsy Butler married a hairdresser by the name of Keith Hughs who worked for Frank the barber beside the fish and chip shop. I believe that Patsy is still local to the area but if you need a contact Mick Butler lives in Pelsall, I am sure he would help you. I have numerous memories of the youth club as I was a member from the age of twelve. I have a photograph taken outside on the day of a charity walk which if I find I will post here, it dates to the early sixties. If I remember correctly you lived just below the gulley that led to Charles Bakery, I worked there as a boy greasing and knocking out the bread after it was baked. Lots of stories. If you wish to contact me you may do so through . I am now living in Vancouver Canada. I will finish with a thought, maybe I am correct; Robert Plant.

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