In all the empty houses

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The Sandhills Quarry cottage, as it was in 2003. Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Reader and friend of the blog Ian Broad has once more been in touch to share another picture of the still derelict old bungalow at the old driveway to Shire Oak Quarry, just of Shire Oak Hill on the A461 near Sandhills, in which he grew up.

Ian has previously sent us wonderful memories of his father setting up the shop Toms Cabin in Brownhills, a carpet shop in the spot formerly occupied by Ladies Hairdresser May Brown. May was, of course, wife of noted barber Tommy Brown who used to operate from a shed in the back yard of May’s shop.

Ian had this to say about thee image above:

Hi Bob,

Just found this old pic of the old ‘quarry’ bungalow from about 2003.

I went down there to see what my childhood home looked like. I have more pics somewhere. I’ll find them.

Me and my dad put the concrete slab down in front of the house and also on the drive. As you can imagine there was no shortage of concrete living next to s quarry.

What I find incredible from recent aerial images is how much of the field behind the bungalow is overgrown and just ‘gone’ there is no distinguishing the three massive sycamore trees that were in the field side by side.

As you can see the front porch and side ‘lean to’ are still fairly in tact.

I also made a visit to Dave Kay who lives in the house that’s right next to the quarry lane. Incredibly he still has the Macaw bird called Stanley that I remember as a child. He’s 43 yrs old!

Anyway enough of my ramblings.

All the best,

Thanks for the contribution, Ian, I’m still very interested in this lost house and memories of it – at the moment, I’m also very intrigued by the empty Fishpond Cottage on the other side of the quarry, and also for any memories of the transport cafe that used to be on the Chester Road between Shire Oak and Stonnall.

If you have anything to add, please do – either comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Situtated at the fenced off, disused Lichfield Road entrance to Sandhills Quarry, I spotted this derelect, boarded up bungalow. Anyone know the story? Who lived here? What was it used for, if not a dwelling? 5:36pm, Sunday, 15th May 2011.

Situtated at the fenced off, disused Lichfield Road entrance to Sandhills Quarry, stands this derelect, boarded up bungalow. It turns out that reader Ian lived there, and it was once quite a place!

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3 Responses to In all the empty houses

  1. david oakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    I was intrigued by your mention of the café between Shire Oak and Stonnall, as I remember both establishments. The first one, Sam’s Café was on the right-hand side, after leaving Shire Oak crossroads, don’t think you meant that one. The other one was getting on for two miles further on, known to us as Bert’s Café, on the left-hand side of the road. We knew this café quite well and used it when working for local farmers during the second World War.
    I knew precisely where this café was, having left the district some years ago, my memory is not confused by recent developments, and I knew it was on the left-hand side of the Chester Road, not for from the junction where Birch Lane, on the right, joins the main road.
    Not having been around there for seventy years or so, I decided to have a peek through Google Earth. Expecting to see built-up developments making it difficult to pinpoint the exact site, I was amazed to see the terrain hadn’t altered that much…….but, the café was still there !!, not Bert’s Café, but Voujon Restaurant. Formerly The Mango Tree. I peered at the photo, yes, the familiar silhouette as I remember hadn’t altered much, I looked at the house noted two sturdy chimneys, open fireplaces, hmm, not many of those built in recent years, single storey café premises, as I remember, the same building, tarted up just a little, but I could see, through the make- up
    We haven’t lost a café. I did a little research and found Voujon Restaurant were relative newcomers, formers owners were The Mango Tree, before that the premises were derelict for a number of years, God knows how long, or how long ‘Bert’ had vacated. However, it is my firm opinion that that the deeds to this property go back to the late 1930’s and the building there now, is the same as the one in which I had many a cup of tea, (price 2d), all those years ago.

  2. Sarah Hodgson says:


    My Uncle and Aunt ran the Shire Oak transport cafe in the70s. Is it a pub now? Any pictures and memories would be wonderful.

    Sarah Hodgson

  3. Sarah Hodgson says:


    My Uncle and Aunt ran the Shire Oak transport cafe in the70s. Is it a pub now? Any pictures and memories would be welcome.

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