A sale that shaped Stonnall

Wordsley House, a remarkable building that has inspired much debate and legend over the yaers. Image from my 365days journal.

A delayed one here today courtesy of old friend of the blog and Stonnall historian Desmond Burton, who’s sent me scans of the sale particulars for Wordsley House Farm in 1918, and it’s attached estate including Fighting Cocks Farm.

The sale included Druids Heath House in Aldridge, as well as assorted cottages and parcels of land around the village.

Wordsley House and farm from 1912 1:1250 scale Ordnance Survey Mapping, courtesy of the National Library of Scotland Archive. Click for a larger version.

Wordsley House stands on Main Street in Stonnall, just off the Chester Road, and was once the Welsh Harp public house, source of much legend, and also the subject of a recent post regarding tunnel lore and unusual wall murals.

This home movie clip recorded in 1958 and previously featured on the blog was donated by Desmond Burton shows the Burton family and pals, including Sandy the dog, enjoying ice cream from Selwyn Smith. Selwyn was one of the two noted ice cream purveyors in Brownhills, the other being the Pelari family.
The van is parked up outside Wordsley House.

The estate being sold is of a quite large size and must have caused considerable upheaval at the time, following the death of Dr. W. H. Cooke. The sale document contains a fantastic map of the lots and shows how changing land ownership shaped Stonnall Village today.

I’d like to thank Desmond for this generous donation and apologise for the delay in posting: It was scheduled for last weekend but sadly the thefts at Knaves Court interrupted my plans – apologies.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out that this blog is open to anyone interested in Stonnall and it’s history, and to anyone who finds current Stonnall local history fora a tad exclusive. There will always be a warm welcome to you here.

You can download a PDF version of the whole document here – it’s been enhanced and made text searchable, or you can click on any page from the gallery below.

Any observations or queries? Want to tell me I’m banned? Come join the club – comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Knock twice and ask for the wee purple troll.

 

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Playing up The Wood – who do you recognise?

St John’s play group, Walsall Wood, possibly 1966. Click for a larger version – image courtesy of Christine Burgess/Barbara Grant.

A great couple of Walsall Wood images have been donated by old friend of the blog Christine Burgess from her mother in law, Barbara Grant, and they’re real crackers.

The one above is believed to be St John’s play group around 1966 – names of those pictured would be welcome, it’s a gorgeous period photo.

The picture below is of preparations for I think, Brownhills Carnival in 1971. Christine said:

Ready for the carnival 1971.
My brother in law Harvey Burgess is at the back right hand side.
Top left is Helen Ferguson.
TomTom the Pipers Son is Chris Gilbert.
Mark Street is (I think) a flower pot man next to Helen.
Julie Hill at the front.

My thanks to Christine and Barbara for a wonderful donation – they really are super images, and from a period we don’t generally get much material from – so thanks a lot for lighting it up!

If you can name anyone, or tell us more, please do comment here or mail ne – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

A float I think for Brownhills Carnival in 1971. Click for a larger version – image courtesy of Christine Burgess/Barbara Grant.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

You don’t have to be puddled to help restore a lost, local canal… but puddling helps!

The newly built wall and boardwalk at Fosseway Heath Nature Reserve and Wetlands. Image from Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

Tom Reid from the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust has been in touch to let us know about the progress they’re making at Fosseway Heath, south Lichfield, and to send out an appeal for volunteers to help push the restoration forward.

If you’re unaware of the local canal restoration that’s steadily progressing this excellent blog post by Christine Howles explains more about it. The trust run regular work parties and all are very much welcome, whether you’ve a specialist skill or not!

At the moment, the volunteers are not only beavering away on the route of the lost line between Barracks Lane, Ogley Hay and The Boat restaurant, on the Lichfield Road at Summerhill, but also at several sites, including this one between Wall and Lichfield, Borrowcop on the A51 at Lichfield, and other places along the route of the lost line.

To find out more, please pop along to the Lichfield and Hateherton Canal Restoration Trust website here.

Tom Reid wrote:

CANAL TRUST MAKES PROGRESS ON FEAT OF CLAY

An unusual collaboration between Lichfield’s canal restoration trust and a leading supplier of materials to the ceramics industry means the next stage in the creation of a nature reserve and wetlands in the city is set to go ahead.

Stoke-on-Trent firm Potclays are supplying puddle clay for a waterproof lining to the wetlands area being created at Fosseway Heath by Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust.

The Trust began work on the nature reserve last year after receiving an £18,500 grant from the Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving body funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The restoration of the Heritage Towpath Trail in this area was not possible as the original canal towpath was lost by earlier adverse possession and it was necessary to divert the canal channel and the towpath across a new boardwalk and islands through the new wetlands area.

Trust volunteers, supported by students from Queens Croft School and student volunteers on a bricklaying course from Walsall College, are dismantling and rebuilding  the supporting brick walls to the original southern towpath to allow the Heritage Towpath Trail to be restored along this length of the Lichfield Canal.

Peter Buck, LHCRT engineering director, said: “The Trust tries to use local businesses in the restoration of the Lichfield Canal as an amenity for the community and we are pleased that Potclays are able to help with the supply of puddle clay to line the diverted wetland section of the Lichfield Canal.”

Potclays Ltd director Becky Otter said: “Potclays are pleased to support Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust through the supply of sealant (‘puddle’) clay from our mine near Brownhills, Walsall.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity of supporting the restoration of a piece of Staffordshire heritage in this way.

“Potclays have supplied puddle clay to the Trust in previous years, and for various other civil engineering projects including the building of part of the M6 motorway.

”It’s a source of great pride to us that our materials can be used in this way.”

Meanwhile, on the north side of the original canal channel at Fosseway Heath, a new stone towpath is being restored by Trust volunteers with with the help of visiting corporate volunteer groups from Network Rail and Laing Murphy JV. 

To find out more about these opportunities for volunteering please click here.

Work on the canal restoration continues apace, as seen here at Darnford Moors.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, cycling, Environment, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Twenty six ladies, a trophy and an upcoming school reunion. What do you know?

Ladies in the yard of Brownhills Central Boy’s School. But why, who are they and what was the cup awarded for? Photo courtesy Janet Davies/Brownhills Community Association.

There’s been a real buzz around about the Brownhills Central Boys School/Annexe Reunion event coming to the old school (now Brownhills Community Centre) on June 30th 2018, and to mark the occasion, Janet Davies and co have been digging material out of the archives, and popped up a mystery.

A group of ladies – 26 in all, including one in a wheelchair, photographed in the old school yard with a cup they’d clearly won. Maybe wartime, or I think late 1940s, maybe early 50s. Some great hair. But what’s it all about? Does anyone know?

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the lady in the wheelchair might be Gwen James. Perhaps the whole thing is related to Mrs. Parsley and the wartime ladies =- although they seemed more, shall we say, senior?

If you can help, we’d love to hear more.

Meanwhile, the menu for the reunion has been revealed – and it’s just a fiver, booked in advance: The reunion is otherwise free, so what’s not to love?

Janet Davies said:

Here is the menu for school dinners at our ‘All Back to Brownhills Central School’ open day on 30th June 11am-3pm.

Two sittings, 12.30pm and 1.30pm, tickets a fiver (for online booking click here – no booking fee): choose from Cheese and Potato Pie or Cottage Pie and from Concrete and Custard or Spotted Dick.

Just 25 places left !

If you can help identify the ladies and why they won the cup, please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

Here’s my original post about this event from a couple of weeks ago – please do attend if you have an interest in the old school – they’d love to see you!

What a great idea!

Oh my (school) days, there’s a terrific thing going on at Brownhills Community Centre, what my generation called the Annex but was originally the Central Boys School – there’s going to be a celebration, reunion and open day for those who remember the days of that particular school yard.

It’s taking place on Saturday 30th June 2018 from 11am until 3pm at the former school, now Brownhills Community Centre, and there will be memory-jogging tours of the building you knew so well, archive photo displays, real school meals (including concrete and custard!) a film show of old Brownhills and loads of people to chat to and reminisce about the days of Mr. Massey and co.

There are some great pics of this old days in this post here

The day itself is free, but if you want to partake of lunch, it’s £5 for mains and pud, and you can book in advance at the link in the text below.

Brownhills Community Centre wrote:

ALL BACK TO BROWNHILLS CENTRAL SCHOOL
Open Day Saturday 30th June 11am – 3pm

You may know it as the Boys’ School, Central School, the Annexe or the Activity Centre. The building has been all these things, and has now been extensively refurbished in its new role as Brownhills Community Centre and The Lamp.

You may not know that it has a fully-equipped Ladies’ Gym, a cinema/theatre/concert venue with bar, a nursery, a motorcycle training centre, a computer suite, rooms for hire for parties and training and a wide variety of activities to suit every interest. Its facilities are for everyone, local or further afield.

The building is 125 years old this year, and to celebrate we are hosting a Back to School open day on 30th June. The whole Centre will be open for you to look around, a chance to reminisce or to explore the new facilities.

We have a big archive of photographs which will be on display. Perhaps you’ll be in some of them! We will also be serving (edible) school dinners.

Free parking via Pelsall Road entrance. WS8 7JE.

The open day is free, no need to book. School dinners need to be booked in advance. £5 gets you 2 choices of main meal and pudding, including concrete and custard! Tickets from (no booking fee): https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/the-lamp-arts-centre

If you haven’t yet visited th Community Centre, you really are missing out; it’s a busy and welcoming hive of activity with a great atmosphere operated by a lovely community of dedicated folk, located in the old Annex or Brownhills Central Boys School right there on the Miner Island in Brownhills. You can find out more here.

