Fastidious Albion

Sometimes the arcs of queries to the blog are very wide, and take us to unexpected places with a surprising web of connections – several years ago, the wonderful Paul Ford of Walsall Local History Centre posted an image of Brownhills Albion Football Team that he was keen to know more about.

That generated lots of discussion, and was believed to have featured some notable dignitaries from Brownhills of the late Victorian period – and thanks to the generosity of Margaret Thompson, we can now light the whole thing up.

Margaret has very kindly shared a wealth of material related to Edgar Pritchard, which we’re still working through. The Poacher’s Aprrentice film in particular has been a spectacular hit.

The young David Evans met with Magaret and supplied the following article and pictures – my thanks to David for a wonderful conclusion and to Margeret for her continued and thoughtful generosity.

As far as I know, that’s the only extant image of Dr. John Maddever, one of the historical figures of Brownhills I have huge respect for – read this report to find out why.

David wrote:


A great photo very generously donated by Margaret Thompson of a very old Brownhills football team; the photo is believed to have come from the Hussey Arms at some point.

This amazing sepia photograph measures 23.5 cms x 19.5 cms and is mounted on card which has the name ‘A Broiler, Walsall’ printed in the card, just discernible below the photograph.

I believe this is the original photograph of Brownhills Albion Football Club which once adorned the wall of the first Hussey Public House in Brownhills, and was featured here previously in this post inspired by Paul Ford, upon which there was much speculation.

Lets look more closely, with a good scan:


This… this is remarkable. The somewhat rotund chap on top of the carriage in black, centre of the group is none other than Dr. John Maddaver, so prominent in Brownhills civic and social history. image kindly supplied by Margaret Thompson.

And the legend says:


The inscription on the photo – good solid information. Click for a larger version.

Who are the people in this photograph?  Well, there’s also a card with the following diagram:


I’d love to know who created this – it’s been thoroughly researched and thought about. Image kindly donated by Margaret Thompson. Click for a larger version.

The card gives a list of names, and states the following:

Photo taken on ‘Hussey Arms’ filed, (now site of the council houses) 1895 [that’s the Hussey Estate – Bob].

Brownhills Albion FC formed in the 1880s, played here until 1914.

Sir T. Courtney Warner was Liberal MP for Lichfield.

John Croft was the Chairman of Brownhills Urban District Council.

Dr. J. Maddever (then Brownhills only doctor) lived at Coombe House.

C Emery was the licensee of the Hussey Arms.

This remarkable document is hand-written on a sheet of photographic print card. It measures exactly 8 inches by 10 inches, and, like the original football photograph featured above, comes from the Edgar Pritchard materials, courtesy of Mrs Margaret Thompson.

I would like to offer my immense thanks and gratitude to Margaret who has so readily made this precious historic material available to readers and students to appreciate.

David Evans
January 2016

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18 Responses to Fastidious Albion

  1. John Anslow says:

    The faded name in the card looks like A. BROSTER to me, Bob. There were Brosters living in Walsall in the late 1900s, though the only A. Broster I can find is a publican. Anyone with a Kelly’s Directory of the period?

  2. david oakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    Well, we all know one name in the photo, E. Dorsett, (No 17), one of the footballing family who brought such recognition to the family by a later member, Dickie Dorsett, of Wolves and Villa fame. By dates, I would say that E. Dorsett could well be the father of Dickie (born 1919), although I could well be wrong. I doubt whether Dickie ever followed in his father’s footsteps by signing for Brownhills Albion, being snapped up by Major Buckley of Wolves, while still playing for Walsall and District Boys, before his 18th birthday
    I saw you play, Dickie, many times, and realise what a wonderful footballer you were.

  3. graham birch (grandson of George Dorsett) says:

    Hi. message to David Oakley;- Edward Dorsett played for Brownhills Albion along with his brothers John, Thomas, George (my Grandfather) and Joe. The last two also going on to play for West Brom and Manchester City. Dickie was the son of Iasiah Dorsett the youngest of the brothers and was born in 1919 in Brownhills. He played for Wolves and Aston Villa.
    If you need any further information please contact me on—
    Regards Graham Birch.

