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Category Archives: Features
I’ve been asking for years for more material on Crabtree and other local factories, as I’m sure there’s an untapped and rich seem of material to be found from these great lost local employers – but sadly little has emerged.
A nice gentle one for a Saturday afternoon here, and people interested in the borderlands between Aldridge and Walsall Wood, known as The Vigo – David Evans have been in conversation with local man Ken Massey, who lived there in a more rural time, and has kindly donated mages of the farm and life there.
One recurring theme here on the blog is the story of one of Brownhills’ most notable sons – Dickie Dorsett, ace footballer known as the Brownhills Bomber, who was a major-league football star in times past and by all accounts a thoroughly decent bloke.
Sometimes, something comes in unexpectedly that puts a huge smile on your face, just for the sheer rarity value of it – and the email I received a couple of days ago from Mike Blakeway in South Australia did just that.
Hi folks – here’s something I found last night that I’d forgotten about, that ties in with my fascination for Birmingham and architecture – and also, my obsession with well-crafted language.
We’re a third of the way through March, and daffodils are out, the sun is high in the sky and spring is in full effect – I left in the afternoon for a quiet, fast spin – I ended up on a 45-miler around Lichfield, Croxall, Edingale, Harlaston, Whittington, Weeford and Shenstone.
[caption id="attachment_17934" align="alignleft" width="300"] How Shenstone looks best: in silhouette[/caption] Continue reading
As is usual, today I visited Erdington Bike Jumble, the yearly tat-bazaar for cyclists that always takes place the first Saturday in March.
First weekend in march is always Erdington Bike Jumble. I usually go if the weather’s OK, and potter round, enjoying the company and chatter of other cyclists. Normally a pretty isolated activity, it’s nice to meet other riders socially for a change. A chance to meet old mates, compare machines and have a natter.
Top rail historian Ian Pell, late of this parish, dropped me a line today to point out the origins of the photos that I borrowed from the South Staffordshire Railway Site to illustrate yesterday’s article about Charringtons Oil Terminal and Anglesey Sidings.
This morning, on Twatter, good friend @ChisDavies1 from darkest Pelsall posted a picture of an unusual ice formation on bushes at Stubbers Green. It was so remarkable, that it piqued my interest; this afternoon, in a low, late winter sun, I went to check it out.
I’ve got some great stuff coming up. But here’s a taste of something really exciting from reader and New Year competition winner Fred Butler. I give you… the start of Crabtree, Brownhills, in 1954.
Today, we went up on Cannock Chase again, and I make no apologies for another feature on the deer. These lovely ladies were a smaller subset of the herd from last week, but on this occasion, they were a little more tolerant. They may well have been hungry. This is the closest I’ve ever managed to get to them.
A sunny, winter’s Saturday afternoon on Cannock Chase. The wild fallow deer in their usual spot, always happy to come for a bag of carrots. Skittish and nervous, they stay long enough to take our orange performance fee, then wander … Continue reading
I’ve been given a rather excellent book this week, which, if there’s interest, I’ll share more of. It’s the ‘Visitations of the Archdeaconry of Stafford 1829-1841’ published by the Historical Manuscripts Commission and Her Majesty’s Stationary Office (HMSO). This copy was published in 1980, and bears the ISBN of 0 11 440066 0. The work is edited by David Robinson MA, Ph D.
Following the fascinating, tangential debate about the Freemasons Arms in Walsall, sparked by reader Ann Cross and her wonderful articles about the Royal Exchange, in Walsall Wood, Ann has scanned the following photo from a book, which can hopefully help the debate along a little.
Students of Brownhills Local History will be aware of an elusive, long lost site by local chap Robert Webster. This great resource ceased to exist a few years ago, when Freeserve, the service provider in whose hosting space the website was based, shut down and merged with Orange.
I had the above clip in from reader Greame Clarke this morning, and seeing as there’s such debate around the Freemasons Arms, I thought I’d post it up. The English seems a bit odd, and I can’t vouch for the accuracy, but it’s something to add to the melee.
Here’s another gem from contributor and top Lichfield District Council officer Gareth Thomas. It’s an undated property map of Chasetown, Burntwood and the surrounding area – including the tip of Chasewater, here named Norton Reservoir – in what I think … Continue reading
Gareth Thomas was good to his word, and rescanned last week’s 1971 images of Clayhanger at a much higher resolution. The fragment below, showing Clayhanger Refuse Tip, or ‘The Spot’ as it was known, can be seen below.
Some weeks ago now, I featured a British Railways Board plan I’d purchased from a map dealer, which showed the coal workings in the Yard Seam below Brownhills Common. At the same time, I bought the one featured here, too. … Continue reading
Friend of the blog and top local government operative Gareth Thomas has been at it again. Not only has he started his own, rather wonderful looking blog, but he’s sent me a whole tranche of new aerial images. Quickly flicking through some from 1971, I spotted something really interesting.
Here’s an interesting bit of postwar ephemera, lent to top reader and contributor David Evans for use here on the blog by local lady Marjorie Hadley.
I know nothing about this unusual document, who issued it or any details. I’ve certainly never seen one before. Did every war-child receive them? What effort of campaign were they linked with? Was it a local or national thing? Church or school?
This is a post about being lucky. About being in the right place and the right time. About being fortunate to witness nature at it’s best. About loving where you live. About loving being outdoors.
Autumn is now in it’s beautiful phase. Colours are bright and golden, frost has begun to dust the lanes, gardens and hedges in the morning. A low sun paints foliage orange and bronze. Continue reading