Some mystery Brownhills photos, Walsall Wood Cricket team and young Violin wranglers – a photo special!

I’ve had some terrific photo submissions for the blog in recent weeks and also some great articles in the bag – including a mammoth one that’s very special indeed from old pal Ian Bourne. Sorry updates and new material is limited at the moment: I have not given up but with the wider state of things at the moment I’m working very long hours on a number of occupational projects and my time is sadly limited. I had hope things would slow up by now, but it seems not.

Anyway, here’s a couple of remarkable images beautifully scanned by reader Jean Willey, and a bit of a mystery set from reader Carole Roper.

Walsall Woos School violin class, 1953/4. A great photo with some great faces in it. I’m particularly intrigued by the three girls on the right of the middle row. They look like real characters, I must say – but such a happy picture all around.  See text for some names. Image kindly supplied by Jean Willey.

Hello Brownhills Bob

Can you make use of these?

The first photo is of of Walsall Wood school violin class, 1953, teacher Miss Tann.

Top row – 2nd person Dennis?  3rd person Jean Ensor, 6th Glyn Evans, 7th Miss Tann.

 2nd row – 1st Christine Mansell, 6th Sheila Pratt.

3rd row – 4th Hilary?   5th Andrew?  7th Glenda Fulilove.

Bottom row – 5th Arthur?

The second photo is of members of Walsall Wood Cricket Club, around 1948/50ish. First person top row is George Cresswell and 4th person bottom row is Jack (John William) Ensor.

Update: I think I could be 10 years out with the date of the Cricket club photo. The appearance of my dad, he has a full head of hair! And looking at his 1940 marriage photos, leads me to believe that the date was more likely 1938.

[From the clothing to the gents on the left I would agree – Bob]

Perhaps others can fill in the rest of the names?

Jean Willey (nee Ensor)

Walsall Wood Cricket Club – date in question – some great local faces here. I also welcome opinions on if this photo is local, and if so, where taken? See text for some names. Image kindly supplied by Jean Willey.

Thanks to Jean for two bits of WalsallW good local history gold there – so very much appreciated.

Secondly, I have four images which are sadly a bit compressed from reader Carole Roper, which nonetheless I hope can great a debate.

I feature them below:

Carole said:


I was brought up in Brownhills and have just been looking at some old family photos I found in an envelope marked old Brownhills photos.

I know one is of the rising Sun pub. Not sure where others are. I thought maybe you or your readers might be interested.

I do have a few more also.

Carole Roper

Well, I know the upper right is the Rising Sun – I’d know those gables anywhere, but the rest have the better of me. Can you help at all?

And Carole – I welcome any images. Thanks so much. Please send any you have, and thanks for your generosity!

It’s submissions that keep the blog going, and thanks for every one. Please be patient with me while this strange time passes. If I don’t stop work soon I’ll drop with exhaustion…

If you have anything to add, please do: Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or find me half asleep on social media.

Thanks to all!

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27 Responses to Some mystery Brownhills photos, Walsall Wood Cricket team and young Violin wranglers – a photo special!

  1. Rob says:

    Complete guess but the newsagents shop looks a bit like Lees’ that used to be on Hednesford Road near the Goat.

    • Carole Roper says:

      I too thought that, can remember my grandad buying sweets and comics for me before going into the rose villa. Couldn’t remember the name though.

  2. Julie says:

    I think the chap on the back row on the right with the cap on could be my Grandad, Walter Hollender. I’m not 100% sure though. He played cricket for Walsall Wood Cricket Club.

    • Patricia Hale says:

      I think the chap on the back row, third from left, is my Dad, Clarence Victor Hollender, brother to Walter Hollender.

  3. ann hawkins says:

    does any one remember a Frank Harvey..taught the violin lived in Brownhills..

  4. Jean Willey says:

    I have been doing some research since this photograph was published. My father was born in 1915. He is first mentioned in a cricket match, in the Lichfield Mercury, playing for Walsall Wood, in 1931 and was mentioned up to 1935. Then again in 1947. I wonder if this photograph is way earlier than I thought and that in fact it could have been taken in the early 1930s behind the Horse and Jockey, it could be Stubbers Green pool in the background! Does anyone agree with me?

