A bricked-up time capsule…

This remarkable 1970s image from Ian Broad shows a mystery shop, bricked up. Do you know what it was?

Last week here on the blog I had an absolutely terrific response to the photo supplied by Ian Broad of 1982 Shire Oak School leavers outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak – well, spurred on by that, Ian has sent in another wonderful picture of the row of shops that once stood where Wilkinson is today, and where Ian’s family had the shop Tom’s Cabin for many years throughout the 1980s.

Ian wrote:

Hi Bob,

I hope you’re well. Loved the post you did about our 1982 school leaving day.

That post of yours with my Schools out ‘82 pic really started something.

One of my old classmates spotted it and posted a link on FB – loads of old school mates are gradually re connecting on there and there’s even mention of a reunion.

There are well over 100 comments on the Facebook thread.

Love your blog.

I just came across this pic of the High Street, Brownhills. Circa 1978, looking from Ravens Court end towards the Station Hotel.

Marie’s fruit and veg shop is clearly visible, next door is the bricked up newsagents that turned out to be a ‘time capsule’ when we bought it off the council.

There were still magazines and sweets in there as if it was bricked up without being distributed.

I wonder if the shopkeeper died suddenly?

Next to the bricked up frontage is May Browns hairdressers that my dad bought to open as a carpet shop.

After the alley way us Wood Brothers bike shop.

The owner was Roger. I think he was Australian. His son was Max. It’s a bit vague after that, hard to see the detail in the pic.

All the best,
Ian Broad

This will bring back many memories for lots of people, although I suspect the image may predate 1978, and I’d welcome comment on that please.

What particularly interests me are the bricked up shop, and the one to the left of the greengrocers. Do you know what they were?

I know there were several transitory businesses here over the years – I recall a pet shop about here in the late 1970s with tortoises in the window. I also remember being left in one of the shops with a friend of my mother who worked behind the counter. I think it was a grocer, in the early 1970s. The lady was called ‘Doreen’ I think. I know nothing else, but I am wondering if it’s that bricked up shop.

I remember Woods Bike Shop well – the one chap was indeed Australian. They occupied three units in a row, and proto-Bob had his first bike from there one Christmas. I remember being terrified of changing gear. I know the shop was still there in some form until at least 1984.

Toms Cabin occupied the hairdresser and the bricked up shop, clearly, and from the photo below that Ian has supplied before which shows the shop, it seems that the legendary CK Electronics – home of the cheap, refurbished TV and VCR – took on Marie James shop and the one next to it. If I remember correctly, there was then a gap filled by an advertising hoarding to the Natwest Bank which was the start of Ravens Court.

It’s always a pleasure to feature material like this on the blog.

Thanks to Ian for another great memory-jogger, and if you have any memories of this row of shops, or can answer my question, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Toms Cabin, some time in the early 1980s I think. Image from a previous post and Kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

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48 Responses to A bricked-up time capsule…

  1. Steve cawley says:

    The supermarket opposite the shops was parkers and 3 of the ladies who worked there were the manageress Betty and Doreen and Hilda ,I was the Saturday boy at Dewhurst butchers in between central cafe and parkers supermarket number 31 high street from 1971 to 1973.
    The manager of the butchers was Alan Worth ..what a character!!!! and Ray Hall who lived down pelsall road was first assistant
    Steve cawley.

    • john keay says:

      hi.steve I had your job at dewhursts in the fifty,s the gaffer was dickie whitehouse,his assistant was mitch thacker who later worked for howdles at clayhanger.john keay

  2. aerreg says:

    i think you will find that GLADYS HART had that shop many years ago when MAY BEVAN had her shop the other side of the entry

    • Sheila Lewis says:

      I can remember approximately the year 1956/1957 there was a lorry that crashed into the shop killing the owner. I was attending Ogley Hay secondary School at the time.