    • david oakley says:

      Hi Bob,
      Cheers Graham ! Thanks for your e-mail address. My interest in the Dorsett family goes back to 1939/1940’s, when there were three Dorsett families living in Salters Road, Walsall Wood. Dickie Dorsett who lived with his in-laws, the Griffiths’s for some years, with a small son, Richie. George who had a son by the same name and a daughter named Glenda, and Edward, (Ted) who married my cousin, Gladys, leaving a daughter, June, after he was tragically killed in an accident at Walsall Wood Colliery. If you have any news of these branches of the family, particularly young George, and cousin June, I would be very interested. Will contact you.

      • graham birch (grandson of George Dorsett) says:

        Hi David, the only thing I know is that Dickie Dorsett was the son of Iasiah and was my mothers cousin. The branches of the family you refer to i’m afraid I dont know as I have spent my time researching my grandfather, his brothers, and, my grandmothers family the Woodhouse’s. The best person to contact regarding this branch would be a distant cousin of mine called Sue Lote who still lives in Brownhills and has compiled a superb family history.
        Regards Graham.

        • Ron Pass says:

          Hi There, I am the Grandson of W Cooper whom left me his runners up medal Marked, F,G,C,A Chasetown 95. on it it says Brownhills Albion. do you know anything about this. Many Thanks Ron Pass

          • graham birch says:

            Hi Ron, my grandfather was George Dorsett. There were five brothers who played for Brownhills Albion. Edward is to be found on the picture in this post. Isiah was the youngest brother but didnt play for Albion. His son Dickie was my mothers cousin. George and his brother Joe both played for West Brom and Manchester city. Dickie played for Wolves and Aston Villa. If you need to speak to me or e-mail me I have masses of info on the footballing Dorsetts.

            • Mark says:

              Hi Graham, George Dorsett also had 2 trial games with Small Heath Reserves in January 1901, where he played with Levi Dank’s (former Brownhills team mate)

  4. aerreg says:

    just a couple of points of interest Dr madiver droprd down dead in lichfield jan the 9th in lichfield george dorset recieved his benifet match on april 22 1911bristol city manchester cityresult bristol city won 2 1 amount raised 500 pound gate money 72 pound a lot of money in those days

    • graham birch (grandson of George Dorsett) says:

      If you want to know about the Dorsett brothers and Brownhills Albion please e-mail your request to me at; I have researched the history and have a report on virtually every game they played in. My grandfather was George Dorsett. Brownhills Albion, West brom and Manchester City.

  5. Sue Lote says:

    Edward Henry DORSETT born 1872 – son of Thomas DORSETT and Ruth Diana nee SEAGER.
    Brother of George and Joe DORSETT.
    Uncle of Dickie DORSETT!

  6. Andy Dennis says:

    1895-96 was a particularly good season for the Albion. I found a couple of team lists, but, sadly, the Mercury did not name teams for the big matches. Pritchard does not appear in the two lists I found, but he seems to have been a key player. It appears from the press that crowds of 700 upwards, sometimes 2,000 or more for important matches, were normal. I guess support must have been quite localised, especially as there were only a few teams in the two national divisions, though perhaps a few went to see Wolves and West Brom. The only reports would have been in the press. There were few other atractions, too – no matinee at the movies; radio had yet to be invented – and transport was not as easy as it is now, though there were two stations with train services!

    Lichfield Mercury 22 Feb 1895
    Cannock Town 1 Brownhills Albion 0
    Albion: Goal, Westwood; backs, Green and Perks; half backs, Gwilliam, Bridgett, and Payne; forwards, Horobin, Yardley, Rowley, Griffin, and Aldridge.