  5. David Evans says:

    Hello Jean
    The photo of the cricketers is very interesting. Some information which may help. Some while ago I was able to trace the Brook’s course through Walsall Wood and spoke to Grahame Creswell in Hall Lane. There are photos in the blog. Grahame was very helpful, not only regarding how the brook flowed under the canal, but he told me about the cricket club. Initially the cricket ground was a field up the lane by the brickworks until that ground was dug out for clay, so the cricketers moved to the Jockey Meadows, behind the Horse and Jockey pub. The footballers moved to their new ground in Oak Park in the 1930s and the cricketers then used the upper meadow to play their home games. They moved from there to the new ground behind the church in the High Street after the war
    I was also able to have a good chat with Dennis Blakemore, son of Jockey Joe Blakemore, landlord of the Horse and Jockey pub. Denis was born in the pub and grew up there. He remembered that both the football and cricket games were played on the two Jockey Meadows..the cricketers played on the lower one, which tended to become waterlogged during the winter time. The cricketers and footballers shared a wooden pavilion there.

    Google earth images allow you to see the meadows as they were in 1945….The lower one had a few pools and a stream.
    I was able to walk through some of the meadows a few years ago…..There are some photos in the blog.
    There is a cine film in the blog somewhere that shows the view from Green Lane t the brickworks..a home cineflim made in the 1960s…worth comparing the backgrounds..

    In summary, I think the photo was taken in the lower meadow and shows the Empire(?) brickworks in the distance,with possibly one of the Jockey pools in the near background…not Stubbers Green.

    with my kind regards


  6. Jean Willey says:

    Hello David, yes, you are probably right about ‘Jockey Pool’. My father, 4th on the right, bottom row, would have been 18 – 20 between 1933 -35 (1935 was when I last found him in a newspaper cricket report until 1947) and I think judging by the way he is sitting and the look on his face, he could well be of this age. So it looks as though the Walsall Wood Wesley team were still on this ground between 1933/35. I have been scouring the newspapers for a report of the preparation of the cricket field behind the church – to no avail, as yet, but as always I have been side tracked and from 1901, I have found that there were at least three cricket teams in Walsall Wood. This one, Walsall Wood YMFS (Young Men’s Friendly Society) and Walsall Wood Colliery.
    Reported in the Walsall Observer 19 July 1903 – The Wesleyan Sunday School treat – games on field lent by Mr Herdman & the YMF CC.
    Reported 1907 in a meeting of WW Wesley it was stated that W Rhoad founded the club. 1908 – the Chaiman was Mr G Cresswell, Hon.Sec. Mr J Cresswell, Hon. Treasurer Mr R Lashford, Capt. Mr J Creswell and Vice Capt. Mr G Cresswell.
    Reported 30 July 1910 – Walsall Wood Wesley had a return match on their grounds in Hall Lane WW. with WW YMF. Also Hall Lane was mentioned in 1912.
    Reported 13 Aug 1910 – WW Colliery v Aldridge Colliery – played on Hall Lane Cricket ground and ‘it was anticipated that the Aldridge team would win as they had the majority of the WW YMF players in their team.’ They did! Perhaps this indicated that the WW YMF players lived on the Aldridge side of Walsall Wood!
    Reported 5 Sep 1914 – a War Fund event was held in cricket field lent by Mr S Emery.
    According to reports the main players for the WW YMF 1915/1916 were, H Hodson, A Ferguson, A Hall, J Wolverson, H Bates, C Beasley, F Lote, J Bowers, L Boucher, W Williams, H Martin, C A Bickley, H Bown, H Stephens, S Bailey, R Bacon, J Hyde and J Westwood.
    The question is, does the Hall Lane cricket ground pre date the one at the Horse and Jockey or did it have a very long drive over the fields to get there???
    Please let me know if I am repeating anything that is already recorded on this site. I will next try the pre 1901 Newspaper Reports, before my subscription runs out.

