Gerald Reece’s world of lost pubs and watering holes…

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.

This week it’s lost or changed pubs, clubs and restaurants with some of the most remarkable photos of lost ones locally I’ve ever seen.

I’m sure these will kick off discussion, so grab a beer or brew, sit down, and remember when Brownhills had way more pubs than one would have thought possible…

The Jollier Collier was on the corner of Pelsall Road and Coppice Side, and gave the canal bridge nearby its name. An oddly long, thin pub I suspect it had been terraced houses at one point. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

I know nothing about Castle Working Men’s Club. Was this Doody’s Club? It was of course in the Castle Street area but not sure where! Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

The Railway Tavern was demolished for housing in the 90s I think. It was in Lichfield Road, and fondly remembered particularly for it’s discos. At one stage the lounge dining area was fitted out with booths in the style of railway carriages. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

The Jolly Collier from the air, suspect 1980s. Note the large house behind with the pool. An air photographer sold many homes and businesses aerial images door to door in the mid 80s after doing a flypast of the area. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

The Wheatsheaf, another popular pub was on the Ogley Road. A no-nonsense classic local boozer. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

The Waterside still exists today, but I’m unsure of it’s history. I think it may have been a Working Mens Club, I’m not sure. Anyone? Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

The front of the Railway Tavern: painted I n white, black and red it was a nice looking pub. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

This is the best photo I’ve ever seen of the Top Club/Sportsman/Hunstman which was where Smithys Forge is today. It started out a WMC but it’s genesis was troubled and it soon became a pub. An oddly brutalist, ugly building it was a popular house. I remember washing hanging on a line on the balcony when I was a kid. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

I’ll be honest I have no idea which pub this is, but from the closeness of the windows I suspect it was inside The Sportsman. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

There were three clubs in Lichfield Road – Top, middle and bottom. Middleton House was the bottom. Only the Middle Club, Sankeys, survives. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

Now a nursing home, this distinctive building in Hednesford Road was previously a cafe loved by bikers called the Ponderosa, I don’t recall this building being a pub – but here it is in the late 1980s (from the cars outside) as a pub called Busters. Remarkable. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

Originally a service Station called a ‘Motrestrant’ Hoofbeats predated the very popular Terrace Restaurant. It remains today, but is vacant. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

The Terrace in the 80s before expansion. These were really the golden days of what was a hugely popular restaurant. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

The Old Anchor was demolished soon after the new one to the rear opened, in 1986. The original had a lot of character and is sadly missed. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

Chesters came to what is now a computer and vape shop in Brownhills High Street in the wine bar boom of the mid-80s. It never seemed particularly busy, but could well be seen as a sort of template for today’s micropubs. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

Chesters relaunched as Simply Blues, in reaction I guess to the band name Simply Red. It closed by the early nineties and the row of shops refurbished. Image very generously supplied by Gerald Reece. Click for a larger version.

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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38 Responses to Gerald Reece’s world of lost pubs and watering holes…

  1. Can anyone confirm this?
    Castle WMC
    Right in the corner of Watling Street (north side) and Howdle’s Lane (west side).
    The photo looks to be taken from the corner, looking down the steep grassy bank to the levelled ground on which the club stood..
    Located here –

    • Bev Heydon says:

      Yes, that’s correct, I lived in Howdles Lane and remember this, I think I may of even gone inside at some point with friends parents … happy days!

    • Tracey Parker says:

      yes this club was in Howdles lane…spent several evenings here with my parents

    • Wayne says:

      Yes that’s correct my dad was on the committee there and I remember going there as a kid, as kids we used to ride our bikes on the gravel carpark great memories.

    • Caz says:

      I remember The Castle club well, and yes it was on that corner. My Aunty and Uncle , Betty and Bert Taylor,were stewards ? there and lived near by, They later went on to run Ogley Club.

    • Ian says:

      Doodies was a club further down the A5 near where the first row of bungalows are.

  2. Reg Fullelove says:

    a grate set of photographs i have wandered mentaly through them wth an older eye and as sme folk say in humour reg your not old your medieval i recalled another brownhils the old top club the tavern dolly platts cafe caylip smiths coaches down newtown breezes club the old sankeys club days the roots of what we now call old brownhills the old tavern land lord was my old inlaw family the dennisis thank you for the memorys of two brownhills mine and progress from an old codger

  3. Rob says:

    When the Ponderosa in Hednesford Road became a pub I’m pretty sure it was called the “Dolric”.Named after Dolly and Eric Platt I think.

  4. Ivor Sperring says:

    I grew up in Coppice Side. The “Collier” was a pub my dad used in the 1940s and 50s. I remember the landlord being Tommy Rush. At about the end of WW2 there was a trip organised to go to either Leamington or Bridgnorth. We ended up at the wrong one! There were no road signs. The Landlord’s brother fell in the river and I understand that he died later from pneumonia as a result of his soaking.
    The smoke room was always thick with smoke, I was too young to go in but I looked inside once, trying to find my dad. There was a very successful football team in the late 1940s early 50s. They played on a field the other side of the railway line down Clayhanger Lane.
    My dad also used the Top Club and for a time was “The President” About 1961 0r 1962 someone forgot to “sign in” a visiting darts team and the police became involved. Dad wasn’t there at the time but to made the headlines of the Express and Star when he was fined £25-00

  5. Stuart Cowley says:

    My grandparents lived over the road from Platts in Hednesford road. My parents had their wedding reception there in 1950. I had my 21st birthday party there 1981.

