Guinness clocks and a portion of chips – what do you know?

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Lichfield Road was almost as much a major artery to Brownhills as High Street itself. Image from ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff harrington.

After all the fuss and madness of the last couple of weeks, let’s hope things settle down again and we can get back to what we normally do – parish notices and local history…

With that in mind, I had this one in from old friend of the blog Mike Sarsfield a couple of weeks ago, all the way from Wales, and he asks a couple of great questions about  old Brownhills:

Hi Bob,

Mike Sarsfield here from Swansea…

As Christmas gets nearer I wonder if any of your readers remember the Guiness clock that used to appear near the Cinema/Garretts bakery shop? I believe that it would appear around Christmas time (1950s).

I noticed an item on your site ‘A walk up Lichfield Road with Aer Reg‘ posted on February 15th 2014, that the poem featured, has ‘In row of houses grand and tall, Was Jeffries fish shop a meal for all.’

I believe that this was my great grandmothers shop. Are there any of your readers who can verify it please?

I was born in No. 20 Lichfield road (which no longer exists), but I was always told that my great grandmother used to sell fish & chips from the front room.

Best wishes to you and all your readers

Mike Sarsfield.

A coupe of great questions there from Mike – upon which I have no idea, so I’m hoping readers can help? And Mike, it’s always great to hear from you, thanks for a great couple of questions!

I’ll repeat the poem in question below – it’s best mentally read in Reg’s voice, the chap is irrepressible and his spark is infectious. Reg, you may recall, kindly donated the 1934 Brownhills Carnival cinefilm, and can be heard narrating it.

Come Walk With Me

Come walk with me down Lichfield Road
A second High Street, my childhood holds
Start at the Top – a club serene
Cross the road Brewe’s cakes a dream
With matronly grace the sisters oversaw
Eclairs and scones, pastries by the score
Blood tub once held in a nearby field
The smell of horse hoof as the Smithy hammer wield
In row of houses grand and tall
Was Jeffries fish shop a meal for all
Then Mrs. Pearson’s tiny shop
For a piny or toy we used to pop
Challis renown for his skill with the brush
Whitehouse the builder his cart would push
Building a shed or chicken run?
Timber from Smith the Smithy’s son
A club was started by the British Legion
Alas it faded into another region,
Seeds Lane corner stood a shop
Harvey’s for your sweets and pop

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To kids of my generation, this was a chip shop. Now demolished, there are houses there. Image from ‘Memories of Old Brownhills’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

Brothers and sisters by the name of Turner
The sale of apples a small income earner
Call in at Jones’s, Woodbines far many
The ‘Railway Tavern’s pints drunk by many
Then a front room shop, ‘Walker’ by name
Hair cut by ‘Kelly’, trim was his fame
Then the farm of Oliver Twist
Cows, Poultry and horses endless the list
Today they say organic for garden is new
But Oliver’s cow muck was there sixty years agew
The empire of Beattie of Biggins name
Open all hours to serve you her aim
And then to the Memo hours danced away
Dear old Sal Gripton taught her own special way
Fishers’ for shoes, Trussell for flowers
Then Mrs. Oak’s for pianoforte hours
For grocery or coal Suttons next stop
Dear old Gert reigned over her shop
Important to all her skills not to lack
Was nurse Seedlwuse of 109 and her maternity pack
Beacon the Printer made his mark
When the world developed the hall pen lark
Then the chips of Alice Wood
Cooked as only good food should,
Perce with trolley from the station would fetch
Ice packed fish the day’s fresh scale ketch,
For Radio Battery Electrical fame
The next shop carried Syd Law’s name
Mrs. Cooper there for Millinery
Sankeys Club one of three
Bostons, Mallard, good old Co-op
Yes in Lichfield Road, you could all shop
Ice-cream made by yow yow Plumb
Breezes Club run by  Ernie run
Craddocks Coal and the Chemical stack
Yes in my childhood walk they all come back.

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Much of this housing remains. From ‘Memories of Old Brownhills’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

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10 Responses to Guinness clocks and a portion of chips – what do you know?

  1. Martin Littler says:

    Hi Bob, the only Garretts Bakery i knew of was in Lichfield, they use to have a van and come around Brownhills Watling Street Howdlles Lane ect, in the 50s early 60s.
    Kind regards,
    Martin.

  2. aerreg says:

    hi mike good to hear from you jeffories chip shop was in the row opposite the the smithy on the subject of garrats i dont recall them having a shop in high street but the WI some time ago brought out a book on trades around stafordshire and in it one lady recalled her fathers days delivering garatts bread from lichfield to the homes in gentle shaw chasetown and brownhils it was really interesting inthe latter years the shop on the corner of seeds lane cahanged hands several times yes lichfield road was brownhill second high street so many interesting family roots began there sorry ime rambling on again thanks for the memory god bless

  3. One of my uncles was brother to Oliver Twist, Percy was a carpenter by trade but ran a building company out of Walsall Wood in the50’s.

  4. leeky54 says:

    Hi Bob
    Just a note about the chip shop on the corner of Seeds Lane, it was owned and run by my uncle Harold Leek. When he closed it down he converted it back into a house and lived there till he died. He was also responsible for the crazy paint job on the outside.
    Another shop I’ve not saw mentioned on the blog was my grandad’s hardware shop at the bottom of the High Street next to the gulley leading to Warren Place. My dad Jack ran his decorating business from Grandad Harry’s shop till my grandad was took ill and had to move out. I spent many happy hours down there as a kid playing in the shed’s and shop.
    Cheers
    Pete Leek

    • Les Bullock says:

      Hi Pete
      I remember your dad (and you) very well. He was always in his white bib and braces, his cap at an angle, and he always seemed to have a ladder on his shoulder.
      Cheers
      Les Bullock

  5. oakparkrunner says:

    The Guinness clock was a travelling clock advertising Guinness. When it was in brownhills, it was on the bottom of the car park next to the regent cinema. It used to give a display every 15 minutes.

  6. Mandy Balfour nee Pearson says:

    The poem rings a bell Mrs Pearson on mrs Pearson a tiny shop was my nan remember helping her in that shop when I was a child 😀

  7. aerreg says:

    hi IRENE i remember oliver well i lived a few doors away and used to go bird nesting down the lane opposite at the end of the day MR JAMES and MR RUSHTON used to park the steam lorry of joe lanes chemical works in his yard another memory as i have recalled before was seing oliver and erni breese droving a cow from lichfield auction i still have the drover stick also the memory of those well known painters and decoraters LEEKS i can see in my mind the end of the property at the gully down to the fair ground on it painted the name LEEKS he was oashort stocky man white overhall wearing a cap well respected talking of painters how many remember robinsons a confectionary shop by the coop mr robinson repaired pat collins fair rides at his depot at chase road he is on the carnival vidio next to the legendry bobby saryer god bless and thanks

  8. Les Bullock says:

    Hi Bob
    I hope you don’t mind me contacting Mike through your blog, but I do believe that we used to play together when we were boys. Do you have contact details for Mike that you could email me please.
    Many Thanks
    Les Bullock

  9. aerreg says:

    re our lovley nostalgic walk down lichfield road i wonder how many recall the dean family they lived next door to pearsons shop the reason i refer to this they had a daughter fondly known to us as floss she was was quite a significant person because she was one of the early police women in her day and whent on to higher ranks in her life i hope ime not a bore but as i said earlier alarge number of old brownhills leading biesness and public figuers bega there cariers from the chemi to the top club bless you all for the memouries

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