  7. David Evans says:

    Hello Jean

    YMF = Young Mens Fellowship, a Wesley Methodist Movement . Theres a photo of the Walsall Wood YMF football team outside the shared pavilion..1915, I think..Its somewhere in the blog
    oh yes. Have a look at the violinist, left end of the second row back, deftly holding a bow.


    • Jean Willey says:

      Hello David

      Yes, I do recognise the person deftly holding a bow!! Do you remember some of us being taken by Miss Tann, to listen to her play in the orchestra at Wolverhampton? I didn’t play the violin for long, much to everyone’s relief, but accompanied you all on the piano and fortunately when you all got going you were able to drown me out.

      The Wesley Methodist Movement had quite a hand in forming both football and cricket clubs in towns and villages. The Wesley and YMF teams are scattered throughout the league tables.

      My reference to a Mr Rhoad (wrong spelling reported 1907) starting the cricket team, I think, refers to the fact that a Mr Rhead was the Secretary to the Wesleyan Chapel, Walsall Wood, in 1901, when the new chapel was started. This Mr Rhead may have been responsible for the team at the time.

      It looks as though you have already scoured the old newspapers for Walsall Wood news but is there anything you are stuck on that can be unearthed by old records – maybe I could help.


      • Derek Blakemore says:

        Hello Jean.
        I was one of the violin wranglers in the junior school photo of 1953.
        Looks as though there weren’t enough violins wrangled for everyone to have one though.
        I have added a few more names to the list.

        Top row –- 1st person, George Blanchard, 2nd Dennis? 3rd Jean Ensor,
        4th Ken Bradshaw 6th Glyn Evans, 7th Miss Tann.

        2nd row – 1st Christine Mansell, 2nd Margret Dutton, 3rd Hazel? 4th Elaine Beresford,
        5th Me, 6th Sheila Pratt, 7th Pat Jeffries.

        3rd row – 2nd Mary Greenwood, 4th Hilary? 5th Andrew?
        6th Rosemary Horobin, 7th Glenda Fulilove.

        Bottom row – 5th Arthur?

        I don’t recognise the phantom fiddler, 1st on the 3rd row as he is a little bit younger than me, but it looks as though he might be good at playing darts as well as playing the violin.
        I wonder why there is a reluctance for him to own up to it being him in the photo, or for you to name him.
        I do have a sneaking suspicion as to who it might be, but identification is difficult as the man that I think it is has a lot more hair now than he had in the photo of 1953.
        Come on Jean, Let’s have a name.

        Kind Regards.
        Derek Blakemore.

        • David Evans says:

          Roger Mosedale says:
          March 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm
          The primary school violinists with Miss Tan: That’s amazing! I think that is me third row down, far left, many thanks, just great! Roger Mosedale

          • Jean Willey says:

            Hello David – Did Roger mean the bottom row on the far left? I thought the the person on the third row down far left was you!

            • David Evans says:

              the pupil far left of the front row is John Jones, sitting beside Gary Nicholls. I am seated behind John Jones. So, which cherub is Roger Mosedale, RIP.?

        • Jean Willey says:

          Hello Derek
          David Evans wrote “oh yes. Have a look at the violinist, left end of the second row back, deftly holding a bow.” I think that is an admittance, don’t you? Does that answer your question? and I think Roger is on the end of the bottom row.
          Now you have your brain in gear, is that Margaret Hollander, between Ken and Glynn, on the back row?

          • Jean Willey says:

            Judging by David’s recent reply, the bottom left. in the photo is John Jones. Come on Roger, put your glasses on!

            • Derek Blakemore says:

              Hello Jean,
              More confusion?
              I don’t think that it is Margaret in the photo but she had the same surname.
              Roger Mosedale and I were in the same class in the Senior School so were of a similar age,
              I don’t recognise anyone in the photo as the Roger that I knew.
              David Evans has tried to confuse things but at least we have more names now.

              Regards Derek.
              David very much resembled his mom in the 1953 photo.

