Whistle and flute?

I believe this to be the house that was Jimmy Lawley’s Outfitters. Now a house, you can still see the shopfront and signboard above the window. Imagery from Google Streetview.

I have a really simple enquiry and request in from a reader this week relating to a local shop I’d completely forgotten about, and I think it’s worth asking you readers for help.

When I was a young man I remember a shop in Shelfield, just on the Lichfield Road not far from the garage, on the right hand side heading into Walsall. The shop was Jimmy Lawley’s Gentlemens Outfitter and must have been one of the last such shops to survive in the area.

I think James (Jimmy) Lawley’s market was largely the older gentleman and I think the shop possibly closed either with the proprietor’s retirement or passing; it later became the surgey of Doctor Norton for a while. I remember it being unusual during this period as it had a painted, jolly and old-style shop sign above the window saying ‘Doctor Norton’s Surgey’ in quite a jaunty script.

Following that period, the property seems to have been covered into a house, although STreetview shows there are still clues in the building to it’s former use.

What I’m after here are any photos or memories you have of Lawley’s Outfitters, or the building in any of it’s phases including the period as a surgery.

If you can help, please do – comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks!

I wonder how many other such shops have faded unremembered into the mists of time?

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17 Responses to Whistle and flute?

  1. aerreg says:

    jimmy lawley was a well known quality outfitter well respected medicaly if my memory serves me wright further down was a bungalow wasnt that a clinic as you say many of the old families buiseness have become history there used to be a painter and plumber on the lichfieid road and another name comes to mind nesbet they were part of my old chasetown electric days and were part of brownhills urban district council

  2. Denise says:

    Remember the shop, but not who or particularly what it was. The bungalow further down towards At Francis school was a good surgery for many years,,, till it moved to Start John’s in Walsall wood.

  3. urbanparanoia says:

    Not far away in High Heath – at the end of Field Lane (where it joins Coronation Road – opposite Clews Garage – also disappeared) was a shop which in the late ‘70’s was called (if my memory serves) “Whitehouse’s.

    This became “Eric and Reene’s Village Stores”, before finally being owned by an Asian guy (cant remember the shop name then).

    It’s a house now – has been since the late ‘80’s, IIRC.

  4. Fawlty says:

    I think Jimmy Lawley was involved with the Methodist Church opposite the Spring Cottage and also Brownhills Choral Society. The bungalow in Four Crosses Road used to be the Doctors Surgery in the 60s. Doctor Williams was one of the partners.

  5. tim bickley says:

    yes you are correct he was a friend of my dads came most sat dinner times then it was doctor nortons surgery when he went on his own i believe he still lives there

  6. Lisa Bloxam says:

    I used to be one of Dr Norton’s patients at that house. I moved from Rushall surgery and stayed with him, at his independent surgery. I remember his wife…..and mother in law, who was the ‘Sister’ there. He was a very good doctor, and felt very welcome there. This was in the 1990s.

  7. David Oakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    I remember Jimmy Lawley from my childhood in the 1930’s. Jimmy was a gentlemen’s credit draper, from Shelfield, and had one of the few cars seen on the local roads. Most of his business was on credit, a godsend to the working-class community, and Saturday was spent collecting the shillings and sixpences from his customers, who could rig themselves out from Jimmy’s shop.
    In my time the shop, was situated virtually next door to the Spring Cottage, separated only by a vacant lot containing a few bushy trees, Jimmy’s was the first shop in a semi-detached pair, so far as I was aware, Jimmy lived on the premises, as was the practice in those days, although it seems that at a later date, he took over the whole building.
    I make no apologies for my familiar reference to ‘Jimmy’, that was how he was known. A cloth-capped socialist, he did indeed wear a cloth cap, and was a Labour councillor on Brownhills District for many years,

    • Christine Armstrong says:

      Jimmy Lawley was a lovely man a big friend of my nans as they were both Labour supporters. He used to come and collect the money once a week and have a drink of tea with her. He was a councillor and helped me get my first council house. After he died his son took over running the business

  8. Stephen charles says:

    Jimmy died I think his son John took over who was a carpet fitter as well ,we had all our school uniforms of him and later on I had a leather jacket of him, his sister Miri use to collect the money on a Friday and bring chocolates for the dog lovely people ,jimmy used to collect the money on his bike .

  9. Gill Brooks says:

    I’m pretty usre that’s the place my parents looked at late 70’s/early 80’s with a view to opening a fast food “Tuck Inn” there. Looks very familiar. Don’t recall the outfitters though (even I’M too young for that)

  10. Rob says:

    This was a GP’s surgery when I was little (early – mid 90’s.

  11. urbanparanoia says:

    Also on Coronation Road in High Heath – a Butcher (Ernie – something- Collins, maybe?) and a Post Office.

    IIRC, two families owned the Post Office during the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. The shop was split in two – on one side, the mail, etc and the other, a general stores.

    I can’t remember the surnames for the life of me, but I recall that Richard, the son of the former owners was a well-known local character. His parents also performed as a musical duo (organ and drums) at local functions. I believe they lived at the far end of Field Lane, on Mill Lane.

  12. David Evans says:

    Dear David

    Yes, Jimmy Lawley’s shop, and its associated business which included deferred-terms accounts for clothing, was a thriving concern for many years. Jimmy Lawley died in the early 1970’s, but the business was carried on by his daughter Mirrie and his son John for a long time after that. I haven’t got a date for the closure of the shop, but Mirrie died some years ago, and John is now retired and living in Walsall Wood, in his mid-nineties. Lots of folk will remember buying their goods from the family when money was tight and the chance to pay interest-free on weekly instalments was a great help. Jim’s brother Bill, my father-in-law, used to collect from customers each week , and my wife and I were privileged to continue this for a time after Bill died in 1969. Happy days!

    I sent a request for information to one of the Lawley family and received this kind reply, which I am pleased to offer to the blog
    Kind regards
    David

  13. David Evans says:

    apologies..I should have said my thanks go to Mr M Smith for his kind reply…Sorry, Mike

  14. John says:

    High Heath club ,whitehouses shop,the garage ,butchers,post office ,and there was some massive greenhouses that backed on to high Heath park and remember my mom buying flowers

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