Please ring the crew on 01543 452 119 if you have any queries or need any help or email: info@thelamparts.co.uk.

There’s loads going on at the Activity Centre on the Miner Island in Brownhills!

Posted in News | 9 Comments

Meet your local coppers this Saturday in Aldridge and Streetly!

Aldridge Libray. Image from Libraries Task Force on Flickr.

I received notice of this great event from Walsall Police via the excellent WMNow service this morning, advertising a pop-up meet the police event this Saturday, 16th June 2018 at Aldridge Library from 10:00am until 11:00am where you can meet your local policing team and get help, crime prevention and public safety advice.

This is the police team responsible for Walsall Wood so could be a good chance for the Wood Massive to chat to their local rozzers.

The team will also be at Streetly Library later the same day from 11am until 12 noon, and thereon at Aldridge Fayre on Anchor Meadow.

What not pop along and say Ello, ello, ello?.

I must say, it’s good to see the local police making efforts again to reach out to the public. Long overdue.

Also, if you haven’t signed up for WMNow, please do – it’s free and you can select to receive alerts on all kinds of local issues. It’s a fine thing.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aldridge Fayre 2018 – this Saturday!

What’s not to love?

Just a quick note to point out that this Saturday, 16th June 2018 is Aldridge Fayre with fun and entertainment for all the family – and with free entry and car parking, what’s not to love?

Aldridge Fayre 2018 – Saturday 16th June

Starts at 11:30am

Anchor Meadow, Aldridge (opposite Morrisons Supermarket)

FREE ENTRY & CAR PARKING

Entertainment includes arena events, side shows, fairground, charity stalls, ride on a vintage bus plus plenty of food stands

For more information call 01922 278718

Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Comments

Going A5 Live in 2018!

A great local music festival returns.

Long term readers will remember the annual music and fun festival that’s taken place on the smallholding just off the A5 at Newtown, Brownhills – formerly called Cockfest (because it took place on a chicken farm), last year becoming A5 Live.

This year the music, entertainment and fun returns, and takes place from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th August 2018, and tickets are now on sale.

When I have details of bands playing and other attractions, I’ll post them here.

Preparations for the local music and fun spectacular are well underway

You can get tickets from the A5 Live website here or by emailing A5Live@outlook.co.uk. You can check out the festival Facebook page here, too.

I wish everyone the best for this and it’s always good to see local music events.

Can’t grumble at those prices!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Sporting activities for kids this summer at Clayhanger Community Centre!

Untitled 9

Clay hanger Community Centre is the former George and Dragon pub in Church Street, Clayhanger. Imagery from Apple Maps.

There’s some great sporting stuff for kids and mums  going on at Clayhanger Community Centre in Church Street, Clayhanger during the coming weeks and impending school summer holidays.

I always get lots of enquiries for details of activities for kids locally over summer and these ones look set to please and occupy younger kids a treat.

  • From Friday 29th June for 4 weeks, there’s the Mini Dragons mums and toddlers sports club, with two age ranges – 18 months – 2 years and 2-3 years old.
  • Also from Friday 29th June for 4 weeks, there’s the Junior Dragons Community Sports Club, for kids from 3-4 years
  • During the long holidays, there will be 3 Summer Holiday Fun Camps for kids from 5-11 years old, each lasting 5 days from 9:30-3:30pm where kids can take part in in and outdoor sports, learn new skills etc.

All events are chargeable and being run by Starlands Coaching – you can check out their website here for more info, or call Josh on 07584300712.

The Community Centre is in the former George and Dragon pub in Church Street, Clayhanger WS8 &EG.

A great chance to get out, meet other folk and get active!

A great one for the pre-schoolers!

Burn off some summer energy and learn some new skills!

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Full details of upcoming 10/10A bus service changes now available

We’ll soon find it much easier to visit La-di-dah Lichfield by bus! Image from my 365days journal.

Following the welcome news of the extension of the National Express West Midlands service 10A to Lichfield coming late this July (But just in time for the school holidays) there was some concern expressed locally about the continued route, timings and provision of the sister 10 service in Brownhills.

Yesterday, National Express West Midlands issued the following press release and accompanying timetable. The press releasee is below.

You can download a PDF copy of the new timetable by clicking here or use the gallery at the foot of this post – click on any image to see a larger version.

The bus company said:

New services to Lichfield coming 22nd July

We’re very excited to announce that from Sunday 22nd July, we are making changes to the current 10 and 10A services operating between Walsall and Brownhills.

Buses will now run to Lichfield, 7 days a week, from Walsall, Rushall, Shelfield, Brownhills, Chasetown and Burntwood. These services will run every 30 minutes Monday-Saturday, and every 60 minutes on Sundays. Crucially, this means that a Sunday service is returning to Lichfield, following the complete withdrawal of all buses there in April this year.

Changes to service 10:

From 22nd July, service 10 will run between Walsall, Streets Corner and Brownhills ONLY.

In Brownhills, buses will operate along the one-way loop currently served by the 10A from the Tin Man island, along Chester Road (A452) to The Rising Sun, A5 (Watling Street), Chase Road and Lichfield Road.

Changes to service 10A:

The 10A will still serve Coppice Road in Walsall Wood, but from Brownhills, it will run along Lichfield Road, Chase Road, Ogley Hay Road, Highfields Road, Chasetown Clock, High Street, Milestone Way, Bridge Cross Road, Springhill Road, Chase Road, Burntwood (Swan), Lichfield Road, Walsall Road, The Friary, St. John Street and Birmingham Road, terminating at Lichfield Bus Station.

Buses will continue to run up to every 10 minutes between Walsall and Brownhills.

Please note that Rising Sun will now be served by the 10, and not the 10A. Chasetown and Burntwood will be served by the 10A.

Please view the new timetable for these services, which will come into effect from Sunday 22nd July 2018

My thanks to Simon Swain, Councillor Steve Wade and others who fought hard for this change and to Luke Gottard for the tipoff of the press release.

As I said a couple of days ago: This has the potential to be a great service – use it or lose it, folks.

If you have any observations, please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Knaves Court – a message of thanks to you all!

Morne ornaments than you can shake a stick at – donated by Solid Sculptures via Kevin Price.

At the weekend, I made a huge request of the community of blog readers and friends out there, to help out Knaves Court Extra Care Facility near Anchor Bridge in Brownhills who’d had ornaments and a hose stolen from the communal garden in the days previously.

The garden is essential and welcome therapy for many of the senior folk who live at Knaves Court, and provides occupation, social opportunities and the joy of watching stuff grow. The residents were heartbroken.

You all rallied around wonderfully – showing that for every heartless scumbag thief, there’s a whole army of decent people will to help fix things up.

There were many offers of hoses, tools and ornaments. A blog stalwart exiled oop north offered to pay directly for replacements. Local businesses made offers. Laura Hucker started a crowdfunder that quickly raised £127.

Reader Kevin Price was a case in point – he shared my appeal on his group Chase Lighthouse and spotted homeless and he received an offer from Solid Sculptures (Solidsculptures@gmail.com) of a whole bunch of new ornaments which the cadets cemented in on Sunday afternoon. Just how amazing is that?

Yesterday, Janet Grinnell Mailed me to ask if I’d post the following message, thanking you all on the blog – of course I’m happy to oblige.

Janet wrote:

Hi Bob

Thankyou so much for helping us. Everyone has been so kind, it’s incredible.

I’m trying to reply to people personally but could you also put out a massive thankyou for us to everyone who’s helped. From feeling so down last week there is now a lovely happy feeling this week with all the kindness and friendship that people have shown. I feel that we’ve seen the real Brownhills this week, a real community.

Please tell everyone we are so grateful – not just for the physical items but also for taking us to their hearts. We are overwhelmed by the kindness show.

Thankyou again
Janet

Thanks Janet for the kind words – I’ve always known we have great community here and I knew when I asked you would all help if you could, because you’re excellent people. But my gratitude is huge – thank you for your immense generosity, both material and of time and spirit.

You make me proud of this town, the blog and those who read the plea and offered help in whatever way you could.

You can still donate on GoFundMe by clicking here – my huge thanks to Laura for setting that one up.

This is the stolen golfer memorial ornament. Image from Kevin Price.

As to the thefts, this mage is of the golfer memorial ornament that was stolen: it’s distinctive, someone must recognise it. Kevin Price sent in the picture and I think if we could actually recover it it would put the cherry on the cake.

If you have seen the ornament in question, do get in touch, or contact the police on 101.

Again, thank you all.

Or of course, you can comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Community whiz and queen of the Pelsallian Espresso Laura Hucker started a Gofundme appeal yesterday which already has £107 in it at the time of posting. Clcik on the screenshot to donate.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Lichfield Waterworks Trust June 2018 public meeting this Monday evening

P1120641

Sandfields Pumping Station – a great historic building with immense history and social significance – not just to Lichfield, but to the Black Country. Lichfield Discovered and local historian Dave Moore have saved this valuable asset for the community.

Sandfields Pumping Station champion and public historian extraordinaire Dave Moore has been in touch to let me know that this Monday evening (11th June 2018) there will be the June 2018 Public Meeting of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group – and there will be a rather wonderful guest speaker.

The meeting is at the Bowling Green pub, Lichfield from 7:30pm and is of course open to anyone interested.

