Captured moments


A fascinating image showing a view down Silver Court’s car park towards Brownhills town centre. The dark building, central, was Elkins hardware shop. It was dark and smelled of paraffin – but full of interesting things. It was demolished in the mid 1970s, I think. Image posted on Facebook by John K.

As many of you will have gathered from my 365daysofbiking blog I’ve been a bit under the weather of late and updates have been hard to keep up with – but here’s a treat I spotted on the Cannock local history group on Facebook, and I thought I’d post the images here.

These are screen captures from a genealogy site found by poster John K and I’m intrigued by them – one or two look familiar (the hydrofoil and the pier tower at Chasewater) but mostly, I’ve not seen them before. I’d tenure they’re all from the late 60s from the content and vehicles.

What I’d like to know is does anyone recognise them, and have originals?

I have a strong feeling the chap in the suit whit the hydrofoil (is that what it’s called?) might be Ralph Ferrie – can anyone confirm that? What’s the strange boat by the sailing club? What was the event?

It’s not my usual habit to pull stuff like this of Facebook, but this one has snagged my attention. That shot of Silver Court – is that the only surviving shot of Elkins hardware shop?

Please, if you have anything to say, feel free – comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.


This seems like Chasewater, and could that be Ralph Ferrie in the suit? Bit unclear about the geography here – that seems to be the Watersports Club in the background. Image posted on Facebook by John K.


This appears to be from the western shore of Chasewater, looking towards the south shore. Image posted on Facebook by John K.


This is a familiar image I’ve seen on Frances Frith promotions. Regent, of course, were a fuel company, and the tower – or ‘lighthouse’ as we kids called it – was actually for monitoring speedboat races. The remains of this structure still exist today as the Wakelake facility. Image posted on Facebook by John K.


Again, I think this may be a Frith site image – the late, lamented boating lake, now about to be lost. Note the bank to the right. Am I imagining there was a second ‘fort’ closer to the dam? Image posted on Facebook by John K.


The oft-remembered paddling pool at Chasewater. I think most of us enjoyed a potter in here. Image posted on Facebook by John K.


This looks like the Watersports Club, but what’s the peculiar craft in front? Image posted on Facebook by John K.

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28 Responses to Captured moments

  1. From having known Ralph but in years following this, I would be very surprised if it wasn’t him.

  2. philcburton says:

    The boat Bob is from when they did the powerboat races on Chasewater

  3. stuart says:

    Cracks me up this site does…just gone to bed with toothache thought I’d have one last look at your site and there is a photograph taken outside of a precinct in Brownhills where my very first dentist was!
    Regarding the Chasewater pics,as previously mentioned in pieces I’ve written about my childhood days there,I would say they are probably all from the same 24 hour boat race event,I can remember a dry ski slope in the park area leading down a bank towards the boating lake. There was another concrete fort in the play park overlooking the padling pool. I remember falling asleep by it one sunny afternoon and woke up to find someone had surrounded me with crayfish!..happy days!

  4. Loved collecting those crayfish when I was a kid.

  5. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Thanks for the images..speedboat was refuelling by the bowser and caught fire..chap in boat dived in the lake and someone drove the bowser truck away just in time….
    Also memory of a pink flamingo at the lake one time..apparently had flown from Dudley zoo..
    Get well soon Bob….

  6. anne Toddington says:

    The good old days of chasewater I remember it so well spent many off days with me bros and sisters havin fun in the paddling pool also my dad was warden over chasewater 😊 how lovely it was everythink there not like to day 😊 bushes everywhere

  7. David Evans says:

    hi Bob
    The eighth car along in the High St car park is a Ford Corsair, first made 1963…but unusually there are no Minis to be seen.

  8. Margaret Graham says:

    As a child I was often taken to Chasewater to either paddle or catch tiddlers with my jar and net. I can remember the boat races and the ski jump in the middle. The races were televised. Once they held the boat show on the Chasewater site if I remember correctly I have some photos of Chasewater in an old album I will have to dig them out.

  9. Clive says:

    I believe the boat is an hovercraft.

