There’s been a lot of interest and responses to my post on Saturday posing questions from Doug Birch MBE about Holland Park, the Black Path and The Parade, Brownhills.
We have more or less established from the fruits of the great Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler’s research that The Parade as we know it came into existence around 1928-1932 and appears to have replaced an old footpath, itself on the route of an old mine tramway which ran from Watling Street to Brownhills.
Well, thanks to eagle-eyed reader and old pal of the blog, we can actually see what the common looked like before the parade and Holland Park were constructed in 1926 – Aerofilms took a shot of that end of Brownhills in their local overhead run in 1926 – and what it shows it quite remarkable.
Now that the Aerofilms Archive allows viewing in high resolution, I’ve been able to zoom in to that area of Brownhills Common. What it actually shows is a barren, treeless heath with Watling Street School and the old St Thomas Mission Church upper left, the former Council House – now the Parkview Centre – left of bottom.
Running between the two is not a road but a track, apparently following some kind of embankment.
The black path clearly exists, and seems very close to its current route. To the west of what would become The Parade, there is some scarring which, as Geof Harrington said, could indeed by a rubbish tip or spoil dump.
There’s no sign of a building or cottage on the common. What is truly astounding about this compared to today is how open and devoid of trees Brownhills was then.
The one thing I would like to know is about the tramway: Where did is start and end, whom did it serve and where? I can’t think of a logical reason for it but it must have coat a lot to build, so it was clearly important to someone. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.
Thanks to Stuart for the spot. If you spot something interesting, or have any kind of input do share: Comment on this post, tug my coat on social media or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.