I’m indebted as I have been previously San Antonio resident and Walsall Wood ex-pat Porktorta who’s put some time into sorting out the colour on the image of what I (apparently , incorrectly) presumed wast the Walsall Wood Miners Institute last week – and he’s done a spiffing job; but not just that, it seems I may be mistaken about the building depicted.
The photo featured last week – kindly shared by David Evans from Bill Mayo who was kind enough to allow me to post it here – shows a building on the corner of Brownhills Road and Coppice Road, Walsall Wood, where Oak Park Leisure Centre stands today (well, it’s grounds, at least).
In the background can be seen the twin pitheads of Walsall Wood Colliery, where Brownhills Business Park now is, and the old Colliery Offices which I believe survived until the 1980s when they were, if I recall correctly, destroyed by a fire.
Now the institute was definitely on this corner, but I have reason now to believe the building here was actually a colliery staff house and the institute, apparently demolished here, may have been next doo (to the left in this picture.
In what seems to be a truly international effort, John Blanchard from Auckland, New Zealand was one of several to comment. He sent the following mail:
In my recollection, my maternal Grandfather, William Ernest Share (deputy Manager of Walsall Wood Colliery until he retired in 1952, aged 75) , told me that the property identified as the Walsall Wood Miners Institute on the corner of the what was the “Magazine field” was a house occupied by a Mr Buick who was (possibly) an Engineer at the mine in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. I have a feeling that Mr Buick owned an Buick car from the USA.
Does this re-ignite memories from others?
Well, I’m completely foxed now, so I really need folk’\s help here. I have other material to come for the institute itself, but my real question is this: What the Dickens happened to it? Was it this house? Something different? When and why did it close?
Thanks to Porktorta for a lovely restoration, John for some good solid info and everyone else who’s commented. This is turning into a real group effort. Thank you all!
If you have any more information or memories of the institute, please do get in touch – you can comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my sleeve on social media.