Ice cream, miners, silent cinema and the Jones Boys. What do you know?


This should jog a memory or two for Sue. A wafer master, from Bradford on Avon Museum.

An absolutely fantastic enquiry came in a couple of weeks ago (see how far I am behind? Sorry) from Sue Clarke in Hilton, Cambridgeshire which blends a number of disparate topics covered here including ice cream, old cycle shops, local music and cinema.

I feel certain here readers like David Oakley and Reg Fullelove may be able to help, and all contributions very welcome.

For reference; we’re interested in all Brownhills history on the blog – at over 4,000 articles there’s almost everything covered! We remembered Ice Cream here, the High Street recalled by Reg Fuyllelove here, and lots of stuff on the musical history of Brownhills here with a lovely homage to Brownhills cinema here by Mick Stackhouse.

I’ll let Sue explain:

Hallo Brownhills Bob,

I’m contacting you as a starting point as I begin to research my family history. Having read about you on your Homepage I think I’m probably older than you.

My own memory of Brownhills ice cream was walking across a stretch of grass, maybe a common, to buy Selwyn’s Ice Cream… made in a metal oblong ‘scoop’ and then placed between wafers.

The Burton Boys in Stonnall enjoy a Selwyn Smith ice cream. Lovely 1958 film from Desmond Burton

My memories date back to the early 1950s when I visited my Granny Jones on Lichfield Road. I know that my grandfather and uncles were miners but on searching out more about my father’s family I find that they were miners over several generations and they all lived around Brownhills, Pelsall and Walsall. My uncles made a quartet and were called the Jones Boys/Jones Brothers and were popular playing for local gigs. My aunt played the piano for the silent films in the local cinema. On my mother’s side I believe that her father, my grandad Elford, had a bike/bike repair shop probably in the early 1930’s on, I think, the High Street.

I understand that I can go to the Walsall Council Archives and plan to do that in the New Year, in the meantime I wonder if you are able to put me in touch with any relevant Local History groups… I see there’s a Burntwood group… do you think that would be relevant to my geographical area?

Princeps was, I think, before my time. This shot I'm guessing must be about mid-sixties, but I'm hoping someone can date it better. From the excellent work 'Memories of Brownhills Past' by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

I think this was probably 1960s rather than 50s, but Brownhills High Street clearly pre Ravens Court, as the roof of Mount Zion can be seen on the left. I think Sue might recognise this. From the excellent work ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

I think you comment on the present times in Brownhills, I don’t Tweet on Twitter and am not very computer savvy so I’m not sure if your interest in Brownhills goes back to the early part of the last century but any thing you can tell me about the cinema and possibly my uncles’ music would be very welcome, as would anything else you think relevant.

Many thanks, I hope to hear from you
Sue Clark
Hilton Cambridgeshire.

I’m currently unaware of any Brownhills local history groups that are active – but I can heartily recommend Burntwood Family History Group and also the Aldridge Local History Society whose territories clearly overlap in Brownhills, and I’m sure readers here will be happy to help with memories and contributions.

Thanks to Sue for a lovely question – if you can help, please do: Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.


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10 Responses to Ice cream, miners, silent cinema and the Jones Boys. What do you know?

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    I remember Elford’s from the 1960s. It stood at the corner of High Street and Silver Street. It was the “orange shop” – as a young child, before I learned to read, I identified shops by the colour of the paintwork. (My favourite was the blue shop – Princep’s toyshop.) At that time Elfrod’s was a general hardware store where you could buy things like brooms and buckets, candles and maybe even handles for forks – a bit like the place in that famous Two Ronnies sketch.

  2. David Evans says:

    was this Elkins shop?

  3. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    very interested to learn more of the musical Jones brothers….were these the “Melochords “( sister, Doris)..? Piano accordians etc.. possibly…
    kind regards

  4. Hi Bob could the Jones sister, who played the piano, have been called Agnes? My mother used to play the piano and accompany people singing and she used to talk of someone she knew called Agnes Jones.

  5. aerreg says:

    hi sue i remember the jones quarter len played the chelo no conection with the melocord dance band one of the brothers lived next door to brenda and i at 47 chester road north now jones fish and chip ship shop there is often confusion here some knew it as alice woods the maiden name of perce jones her husband she was brother to jack wood the news agent 2 doors away to claryffy another query i often note the iron monger was ELKIN finaly the ice cream molder it cam

    e in two thickneses thin and thick depending how many pennies you had my favourite the harfpenny cornet aipny break the bottom off to suck it through the botom to mmake it last longer god bless

  6. aerreg says:

    it was LEN JONES who lived at chester road they had a daughter on the subject of ice crea others were robinson boston plumb poutney walls stop me and by one and as i refered some time ago selwyns call was ise ceem he can be seen on the brownhills carnival film with his horse and pony cart he became mobile at a later date when his son joined him wit his posh AUSTIN A 40 then along came the orignal mr whippy god bless thanks for thememory

  7. Angry woman says:

    All gone now 🙁

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