            • David Evans says:

              Hello Jean
              Sadly Roger Mosedale died a few years ago
              He is the only blog reader to recall that “The Cape” was Caperneum Road.
              kind regards

              • Jean Willey says:

                I’m sorry, I didn’t know of his death. He is, just like most of you, just a familiar name that I can’t quite grasp the image of or vis a versa. This site is certainly helping with that!
                Best wishes

  8. David Evans says:

    Hello again Jean

    Walsall Observer 13 June 1885 page 8 has this report;-

    “On Monday evening the members and friends of the Walsall Wood Cricket and Football Club gave a concert in the Wesleyan Schoolroom, when there was a fairly good attendance…./…..the proceeds will be for the benefit of the club, and it is hoped there will be a good balance in its favour. The National Anthem brought the evening’s entertainment to a close.”
    ( the year is important to note . David )

    I think Mr Herdman’s field adjoined the Jockey meadows. The blog article, Crawling under the hedge, 2 October 2014 show the farm from the Jockey meadow ( a Paul Anslow article )

    a field by the Beehive pub, in Hall Lane was also used for some football matches ..from newspaper archives …

    kind regards


  9. Lynn says:

    My family lived at Highfields farm Walsall Wood near Jockey Meadows in the 1920/30’s. I’m not sure if they’re on the left of the photograph Mr John Benton with his son. Also I can see there’s somebody cropped off on the right side of the photo.

  10. David Evans says:

    Hi Jean

    the website ” My Methodist History”- place- Walsall Wood.– .has Cynthia Dunne and Lewis Turner’s excellent research in to the history of Methodism in the village..You may find some interesting notes , names and details here. .

    kind regards


  11. Jean Willey says:

    Hello David

    Yes, that was enlightening. I always knew the chapel near to Oak Park as the ‘Methodist’. I was C of E, so I didn’t take much interest in the various chapels and rarely ventured south of the chemist shop in the High Street so I have little impression of the buildings. From 1940 my grandparents lived opposite the ‘Methodist’ in a bungalow. I remember Mrs Clinton taking a class of infants/juniors in the old chapel. We also used the same hall for school nativity plays and harvest festival. I remember taking half a dozen eggs, in my little bag, to school for harvest festival, you’ve guessed – they were scrambled by the time I got to school.


    • David Evans says:

      the bungalow opposite the Methodist chapel…I can just about remember this. Is that where Sam Cooper lived?

  12. Jean Willey says:

    There were two bungalows opposite the Methodist chapel. One on the corner of Brook Lane, with Collins on the other corner, but Grandad’s was the other one. Mr John William (Jack) and Ellen (Nellie) Ensor It was painted white roughcast with two bay windows and a white roughcast wall in front. He used to look after the pit ponies and deliver loads of coal with two Clydesdales pulling the cart. He died in 1971 and soon after new houses were built on the plot. I am not aware of a Sam Cooper.

    A pair of houses came next – up hill – in the second of these lived a local head master and his family. I can’t think of his name! I quite often played with his daughter, when visiting grandma, in the late 1940s and early 1950s They had, what seemed like a barn in the garden where they bred rabbits. Dozens of cages and all different breeds.

  13. David Evans says:

    Hi Jean

    The article “Dazed”, March 9th, 2014 in this wonderful BrownhillsBobs blog shows my copy of the school violinists taken in 1953 . I submitted this and the accompanying photos in the hope that readers could help to identify those in the photos.

    The photos in that article….and especially the comments made by readers near and far are very interesting. and well worth reading through…

    kind regards

    p.s. Miss Maud Smith was Staffs County Music Adviser in those times, and she was the good lady who urged the County Council to put a Steinway grand piano in every secondary school, which came about. The County were very supportive and provided budding young musicians. There was a County Youth orchestra, too.

    • Derek Blakemore says:

      Hello David
      As a relative newcomer to Brownhills Bob I was not aware of your previous posts about the Brownhills Co-operative Choral Society until recently, so I hope this might be of interest to you.
      In the process of clearing out my garage I have found several programs of concerts given by the Brownhills Co-operative Choral Society in the 1960s. There is also a quantity of sheet music appertaining to these concerts. Perhaps these items may be of interest to you or someone you know. If so please let me know.

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