Old Chasetown – a remarkable history


‘Old Chasetown’ includes some amazing images like this one, of workers in a local colliery.

Thanks to the immense generosity of reader and old pal of the blog Stuart, and the tireless work of the young David Evans, I can share with you something rather special today: a book on Chasetown history entitle ‘Old Chasetown’2, published in a very limited run – very probably  1980.

The book – very reminiscent of the slightly later Brownhills History one featured here a couple of years ago – was created mainly by school kids from three local schools with adult help. It’s over 100 pages long, with loads of good quality images – many of which I’ve certainly never seen before – and lots of interesting, engaging prose.

The introduction notes the following:

During 1979, three of the local Chasetown schools were involved in a project to “mine” historical records, documents and photographs of the area, which undoubtedly lay under the depths of “overburden” in drawers, trunks or in attics. Children of the St. Joseph’s, Chasetown Primary and Oakdene Schools acted as mining “agents”, and many “seams” of interesting material were discovered, unearthed and finally”mined”. As editors we would like to thank the children, parents and friends concerned for the interest shown. This little pamphlet is an example of child/adult co-operation which is the basis and substance of the educational style of today. The young learn from those experienced in life who have a story to tell. The enthusiasm of the young and the archives of those older have provided us with the material from which this selection has been made.

Reader Stuart found the book in his loft, and kindly shared it with the young David Evans, who has scanned it beautifully. David emailed me the scans, and I’ve combined them into a text-searchable PDF file. You can download your copy at the link below.

Old Chasetown (PDF file, 44.3 megabytes)

You can also peruse the first 20 pages in the gallery at the foot of this post; click any page to see a legible version.

This is now the complete version with the missing pages restored! If you downloaded a copy of the original, please download this one instead.

Like the Brownhills book, this is a remarkable work, completed long before the internet. That said, some of the material is open to debate, and I welcome views on some aspects – so if you see anything that makes you think, please do shout up.

Maybe you remember the book, or were involved in some way. I’d love to hear your story.

You can comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

This is an incredible piece of work, and I salute all involved – it’s great to be able to share it with the community. Thanks to Stuart for his immense generosity and patience, too. A real gentleman.

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18 Responses to Old Chasetown – a remarkable history

  1. Robert Selvey says:

    My old mate John Bucknall was involved with this and often spoke of it’s creation and the pleasure he derived from being involved. Sadly John passed away this year but has left a legacy of photographs of the areas transport scene plus other nuggets like this book, and other books published via the Ian Allan organisation.

    • Ant Dennis says:

      I was one of 3 lads who worked on the With Mr Bucknall,, from Oakdene school ,,, it parked my interest in local History ,,,,

  2. aerreg says:

    hi bob as mr selvey says my old friend john bucknal was responsable for the old chasetown books there possible a few coppies around of another book on chase town collieries i have both john and i were great friends we worked together on another book old heath hayes john was part of my world after i lost my wife he never missed a saterday morning visit and for two hours over coffee and biscuits we would natter trains his school years and local history a also visits to our cannock chase trusty cameras at hand for deer i wild life i realy do miss him RIP JOHN

  3. aerreg says:

    PS the reason the books are so rare john said the plates had distroyed he was head at oakdean at the time he came to heath hayes where we worked on the old heath hayes book and our fellowship began his other interset was photography and stamps we spen t hours together camerers in hand seeking deer trains and wilde life he knew every rivet on a train

  4. philcburton says:

    What a brilliant and informative little book, again many thanks to Stuart and David for all their work in producing it, thanks William for posting it

  5. Pedro says:

    Page 58….”At this time Chasetown had no proper name. When the 1861 census was taken all the houses except the Triangle and Paviers Row were simply described as Cannock Chase. Perhaps the town on the Chase became Chasetown. It is said that Elijah Wills, who came to Chasetown as the schoolmaster in 1863, was the first to describe the area as Chasetown.”

    The origin of the name Chasetown has been discussed before in the article “Believed to be a good man…”


    I believe it was coined by the Rev G Poole who had looked after his flock in the area since 1851. His area covered Burntwood and Hammerwich, and this included the developing region of Chasetown. In 1890 his niece Sarah Mason wrote a biography “Found Ready: Memorials of the Rev George Poole” which states that as the houses were built Mr and Mrs Poole said “Chasetown” would be a more appropriate name. The word passed from one to another until it became current.

    • Pedro says:

      In his book Black Country Memories 2, Carl Chinn also says that many attribute the name Chasetown to the Rev George Poole.

  6. Robert Selvey says:

    I have two copies of Old Heath Hayes here code L50 in the scheme but JB had run out of the Chasetown books by the time we met in the late 1980s. After Christmas I will try to scan and make a PDF as per this book.

    • David Evans says:

      Hi Robert
      what a lovely offer! If you need any help, please dont hesitate to ask…I fiddled about with the scanner settings to bring the clarity back to the original text and photos for this book…which is a gem of a book.. and was pleased with the result.
      Compliments of the season

      • Robert Selvey says:

        as I made a promise to scan this book I decided to make a start pre Christmas rather than wait till festivities were over. It is going very well and I hope to complete the job today 23rd December. As this will be a large file can you get your email address to me via Brownhills Bob and I will send a dropbox link to you both when completed? Thanks in advance and compliments of the season to you.

  7. aerreg says:


  8. aerreg says:


    • Stuart Cowley says:

      Merry Christmas Reg,you do make me smile,I’ll also take this opportunity to thank Bob and his little helpers for all the hard work that’s put in and that’s the reason why I’ll always give this blog first pop at anything I stumble across. Don’t forget there is also a need for everyone to rest up during this period and take it easy ready for the New Year.Merry Christmas,Happy New Year to all!

  9. Alan Thompson says:

    Recently found this remarkable book when searching for history of my family. I hit pay dirt with this book on page 8 there is a mention of my Great Granddad and his brother not only that there is a photograph can you imagine my joy at this find. Thank you for making this available.

  10. Pingback: The Thompson Family of Chasetown: What do you know? | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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