A Coppice, lots of timber and a little backtracking


Birmingham Central Goods Station in 1964. Image by D.J. Norton, kindly supplied by Ian Pell.

The SLS rail tour that took place in 1959 has proven to be a rich seam of material, and has provoked much debate amongst blog readers about the locations of some photos, and just how and where the Diesel Multiple Unit pictured managed to reverse.

Expanding on this thread, Ian Pell continued his research last week, in response to the dispute over his theory about the reversing location being the Coppice Colliery near the Bus Garage at Heath Hayes (not Aldridge as some cementers appeared to think).

Ian sent me the following:

Coppice Colliery Five Ways 1962


Oh my goodness – this is also one for the Harper Bros. fans. What an ace picture – The Coppice Colliery, Heath Hayes, from the Ian Pell collection.

Hi Bob

Sorry can’t put photos in comments to the blog, so please find attached a copy of photographs of Coppice (Five Ways) Colliery taken in 1962.

I appreciate that locations and buildings change – that’s what makes placing photos in exact locations very difficult – but they at least give an idea of the relationships between the buildings.

Five Ways 1962 IvP 1962

I can’t get over how evocative these images are: I can almost smell the smoke. Image of Coppice Colliery, Heath Haye, in 1962 from the Ian Pell collection.

Equally, the 1959 building does have skylights which do not appear on the Harper Bros. building of 1962.

As yet I am unable to find a photograph of Birmingham Central facing the required direction, the first photo [top of article] photo shows the Goods station in the opposite direction with the timber stock pile on the right in the position which would be correct if this is the location.

Kindest regards



I’m sure these are video stills. I bet the film is equally fascinating. Coppice Colliery, Heath Hayes, 1962. Image from the Ian Pell collection.

Now, Ian had an afterthought, and sent me the following, a little later:

Hi Bob

After further research and reviewing various sources this picture of the special at Birmingham Central Goods from the R.S.Carpenter collection may give some further clarity.

The two gentlemen on the left (presumed to be the driver and guard) seem to be in very similar positions in both pictures. Perhaps this is the clue to the location of the “Conduit” photo. The second attachment is another unearthed IvP shot of Five Ways in 1962.


Ian, as ever, you stun me with your analysis and knowledge. Thank you so much.

Readers – do you agree or disagree? Your thoughts are welcome! Comment here please or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

SLS 300559 B'ham Central Goods

I think Ian may well have cracked this one. Compare this photo with the one from Simon Swain, below. Image of the same tour from the R.S. Carpenter collection, at Birmingham Central Goods Station.


A new image of the SLS May 1959 rail tour – but it is really at the Conduit Colliery? Image spotted on Six Bells Junction by Simon Swain, sourced from the John Debens Collection.

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6 Responses to A Coppice, lots of timber and a little backtracking

  1. stuart cowley says:

    Evening chap,
    Years ago my dad loaned a video from his mate who was something to do with a history society in Burntwood,my dad and his mate have sadly passed away long since but it was a video showing a train and you could clearly see harpers in the background on a few shots,I’d love to see it again,I’ve searched You tube a few times without success.I’m talking about 12 years ago since I watched it


  2. Philip Burton says:

    Now that is Defiantly Harpers Garage, if you compare these photos to the ones I sent, The door on the left of the building is what was used during the day for access to the bus wash, at night the wash brushes were pushed to the left side to park the buses. The 1962 middle photo is taken further towards Leacroft and the lane looking between the buildings is Newlands La. Colley’s flower nurseries are in that area. Great photos Ian, I think you have definitely cracked the final destination.

  3. philcburton says:

    Now that is Harpers Garage, if you compare with the ones I sent in. The doors on the left of the building was the bus wash entrance during the day then at night the wash was used for parking. On the top photo you can see a rather large shed to the left of the parked buses, this was Harpers club room just inside Newlands La. The next photo is taken further along Newlands La by Colley’s Flower Nurseries

  4. Somewhere by where this picture was taken, Pear Tree FC played their footy games. It was just a farmers field which he mowed and as a kid I would go up and mark the pitch out with sawdust, with my dad. Oh for those days!
    When I saw the first post I didn’t realise that you were talking about here.

  5. Joan harris says:

    Hi bob does anyone have any photos of ralph Ferris Brownhills motors when it was on the. A5 in the 1970s

  6. Joan harris says:

    Hi bob does anyone have any photos of Brownhills motors when it was on the A5 owned by ralph ferry

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