  10. I wish someone had pictures in the 1940’s and 1950’s of the Silver Court area. I was born there at no.166 High Street. We lived in a cottage behind an Air Raid Shelter opposite Humphries Coal Yard. Lived there until 1958. Elkins Shop was there then. I remember Mr. Elkins he was a lovely man.

  11. aerreg says:

    more lovley memouries of norton pool and sunday night walks a pool of stories what happend to the inevertable monster the pit shafts the sad legend it claimed a victim every year the white elephant days of brownhills counci when they realized they controlled the land but not the warter levels cosiquently they were not stable yes norton pool has had its stories to tell from its days of norton bog yes there is a story of a highway man who used to hold up coach and horses by the sun and escaped through brownhills bog god bless

    • Mick Bullock. says:

      My Grandparents lived next to Wynns shop by the Wilkin (the Monkey) pub.I was forever getting a right old telling off fo swimming in the pool.She always said that there was someone drowned on average once a year at the time,early 40s.That certainly is Ralph Ferry,I recall that he had financial interest in power boat racing.

  12. Denis Jones says:

    These pictures have triggered a couple of memories.
    The 24hr Powerboat Race at Chasewater, I arrived late evening there was a group playing in a marquee I’m sure it was The Searchers perhaps someone can confirm this.
    Silver Court, I was served at The Honda Shop by Brian Crighton who became” the Brownhills’ Brunel ” (different engineering) when he developed the rotary engine into a successful racing motorcycle. He had limited funds and only his own belief to drive him on, but still managed an Isle of Man TT win when Japanese manufacturers threw all their resources at this prestigious event.
    Brownhills can be proud to be associated with this mans engineering prowess.

  13. Tarbie says:

    I have a vague recollection of there being a permanent fair there, with a roller coaster, I wouldn’t have been very old when it was closed (1950’s)?

    • Tracey Parker says:

      There was a permanent fair there, I went to school with Jimmy Swan who’s family owned most of the fair, I worked on the fish a duck stall and the waltzers in the summer months when I was about 10, in 1969. there was also a Go Kart track behind the fair where we used to sit in the hay bale barn to watch the races. happy care free days

  14. Keith Hardy says:

    The Fair was operated well into the late 60s. The Peace family had a number of stalls there, including the pingpong into the goldfish bowl to win a goldfish. As well as the wooden roller coaster there was a Ghost Train and amusement arcade.

    • stuart says:

      Yes,wrote about my memories on here before. Members of my family worked in the cafe so every weekend I was over there as a kid,mainly in the 60/70s. Search on this blog under “chasewater childhood” and it will give more info +photos.Saddens me to think how it all went,I think they call it “progress”

      • stuart says:

        sorry also meant to mention cine film that Bob has put on here before, part of it shows the fair at Chasewater about early 60s sometime. Search for “caught in time” go in to the clip and at 16 minutes you will see part of the fair and the park.(I know it’s 16 mins in because one or two of us were looking at it at work today) This is how I’ll always remember the place.

    • Steven. Jolly says:

      Hi Keith just read post about the fair at Chase water yes peace Pearce had a few pitches there I was a good mate off the son William we both attended the central school we had a few free weekends there he moved to Australia years ago me moved to France regard s Steve Jolly

  15. Keith Bradbury says:

    I remember Elkins from my short early 1970s dwelling in Brownhills.

  16. aerreg says:

    this as i recall before elkins had the shop scarretts owned it along side it was a piece of waste ground where the fair was held on the other side as i recall was leeks painters and decoraters

  17. Steve Harvey says:

    Hi Brownhills Bob!
    Great pictures!! So much of my life came back. I remember silver court , moreover I worked in Elkins it was a veritable aladins cave. Nails by to pound. Dispensed paragon from the bowser, trying to find stuff was a nightmare. The pictures of Chasewater, I tried fish off the lighthouse pier. I worked on the rowing boat lake!! Awesome! Any chance of a copy of the pictures? I used to live in hednesford road, Brownhills. Went to the boys school. Great memories. Thanks for posting them. Steve Harvey

  18. Ann Lloyd says:

    Hi Bob
    Will there be a presentation during the summer of past times or times past of brownhills. It would be a fasinating event, for me anyway 😀

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