Still running!


Coppice Lane in the 1950s – image supplied by Godfrey Hucker, originally donated byJean Houghton.

Here’s a couple of quick images I’ve been meaning to post here from Godfrey ‘Oakparkrunner’ Hucker who posted them to my ‘Brownhills Past and Present‘ page on Facebook, and I think they deserve a wider audience.

The first is the end of Coppice Lane in Brownhills, about where the junction of Coppice Side is today, [Later edit: I have this utterly wrong – see comments below. Sorry! – Bob] which would be off to the right, Marklew’s Pond through to the left. I think the buildings in the distance would be Coombe House, then home of Doctor George Bradford.

The image was originally donated to Godfrey by Jean Houghton. Godfrey says:

Taken about the 1950’s this photo, courtesy of Jean Houghton nee Hinks, shows her Uncle Elijah Hinton and my father Godfrey Hucker (with the cycle) returning home from a Sunday lunch time drink in the Jolly Collier.

The second is, of course, Brownhills Fire Station’s appliances parked in front of the station in the 1960s, with the Central Boys School in the background – this would be where Parade View senior citizen’s flats are today.

Brownhills fire engines outside the fire station in Chester Road North Brownhills in the late 1960’s.

Godfrey was, of course, a local fireman and his knowledge of the service and it’s history are encyclopaedic – as is his knowledge of Walsall Wood and local rail.

Thanks to Godfrey for letting me share, and I welcome comment and recollections – comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks!


Brownhills fire appliances in the late 1960s. Image supplied by Godfrey Hucker.

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14 Responses to Still running!

  1. Mick Bullock says:

    I take it that the Doctors house later became The Pennycliffe Country Club ?

  2. aerreg says:

    happy day memouries again thanks godfrey i think the building may be howdles farm as dr bradfords coombe house was set back in the wood just after the railwy bridge and the fire station memories of the three minute mile dash when the bell on the staircase rang out at number 39 still linger on days of the old leyland green godess dennis and of course the giant thornycroft but most of all the fellowship of fire men full time and retnaned god bless them

  3. ivor230240 says:

    I spent much of my childhood living with my grand parents at 79 Coppice Side, next door to Godfrey. I’m inclined to agree with aerreg in thinking that the building was Howdles farm. If the men were returning from “The Collier,” the Jolly was rarely used, this would fit better than the suggestion that it’s at the junction of Coppice Side, Coppice Lane and Engine Lane. I have clear memories of Dr Bradford calling at my grandmothers house, he was quite a tall man and he rested on the fire guard, which has a brass capping that was hot, he was startled by the heat and hit his head on the ceiling. The visit cost half a crown (12.5 pence) and the medicine cost the same. I seem to recall that my grandmother’s pension was 7/6 (37 pence) per week, leaving her with half a crown. Not good old days for her.
    I’m grateful to Godfrey for the photograph.

  4. aerreg says:

    re doctor bradford and doctor paterson their practice was held in church hill in an old world war type building opposite maidlings shop re payment for treatment there was somthing called a sick and divi club doctor patison lived up shire oak i recall after having an accident on the helter skelter on brownhills park a wound on my right arm about three inches long was stitced up by him in his veranda the scar i still bere today i supose you could call it home suregery happy days of aspro and physic haha god bless

  5. The photo was taken in Coppice Side looking towards the Pelsall Road. The building in the distance is Big House Farm run by the Howdle Family. The spot where the photo was taken would be where Strumec was built at a later date, as mentioned in another post from William Roberts.

    • Hi Godfrey

      I’m William Roberts!

      Sorry old chap, I got that completely wrong – I’ve put a note in the post. Thanks for the clarification (never scared to admit I’ wrong) and for the use of the lovely photos.

      best wishes and my apologies

  6. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    I dont think much is known about this farm. I wonder if readers can help, please.
    kind regards

  7. ivor230240 says:

    Howdles, “Big House Farm” was a mixed dairy and arable farm. They farmed land on the left hand side of Engine Lane, going towards the Grove pit. They also had land beyond the slough and the “Old Arm.” In my childhood it was farmed by the Howdle family. I remember the Blacksmith coming to shoe the horses. The arrival of the threshing machine was a great highlight of the year, more exciting to me the when the fun fair came. When I was about 8 years old, 1948, some of us were walking along the hedge row of one of the fields and we found an unexploded bomb almost completely embedded in the bottom of the hedge. When we were lucky we were allowed to ride on top of the hay or straw when it was being “carried.” I also remember a bull being led dow Coppice Side to serve the cows at the farm. There was a dairy at the farm and every morning I was sent to collect milk in a “bill can.” I sometimes watched the cows being milked and in the days of sweet rationing discovered the presence of “Locust Beans” in the cow food, it was a kind of treat but they were sickly sweet.

  8. Pedro says:

    March 1918, Big House Farm Shelfield…Charles Downes fined for milk adulteration.

    Nov 1914…William Howdle fined £3 for milk adulteration.

    Jne 1885…John Owen Big House Farm, Brownhills (Jne 1895, Frank Owen)

    Sep 1860…James Frost, brownhills

  9. Stephen cawley says:

    I lived in coppice side from 1957 to around 1961 when aged 4 my earliest memories are of the cattle coming past us through the farmyard into the dairy they were massive and terryfying to a 4year old and also being on top of the straw on the trailer during harvesting.The little kids squashed down between the bales when it went under the railway bridge,the bigger kids jumped off the trailer over the railway and then jumped back on,.
    My mom used to tell people about me wondering off up to the farm and her having to dash up the lane to retrieve me from in the yard as the cattle were coming in.
    I later had to be rescued from sinking in the clay hole by John Astbury who also lived in coppice side

  10. Dawn Hadley says:

    Big house farm belonged to my great grandparents i can remember going there as young child

  11. Jean Houghton says:

    I remember Big House Farm very clearly. It was farmed by the Howdle Family but I believe the land was owned by Lady Wallace. There was an old farm dog named Jacky that ran out barking and snarling every time someone passed by. The local kids were terrified of him. I also have recollection of a large fire at the farm possibly late 50’s. The hay barns were burned down lots of fire engines on site. There was an old wooden platform just outside the farm gate where the milk churns were placed for collection. My brother would sometimes skip school so that he could go to the farm.

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