Dave wrote:

Lichfield Waterworks Trust June News Letter

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on:

Monday 11 June 2018 at 7.30pm, in the rear meeting room of the

The Bowling Green
Friary Road
Lichfield
Staffordshire
WS13 6QJ

Tel: 01543 257344

The Bowling Green serves some great food and real ales.

This is an incredibly exciting community heritage project, so do come along and become involved, we make everyone welcome.

Notes of the May 2018 Meeting are here

Health and Safety

We are really pleased to report that there have been no incidents relating to health and safety. A very big thank you to everyone for working safely.

Membership

We would like this opportunity to welcome a few new members.

Thank you for joining the Lichfield Waterworks Trust. We hope you will enjoy your membership and become part of a very exciting heritage project that will benefit the people, the place and the community.

It would really help us if we develop and grow our membership. If you are not already a member and would you like to be a part of one of the region’s most exciting heritage projects then please, join us now by filling in Membership Application Form by going to our membership page here. It is free to join and be a part of this incredibly exciting project.

Do we have your correct details? We do our best to get things right, but occasionally something slips of the tray. Please let us know if we have your correct contact details, or you would like any additions or amendments.

Donations

We have incurred some considerable expenditure covering legal costs, insurance and training. We will always invest in our people, and we are planning further training days soon too. All these costs soon mount up, so if you can donate, then please visit our donation page here, any amount is helpful and well appreciated.

Please make cheques payable to; Lichfield Waterworks Trust, and send to our address:

22 Walsall Road
Lichfield
WS13 8AB

Finally

Thank you everyone for your continued support and helping to make a difference in your community.

We never share your data with anyone else, but we do like to have your details correct. If there are any errors or omissions, please let us know.

Our data protection policy is here

Do pop over to Dave Moore’s blog and check out the history of Sandfields Pumping Station, an almost forgotten gem – the group also has a Facebook page.

Dave is, of course, one of the leading lights of Lichfield Discovered, along with Kate ‘Cardigan’ Gomez from Lichfield Lore.

It’s great to see people like Dave encourage a better attitude to our historic buildings -please do attend if you’re able, it’s sure to be enlightening and educational.

Posted in Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A great new bus service to Lichfield starts this summer!

From July 22nd 2018, Lichfield will no longer be a hazy, far off dream for Brownhillians. Let’s go civilise the city, yeah? Image from my 365days journal.

I have some excellent news for those of us who like to visit Lan-di-dah Lichfield and prefer to use public transport – Following a social media campaign started by railway buff Simon Swain (John) of this parish, Councillor Steve Wade has been talking to local bus companies and has reported a positive result.

I’d like to thank Steve once again for his hard work on behalf of our community, and for chasing this up voluntarily – he really is a top bloke. Also thanks to Simon who really set the ball rolling with the idea on Facebook.

This change kicks off on the 22nd July 2018, and comes after years of a patchy service into Staffordshire to Ye Olde City due to cross county border funding issues – so USE THIS OR LOSE IT FOLKS.

I must say, it’ll be very handy for having the odd shandy at Lichfield’s fine range of Inns and taverns, like The Scales….

Steve Wade wrote:

Hiya Bob,

I hope you are well. Just wondered if you could put something on your blog so the good people of Brownhills can be informed of a new bus route to Lichfield.

As you know, I’ve been trying to get a bus service from Brownhills to Lichfield following a social media campaign on Facebook some months back. I’ve met with Arriva who were looking at potential routes and they also advised that Diamond had taken over their old route of a service that went to Lichfield but only via Walsall Wood.

I therefore contacted the person who helped me with the Number 56 service some years ago, Luke Gottard, the commercial manager at National Express about whether they would consider a potential route for Brownhills and they have informed me that they are to implement a change on their existing Number 10A  route from Walsall to Lichfield that will now cater for Brownhills residents as well. This will begin on the 22nd July.

I have attached the new timetable for the route. The commercial manager asked if I could publicise/promote the new route as much I can as it is a service that will attract no subsidy so will be purely on the grounds that it will be a commercial success. With your blog being the biggest and best anywhere, I hope you would put it on if that’s ok.

There will be some changes to the 10 and 10A routes and I will forward these to you in due course.

All the best and many thanks,
Councillor Steve Wade

If you have any observations, please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

The new timetable. Click link for a larger version.

The new timetable. Click link for a larger version.

The new timetable. Click link for a larger version.

The new timetable. Click link for a larger version.

The new timetable. Click link for a larger version.

 

Posted in News | 5 Comments

Taking the strain in Walsall Wood – could you be a champion too?

The very successful Walsall Wood LCS Tug of War team. Image Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

Over the years on the blog we’ve covered the great, and often surprisingly diverse sporting history of Brownhills and Walsall Wood – from the notable local teams like Walsall Wood Football Club, Cricket, Bowls – to more esoteric stuff like the past pursuit of pedestrianism, trotting, the Brownhills races and we discovered in the early days of the blog, that Walsall Wood in particular the Brickmakers Arms – had a Tug of War link.

You can read more about that at this link here, where blog contributor Peter found the Tug of War practice frame at the Brickmakers and we explored what is war, to a full explanation in this post here. And then, there was the infamous Clayhanger Tug of War over the cut from Brian Stringer which saw a few likely lads go home with newts in their Y fronts, which had a more serious historic precedent in the Wood here.

Well, thanks to old pal of the blog Janey Hatfield and roving reporter David Evans, I can share with you that Walsall Wood still has a very successful Champion Tug of War team that are actively looking for members!

It’s also worth pointing out that Janey’s excellent and entertaining Walsall Wood Group of Facebook is still growing and one of my favourite groups, well moderated and a joy to read. You can join up here.

With the Ironman event on at Chasewater this weekend, this might be a good sport for those fit folk who might be up for it.

Without further ado, I’ll let Janey and David explain…

Another great team shot! Image Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

Walsall Wood rejoices in the number of local pubs which, over the years have been the centre of some interesting sports and pastimes. The Horse and Jockey pub, in Walsall Road, was once home to both the local cricket and football clubs. The ‘Jockey Fields’ behind the pub also hosted important Black Country-wide whippet races. Local village fetes and travelling fairs were held there. But with the passing of time the cricket club moved to a new ground behind the church, after the war  the football club having moved to its present-day location, in OakPark in the pre-war years  

In a large tent behind The Black Cock inn, in Bullings Heath by the canal were once held bare-knuckle fist fights, as witnessed by a young Dolly Anslow in the  late 1920s and recalled many years later in conversation.

The Working Mens Club in Lichfield Road like many clubs had its own bowling green. The Labour Club in Salters Road had a successful air rifle club. Both clubs, and their sporting heritage has been lost, sadly

But, sometimes, just sometimes, a bright jewel in local sporting history reveals itself.
 
The Brickmakers Arms Pub, in Salters Road is host to a Tug of War team  that was founded in the 1970s by a well-known local lad, Roger José and his friends, and competed against other local teams.

Time went by and a new team was formed, this time by Roger’s son Shaun and friends in 1987 and is still going but sadly requires more members.

Recently I was delighted to meet Roger’s son, Shaun, to learn of the present-day team, that practises every Wednesday evening at at 7.30 sharp, in their training facility at the Brickmakers Arms Pub. Here I was to have the intricacies and thrills of this very old field sport explained… And to learn that the sport dates back many years.

Archive pulling Olympic action!. Image Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

Indeed, in the 1920 Olympic Games, Great Britain won the gold medal, which it still holds to this day due to the fact it was withdrawn as a Olympic sport.

Tug Of war ruling was originally 8 people per team who had to weigh into a specific weight amongst them and would have their legs stamped to prove this (Not branded with a hot iron!) But due to a fall in numbers of participants The Tug Of War Federation adopted a New 6 aside rule just 4-5 years back to maintain the sport and keep it going, and also introduced a Round-Robin which enabled Grass-Roots pulling to get off the ground.

From training over The Fox-Covey in Walsall Wood with other local names Mick Evans and John Dukes, Roger José and son Shaun have made sure this sport has never faded away, and Shaun feels very fortunate to have pulled in a National Catch-weight Final in the same team as His Dad in 1994 and also with His Daughter in A World Final of Mixed pulling in 2007.
 

Pulling in The Wood is a family tradition. Images Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

Today, the LCS Tug of War team, a sort of Last Chance Saloon club, meet weekly on Wednesday evenings around 7pm at the Brickmakers Arms pub in  Salters Road, to train and use the contraption that has been bought up in conversations before with people questioning what it is. It’s a very unique pulling system consisting of different weights to pull along with a track to dig their heels into, and as Shaun states….’They Like To Start Em Young!’

Great size ordering here. You don’t have to be big or a lad to take part. Image Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

The team of past and present members can boast to have pulled for England in World and European competitions in many destinations over the years.

Champions Walsall Wood should be proud of! Image Kindly supplied by Janey Hatfield and David Evans.

If anyone is interested in joining, Shaun extends the invitation to men and women to enjoy this wonderful field sport where the legal age requirement is 14… The team are the current national champions in mixed pulling.

Shaun has asked that interested readers contact him directly, his phone number is 07974058140.

The LCS team have a facebook page too which you can visit here.

We would like to thank Shaun for taking  the time to tell us about this fascinating sport  and the ongoing successful local connection. I can heartily recommend it to anyone who would like to join the club .
 
David & Janey June 2018

Posted in Bad Science, Environment, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sweet like chocolate

The Cadbury firm – set up by Quakers as a model village and enterprise – was always a great, caring community with strong social responsibility. Image from the BBC.

Friend of the blog Shirley Jackson, who’s a Birmingham exile now living in Shire Oak and a great friend of the blog has raised an interesting question here relating to Cadburys and the Bournville factory in the media over the years I’m hoping readers might be able to help with.

Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler might have input on this one I think.

Shirley asked:

Hi Bob,

My 92 year old Dad, who worked at Cadbury’s all his life since 14, has just watched Inside the Chocolate Factory, and was very disappointed.

His brother also worked there after the war. he was special services and is still alive at 94. Dad reckons there were loads of video of workers coming in and out of the gates, and coca beans coming in and being roasted.

I wondered if any of your history boffins could point me in the direction on viewing some of these videos, as he said he was in many of them. It’s more about viewing the factory, as my Dad remembered it.

I also remember my cousin getting a good reward, through the suggestion box scheme, and his suggestion was that they cut half an inch off the sleeve of dairy milk, which saved them a fortune.

I believe Dad started work in 1941. He tells be great tales of how they made pineapple out of swede, as you couldn’t get it in the war, and he said you would not be able to tell the difference!

Hope you can help.
Shirley Jackson

Shirley has previously sparked a great debate over a lost monument at the Dunlop factory and I’m sure this one can throw up some interesting  views on the swede observation! Thanks for a great enquiry…

What do you know? Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail do com. Cheers.

Now part of Kraft Foods, Cadbury is part of a huge global enterprise. Image from the Birmingham Mail.

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Knaves Court thefts – brilliant community spirit as the kind-hearted community rallies round

Community whiz and queen of the Pelsallian Espresso Laura Hucker started a Gofundme appeal yesterday which already has £107 in it at the time of posting. Clcik on the screenshot to donate.

You lot are just wonderful: Since yesterday’s appeal for help following the theft of a hosepipe and garden ornaments from the Knacves Court extra care facility for the elderly in Brownhills, offers of help, hosepipes and donations have flooded in, including over £100 raised on a crowdfunded by Laura Hucker, old pal of the blog and proprietor of the Reading Rooms Cafe in Pelsall.

You can donate on GoFundMe by clicking here – my huge thanks to Laura for setting that one up.

Offers came in from Russell Smith at Aldridge Cinema, as well as another local business I’m not sure if I can name; a whole bunch of private individuals chipped in too.

Thanks to each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart – once again the community we’re all part of takes a bad situation and shows what makes up the best of us. Thanks so much: Though there is bad stuff, Brownhills has a community spirit to be proud of.

Remember, if you’ve seen the ornaments in question, do get in touch, or contact the police on 101 – there was a good point yesterday made by a reader that there has been a particular spine in thefts and crime in a very small area of Lindon Drive and surrounds in recent weeks and it’s possible that it’s all linked. I know Brownhills Policing Team are trying to be as responsive as possible to this at the moment.

If you can help, please do contact Knaves Court:

Janet Grinnell
Activities Coordinator
Direct Dial 0370 192 4204
Janet.Grinnell at housingandcare21.co.uk
Knaves Court, High Street, Brownhills, Walsall, WS8 6DJ
www.housingandcare21.co.uk

Or of course, you can comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A message from Lynn Shaw: A date set for those who wish to remember Bill Shaw

Lynn and Bill following the unveiling of The Shaw End at Walsall Wood Football Club

Lynn and Bill following the unveiling of The Shaw End at Walsall Wood Football Club (Image: Facebook)

It’s been a while now since the sad passing of Bill Shaw and Bill’s wife Lynn has an important announcement to make – the date has been set for the ceremony to scatter Bill’s ashes at Walsall Wood Football Club.

Lynn said:

Hi Bob

Morning Bob, we now have a new date for scattering Bill’s ashes at his home from home, his beloved Walsall Wood FC ground.

The date is Saturday 30th June 2018 at 12 pm, there will be a memory book for anyone who couldn’t make the funeral to add a few words if they wish.

Sorry Bob, I forgot to add that the collection in Bill’s memory at the funeral raised £347.35 for The Air Ambulance.

Thanks,
Lynn x

Thanks so much for the update, Lynn – and such wonderful news on  the collection. Bill would be hugely proud of that.

As ever my condolences and sympathies, and of course those of the blog readership remain with Lynn and family.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Followups, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brownhills Community Centre Active Games Club on now!

Looks like a great idea!

Hey – if you’re looking out for stuff for your kids to do this morning look no further than Brownhills Community Centre (The old Central Boy’s School, or Annex to my generation), just off the Miner Island in Brownhills.

Happening there will be Active Games Club, which runs from 11:15 – so it’s on NOW.

There will be lots of great stuff to do, and while you’re there you can check out all the other interesting stuff Brownhills Community Association do – from  IT classes to coffee mornings.

 

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Just plain daft, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heartless theft from the communal garden at Knaves Court – can you help these senior gardeners, please?

Knaves Court. Archive picture from my 365days journal.

This is an appeal for help and witnesses to a very sad theft in recent days from the Knaves Court extra care facility at Anchor Bridge, Brownhills, where a hosepipe and garden ornaments have been stolen from the community garden in the last few days.

Janet Grinnell got in touch this morning, and explained:

Hi Bob

Thanks for helping us.

The residents have all been pulling together over the last two months to get the garden looking beautiful. Being out in the fresh air and seeing a lovely garden lifts everyone’s spirits but this has obviously put a damper on things.

We think the things disappeared over 1st/2nd June. I’d been on annual leave that week and the residents told me when I got back on Monday. They were all quite upset as there is a real pride here in their ‘ownership’ of the garden – they tend it regularly.

It’s not tools that have been taken, apart from part of our hosepipe which saved us carrying small but heavy cans of water backwards and forwards across the garden – our residents are obviously older in years and carting water about is tiring. We have had some of our lovely statues taken – among them a three and a half foot golfer that served as a memorial for one of our past residents and a large frog planter. These things are difficult to replace and I suppose may simply become a target again even if we could.

It’s the upset that it has caused that is the main thing. We are a real community here and the garden is a focus for everyone, a hobby, a place to meet friends and a calm resting place when you need it. It brings everyone together.

Thanks for listening, Bob. I don’t really know what we can do about it but thankyou anyway for trying.

Janet

Now nicking statues from the old folk’s communal garden is pretty shitty, and I do hope bad fortune smiles upon the shameless scrotes who have been so heartless – but I’d like to ask the wider community whom I know have hearts of gold if they can help?

Obviously, if you’ve seen the ornaments in question, do get in touch, or contact the police on 101; but in the meantime has anyone got a spare hosepipe or other bits an pieces these senior gardeners can have, please?

I think we all know the therapeutic and social benefits of gardening and I’d like to get the oldsters smiling in the flower borders again as quick as possible.

Whilst I’ve not got green fingers I know many here have and would certainly help counter the damage caused by those with light ones. I know it’s a big request, but if you can help, you can contact Janet dierectly on the following:

Janet Grinnell
Activities Coordinator
Direct Dial 0370 192 4204
Janet.Grinnell at housingandcare21.co.uk
Knaves Court, High Street, Brownhills, Walsall, WS8 6DJ
www.housingandcare21.co.uk

Or of course, you can comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Thanks in advance to all who help.
Bob

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

New Hall Mill is open again this Sunday – with a visit from a TV personality!

P1040438

New Hall Mill is a splendid place, restored and run by wonderfully dedicated volunteers.

Theres a lovely thing to visit locally this Sunday (10th June 2017), that’s close by, free and absolutely fascinating…

New Hall Mill is open again on Sunday for the third open day of 2018. I can heartily recommend the place – it’s fascinating and I had a great time there on 2015 Spring Bank Holiday Monday – not enough people know about this wonderful building.

There’s also an appeal ongoing for people who may be interested to join the friends of New Hall Mill and help in all sorts of ways – the team need all kinds of expertise from guides to engineering types who may have time to spare. See further down this post for details.

The open day is free to enter too (although donations are welcomed).

The Friends of Newhall Mill said:

Bob

The Friends of New Hall Mill will be opening the water mill to the public on this coming Sunday 10th June 2018.

Come along and see flour being produced from wheat in the traditional way, have a go on a hand operated quern as still used in parts of the world today. Visit the gift shop, be entertained with Live music, see the many side stalls in the grounds and experience lovely walks alongside the streams and through the meadows.

There is an exhibition room and small tearoom selling cakes and beverages along with a garden shop where produce may be purchased from the millers garden. Don’t forget to visit Auntie Wainwrights to find that bargain that you always wanted.

For your entertainment, we have Adrian playing his Street Organ in the mill yard.

Have you ever fancied a bit of detective work? In the mill yard, there will be the opportunity to investigate Nature under the Microscope.

At 11.30, there will be a wildflower wander walk around the meadows.

A TV personality will be joining us on this Sunday’s Open Day to accompany Jeff on the walk. Pink hair anyone?

In the cart shed we will be displaying – The Essence of the car , 1/43rd scale models

In the meadows and grounds; we have Displays and Demonstrations  by –

  • Turner collection of Steam Models
  • Bournville Bread Basket
  • ECO Sutton
  • Vintage Bike Display
  • Helens Handmade Gifts
  • Tins Display
  • Smoking Memorabilia
  • Office Stationery display
  • Birmingham & The Black Country Wildlife Trust
  • Milk Bottles & Churns Display
P1040417

I totally geeked out over this wonderful place.

Entry to the site and Parking is free, donations are always welcome in order that we raise funds to maintain the buildings for all to see in the future.

Please note that we open at 10:00 and close at 16:00 with last entry onto site being at 15:45.

Only disability assistance dogs are allowed on site.

