The building of a Brownhills icon from a different point of view

The other week I blundered blindly into confusion when I was offered not one, but two sets of images of the construction of Silver Street Methodist Church in Brownhills taken by two different photographers.

What was even more confusing was that they were offered by two separate members of the same family, independently of each other!

Chris Booth, nephew of Peter Booth who has donated so many great photos to the blog over the last few years donated a fantastic set of images taken by Fred Booth, his Grandfather of the mid-1960s construction. At the time, I mistook them for a similar set Peter Booth told me he was working on, taken by Roy Craddock and donated by Roy’s son, Steve Craddock. Peter had at the time shared a bunch of Roy’s lovingly restored images of Brownhills Carnival in 1972 and the Wesleyan Chapel in Brownhills High Street that the Silver Street Church replaced. Peter promised to send me his set, and I thought the set from Chris were the same ones.

Confused? I felt a right and proper noodle.

However, having had the situation explained to me patiently by Chris Booth, I issued a hasty correction and today, can now share the Roy Craddock set of photos recording the construction of Brownhills Silver Street Methodist Church, which have been generously shared by Steve Craddock with Peter who has carefully and expertly restored them.

My thanks to all involved in this – Peter and Chris Booth, and Steve Craddock and his dad, Roy. My humblest apologies to all involved for any embarrassment I may have caused with my clumsy eagerness and thanks for your generosity of time, spirit and patience.

Bit by bit we record history, but not always by the simplest route…

This set are more documentary in nature than the Fred Booth set, and show Roy Craddock to have been a photographer with a different talent to that of Fred Booth.

Whereas Fred’s images seem to have magically captured snapshots of life and community in progress, these are more focused on technical aspects – the silhouettes before the huge window; the organ installers; the pews and that genuinely astounding shot of people working on them. That motorbike is a stunner, too.

Both sets compliment each other beautifully, I feel.

The Craddock family were very much involved with the creation of this church – Roy Craddock was the Secretary of the Church Trustees at the time.

The church was built in 1967 to replace the and combine Mount Zion and the Wesleyan in Brownhills High Street which were lost to redevelopment and it has to be said, old age; latterly, the remarkable building whose design hasn’t dated at all has accepted congregations from other churches and chapels in Brownhills like Park View, Brownhills West and Coppice Side.

The Silver Street Church is busy and has an active congregation and you can find out more about it at their website here and Facebook page here.

Thanks to Peter Booth and Steve Craddock for sharing a remarkable piece of local history.

As ever, if any members of the Church would care to drop me an email I’m happy to advertise your community events. Just drop me a line.

If you have any memories of the new Silver Street Church – or indeed, the ones it superseded – please do comment or drop me an email. BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

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3 Responses to The building of a Brownhills icon from a different point of view

  1. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    these are remarkable images and are greatly appreciated. Many thanks to all concerned
    and, as to the opening?

    Brownhills
    A £30,000 Methodist Church was opened on Saturday by Mrs M E Wootton, representing the builders. It was dedicated by the Rev Brian S O’Gorman, chairman of the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury Methodist district
    Birmingham Daily Post, 24 April 1967

    kind regards
    David

  2. ray share says:

    the CRADDOCK familey were all great church members .in buisness in the town they employed lots of people a credit to the district

  3. Reg Fullelove says:

    what wonderfull arckive photograph mememouries to share of carnival and worship it has promted my my mind about another speciely place of worship many years ago down catshill the dear old salvation army citadel it was a very well known part of daily life in my boyhood days infact i often whent there they had an inspiring band under the leadership of sol pierce and was part of sunday indear old brownhills the days of the war cry in working mens clubs on a saturday night was part of memory lane god bless

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