Here’s something I’m quite fascinated by, as it’s cropped in in several discussions I’ve had of late, and it’s related to a book I need to catch up on, just to see what all the raving is about…
Brian Edwards has been in touch again, from Vancouver where he now lives; but Brian grew up locally and has recently spoken of his memories of life here and in a particularly popular post, of the Shelfield Youth Club.
This time, Brian remembers his years at Shelfield School being taught history by a rather remarkable man; Jim Gould, and recommends the book he wrote ‘Men of Aldridge’, which as I say, a few folk have commended to me of late, and I’m currently tracking down a copy.
This is a remarkable memory, and I welcome reader comment – either here, or to BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.
Thanks to Brian for yet another wonderful contribution.
I was just reading this article on past farming and would like to bring your attention to a landmark that I am sure has been dismantled in the way of progress.
When arriving at your first history lesson at Shelfield Senior School in the 50s early 60s you would have been lucky enough to have been graced with the knowledge of Mr. Jim Gould. Mr. Jim Gould was a Spitfire pilot in the war and after the world calmed down somewhat Mr Gould needed to find a job and lucky for Shelfield he chose the teaching of history.
The first field trip was really a field trip and he would march his students from the school and down Mob Lane from where he would pick up a public pathway through the fields that lead on down to Ford Brook (the one that rises a spring below where Brownhills council placed their dump). Once the class had come upon the brook it was then followed until you arrived behind what we knew as Wardies Farm which I believe is properly named Grange Farm which was my last paper on my route before heading onto school.
So it was nearing the back of Grange farm that sits beside The Coppie Woods that Mr. Gould’s discovery was displayed to his students. It was a mound of stones, not field stones that a farmer had removed but stones that were used a lot farther back before farming had arrived. This pile of large stones were black and charred from fire; this pile of stones were from the time of stone age man and they were used for heating water in vessels after the stones had been removed from a fire and placed in the water.
Mr. Gould was a most honourable and renowned historian who went on to write a book by the name of Men of Aldridge of which I have a copy sent me by a friend who discovered it in South Africa. I thought that this story would stir the minds of many in the region and when Spring arrives warm it may take them on a short hike to what hopefully will be a new discovery for them, that’s if as I say it hasn’t already been dismantled.
You may also want to do a search of Jim Gould and Men of Aldridge because he covers everything back to the stone age. On a final note; just a few years back my wife Glenys visited Jim Gould who was still living on the Erdington road Aldridge, if he is still gracing a pathway on this earth maybe you should ride on by and introduce yourself to him.
I have attached a photo of Jim for you. I’m sure he would not mind being part of this.
Have a good day.
There are teachers and there are teachers and if you were to ask any pupil of Jim Gould their eyes would shine with his memory. My wife asked where he acquired his education for teaching history; what teachers training college and such and he replied, ‘after the war I just thought that the knowledge that I carried should be shared, so I applied for a history teachers job and got it’.
The rest was history.