Access to the mill is off Wylde Green Road, Sutton Coldfield, B76 1QU some 200 metres from National Cycle Route 534.

Having seen what we do, could you be able to assist? In order to continue holding these events, we need additional membership to help out on Open Days and Work Days. It is not all about Flour production – We have ageing machinery to maintain, kitchen staff are always welcome, there are openings in all areas. Have a chat with a volunteer on Open day.

Hoping to see you there

Alan Dawson – A friend of New Hall Mill.

More details can be found on their website – www.newhallmill.org.uk or their Facebook page here.

This is certainly a project worth visiting and supporting – please do pop along if you can.  You can check out a gallery of my photos taken there last year below. I had a great time.

Posted in cycling, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get some Iron, man – annual triathlon hits Chasewater and South Staffordshire this Sunday

83580629

Care for a dip? No, me neither…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that this Sunday (June 10th 2018), the fourth Staffordshire Ironman 70.3 Triathlon will be staged, with a 1.2 mile early morning swim in Chasewater being amongst the highlights

IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire consists of a 1.2-mile swim in Chasewater reservoir and a 56-mile bike course through the stunning countryside outside Lichfield, Burton-upon-Trent, and across Cannock Chase area of outstanding natural beauty. The 13.1-mile run will start at Riverway, take athletes in and around the Stafford Town Centre before finishing in Market Square.

Read more at the organiser’s site here.

Since the event consists of running and cycling races too, there will be a series of road closures in Staffordshire throughout the day (details on the Ironman website here).

The routes affected around Chasewater. Image from the Ironman website. Click for a larger version.

Road closures will be place for a major triathlon taking place in Staffordshire this weekend.

The IRONMAN 70.3, which takes place on Sunday 10 June, will see a variety of diversions and road closures in place in the South of the county to help keep the athletes and marshals safe.

The following areas will be affected:

Abbots Bromley, Admaston, Brownhills, Burntwood, Cannock Chase, Chasewater, Colton, Draycott In The Clay, Fairway, Gentleshaw, Hanbury, Hednesford, King’s Bromley, Kingstone, Kingsway, Lichfield, Longdon, Marchington, Needwood, Newborough, Riverway, Rugeley, Stafford Town Centre, South Walls, Stubby Lane, Tixall, Wolseley Bridge and Yoxall.

Maps displaying all the road closures can be found on the event website here.

Please plan any travel in advance and be prepared to use alternative routes to minimise disruption to your journey.

More detailed closure information from the Ironman website. Click for a larger version.

There’s been lots of publicity for the event, and I’m interested in reader contributions on the day – photos, reviews etc.

A quick note to those same faces who every Ironman mail me, message me and otherwise complain about the early morning disturbance in the locality: Sorry, but I can’t fix it, can’t help and I fully support the event. The inconvenience is one day a year, relatively minor and over in a few hours.

Why not go watch it, or take the opportunity to get up early and go somewhere else?

Any complaints should be directed to the organisers here, I can’t and won’t do anything.

Best of luck to any readers competing!

shugborough04v2 1600

The event focusses on Shugborough. He’s either well ahead of the pack, or well behind. Image from Ironman UK website.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Cannock Chase, Chasewater, cycling, Environment, Events, Express & Star, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local media, News, Panoramio photo discussions, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Everyone back to school! A great reunion coming soon

What a great idea!

Oh my (school) days, there’s a terrific thing going on at Brownhills Community Centre, what my generation called the Annex but was originally the Central Boys School – there’s going to be a celebration, reunion and open day for those who remember the days of that particular school yard.

It’s taking place on Saturday 30th June 2018 from 11am until 3pm at the former school, now Brownhills Community Centre, and there will be memory-jogging tours of the building you knew so well, archive photo displays, real school meals (including concrete and custard!) a film show of old Brownhills and loads of people to chat to and reminisce about the days of Mr. Massey and co.

A wonderful image from 1962 and the days of the Boy’s School sent in by Malcolm Jamison.

There are some great pics of this old days in this post here

The day itself is free, but if you want to partake of lunch, it’s £5 for mains and pud, and you can book in advance at the link in the text below.

Brownhills Community Centre wrote:

ALL BACK TO BROWNHILLS CENTRAL SCHOOL
Open Day Saturday 30th June 11am – 3pm

You may know it as the Boys’ School, Central School, the Annexe or the Activity Centre. The building has been all these things, and has now been extensively refurbished in its new role as Brownhills Community Centre and The Lamp.

You may not know that it has a fully-equipped Ladies’ Gym, a cinema/theatre/concert venue with bar, a nursery, a motorcycle training centre, a computer suite, rooms for hire for parties and training and a wide variety of activities to suit every interest. Its facilities are for everyone, local or further afield.

The building is 125 years old this year, and to celebrate we are hosting a Back to School open day on 30th June. The whole Centre will be open for you to look around, a chance to reminisce or to explore the new facilities.

We have a big archive of photographs which will be on display. Perhaps you’ll be in some of them! We will also be serving (edible) school dinners.

Free parking via Pelsall Road entrance. WS8 7JE.

The open day is free, no need to book. School dinners need to be booked in advance. £5 gets you 2 choices of main meal and pudding, including concrete and custard! Tickets from (no booking fee): https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/the-lamp-arts-centre

If you haven’t yet visited th Community Centre, you really are missing out; it’s a busy and welcoming hive of activity with a great atmosphere operated by a lovely community of dedicated folk, located in the old Annex or Brownhills Central Boys School right there on the Miner Island in Brownhills. You can find out more here.

Please ring the crew on 01543 452 119 if you have any queries or need any help or email: info@thelamparts.co.uk.

There’s loads going on at the Activity Centre on the Miner Island in Brownhills!

Posted in News | 20 Comments

The fall and rise: Fixing a hole in the cut begins

The canal is clearly back on the up: This photo was taken yesterday evening at Clayhanger, and despite a further drop over the weekend, is now at the same level as last Thursday.

Following the sudden and unexpected drop in water level of the canal through Brownhills, and the Wyrley and Essignton Canal as a whole, top Canal and River Trust operatives have isolated the leak in the canal bed at Stoney Lane, Little Bloxwich with dams, and are now working to fix the hole.

This means that with Chasewater valves open, the canal should now be slowly refilling. It dipped to about 200mm off full level on Saturday 2nd June 2018, but last night was back to 125mm down measured at Clayhanger overflow, the same level it was at the previous Thursday 31st May 2018.

The best place to keep up to date with all the latest news on this mater is the wonderful blog of canal historian and local lad Andy Matthews – click here.

An emergency stoppage notices posted on Saturday 2nd June 2018 and emergency dams have been erected. Tellingly, the isolated stretch drained itself without pumps…

Presumably the work to repair the under-canal culvert will start soon. In the meantime, the towpath is still currently open to passers by, cyclists and those interested, but probably offers limited angling opportunities for the time being.

Phil Griffin took a great set of the drained cut yesterday (Monday 4th June 2018):

 

On the matter of my contempt for the the Canal and River Trust, the following tweet issued yesterday by their stellar press office is breathtaking:

They lost a huge quantity of water and are still blaming Chasewater’s owner, Staffordshire County Council, even though it appears they haven’t actually closed the vales since early April.

If you have a view on this, or pictiures, please do get in touch. Comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Posted in News | 4 Comments

Meet your local coppers next Tuesday in Brownhills

Tesco, Brownhills. Image posted by West Midlands Police on Twitter.

There’s another local police pop-up event coming at Brownhills branch of Tesco next Tuesday, 12th June 2018 where you can meet the local policing team and discuss issues that are important to you.

PCSO Astley said:

This is a message to let you know that the local policing neighbourhood team will be holding a pop up stall inside Tesco, Brownhills, off Silver Street on Tuesday 12th June between 15.00 and 17.00 hours.

Let us sign you up to WMnow – our neighbourhood crime alert system.

Let us sign you up to neighbourhood watch.

You can follow us on Twitter: @BrownhillsWMP

Any local issues you wish to discuss?

Put it in your diaries… drop in, say hello and have a chat!

Thank you.
Message sent by
Darren Astley (Police, PCSO, Walsall, Brownhills)

At these informal events, you can chat to the local policing team about stuff that concerns you, get crime prevention tips, WMNow signups and public safety advice.

I must say, it’s good to see the local police making such concerted efforts to reach out to the public.

Also, if you haven’t signed up for WMNow, please do – it’s free and you can select to receive alerts on all kinds of local issues. It’s a fine thing.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He’s behind you – oh no he isn’t!

What a fantastic image courtesy of Keith Clegg!

A quick one for a Sunday from reader Keith Clegg – can you identify anyone in this photo?

He wrote:

Photo of Pantomime at the Brownhills church hall guessing about 1968.

Do you recognise anyone?

I don’t think there’s anything I can add to that, except I love the little guy in the bowler with specs!

Thanks to Keith for a wonderful image – that’s really excellent. Can you help? Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

The mysterious falling canal level: Water carry on!

Top Canal and River Trust operatives look for a leak. Image Kindly supplied by Andy Bennets.

Several people have brought to my attention in recent days the falling level of the local canal in Brownhills and surrounds, which has naturally been causing concern, particularly following the recent wet weather which saw the canal overflowing heavily on Sunday, 27th May 2018.

By yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 2nd June 2018), I measured the level as 144mm lower than the overflow height at Clayhanger: Nearly six inches of water lost in five days from about 25 miles of canal at the same level with no locks is a huge amount of water to disappear without obvious trace.

