I sea?


This is, I have it on good authority, the Anglesey Sidings signal box at Newtown Brownhills, closed in 1984. But can you spot the deliberate mistake? Image feature on Chasewaterstuff’s Railway and canal blog.

As readers may gather, I’ve got behind in the last couple of days or so, and am just catching up: please bare with me – I’ve not been in the best of health the last couple of weeks and it’s not always easy managing competing demands on my time. My apologies if I haven’t got to your story yet, I’m working on it…

Anyway. Onward.

Here’s a bit of a curiosity: posted in the Cannock Facebook group by friend of the blog Chris Edwards after he spotted it on the wonderful Chasewaterstuff’s Rail and Canal blog, a photo of the signal box that reputedly stood at Anglesey Sidings at Newtown, Brownhills until 1984.

Can  you spot the problem?


Anglesey isn’t spelled that way – even in Wales. What’s going on?

Now, first question – is this genuine, or photoshopped? I’m really not sure.

Secondly, if that is genuine, was it a prank? Local rail buff Tony Llewellyn reckons it might have been a windup by the local British Rail S&T guys (signals and telecommunications engineers):

Thats Anglesey Sidings, near the Chase Pub on the A5. The letter C is a G – bits used to drop off the letters quite often.

Some clown must have replaced Y for an A! S&T Department probably…

On the odd little ‘outhouse’ at the top of the steps:

The original toilet was the small sentry box at the top – the new one is the Portaloo at ground level; this is in its latter days near to closure

Thirdly, if it was genuine, any other photos of it?

I’d be keen to hear views on this odd little curiosity – perhaps in local rail expert Ian Pell is passing, he might have some input…

Whilst I’m on, I also have an interesting photo, posted on the Norton group by Philip Burton, that I’ve never ever seen before. Philip is a bus enthusiast and expert on Harpers Busses, and here’s one of their services at the top of Brownhills High Street, I’d say in the 1960s – it really is a fantastic image.

Thanks to Philip for that – comments most welcome – either here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.


Brownhills High Street and a rather splendid double decker. Can anyone nail the date more precisely? Image kindly supplied by Philip Burton.

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13 Responses to I sea?

  1. Sheila Norris ( nee Jones) says:

    Just a quick memory of Harper Bros: There was a conductor named Levi. He used to eat his sandwiches ( bread and dripping) while going along. I’m told that while sitting on my Mum’s knee as a baby on the long seats by the door I reached out to him saying “Ta” hoping to share them with him. ( would be early1950s) He always teased me about this as I grew up and travelled on the bus. When I was about 13 and used the bus on my own he used to sing “stay as sweet as you are” as he issued my ticket, making me blush!

  2. Ian Pell says:

    Hi Bob
    The simple answer is that the box was always referred to as “Anglesea Sidings” from the perspective of the railway. The LNWR had a habit of spelling places as they thought they were and they often stuck. Ryders Hays is a further example, which has believe it or not at least 9 !!! different spellings according to which documents you view. Both the OS maps and the Charrington map of their oil terminal refer to “Anglesey Wharf” or “Anglesey Sidings”. The photo is genuine and as far as the railway is concerned is correct.The only railway documents which do not use the Anglesea spelling appear to be the Private Siding Agreement maps, which interestingly were initially drawn-up by outside sources such as Tho. Kent & Sons. In the working timetables, and operational notices it was always “Anglesea”.

    • Hey Ian

      Wow. Just wow – that’s incredible, thanks.

      Of course, I remember you now mentioning the Ryders Hays issue in a previous post.

      I’m glad I never worked in that box – it would have irritated me every time I saw the sign!


  3. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Possibly the car in Brownhills High Street is a Standard Vanguard Vignale..first produced 1958
    ..why did the signal box have a shelf outside the Windows?
    Get well soon, old chap..Your Country needs you!

  4. Denis Jones says:

    Slightly off the subject but by chance I visited The Chase Inn one lunch time it was a quick visit but whilst there we heard a train approaching, and were shocked when we saw it was a steam locomotive . The locomotive in question was Jubilee Class “Leander” travelling light towards Lichfield, probably relocating between heritage sites. This lucky moment was about 1980 well after the end of steam on BR.

    The signal box “shelf” was to enable the signalman to nip through his sliding window and clean the windows there is a hand rail to hang on to.


  5. Ian Pell says:

    Hi Denis
    The date for Leander’s journey north was 4th December 1981. It left Light Engine from Bewdley at 09.48 for the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley and was subject to a 20 mph speed restriction, with the proviso that it ran only on main lines and avoided using any crossovers. After servicing at Butterley it was due to haul a Sheffiled to Carnforth rail tour the next day. This was its first duty after a major boiler overhaul at Bridgnorth where it had resided from 1980.

  6. David Evans says:

    Hi Ian and Dennis
    Many thanks!

  7. burntwoodn says:

    I think it was early 60s. We lived in the flat above AE Poxon’s, where my dad – Wilf Bullock worked – from about 1954 to 1963. I remember the chemists well, then Birch’s wool shop, then Birch’s sweet shop, Cater’s then Poxon’s along that stretch. Harding’s haberdashers out of sight on the left and Central Cafe out of sight on the right. Happy days.

  8. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    The other two vehicles in the High Street photo:-
    The van by the double decker bus is a Ford Thames 300 E , side valve engine model,which was made between 1954-1961.
    The other van , parked across the road and further away, is a Bedford CA, OHV engine panel van. We can just make out that it has the single screen and this model was first produced in1958.
    The Ford was remembered for its totally gutless engine,and unusual windscreen wiper system: the Driver of a Bedford had to master the proximity of accelerator and brake pedals!
    i wonder if David Oakley drove this model of bus, at all, at all.

  9. david oakley says:

    Hi Bob.
    Yes, David, I remember this bus quite well. It was the Daimler CVG/6, introduced into the Walsall Corporation fleet in the late 1950’s. I would say that Harper Bros introduced them a little later, say, 1960. These were the very devil of a bus to drive because of the spring-change pre-selector gear arrangement. The driver would select a gear via a little gate, but the gear only became operative when a spring-loaded foot control was pushed firmly to the floor. Failure to hit the deck in the right manner caused the spring which governed this appliance to release to its full extent, doubling its travel and giving the driver a violent blow on the shin from the fully protruded pedal. Ouch !!!

  10. Carole ford says:

    I think this photo is from mid 50’s.remember high st well.

  11. David Mg says:

    The bus 57ERE entered service with Harpers in December 1954, it was a new Guy Arab IV chassis but this a much-rebuilt body from the 1930’s that was once carried on a Walsall Corporation bus. 57ERE was taken out of service by Harpers in January 1965.

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