  3. Isobel Dams says:

    I may be way off here but might the bricked up newsagents have been Cyril Tomlinson’s old newsagent’s shop? If so, there would have been a butcher’s shop nearby (1950s/60s) as I remember a communal area at the back of the row where the butcher had an outhouse where he made sausages. Cyril kept his car there too – there was a driveway off the High Street to the back somewhere on the row. I used to go up on a Saturday and sit in the back room of Tomlinson’s, reading the comics.

  4. aerreg says:

    i remeber tomlinsons shop ithink you will find it was father up toward zion chapel near to kingstones and tommy star books butchers shop you have got the old grey matter going again bless you and thanks

  5. David Smith says:

    I remember one of those shops being a fishmongers ( maybe the James family?) in the 1960s and the last shop before the Station Hotel was an Opticians

  6. Adrian Bickley says:

    The car in the picture looks like an Austin Cambridge late 1960’s model.

  7. Lara Hosier says:

    The bike shop was owned by Roger and Desley Baldock their children were called Annie and Max. Desley was Australian they lived in Lichfield for many years. Desley moved after Roger died 15 or so years ago. My family were good friends with them their kids came on holiday with us and the foster kids (my parents had 5 or 6 foster kids) as Roger would not leave the shop to take holiday.

    • GP says:

      I worked at the cycle shop from approx. 1979/80 on Saturday’s as I was still at school and then worked full time for a while when I left school in ’81. The shop was re-branded as Kwikway Cycles and was a full 5-star Raleigh dealership ( ie we only sold Raleigh cycles !) Lara I think I remember your parents… was your mum a justice way back (?) seem to remember lots of kids in the car when they occasionally visited…. We used to store some cycles upstairs on the left side of the store (looking from the road ) and mainly tyres and wheels on the right side, where Roger ( or “boss” as we only ever called him )also had a room with a big train set which he used to spend time on Sundays. I never liked the right side of the store upstairs, it had a very strange feeling to it completely different to the other side of the premises – always felt like someone was with you, not helped when Roger claimed he had seen an apparition on the staircase one Sunday morning (!) and if he was joking he never let on…… My memories of Brownhills back then was a really vibrant shopping attraction, it’s sad to see it as it is these days when I occasionally drive through. Ref Tom’s Cabin, Ian I remember you and seem to recall your family setting up next door if the timing is about correct when I worked next door and I have an old coloured photo with 2 Morris Oxford’s at the back of the shop, I’m sure they were your parents cars ?

  8. Jill Manchester says:

    I think at some point, during 1960’s one of these shops was occupied by Jaygor Supplies (builders merchants). My dad was manager there. Eventually the shop was moved to the new Silver Court shops, which were built by Edge and Haines, who owned Jaygor. My dad was their cousin.

    • Jill Manchester says:

      Oh and also my sisters and I had a tortoise from the pet shop which cost Dad 3/6d – it was in chalk on his shell! Dad called him Fangio!!!

  9. andkindred says:

    I am sure there was a fishmonger somewhere in that part of High Street, maybe next to the greengrocer. I think the lady’s name was Floss. Might have predated the picture, though.

  10. aerreg says:

    thathere were two fish shops marrie james and tiesdales the floss you refer to isit floss rogers the fruit shop by masons floristsand jelymans byke shop as was now next to thestation hotel was a grocery shop the name davies comes to mind he lived in lichfield rd and worked there next to that was rupert craddock now here is a teaser remember getting babies dried national milk and cod liver oil capsules and orange jouce and rose hip syrup to fortify the children after the ration book days god bless

    • andkindred says:

      Yes, Floss Rogers (thanks Reg) I recall. Which shop I am not sure of, I was only about four years old. I recall Gordon Roberts and his strop and bottles of exotic-seeming bottles, and hair singed from the back of the neck, and the invitation to buy something for the weekend. What would Gordon have made of Twitter? Andy

  11. From the Regent Cinerama towards the bridge were Alan Bird, butcher, Holaways, fish and chip, James wet fish, James fruit shop, Hemes paper shop, Tom Brown had the front of the shop and May had the back half, they had a curtain to divide the two. The other side of the entry was May Bevans toys and the likes, then came Tommy Rowbottoms shoe shop, then Mrs Johnson’s who sold cooked meats, boiled ham, tongue pork and things like that, and the last one before the Hotel was Philips corn shop. This was how it was about 1926 the year Tom Brown cut my hair for the first time. I did forget to say that this was before the Regent was build.