9pm last Sunday evening (27th May 2018). This canal was not short of water then…

Initial enquiries with the pretty useless PR people at the Canal and River Trust blamed Staffordshire County Council for turning off the supply of water from Chasewater, which was clearly arrant toss as it had been running since April.

Online discussions had centred around someone perhaps leaving a lock sluice open, as so much water leaking would surely be evident somewhere. As incidents at Middlewich and Llangollen show, canals leaking so much tend to be catastrophic and very evident!

In the early 1980s, a breach at Sandhills near Anchor Bridge, Brownhills caused much damage, too.

Oh dear. Clcik image to see original stoppage notice. Chasewater my eye.

It turns out that from an emergency stoppage notice posted yesterday (Saturday 2nd June 2018) water has been leaking from the canal into a stream culvert at Little Bloxwich, and thankfully hasn’t burst through. Work is currently underway to isolate the section and repair it, damming the canal to prevent water loss in the interim.

On Thursday evening, at Clayhanger the drop was 123mm from the Clayhanger overflow level.

Hopefully this should see levels stabilise in a short time.

This incident has further convinced me that the Canal and River Trust couldn’t find their arses with both hands, an arse map, a mirror, a team of very expensive arse finding consultants and an example arse flown in from America.

There’s a great, and growing write up of this in much more detail than I can mange at the brilliant canal blog of Andy Matthews – do visit it and have a read.

Clcik image to visit Andy’s blog and read his take of the amazing sinking canal.

Thanks to everyone who brought this to my attention and debated it: great stuff.

If you have a view on this, or pictiures, please do get in touch. Comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

 

Posted in News | 8 Comments

Up hill, down dale, but never run of the mill

People keep asking me for ride galleries, and I’m happy to oblige – and fortunately the weather so far this season has been pretty good, I’m pleased to say – so last weekend I did a century into Derbyshire to visit old haunts.

On a day that started out overcast, I hit the road at dawn, up through Lichfield, Burton and Derby and from there, rode through Keddleston Park, a beautiful stately home. Moving on through Mercaston to Bradley and Madge Hill, I swung east to Hognaston, Hopton and Middleton top, then up the High Peak Trail to Parsley Hay; a fast run back down the Tissington to Ashbourne, then out to Hole in the Wall, Osmaston, Shirley, Longford, Tutbury, Barton and home via Lichfield. 116 miles in all.

It was interesting to note the trails were not busy, and the ice cream stop at Harrington Signal Box seems to have closed; I do hope these wonderful cycleways are not losing their appeal.

It’s rare you fine a true Holloway. Imagine the continual use over centuries that cut this track into the hill.

At Osmaston Park, the bridleway past the water-driven sawmill is beautiful, and forms a true Holloway up the hill. It’s well worth seeing. You can find out more about the mill here.

So glad I’m getting lots of riding in this year – I hope it continues.

For more of this sort of thing, my 365daysofbiking journal is still running

The Osmaston Sawmill is stunning.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Mike Sarsfield remembers Lichfield Road and Brownhills in the 1950s – do you?

mbp018

Lichfield Road was almost as much a major artery to Brownhills as High Street itself. Image from ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff harrington.

I was contacted by old friend of the blog Mike Sarsfield a last week, all the way from Wales, and he would like to know if anyone remembers him, or the Brownhills of his youth – I’m sure this will trigger a few memories.

Mike wrote:

HI everyone,

I am Michael Sarsfield, I was born in 1952 qt 20 Lichfield Road, and lived there until I moved to Swansea where I still live.

I like to keep up with Brownhills Bob, and still have relations in the area.

I went to St.Josephs RC Infants in Chasetown and then moved to Ogley Hay Infants till 1959. I have lost touch with so many, but still remember the twins I used to play with at Poxons the butchers, Barry Winters neighbor, the Slatcher girls who also lived in the same yard as me, Richard Bailey lived at end of Great Charles Street, and Linda Brough who lived in the same row as Richard.

My mother worked in Willets Shoe Shop.

Mike Sarsfield.

I’m sure that there are many people reading this who will remember Mike, and can help place the people he mentions.

Please, if you can help, do get in touch: Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks!

Posted in News | 7 Comments

Police seek identity of two men following theft from shopper in Aldi, Brownhills

Can you identify these lads please? If so, Walsall Police would love to hear from you. Image posted on Social Media by West Midlands Police.

This lunchtime, police in Walsall have issued the above images from CCTV in the Aldi store in Brownhills showing a couple of men they would like to trace after a theft from a shopper there on Thursday 5th April 2018.

I’m unclear why the large delay between the crime and releasing these images, but they’re very clear and someone must know who these lads are.

If you do, please do contact the police forthwith.

They said:

Walsall Police
1:41pm Friday 1st June 2018

Do you recognise these men? We want to trace them after a purse and phone were stolen from an 82-year-old in Brownhills.

The incident happened at Aldi on the High Street, just before 1pm on Thursday 5 April.

CCTV of the two suspects is really clear. If you recognise them, please call West Midlands Police on 101.

To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote crime number 20WS/75388Z/18.

Please,  if you have any further information relating to this, or any other incident, or if you witnessed something  please contact Walsall Police by dialling 101 and quoting 20WS/75388Z/18 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Local media, News, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We’m gooin to Barmouth!

Images Kindly shared by Steve Martin

Steve Martin whose incredible and high quality work I’ve featured here before, last weekend went to Barmouth, Wales like many locals hereabouts. Thankfully for us, he also took his drone.

As many Midlanders do, I love Barmouth, but I particularly love the Afon Mawddach Estuary, and the stunning Clock House on the road there called Cops-faen, as well as the wonderfully improbable railway bridge, the crossing of which on the train always indicated the start of a great day ahead.

Coes-faen is now a spa and hotel, and you can find out more about it and it’s history here.

I thought it might make a pleasant change to share Steve’s Barmouth photos here and maybe jog a few memories. What do you remember of weekends or weeks at Barmouth? Please do get in touch.

Coes-faen has a wonderful history, and it a beautiful house. Image Kindly shared by Steve Martin.

Steve uses a professional-level DJI drone, and is very skilled in using it to obtain stunning images and video – his last gallery, of Chasewater and Brownhills Common went down reallyy well. A few months ago, I featured film and images Steve kindly shared from a daytime flight where he recreated a wonderful 1960s image of Brownhills as it is today, and later, his stunning night flight over Brownhills.

You can regularly see other examples of Steve’s work on his usual haunt, the popular and fascinating Old photos from Hednesford, Chadsmoor and Cannock group on Facebook,

Steve grew up in Brownhills where his family had the chip shop that used to be on the Lichfield Road, Brownhills for a while, and Steve has great memories of the Lichfield Road area, of which I’m still looking for old images if you know to any, please do get in touch.

Thanks to Steve for yet another beautiful gallery, and Steve is happy to talk about his work if you’re interested. You can hook up with him on Facebook here.

Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Posted in News | Tagged | 7 Comments

Did someone say cake? A great new coffee shop now open in Pelsall

Images posted on Facebook by the Reading Rooms

It’s always great to hear from old pals of the blog, and Laura Hucker mailed me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that she was starting a new venture at Pelsall Village Centre: The Reading Rooms coffee shop in the Book Exchange, the community-run library there.

This terrific looking cake stop opened to the public just yesterday (Tuesday 29th May 2018) to rave reviews, and I for one will whip out my passport and will be over there in the principality as soon as I can to sample the goodies on offer: Laura made a fantastic job of the fairs she ran and they bode well for a great social and food space that will really become a focus for the community.

Since Brownhills Community Association have become involved with the Village Centre in Pelsall, it’s really picking up with so much going on there (see here) and it’s good to see Pelsall finally benefit from the expertise and dedication of people who really make the Community Centre in Brownhills the hive of activity it is. Best wishes to all involved.

You can find out more about The Reading Rooms at their website here, or their Facebook here – and you can learn more, including opening hours and contact details below.

The Reading Rooms was established in May 2018 as a result of a demand for excellent coffee and exciting cake whilst the people of Pelsall enjoyed activities and The Book Exchange services at the Pelsall Village Centre. The Centre, now re-named ‘The Hub’ is a great space with a vibrant range of activities, see our What’s On page.

The mission of The Reading Rooms is to provide an area where individuals, groups and families can enjoy the space provided by The Hub whilst enjoying excellent quality coffee brewed locally, great tea, quality food, and, most importantly, really special cake!

The Reading Rooms will grow with the demands of the people of Pelsall and surrounding areas, and Laura, business owner and the main face of The Reading Rooms, looks forward to inviting you with a smile. We will be holding a wide range of events once we are settled in, and we cannot wait for you to join us!

Julia and Anne also work at The Reading Rooms two days a week, and they too look forward to welcoming you.

Looking for a bit of company? View more details about our inclusion in the Chatter and Natter Scheme!

THE READING ROOMS
Pelsall Village Centre
High Street
Pelsall
WS3 4LX

Telephone: 01543 373768

Email: hello@the-reading-rooms.co.uk

THE READING ROOMS OPENING HOURS
MONDAY – FRIDAY: 8:30am – 3pm
SATURDAY: 9:30am – 11:30am
SUNDAY: Closed

THE BOOK EXCHANGE OPENING HOURS
MONDAY, TUESDAY AND THURSDAY: 10am – 3pm
SATURDAY: 9:30am – 11:30am
SUNDAY: Closed

For any further details regarding the Book Exchange, room hire or activities, please contact Janet Davies on 07977 464 908 or email janet.davies@brownhillsca.org.uk

/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/32477294_280219492517199_1999567486881628160_n.png”> What a great idea![/caption]
Posted in News | 2 Comments

In the hall if wet – more Ogley Hay May celebration photos!

