Brownhills celebrates a long time ago… Can you solve the mystery?

David Evans has been beavering away in the last week or so after generously being granted access to the collection of historic images and ephemera belonging to that wonderful Brownhills sportsman and historian Geof Harrington, and has raised a question about some parade images from before the Great War.

These images are often featured in local history work, but it occurred to David that we don’t actually know much about them, so it might be a good idea to bring the debate to the readers here and see what shakes out.

None of this would be possible were it not for the extraordinary generosity of Geof, and both I and everyone at the blog and involved with it thank him the the wonderful act of felicity in sharing his collection. Thanks Geof, you are a gentleman.

Now, on with the show. David Evans wrote:

This would have been taken from an upstairs window at the Warreners Arms, looking back down High Street. Image kindly supplied by Geof Harrington.

The above image shows  a procession along the High Street in Brownhills with the band playing, the schoolchildren, and all approaching the Warrener’s Arms pub at the junction with Ogley Road. What was the occasion? Can we put a date to the event?

Marchers is very sophisticated dress passing the Station Hotel – what would now be Aldi. I’m fascinated by people sitting on the tin roof in the foreground. Image kindly supplied by Geof Harrington.

This image is interesting. But the marchers are heading in the opposite direction and are passing the Station Hotel in Brownhills High Street – where the present Aldi store is nowadays.

We can see ladies processing, and a band marching a way behind them and lots of people watching the parade pass by. What was the occasion? Who are the ladies in their uniforms?

Initially this image – looking up the High Street from about where Wilko is today, looks a haphazard affair – but look more carefully – there are big crowds and a parade in the background. Image kindly supplied by Geof Harrington.

Staffordshire Advertiser, 24th June 1911 – courtesy Peter “Pedro’ Cutler. Click for a larger version.

This third image  also shows a procession headed by a group of men carrying a large banner. The photo seems to be taken from outside the Station Hotel, but there a far fewer people on the pavement. A different occasion?

Are there any reference to the big day in school logbooks?

Walsall Wood St Johns Junior Girls school logbook, 16 June 1911;-

“School closed for one week in celebration of the Coronation of King George V “

Clayhanger- Holy Trinity Junior School logbook, 16 June 1911;-

“Week’s holiday given for coronation of King George V “

But, the mystery of the third image remains. Fewer people, and possibly a winter time event

The spring of 1911 was an busy time in the life of Brownhills, and many things seem to have been happening around town.

The report below from the Lichfield Mercury maybe gives a clue… what can be found out about this band, of whose existence I think few of us were aware, and how long did they last?

Think this is from the Lichfield Mercury. – courtesy Peter “Pedro’ Cutler. Click for a larger version.

‘Brownhills Silver Prize Band’ – as luck would have it, local historian Geof Harrington has a picture of a local band from those days, which I’ve included below.

It;’s possible the third parade image is that band marching, maybe from a different event?

Do any readers have an opinion on this at all? It certainly seems highly possible that that was the musicians.

My thanks are extended to Mr Peter Cutler for his wonderful help in researching through newspaper archives, and to Mr Geof Harrington for allowing me to copy his photographs.

If you can help, please do get in touch – either comment here on this post, tug my coat on social media or mail me the old fashioned way on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.


The ban in question – and I be interested in the location too – is that local? Image kindly supplied by Geof Harrington.


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3 Responses to Brownhills celebrates a long time ago… Can you solve the mystery?


    grate pictures geoph ime still around new lap top cant get the hang of it god bless

  2. just faving my one finfer exam still doing gobbly goo

  3. David Evans says:

    Walsall Observer, 7 June 1913.

    Railwaymen’s Union, demonstration at Brownhills. The annual demonstration of the Brownhills Branch of the National Union of Railwaymen was held on Sunday. At half past twelve a parade round Brownhills and district was commenced from the Hussey Arms. At the head of the procession walked Mr Wall,Mr Green, Mr Topliss, chairman, teasurer and secretary of the branch and immediately after them the old ASRS banner was held aloft. The Walsall Wood Old Brss Band and memebrs of the Union brought up the rear. At 3 oclock the procession adjourned to the Mount Zion Primitive Methodist Church where a service was held. tea was subsequently served at the Hussey Arms


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