Changing times and changing places

Here’s yet another photo treat for folk who remember the 70s, 80s and 90s in Brownhills – David Evans met up with the wonderful Gerald Reece on his 80th birthday walk a couple of weeks ago and Gerald shared some rather wonderful photos for us to have a gander at.

I’m on reduced power this holiday having a rest so I thought this might make a good discussion point – there’s certainly much to get your teeth into here.

The church on Coppice Lane, Brownhills: I believe the clergyman was Jack Smith from Clayhanger. May 1983 – the building is now apartments. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

The church before conversion. Note that the smaller hall – the Sunday school – was demolished and is now a car park. May 1983. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

This is the shop that used to stand on the corner of Seeds Lane: You can see the bricked-up door and witness to a bigger shop window. I only knew it as a chip shop and I can remember sitting on the sill of the window inside as a little boy, waiting for chips. It’s now a garden. September 1986. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

The old Co-op stood where Farmfoods is today – the small shop added on was a butchers, I think. Upstairs were meeting rooms – battery the ‘Labour exchange’ – an early form of Job Centre. January 1987. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

The Tesco at the back of Ravens Court had previously been a Victor Value but changed around 1970 when Tesco bought the chain out. This store closed after Tesco bought Hillards and converted it into the store we have today. Tesco have never deliberately opened a store in Brownhills. February 1987/ Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

Undated image showing what is now Tesco as Hillards, it’s original format. Note the ‘marina’ had walls then which was a really peculiar idea. Undated, 1987 or earlier. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

A good photo to prove Tesco took over Hillards, and also a good photo for period Ford lovers. Undated, but surely 1987. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

The old foundry and remains of Lindale House on Lindon Road where Chandlers Keep is today. Undated, but mid 1980s as the mound from landscaping Clayhanger Tip can be seen, left. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

See more about the foundry in this post.

Sadly undated image of St. Thomas Mission Church, which stood behind the short wall that still exists at the top of the parade opposite Watling Street School. It was demolished in the early 1970s. I think the Parade is off right so this shows the Parade/Watling Street junction without traffic lights. Undated. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

The ruins of Swingbridge Farm, Clayhanger – only just now being cleared of the rubble from the farm’s demolition. I’m guessing late 80s/early 90s for this undated one. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

The mid-80s removal of the remains of the railway bridge that crossed the Chester Road on the Common. The bridge deck had already long gone, but the foot tunnel and abutments remained. May 1983. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

You can see more of the above demolition here.

One of the Ogley Schools in Church Road. I shan’t invite derision by guessing which one. Undated. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

I’m fairly sure the demolition of this school is recorded here.

Demolition of the row including the Station Hotel – this would have been the taxi office. Undated. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

The full set of the demolition of the Station Hotel can be seen here.

A great shot of the legendary Taylors Cafe on the Pelsall Road. Never noticed the arch-topped door to the house, nor the huge upper front window before. Undated. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

It’s Savers today, but has been all kinds of things, including a Woolworths, Shoppers World and an indoor market. For a period early 90s Victor Value was a name revived for a chain of food discount stores. It failed as a chain. Also interesting is the sign advertising the BNRR enquiry on the lamp-post. Before computer typesetting, such posts from hand-lettered originals were common. Undated. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

The same store after the Shopping Mall (an indoor market) failed. Note Range Records left, and The Shoe Pricefighters, right. I’d say late 80s. Undated. Image kindly donated by Gerald Reece via David Evans.

What do you recall from this gallery? If you have any thoughts or questions, please do share them – comment here, find me on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

I thank Gerald and David for this remarkable set – it really is most excellent and for me personally has stirred many memories.

The donor of these remarkable images, Gerald Reece is of course a talented and superlative local historian, indeed now resident in Devon, who wrote the seminal work ‘Brownhills – A walk into history’ upon which this blog stands.

Gerald and Cherry Reece: on whose shoulders all my work here stands. Image kindly supplied by David Evans.
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14 Responses to Changing times and changing places

  1. Margaret Tasker says:

    Every nice to see the old times, bring back memories to me, I was born in Brownhills, my Uncle Alan Bird had his butchers shop on the high street which he took over from his father is do believe. I now live and have done for fifty years live in Coventry, my brother still lives in Brownhills, John Bird

    • Brian Stringer says:

      My dad bought your Uncle Alan’s delivery van, painted it, fitted a coach seat and took us all over the place in it.

  2. Adrian Bickley says:

    Well, the Ogley school in the picture is definitely the Infant’s School. When I was there, 1968-1970, the classroom beneath the gable end was Class 6, for the second year pupils, which is where I ended up. Mrs Ward-Davies and Mrs Saunders were the teachers (Not 100% on the second, we didn’t get on). Left of the main entrance was Class 1, Mrs Burgess, and, at the end of the wing, the cloakroom. Classroom 6 may once have been the school hall, as it was a large space divided by a wood and glass partition, on the other side of which was Class 2.

    • Viki Boyko says:

      i went to Ogley – same school. You have an amazing memory – the classrooms and the teachers. One of my best friends that I sat next to was Annette Bickley. You must be her brother and i must have known you at some point.

      • Adrian Bickley says:

        Viki Boyko. Nice to hear from you. Yes, I remember you, all the way from Ogley through to Shire Oak, and coming to our house, certainly during the junior school years. I didn’t get a notification of your reply, so maybe you will never read this? You lived in Clayhanger as far as I remember. Your name cropped up in a conversation I was having with my sister not long ago, so you are not forgotten.

      • Brian Stringer says:

        Your a voice from the past Vikki

      • adrianbickleyoutlookcom says:

        Viki, just on the off-chance you ever read this, I met up with Stephen Cooper from school yesterday, and your name came up in conversation. Actually, because we made contact after many years via a post on this blog, and I mentioned that I had also heard from you. He remembered you fondly.

  3. andkindred says:

    Great stuff again.

    You are right about St Thomas, though I think it was demolished a bit earlier. The Harper’s bus to Birmingham used to stop more or less beside the photographer. The stop was moved to The Parade (opposite the school gate) when Watling Street was dualled in 1970


  4. Reg Fullelove says:

    just been looking back at the demolition of the station hotel brought back some old memouries there were two houses on the market side one was the office of the estate agent the other was where we got national dride milk and orange jouice and cod liver oil capsules for babys rupert craddock was the estate agent then came the old market the butcher was mick the miller an old story days gone by when money was tight housewifes would wait until late saturday night when he was closing to get what was left after his days sales a cheap sunday dinner bless them

  5. kathleen groves says:

    i love seeing the old photo of my home town i remember some of the pubs keep them comimg please it thanks me back to when i went dancing in some of them

  6. kathy bull says:

    great seeing all the old places i have great memories of my home town we moved to cornwall in 1981 but i love looking at old pictures and brownhills will always be in my heart even though its not the same x

  7. Caroline Wilkinson (Bevan) says:

    I was christened at St Thomas Church in 1968, I remember going to playgroup there too when I was very small. I have hazy memories of it, it’s lovely to see a proper picture.

  8. John Bakewell says:

    I don’t know if anyone can remember the orchestra that rehearsed in a room above the co-op. I played Double bass with them in 1957

  9. Pete Dicks says:

    The photos bring back many memories for me. I worked for a month at the old Tesco, my wife worked at Hillards in the early 80’s. I often wondered the reason for the wall on the corner opposite Wtaling St Schoool. Range Records – owned and run by Paul, assisted by Annette (she now works at the shoe shop on High St).

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