On wet days, the maypole dane apparently took place in the school hall. The gym equipment on the walls reminded me of my school. What a fantastic expression! Image Kindly supplied by Dawn Hayton.

it’s time, I think for the last set in the amazing collection of images sent in by old pal of the blog Dawn Hayton, from her mother’s personal collection – and this is a fantastic set continuing the recent Ogley Hay School May Day celebrations that were a feature of the school for many years.

This photos compliment the other May Day images from Janet Bullock here, the follow up set from Kate Dixon here and this wonderful one from Sheila Kelly here.

Can anyone name the other children please? Image Kindly supplied by Dawn Hayton.

These images are beautiful and the photography and scanning are very high quality.

Of the whole donation from Dawn and her mum, there are three distinct sets – this one, the one of Brownhills Carnival in the 1970s here and also the very popular one of the 1977 Silver Jubilee celebrations in Middleton and Freeth Road here.

A stunning image of Dawn Hayton. Some good stuff in the background, too!Image Kindly supplied by Dawn Hayton.

My thanks to Dawn and her mum for some wonderful memory-jogging photos – they really are wonderful and very much appreciated.

If you see anyone you recognise, or have anything to add, please do.

Comment here or mail me: Brownhillsbob at Googlemail dot com.

Love the flowers! Can anyone help with names please? Image Kindly supplied by Dawn Hayton.

Posted in News | 5 Comments

Elderly man dies after flooding incident in Rushall

Flooding on the A461 Lichfield Road at Rushall. Image from Wast Midlands Ambulance Service

Dreadful news from Walsall overnight, where a man believed to be in his 80s died after a car reportedly entered floodwater, following remarkably heavy storms in the preceding hours.

My sympathies, and those of the entire blog community and readership go out the the family and friends of the gentleman who has not yet been named. This is an awful thing to happen.

I would ask that readers be respectful of relatives and the deceased when commenting on social media, please.

Despite this news, West Midlands Police are reporting vehicles this morning driving through road closed notices. It takes only a small amount of water to sweep away your car and even less to write the engine off. Be careful.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said:

A man has died after a flooding incident

Monday 28th May 2018 – 11:00am – Murray MacGregor.

One man has died after a car was submerged in flood water.

The incident happened in Lichfield Road in the Rushall area of Walsall at about 2.20am this morning (Monday).

Two ambulances, a paramedic officer and the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found a flooded road with two vehicles in the water.

‘Firefighters who had entered the water had found an elderly man at the vehicle and taken him to an ambulance crew who were at the water’s edge. The ambulance crew carried out advanced life support before taking the man to Walsall Manor Hospital, but sadly he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

‘In total, four HART paramedics entered the water and worked with West Midlands Fire Service Technical Rescue staff.

‘A second person was found in the water but was unhurt.  It is not believed that this person was from one of the vehicles. The second vehicle is believed to have been in situ for some time.

‘With the rain over the weekend, there are still a number of roads affected by floodwater.  Please ensure that you take extra time on your travelling today and heed any warning signs.’

Ends

West Midlands Police also issued the following:

A man has died after his vehicle was submerged in flood water in Walsall following flash flooding that hit the region.

Police were called to Lichfield Road, Rushall, just after 2am today (Monday 28 May) to reports that a vehicle had entered the water.

The victim, who is believed to be in his 80s, was taken to hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

His next of kin have been informed.

Ch Insp Paul Ditta, of West Midlands Police, said: ‘Our thoughts are with the family of the man who died today.

‘There are a number of roads affected across the region that have been badly affected by the flooding.

‘Many people will be heading away for the half term break and I’d urge people to take care on the roads and allow extra time to travel.’

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Don’t forget New Hall Mill open day today, Spring Bank Holiday Monday!

P1040438

New Hall Mill is a splendid place, restored and run by wonderfully dedicated volunteers.

Theres a lovely thing to visit locally today, Bank Holiday Monday (28th May 2018), that’s close by, free and absolutely fascinating

New Hall Mill is open again today for the second open day of 2018. I can heartily recommend the place – it’s fascinating and I had a great time there on 2015 Spring Bank Holiday Monday – not enough people know about this wonderful building.

There’s also an appeal ongoing for people who may be interested to join the friends of New Hall Mill and help in all sorts of ways – the team need all kinds of expertise from guides to engineering types who may have time to spare. Speak to any member of the friends group when you’re there.

The open day is free to enter too (although donations are welcomed).

The Friends of New Hall Mill said:

Bob

The Friends of New Hall Mill will be opening the water mill to the public for the Spring Bank Holiday Monday on 28th May. A bumper festival of events will be located in the meadows and mill yard. Come along and see flour being produced from wheat in the traditional way, have a go on a hand operated quern, experience live music and dancing or simply enjoy the tranquillity of the pathways alongside the mill pond and in the meadow. Something for all tastes awaits.

There is an exhibition room and small tearoom selling cakes and beverages along with a garden shop where produce may be purchased from the millers garden. Don’t forget to visit Auntie Wainwrights to find that bargain that you always wanted.

For your entertainment, returning by popular request, we have The U3A Swing Division playing Swing and Big Band Jazz between 11:00 – 11:45. This will be followed at 13:00 & 14:00 by Glorishears of Brummagem Morris Dancers.

In the cart shed will be a display of Large Steam Models

In the meadows and grounds; we have a bumper collection of Displays & Demonstrations –

  • Turner collection of Steam Models
  • Snuffles Hedgehog Rescue
  • Bournville Bread Basket
  • The National Trust
  • Walsall Hand Spinners
  • Vintage Bike Display
  • Helens Handmade Gifts
  • Face Painting
  • Ladybird Books Display
  • Women’s Hair Accessories Display
  • Smoking Memorabilia
  • 16th Sutton Coldfield Scout Group
  • Birmingham & The Black Country Wildlife Trust
  • Milk Bottles & Churns Display
  • The Vintage Memory Store (vintage and retro toy collection)
  • Model Fairground
  • Gas Engine
  • The Beekeeper
P1040417

I totally geeked out over this wonderful place.

Entry to the site and Parking is free, donations are always welcome in order that we raise funds to maintain the buildings for all to see in the future.

Please note that we open at 10:00 and close at 16:00 with last entry onto site being at 15:45.

Only disability assistance dogs are allowed on site.

Access to the mill is off Wylde Green Road, Sutton Coldfield, B76 1QU some 200 metres from National Cycle Route 534.

Having seen what we do, could you be able to assist? In order to continue holding these events, we need additional membership to help out on Open Days and Work Days. It is not all about Flour production – We have ageing machinery to maintain, kitchen staff are always welcome, there are openings in all areas. Have a chat with a volunteer on Open day.

Hoping to see you there
Alan Dawson – A friend of New Hall Mill.

More details can be found on their website – www.newhallmill.org.uk or their Facebook page here.

This is certainly a project worth visiting and supporting – please do pop along if you can.  You can check out a gallery of my photos taken there last year below. I had a great time.

Posted in cycling, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t forget Lichfield Bower today!

42919869

It’s party time in Lichfield!

Well, Spring Bank Holiday Monday is upon us, and that means that it’s Lichfield Bower Day in Ye Olde City – and I be the Lichfield historical folk will be up there, getting up to mischief.

I hear an additional act will probably be Fabricantio the Clown, who’s a well known figure of some hilarity in the city, and worth the journey alone…

Dick van Dyke is 137.

Posted in Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Just plain daft, Local media, Local music, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Local miniature railway open today, Spring Bank Holiday Monday!

Since it’s Spring Bank Holiday Monday , there’s a whole load of stuff going on – and today, Monday (28th May 2018) sees one of the occasional openings of something remarkable I visited way back in spring 2017, and it’s well worth a visit.

Balleny Green is a narrow gauge, passenger-carrying miniature model railway located at Little Hay, east of Shenstone and north of Sutton Coldfield, just down the lane from the Holly Bush pub.

You can see exact directions on the SCMS website here.

The railway runs it it’s own grounds which are beautiful, and is skilfully and safely operated by dedicated and clever engineers. It’s genuinely breathtaking, and what’s more, absolutely free (although you’d a total tightarse not to make a donation for such a wonderful thing – collecting box right by the clubhouse!)

Balleny Green is something I heartily recommend – it won’t take all day, but it’ll easily burn a couple of hours and leave you feeling thoroughly charmed. It’s open from 11am until 3pm, and would make a great thing to call into on the way to or from New Hall Mill, which is also open Bank Holiday Monday.

You can find out more at the Sutton Coldfield Model Engineering Society’s site here. I posted the following on my 365daysofbiking journal after my last visit. It’s a terrific thing.

May 1st – Today, I did something I’d been meaning to do for years – I paid a visit to Balleny Green, a little-known narrow gauge railway layout run by Sutton Coldfield Model Engineering Society at Little Hay, between Lichfield and Sutton Coldfield.

I’ve known this place was here for years, but never caught it open. This time, I made a concerted effort to find out when it was a ‘steam up day’ and popped in.

This was just so English. No entry fee. No charges to ride. Just a bunch of people sharing their love of a fascinating, beautifully engineered hobby in the middle of rolling countryside in gorgeous grounds.

There is a long layout consisting of several tracks – including a miniature one – but on the larger one, which interestingly is dual gauge – passengers sit in or on carriages and are conveyed by small locomotives – today one steam, one electric – through tunnels, over junctions, level crossings, past ponds, signals, signal boxes. It’s gorgeous.

