Market forces

I remember Walsall Market-2_000001

A wonderful booklet about a renowned local institution.

A good friend has recently sent me the above booklet, published in 1992 by Walsall Local History Centre about the oral history of Walsall Market – although generally outside our normal area, I thought it would be of interest to many readers who have warm memories of the ‘Market on the hill’.

Markets all over the country are in decline, sadly – the boom in large supermarkets, decreasing incidence of the stay at home housewife and internet retail explosion have all contributed to the gradual erosion of a centuries old tradition, and when this booklet was compiled, I think the peak had probably just passed. It’s an interesting time capsule with lots of warm memories.

I know nothing of the compilation of the book, the people it quotes or the author, Joyce Hammond and I’ve never seen a copy in the wild. I’d be interested to know if there were indeed other books in the series and what they were?

The information page says the following:

I Remember Walsall Market
This is the first in a series of I Remember booklets using oral evidence to look at various aspects of life that have now changed.

Here the market is recalled by voices talking from different points in time and with different experiences. The editor has tried to ensure that nothing obviously misremembered has been included and that the overall impressions and character of the market has been retained.

We would like to thank the following people for their contributions and assistance: Alan Brockhurst, Arthur Stephens, Amy Taylor, Florence Brown,
Beryl Nunn, Len Greenwell, Ted Brown, Trevor Sanders, Rene Leigh,
Barry Barker and David Brookhouse..

ISBN 0 946652 25 0
Researched and edited by Joyce Hammond.

Thanks to my friend for scanning this and sending it to me – I really couldn’t manage this blog without the great help, generosity and support of readers like you.

I know this will get robbed blind by the local history scavengers on Facebook. Please, at least give the author and source a credit. Just for a change.

Download the whole book as a PDF file below, or use the gallery to click on individual pages. If you have anything to add, please do: comment here, or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

I Remember Walsall Market – PDF format 6 megabytes

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7 Responses to Market forces

  1. clive says:

    Back in the early 60s I can remember going to Walsall market with my mom, and being amazed by the chap selling plates and cups and saucers, he would spread the plates down the lenght of his arm and then throw them up into the air and catch them on his arm as they fell back down. He should have been in a circus.

  2. I love oral histories. They give a dimension to local history that is largely forgotten; the intricacies. They also help dispel some of the myths!

  3. Alan Dawson says:

    I used to know Len Greenwell personaly ,he lived by nest common & quite a few of his friends & relatives over the years ,sadly most of them are now gone, he told me he used to give after dinner speeches on Walsall Market which most people i spoke to found very interesting .

  4. That great local historian Stuart Williams has noted the following on Facebook:

    ‘This is a redesigned version of a Walsall Local History Centre publication which was originally published many years ago and written by my late colleague Joyce Hammond. This version was given away by Walsall Council in a short print run at the Walking the Fair event in Walsall a few years ago. This redesigned edition has never been reprinted as far as I know and I don’t think there were any others in the series, possibly because Joyce died. My colleague Vicky Rimmer succeeded her and wrote I Remember Rushall based on her own oral history recordings’

    Cheers Stuart, that’s wonderful!


    • Chris says:

      Being in charge of the WLHC at the time and so the general editor/publisher I can confirm that there was never a series, but Joyce would generally chose a project or topic that interested us and then go and find interviewees. Memories of Caldmore and Palfrey and the Market book were the two separate publications. She was very good at getting people to talk and building up a picture across different interviewees and its a great shame she never undertook the oral history of Pelsall, which she knew so much about. There are hundreds of her interviews in the History Centre and they are a great resource.

  5. david oakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    What memories were evoked by the Walsall Market booklet. The voices of an earlier generation of market traders, officials and customers held me in rapt attention, but from the late ‘Thirties’ my own memory took over and I can still remember many of the personages and buildings featured in the booklet. I remember the Carlton Hotel with its uniformed commissionaire on the outer steps and the ‘Old Still’ pub, still standing into my late teens were I learned the secret of mulled ale. Like most old pubs of its time, The Old Still had an open fireplace, complete with an ancient poker. In the winter months the brewery provided its pubs with ‘Old Ale’, a truly magnificent tipple. The poker would be heated in the fire and pushed into a half-pint glass of old ale. Oh joy ! What bliss, even from the very steam which arose from the hissing glass.
    I remember George Singh, mentioned in the booklet, with his little perfume stall, just outside the George Vaults. George would stand in front of the stall, crying out ‘one o six a bottle’ (1/6d), which in modern currency is seven and a half pence, for any of his bottled fragrances.
    Finally. I remember the older females in the Walsall Wood community saying “ go to Walsall Market as late as possible on Saturday, for meat and stuff, ‘ they’ll throw it at yer”. I took a lively interest in this, being all of six or seven years old, expecting to see a leg of lamb sailing through the air to a prospective customer. Not a bit of it. Money was still changing hands albeit at perhaps a reduced rate. Another dream shattered !

  6. aerreg says:

    who remembers the news paper seller standing outside the station with that lovely shout spach star mail and another chap who stood half way up on the right by the cook shop dances// saying every blade a first class shave yes memories are made of this

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