On the Spot

Here’s a quick simple question for debate amongst the readership: Of late, the Young David Evans has given another talk to the children of Holy Trinity School in Clayhanger, about their local history.

In the course of this talk, David was asked a very interesting question by an enterprising and thoughtful young fellow, which is obvious, but I’d never considered before.

Where does the name The Spot come from?

Clayhanger Common – The Spot – as signs now proclaim it – is a beautifully landscaped open space now, but it was not always so. Image kindly shared by Steve Martin.

Most locals will know that The Spot is the name previously applied to that which these days is known as Clayhanger Common, stretching from Catshill Junction, to Clayhanger Bridge, back to the village itself, and over the course of the brook towards the Pier Street pedestrian Bridge.

Clayhanger tip was pretty grim. It was capped in the 80s with colliery spoil and landscaped into the common we know today. It was a huge operation that took over 6 years to complete. Image from ‘Memories of Brownhills Part’ by Clarice Mayo and Geof Harrington.


Up until the Late 1970s, most of it was a festering rubbish tip that was a blight on the area, but before that, an area of sunken farmland, rendered useless by flooding and mining subsidence. Attempts were made to relieve the flooding with a pumping station, which was built in a tiny hamlet at the end of Spot Lane, a track that went from Bridge Street, across the fields.

The Spot pumping station: Note the caption. From the mapping, it was about central to today’s Clayhanger Common. Image from ‘Memories of Brownhills Part’ by Clarice Mayo and Geof Harrington.

Several people (and the respected historians in the caption above) have told me that the name The Spot only properly applies to the pumping station and the buildings around it. It can be seen on the 1938 map below:

Clayhanger Common on 1938 1:2,500 mapping from the National Library of Scotland Archive. The pumping station and ‘Spot’ are circled. Spot Lane is highlighted orange. Click for a larger version.

But the modern signs, applying the name to the whole heathland, say ‘Clayhanger Common The Spot’. I am unaware of the term Clayhanger Common being used before the tip was reclaimed.

So where did the name The Spot come from, and how do you, or your elders, apply it?

It’s such a simple question that I can’t believe we haven’t asked it before. But it seems we have not.

If you have a view, please share it – either comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or hit me up on social media. I’d be fascinated to hear what you have to say on the matter.

Thanks to David and the young historian for posing such a great question!


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5 Responses to On the Spot

  1. Pedro says:

    Don’t know if it is of any help, but in the Press there appears…

    1915 Walsall Wood Colliery cleaned out brook course from Clayhanger to Spot Common.

    And in 1965 there is a mention of Spot Bridge.

  2. andkindred says:

    This probably has no direct relevance, but there is a “Spot” at Chasetown, at the junction of Highfields Hill and Paviors Road – the garage that occupied the land where the Coop is now was known as The Spot Garage. There are also roads named Spot Lane in a number of places around the country. It may therefore be something more generic and, if it is old, may be a diminutive of something else.

  3. ol defk hunt says:

    i lived at 36 bridge street untill 1946 the house backed onto what was the muck tip the spot was the name of the dirt track across to the spot bridge by the pier street pub

  4. Karen Smith says:

    Growing up in Clayhanger in the 60’s and 70’s I always took the name “The Spot” to mean the lane/track we walked along to get to Brownhills. My Dad use to say it’s proper name was Spot Lane. We could see the remains of houses along the path, and Dad could vaguely remember them being lived in when he was young.

  5. Ol deck hunt says:

    The only house on the spot was the water works and pumping station

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