  6. alan thacker says:

    it was called the dolric before the pondarosa and it was a cafe and club named afte
    r dolly and eric platt and was run by their son stan –before all that was built it was a coal yard owned by the platt family

  7. stymaster says:

    I’ve read somewhere that the Waterside was a club before, but can’t recall where. As to The Sportsman, I remember going in in the late 80s as a teenager, and somehow winning a pub quiz.

    • Lorraine Blower says:

      My mom and stepfather were stewards at the waterside pub in the 70’s .
      Lil and Barry Jones.

    • Emma Mills says:

      It was a club for many years before becoming a pub. My later father Trevor Hopki a was a regular there.

    • alan thacker says:

      i lived a couple of doors away from the waterside -born and grew up in wilkin rd -it was the labour club when i was a kid and kept by the cooper family and was a wooden hut with a house on the front

      • Sharon vandome says:

        Steve cooper took over from my mom Agnes yeomans

      • JOHN BARLOW says:


  8. Eric Portsmouth says:

    Hello Gerald. I wonder, did you live in Seeds Lane Brownhills. I was born at No9 in 1942. I am sure there were a family of Reeces who lived opposite.
    Eric Portsmouth

  9. Reg Fullelove says:

    yes the club at the corner of howdles lane was known as doodys the land lady for many years was mrs doody

  10. Martin Littler says:

    The Waterside Pub was the Labour club 60’s early 70’s, as been mentioned Castle Club was just inside Howdles Lane on the left, it was built to replace Doody’s club ,before that was an old Cottage owed by Levi Thacker it was always in a hollow there’s not Many Photo’s of the Queens Head on the corner of Castle Street,it was knock down late 60’s i think a family named Collis were the last to run the Pub and now there’s is one pub left Prince Of Wales all though i believe there are still plans for the Chase Inn at Newtown Bridge.

  11. Rob says:

    There used to be the Anglesey near the Black Path on the southern side of Watling Street, almost opposite Howdles Lane.

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  14. Dave Powell says:

    A lovely set of fond memory provoking photographs. Only comment I would make is that i am not convinced that Middleton House was the bottom club. I always thought the top club was Sankeys and the bottom club was where the sportsman was, or is the supping of plenty of pints of Highgate mild in Middleton House starting to catch up with me lol.

  15. Alvin Cox says:

    A great set of photos Gerald thoroughly enjoyed them do you happen to have any photos of the Friezland Rd club it would be nice to see it if you have. Thanks very much Alvin Cox.

  16. Brenda Antill says:

    We will soon have a new Hoofbeats ,the building is looking good and will be open soon , I’m pleased pub / restaurant is being used again.

    • Lindsay Morris says:

      Interested to see this was called Hoofbeats before The Terrace…only ever knew it as that for years. I’d like to know who thought to call the newly opened place Hoofbeats and how they came to know about that being its former name.

  17. Amanda Wright says:

    The Railway Tavern was my grandad’s (Harry Woodhouse) regular watering hole and my nan cleaned there briefly in the early 70’s. I’ve still got a Teddy Bear that was given to me when I was born by the landlady.

  18. Mark Webster says:

    My mom and dad kept the anchor in the late 60s Trevor and Mavis Webster.
    They also looked after the warriners arms when Alf and his wife went on holiday can’t remember alfs wife’s name?

  19. Barry Gilkes says:

    Four watering holes have disappeared from Brownhills West, Pear Tree Hednesford Road, The Rising Sun (Derelict) opposite the Crown, Wilkin Inn “The Monkey” , still used as a Thai restaurant, and Hednesford Road Working Men’s Club “The Goat” , now houses. Not forgetting the Whitehorse Pub, Whitehorse road destined to become houses/flats so I understand, when all these were open it makes you wonder how they made any money.

  20. Steve Green says:

    The Castle Club pictured above was indeed Doody’s Club – so named to spiritually replace the demolished Mrs Doody’s establishment a little farther down the Watling Street, opposite Deakin Avenue.
    I was there on the new club’s opening night, and even played the rather nice piano on stage that night!
    All such a long time ago, and yet it seems like yesterday….

  21. Reg Fullelove says:

    it was christmas day in yhe summer the sun shon on the crown the monkey climed the pear tree and the white hoss kicked him down

  22. Martin Sandford says:

    My Uncle Fred Wilcox used to keep the Top Club for a while. I have great memories of quite a few of these places – me and my mate used to run a mobile disco late 70’s early 80’s and I remember playing the topclub and the Dolric many times!

  23. Caz says:

    I remember a club just down the road from The Castle, on the Watling Street ,on the corner of Castle Street. Was that the original Doody’s or a completely different club ? There was also a chip shop on the main road maybe where the bungalows are now.

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