One story here that recently prompted much discussion and took me somewhat by surprise was the article by Martin Dingle on the history of the very local Tettenhall Pear – well, Martin’s been back in touch after talking to his Grandfather, and his some great recollections of Clayhanger.
What none of us realised was that there was actually a picture of the Dutton’s Tettenhall pear tree already on the blog!
I’d like to thank Martin and his Grandfather for a great article and welcome anymore he has – Martin also sent me a wonderful piece on Linley Woods which I shall post up as soon as I’m able, but sadly the current rash of news stories has rather disrupted the schedule.
One further question, Martin. Dingle Road in Clayhanger. Any connection?
Please comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com – thanks to Martin for a really interesting curiosity.
Another update for you regarding the Tettenhall Pear story.
We spoke to my grandfather over the weekend and he was very touched by the article on your blog.
We managed to print off an old map of Clayhanger and tried to work out the relative position of his house compared to the Tettenhall tree in question. It turns out this conversation tied in several of your former stories and blogs.
Firstly, my grandfather was born in the row of houses by Clayhanger bridge which subsided and were eventually demolished. I have since read up on this and have seen it has been widely discussed across your pages. I would very much like to hear from anybody who was also living in these houses at this time. There are posts and comments on your pages suggesting readers were present there at this time. Going on from this, it then transpires that the house in question possessing the Tettenhall pear tree is none other than the Dutton house adjacent to the canal. A quick search across your pages again revealed information on this (and how it had subsided) but best of all the photographs you have of this house show THE ACTUAL TREE! It is to the left of the house when looking at it from the canal side. Pretty overwhelming for my grandfather to see, so thank you very very much for that memory.
So my granddad was actually born in the last house in the row next to Clayhanger railway bridge – by last I mean the one nearest to the bridge itself. In one of your blogs there is a picture showing this house having just been demolished. It sits as a pile of rubble. I have shown him all of these pictures. He also remembers sitting on/playing around the ‘Sump’ pump opposite in the fields as a child. He said there was a farm in that area and there was a farm track with a gate, and he used to sit on the Sump and whenever the farmer came down the lane he would run and open the gate and the driver would give him a coin. From his story, he tells me the houses were already condemned by the time they moved in, and they had to talk the necessary parties into letting them move in/stay as they could not afford anywhere else at that time. Granddad clearly remembers the back gardens steadily starting to sink away evenly right across the entire row of houses, and over the years the water level rose from the other end of the houses and eventually began to pool up. The flooding started at the far end and worked its way up towards the bridge end, so their house was in fact the last to have a flooded garden. The water levels steadily rose and eventually went around and finally into the back of the houses and by this time the road at the front was also partially submerged. The council told all of the tenants they had to leave, and this process began from the end furthest away from the bridge end. As such our family were the very last to leave. My granddad says as they were climbing on the cart(!) to move their belongings just up the road to their new house (number 21 he recalls as marked on the map) he jumped off and ran back into the house and had one last look in all of the rooms. He still says he can picture them all.
He also remembers the Dutton House vividly (thanks for the pictures!) I forgot to ask whether it was ‘higher’ than in the pictures due to the subsidence as widely discussed in your blog so I shall raise this question again, but I should imagine he will be able to easily answer this.
So, we have determined and located the Tettenhall pear tree I was hunting for. I have no idea whether the Dutton house, or the tree, still exist today, but I will be heading up to find out soon. Thank you again for the info in your pages.
Incidentally, over the past couple of years my granddad has been documenting all of the stories of his childhood, growing up in Clayhanger as he wants us all to remember what it was like for him back then. There are pages and pages of very amusing stories, which he has hand-written and my mother has been typing them up for him each week…. this process is still ongoing. we are not too sure what to do with this information at the moment, but we shall see…
Feel free to use any of the above however you see fit.