An interesting question was posed to me a few weeks ago by Shire Oak specialist and old friend of the blog Sheila Norris, and the more I think about it, the more interesting it gets – and it’s all to do with a chap we’re really interested in, Brownhills filmmaker Edgar Pritchard.
Edgar, as regular readers readers will recall, made the astounding 1934/5 Brownhills Carnival film, and we later featured his short story Hope Springs Eternal. The Pritchard story then really opened up with the contributions of Margaret Thompson and the film The Poacher’s Apprentice (featured below), which caused a real stir.
Well, we know Edgar made other films like the one of local cadets, but we either don’t know where they are, or have access to them; and Sheila thinks there may be yet another somewhere:
Have just been talking to my father, 93 next month, about all matters Brownhills etc.
He says that when he was a teenager before the war he remembers a special bonfire being built in a field just off The Parade, a road running towards Lichfield from near Brownhills Bridge. He can’t remember why it was built but thought it was some sort of celebration or commemoration – not the usual Guy Fawkes night anyway.
Everyone round about brought stuff to pile on it and it was enormous – as big as a house, Dad thinks! (although Dad might have been quite small at the time!) – It was built in a special way with a sort of tunnel at the bottom. Two men had a pole with a straw bale threaded on it, soaked in parafin. The bale was lit and the men ran with it, rammed it into the tunnel and the bonfire went up with a whoosh!
Dad recalls that Mr. Pritchard was there and filmed the event and he later went to see the film at Brownhills Central School. Dad says it was just a bonfire, no fireworks.
Hope this snippet is of interest.
I’m hoping the history-heads tuned in may well be able to link this to a particular event, and perhaps some of the older readers can recall it – Reg, what do you think old chap?
Thanks top Sheila for a tantalising and fascinating enquiry – you folks know what to do by now! Comments please – or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.