A life on the Hill…

The bungalow at Sandhills still clings on today, just in the former access road to the quarry, but surely isn’t long for the world now – Image Kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Earlier in the week, I featured a lovely piece about the long gone carpet shop in Brownhills High Street that stood where Wilkinson is today called Tom’s Cabin, by old friend of the blog Ian Broad – in that article, I noted Ian had some other images and memories to share of the (still derelict) old bungalow at the old driveway to Shire Oak Quarry, on the A461 near Sandhills, Shire Oak.

Ian has previously discussed this sad, lost bungalow in a previous article, which has generated a lot of interest on the blog. Ian now elaborates on this with some remarkable images – look out for the kitten which has all the cute!

Ian wrote:

Hi Bob,

Well I found some old pics from 1974 showing the garden at the back of the old bungalow. My dad grew loads of veg there and built a greenhouse too. There was an old mushroom shed that was in a pretty bad state. We later rebuilt it.

Ian’s father and grandfather working hard in the garden, Image Kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

You can see the ‘pathways’ In the pic described in a previous email.

The gardens must have been incredible when first done, it was multi level with intricate pathways. The gardens stretched all the way to where the quarry started. I’d say it was prob a good 100 yds long.

‘Here a better view from the old bungalow driveway, looking out over the fields towards Lichfield. This is me and my little bro Jonathan with his new kitten. I obviously didn’t want my photo taken!’ – Image Kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

The same was mirrored at the front right side of the house and extended all the way to Lichfield Rd. In fact there was a gate on Lichfield Rd with a number 28 on it. We never got round to restoring beyond the lawn area there.

That looks like a brilliant garden to play in. Image Kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

In the pic only the first part is ‘restored’.

When we moved in there were 6ft high brambles from the walk of the house. Nothing you see in the pic was visible.

My mum and dad and gran and grandad are in the pic. I think I took the pics. Look at the little tractor, my little brothers’.  No steering wheel just a spike where it was – no ‘health and safety’ in the 70s!


Cheers to Ian for some great images and lovely memories – if you can add anything to this history, or remember those day, please don’t hesitate to comment here or mail me – BorwnhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

Ian said ‘Here’s the view from the driveway of the old bungalow. The lawn, gardens that extended up to Lichfield Rd are on the left. Sorry, view is obscured by the car and my bike.’   That’s a lovely steed. Whenever I see road bikes from the 70s and 80s the huge fork rake always surprises me – Image Kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

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13 Responses to A life on the Hill…

  1. Shelley Hankin. says:

    I grew up at 48 Lichfield road. Sandhills. My mom still lives there. I’m 53 this year.
    I always thought the caretaker of the quarry lived in that house. Lol. Had no idea it was a private house.
    My dad was Gordon Roberts he had Sandhills school of motoring. My friends parents Dave & val still live next to the old quarry entrance. How lovely to see these old pictures. Only seems like yesterday.

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  6. Anthony Francis says:

    My memories of the sand and gravel pit at Shire Oak. In 1957 I had just been demobbed and I went to work at the gravel pit. My employer, Shire Oak Sand & Gravel who’s owner first name was Bill, I believe. The office manager was Eric Davis, his wife was a receptionist at Walsall Wood doctors then in Beechtree Road. The plant manager was Horace Taylor who’s house was in the High Street, Walsall Wood. Horace had a very bad stammer but was a fantastic engineer, me,I was the general dogsbody. In front of the office, facing the plant, we parked the two Foden lorries. George, the digger driver drove one and I the other. Foden motors didn’t have a starter motor so we used the starting handle, which was hazardous to say the least. The Wash operator’s name was Trevor. It would appear that sometime after I left the building had extensive alterations done. Tony.

    • David Nicklin says:

      The owner of the quarry was William J Northey of Little Aston.He drove a Jaguar car and usually took his dog to the offices.The dog was a standard poodle and most people avoided him.Georges name was Cordon and he lived in Salters Road ,Walsall Wood.My dad was Bill Nicklin who delivered sand and gravel on behalf of Shire Oak Gravels and I spent my school holidays riding round with him.
      David Nicklin

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