I’ve been contacted via Facebook by blog reader Jane Davies Worallo who’s been talking to her dad, James Davies lately about his life growing up in an area of Shire Oak known locally as The Cape.
We’ve mentioned this mysterious, almost lost area here before, when the young David Evans delved into the historical record to find out just where The Cape was. It’s an interesting exercise in lost place names, much like Bullings Heath was.
James remembers with some clarity the people, landscape and notable events of this place and I’d like to thank both he and Jane for so generously sharing the memories, which I’m sure will be of interest, and perhaps inspiration to others.
If you have anything to add, please do – either comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.
Hi, My name is Jane Davies Worallo and I wanted to let you know that my Dad, James Davies was Born at number 66 Occupation Road, Up the Cape, Brownhills in 1947.
He has shown me the aerial map of Walsall Wood/Shireoak and talked me through who lived where, the limited number of businesses in the area, etc. When my dad lived up The Cape his home was the only one on his side of the road for quite some way. Over the next couple of days we aim, father and daughter, to produce a project which we will welcome you to share. I believe my Father, James Davies Is the true Caped Crusader!
As promised, some memories my dad has of living ‘Up the Cape’.
Dad was born in 1947 and lived in a rented farm house, 66 Occupation Road, Up the Cape, Walsall Wood. At the top of the Hill was a Giant Oak Tree, Hence the name Shire Oak. In 1957 the council started building council houses, at the time my dad’s home was over 100 years old, but was subsequently knocked down to make way for new houses.
The shops my dad remembers being on the Brownhills Road included Sid Law’s radio rentals, Polly Wady and Hancox’s. the Pit was still operating but it closed in 1964. Mr Richardson was the gate man at the pit. He would hand tags out to the men as the decended into the pit, when they came back up they handed the tags back to Mr Richardson. If a tag was missing it meant a man was still down the pit.
In 1952 my Dad started at the infants school, walsall Wood School and then went into the junior side of the school. Some of the teachers my dad recalls are Mrs Clenton, (Brian Clenton) who’s husband owned a butchers shop on Lindon Road. Miss Alice, Mrs Langford, the head teacher was Mr Barker.
Occupation Road was then a dirt track which went all the way round to Commonside. Friezeland lane came along later. The corner shop at the Junction of Friezeland lane, Commonside, Occupation Road was run By Mrs Guest.
In 1953 for the Queen’s coronation my dad remembers everyone setting up tables and trestle tables in the field attached to his home and people brought food and drink. The whole community was involved. On The gate were two union Jacks and dad remembers winning a race and receiving some plastic sun glasses.
Opposite where my dad lived was a small field where the pit ponies and horses were brought to live out the remaining time of their lives. Dad remember’s Ruddock’s geese chasing people up the lane as they walked past, and Dad used to chase them away for a thre’penny bit. Mom’s would say ‘Thank you Jimmy’. Mr Ruddock would pay my dad to collect eggs from under the hedgerows, but dad always ensured some eggs made it home!
People my dad remembers living along Occupation Road include Dufty, Roberts, Smiths, Tonks and Beardsmore families.
Mr. Matthias lived at the bottom of The Cape, and coming up Occupation Road there was Gladys Preece and Mr Ruddock. Motor cars were very rare.
Dad remembers idylic times where he grew up at 66 Occupation Road, up The cape, Walsall Wood.