    • Keith Regan Haycock says:

      I remember Mr Brown the barber, I think he was the first black man I ever saw, My brother Derek took me (down a ally) just down the road from the station hotel. I took one look at him and ran off, never ever seen the black man again lol.

    • Margaret says:

      Yes Alan Bird was my Uncle

  12. Martin Littler says:

    there was shop owned by Philips it was a grocery shop run by Mr & Mrs Shrigley James had the wet fish, fruit and veg Marrie and her Mother run both shops remember Salts fish and chips i believe they went to Canada to live,and of course May Brown Ladies hairdressing with Tom the black at the back through the archway,i always seem to be taken as a child to Gordan Roberts men’s hairdresser on the corner of Church Road,with the mystery hand that open the door at the back of the shop, to hand Gordan his cup of tea never seen the person once, memory lane.

  13. Tommy Brown was quite upset when Gordon opened the hairdressers shop at the bottom of Churchill, because as Tom said he had taught Gordon the job and then to open a shop the other side of the road was like kicking him in the teeth.

  14. aerreg says:

    the mistery hand was gordons dad tom he and young tom lived at the back of the shop young tom was a well known figure in high street with his alsation dog brenda and i lived next door old tom kept pigs and i had the experience one evening helping sticker russell using his well known skill of turning a poor pig into bacon pork sausages nice to eat but not to watch ha ha

  15. Isobel Dams says:

    Was Sticker Russell Evelyn Russell’s father, AerReg?

  16. aerreg says:

    hi my love he had a son as well they lived in great charles street the son was a retain fireman at brownhills in the old days

  17. aerreg says:

    sorry of course should have been yes but you trigered off the old grey matter again bless you and during that period mentaly i went off to the young ladies and men of that period brylcreem and fasion it had style even trilbys

  18. aerreg says:

    my apolagies john ime sorry if in any way i have upset things but in my mind at the time i had the image of several people i knew in that period i apricciete ime not perfect but as my grandchildren often say your not old your medieval you do go on again sorry it appears ime wrong god bless
    me and my one finger world

    • Isobel Dams says:

      Don’t worry AerReg, you brought back very fond memories for me of ‘Aunty’ Evelyn, Great Charles Street, and my childhood in Brownhills.

    • john keay says:

      hi reg no apology needed,i grew up in bricklin st the high st was our play ground so we knew all the shop keepers & shops

  19. Tom Bennett says:

    Can anybody tell me the name of the solicitors who traded on the High Street in the 1980-1990s?
    Many thanks.

  20. Tom Bennett. says:

    Thanks for the reply but I can’t find anything on them.

  21. Dawn says:

    Cater and son electrical retailer was at bottom of high St silver Court end also little tobacconist where I was sent by Mike cater to buy his cigarettes then next was Harold broiokes drapery shop back towards ravenscourt was downers newsagent on left David Arthur opticians and record shop on right can’t recall name but I know I bought my records from there and not forgetting the amazing market Tuesday and Saturday high street would be nose to tail circa 1979

  22. Chris Princep says:

    Have just seen your blog, I don’t know about the bricked up shop, but the one right next to the Station Hotel was once occupied by my aunt Edna Nicholls up to the mid nineteen sixties. It was a grocers/delicatessen. She took over the buisness from my great grand mother Julia Johnson who ran the store for many years from before WW 2, right up until the day she died aged 82! The shop immediately adjacent to that was a toy shop in the mid Ninteen sixties. The toy shop was run by a rather stern old lady, but I just can’t remember her name. Hope all this helps fill in a few more blanks.

  23. Gillian Hammonds says:

    Does anybody know of a bike shop in brown hills 1950s . Woman name Jessie may have lived there

  24. i think you will find it was jelly mans then took over by luther hard wick a mememb er of the grocery family

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