    Lichfield Mercury 12 April 1895
    Brownhills Albion 4 Five Ways Strollers 1
    Albion: Goal, Westwood; backs, Green and Perks; half backs, Kerr, Bridgett, and Yates; forwards, Gwilliam, Horobin, Payne, Danks, and Griffin.

    Lichfield Mercury 20 March 1896
    Division 2: Grimsby Town 4 Newton Heath 2 – oh how things have changed!

    Lichfield Mercury 1 May 1896
    Chasetown Free Gardeners Charity Cup – Final … Brownhills Town 3 (Paget 2, Dorsett) Hednesford Town 0, spectators 2,500.

    Lichfield Mercury 8 May 1896
    On Monday evening the Brownhills Albion Football eam and their supporters paraded the streets and the neighbourhood to the strains of the Adult Band, and exhibited en route the three cups which they have won during the past season, viz., the Wednesbury, Cannock Foresters and Chasetown Gardeners’ charity Cups. Several of the followers of the team were arrayed in fancy costumes, and the proceedings were watched by large numbers of people. Various calls were made to various parts of the neighbourhood, and the refeshments were in each instance most liberally dispensed. After the “show”, which occupied over two hours, an adjournment was made to the headquarters (The Hussey Arms Inn), where the remainder of the evening was spent.

    That season the Albion also reached the semi-final of the Birmingham Junior Cup, but lost Pritchard to a knee injury (no substitutes back then), but otherwise put up a poor display and lost to Bilston United.

    They had also been going great guns in the Walsall and District League, being five points clear at the top, but seem to a have faded a bit after Christmas and had slipped to second place behind Hednesford Town by mid-March.

    I remember my uncle Walter talking of matches played behind the Hussey Arms. He was born in 1912, so it would probably have been after 1920.

  7. aerreg says:

    football seems to be popular at the moment and the old grey matter has been at work how many remember a gentleman player for walsall known afecionaly as nutty newman also in the poynton family one of the family was involed i believe with tottenhostper sorry if it sounds goble goo but it might start a cchat

    • david oakley says:

      Hi Bob,
      Yes, Reg, I remember ‘Nutty Newman’ playing for Walsall at the old Fellows Park, with Orgills Laundry a constant threat at one end, for if the ball went over, play was held up until another ball was provided whilst the first ball was retrieved. Terraces were virtually ash mounds, at that time, with an occasional small iron barrier at intervals, When the crowd surged forward, you surged forward. Attendances could be anything up to 15,000 on normal match days. ‘Nutty’ was a bricklayer before his football career began, and in the summer, footballer’s wages were so low that ‘Nutty’ eked his out by a little ground maintenance, as required. The team had a nickname at the time, “The Gurroles” an abbreviation of “Gurrole Walsall”. Teks yer back, doe it ?

      • Pedro says:

        …. and then came four seasons in Division Three (South), in the course of which Walsall played before a crowd of 74,600 in an FA Cup fourth round tie at Villa Park. The game was transferred there from Fellows Park in order to accommodate all the spectators but even so many thousands were locked out when the gates were closed. It remains as the biggest-ever crowd that a Walsall team have played in front of, and despite going down by three goals to one Walsall won many friends by giving a brave display and goalkeeper, Fred Biddlestone impressed the home side so much that they signed him shortly afterwards.

  8. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    The two gentlemen, nos 1 and 10. I wonder who they were..Mr Poxon, a local butcher? But who was Mr Barnes…a farmer, or coalmine owner? And just look at those hats and pocket watches,
    Kind regards

  9. ken mullaney says:

    hi bob george banks played for brownhills albion as a young man unsertant what years but whenton to play for west brom albion ,george had links with clayhanger villa to.cheers

  10. Mark says:

    Hi Bob

    I have identified that 2 players on the Photo are Thomas Pritchard and Levi Danks both played for Small Heath. I believe the photo is infact 1896 as Pritchard was at Small Heath 1894-1895 then returned to Brownhills.

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