Over the years, writing a great deal about Chasewater, I’ve become used to hearing the recounted mythology of the lake north of Brownhills. One legend says excess bombs were dropped there during the war, another that it was covered at night to prevent it guiding German bombers.
I’ve heard all the old chestnuts, but a personal favourite is the lake monster myth.
People say the reservoir had a huge fish, varying from a ‘monster pike’ to something more Loch Ness in ambitious scale. But like the wartime tall tales, I generally consider these things to be harmless and entertaining falsehoods.
I’ve never seen a monster sighting documented, until the great Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler spotted this gem last week in the newspaper archive – from August 2nd, 1955’s edition of the Birmingham Gazette, a 3 foot long fish-behemoth that was 2ft6in around.
This is a great little local story – a monster mystery, fire service frogmen (frogman is a great term we don’t seem to use today), a man who is utterly convinced by what he’s seen and a slightly aloof reporter.
Please everyone, share your thoughts. Have you seen a monster in Chasewater? Did you know Mr. Brindley? What of the 1929 incident? So much here to chew over.
Thanks to Peter for yet another great spot. If you want to add something – please feel free. Comment here, have your 2p on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Tight lines!
ANOTHER MONSTER IN NORTON POOL
‘I saw 9ft. fish with armoured scales’
There is a monster at the bottom of Norton Pool, near Walsall. It is about 9ft long and 2ft. 6in. around its middle.
That is at least what NMr. Harry Brindles, from Rushall, says. He saw it lying near the bank basking in the sun in 3ft. of water, as he walked by.
It has been there for years fouling the lines of anglers from Walsall and Chasetown but they never managed to see it. All they saw was a broken line where there should have been a tasty bit of pike bait, two hooks and lead sinkers.
Thrives on hooks
If all that is told in the ‘locals’ around Norton Pool is true the monster thrives on fish-hooks.
Mr. Brindley who lives in Bickley Road, says it looks like a huge pike, greenish-grey in colour thickly armoured with scales.
Yesterday he said: ‘I h’I just gaped at it for a few minutes, then I must have moved, for it slid off into deeper water.d just gone for a stroll by the pool and was just standing looking out over the water – there’s about 200 acres of it – when I saw this great thing come gliding into the shallows.
‘The bank is pretty steep just there, and I was looking straight down on it. It seemed to be basking in the sunshine.
‘I just gaped at it for a few minutes, then I must have moved, for it slid off into deeper water.
‘It is said that the pool is more than 100ft. deep in places caused by mining subsidence, and I reckon it must live in one of those holes.’
May call in frogmen
Mr. Brindley is thinking of writing to the Birmingham Underwater Exploration Club, a group of civilian frogmen, in the hope that they will begin to hunt for the monster.
‘I’ve been combing through all kinds of books to try to find a fish like it, but I’ve not come across anything yet.’ Mr. Brindley continued. ‘And I refuse to believe it’s a pike.’
There was a ‘monster’ in Norton Pool in 1929, when local anglers spent weeks hunting it with special bait and extra strong line.
They landed it eventually – an outsize and unusually ferocious pike.