The whole thing is clearly a labour of love.

There were no other attractions, and none were needed: tea and biscuits, and a tin for donations to cover running costs.

All right here on the doorstep, and few know about it. A wonderful thing.

Find out more about Balleny Green at their website here. I’d like to thank the members for a beautiful, life-affirming thing.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Beware localised flooding, folks!

Brickyard Road, on the Aldridge/Walsall Wood border this evening, posted on Facebook by Dan C. Hall

Watch out folks – we’ve had some remarkably heavy storms this afternoon (Sunday, 27th May 2018), and many local roads are flooded with reports of swamped roads and houses across our area.

It takes as little as a foot of water to wash away a car, so take care and don’t travel unless you have to. This is the lights at usual this evening, as posted on Facebook by Georgia Bird:

Beware particularly in rural areas like Mill Lane, Stonnall and near the Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas.

Beware driving through floodwater – it can conceal all manner of unseen horrors, and if part of a river flow can easily sweep cars away. If your car has a low air intake, getting water into the engine will kill it.

Take care folks. Welcome to the British summer…

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Fire and clay: A lost history unfolds

This is the former clay hole from which marl was hauled up a ramp to the brickworks which stood by the bank of the nearby canal.

I see that there David Evans is hot on the local history trail now his beloved Walsall Wood FC have hung up the boots for the summer – and yesterday he sent me a lovely article on a bit of local history that interests many, and is of continual fascination to blog readers – Brownhills Brikworks and the Jones House (‘The Big House’) at Clayhanger Bridge.

Where the new pond and house are today were once a fairly large brickworks. The marl hole left when production ceased was then turned into a private residence with surprisingly lush grounds – including a tennis court as documented here previously. Later, the remainder of the void was employed as a spoil heap for Walsall Wood Colliery, which itself was removed in the early 1980s, and used to cap the dreadful blight that was Clayhanger refuse tip; that is now the wonderful Clayhanger Common.

Thanks to a the generosity of Mr. Ray Jones, David has been invited to the the house to take some pictures and explore the past of this fascinating site.

My thanks to Ray Jones, David, and also to Gerald Reece who way back in 1996, before we had the internet, lit this whole history up. It is on the shoulders of the tireless efforts of people like Gerald and David that I and this blog stand, and I am eternally grateful for that.

Anything to add? Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

David wrote:

Gerald Reece’s totemic local history book, ‘Brownhills, a walk in to History’ was published in 1996 and is an amazing compilation of his original and unique research.

On page 60 there are three paragraphs which describe the brickworks, which closed down in 1896, which I include here:

Brownhills Brick Works

Although it is outside the bounds of Catshill, The Brownhills Brick Works merit a mention. It stood near to the present Clayhanger Bridge and had loading wharves at the canal side. Amongst its products was a building brick with a distinctive impression.

Francis Harry Gordon was the entrepreneur who established the Brick Works here in the 1870’s. He also had other business interests in North Staffordshire. The Brick Works covered an area of 7 acres. The large crater made during the excavation of the clay can still be seen. The clay measure here was 30 ft. thick. The buildings of the works included three drying sheds, the largest one measured 150 ft. x 30 ft. and had a cast iron plated floor.

Image from ‘Brownhills: A walk into history’ by Gerald Reece.

There were three 7 holed burning kilns, two dwelling houses and an Engine and Mill House. The machinery and plant included a Cornish Steam Boiler measuring 20 ft. X 6 ft. 3 ins. A Horizontal High Pressure Steam Engine with a 16 ins. Cylinder. This had a stroke of 2 ft. 10 ins. And a 9 ft. Fly-wheel. There were also two Capital Cameron Steam Pumps and a Brick Cutting-Off machine.

The Brick Works were closed down in 1896, its trade had been undercut by the neighbouring Walsall Wood Colliery Brick Works. After several abortive attempts to reopen the Works as a going concern it was finally sold for its plant and machinery by William F. Gordon, J.P. of Lichfield, he was the son of Francis Harry. Many buildings in the area can be dated from their usage of F. H. GORDON bricks.

Looking across the deep lake.

I have very recently been kindly invited by to view what remains of this once important site. Indeed, apart from the water-filled marl-hole known locally as ‘Jones Pool’ the works themselves have been completely removed with the passing of time, and now a private residence graces this former industrial works.

Clayhanger village has also seen a complete transformation from the sad, poor mining settlement and ugly landscape into the present-day fine community. Last year the headmistress of the local primary school allowed me free access to the complete set of Headteacher’s log books from the day the school opened in 1880, and I saw for myself a record of those sad early times  until the modern, immediate pre-war times, and the ongoing improvements to the community since then.

This shows the bankside of the lake and where a ramp stood. I was told that trucks hauled the clay from here to the works, by the canal bank

The school children had been engaged in a study of their local area, and my, they were so full of enthusiasm and produced an excellent record of their local area study.

This , I believe, is where the brick kilns stood, part of the works, and in among the trees, the canal bank..quite a way up to the level of the canal towpath.

Time has passed, and with it, the buildings that were once Brownhills Brick Works.  And yet, as with the old horse and Jockey pub in Walsall Wood, one glorious part has been retained and preserved.

Embodied in to one of the modern outbuildings by the house, this beautiful witness to local history

I would like to extend my sincere personal thanks to Mr R Jones for allowing me visit  and take these photographs.

David
May 2018

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment

Big Bounce family fun day at Holland Park RIGHT NOW

Boing, boing!

Just a heads to point out there’s a Big Bounce family fun day taking place at Holland Park, Brownhills RIGHT NOW Sunday (27th May 2018)

It’s £6 per child, with under fives at £5 – there are two sessions, 11-1:30pm and 2-4:30pm.

There will be rides, inflatables, slides, go-karts and all sorts of fun, including a toddler zone.

You can check out the Facebook page for the event here.

The organisers said:

Big Bounce Walsall is heading back to Holland park for a Whitsun extravaganza!

The cheap and affordable fun day hosts more rides & inflatables than ever before with over a dozen inflatables & interactive games for all ages of children to play, slide, bounce, jump and race, you will never want the fun to end!

Only £6 per child and £5 for under 5’s.
Adults & Babies go FREE!

Morning Session: 11 – 1:30pm
Afternoon Session: 2 – 4:30pm

 

Posted in News | Leave a comment

I can see clearly now… A lost Brownhills alehouse!

I think very few buildings on this card now remain. Image posted on an eBay sale by Sittingblack cat. Click for a larger version.

A wonderful postcard of Brownhills I’ve only ever seen in low resolution versions has appeared for sale on everyone’s favourite tat bazaar, eBay.

Postally used on the 19th August 1921, this card shows a period view looking up Brownhills High Street towards Brownhills Bridge (what would now be the Miner Island) with the Church Road junction on the right. What’s really remarkable is the card clearly shows a short lived pub, the Royal George (locally known as the ‘Fourpenny Shop’ and I don’t recall ever seeing a picture of it in this clarity before.

I’d say the image would be 1910-1920. Love the guy with the bike.

The Royal George was fairly short lived, running from around 1866 until 1926 when it was closed, and a cinema – the Regal I think – built in it’s place; that was later itself replaced by Ravens Court.

The card seems to have been sent to a Miss Smitten, care of Miss MBusswell, Aston Terrace, Market Street, Cheltenham, from her father. Transcriptions as ever, welcome.

For sale by postcard dealer sittingblackcat, at time of publication the card could be yours for around 25 quid.

The scan is of very high quality.

Any observations? Please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

What can we find out about Miss Smitten? In service, perhaps? Image posted on an eBay sale by Sittingblack cat. Click for a larger version.

Posted in News | 8 Comments

Great dog show event this Spring Bank Holiday Monday at Walsall Arboretum

Everyone loves a lab!

Facebook pal of the blog Mark Poole has asked me to shout out to readers that he’s staging an event in Walsall Arboretum this coming May Bank Holiday (28th May 2018) in aid of the Laradorsinneed.co.uk charity.

At Tails in the Park 2018 there will be dog shows, activities for kids, entertainment and all the usual stuff – as well of lots of great Labs. So if you’re into the lovable retrievers, this could be the thing for you.

Mark says you can find out more through the event’s Facebook page here, as well as lots about the project supported.

Come on, everyone loves a Labrador!

Get you lab coat on, and go perform a lab test!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Chasewater Railway Made in Staffordshire Gala this weekend!

It’s the steamiest you’ll get full clothed!

Sorry again for the late notice but I note Chasewater Railway have their Made in Staffordshire 50th Anniversary Gala this spring Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday 26th through to Monday 28th May 2018), with loads of steam and diesel heritage traction and a busier running timetable than normal.

This event will be well worth a look – the Railway is one of our hidden gems, situated at Chasewater Country Park, and is well worth a visit. There will be stuff there for all the family, so please do wander down if you can.

Chasewater Railway had this to say about the event:

Join us for our 50th anniversary of steam at Chasewater.

We are making it a special weekend with a ‘made in Staffordshire’ theme.

Come along and join us for this special event running from Saturday 26th to Monday 28th May. There will be lots to see and do with loads of steam and diesel locos working. Everyone welcome, including the dog!

Find out more here at our Facebook page.

You can see a copy of the running timetable for the weekend at this link here.

Images Kindly supplied by Chasewater Railway

Chasewater Railway is a wonderful attraction with regular passenger services at weekends and during school holidays, featuring two excellent cafes and a fascinating museum that chronicles not just railway history, but that of our area and industry.

The whole thing is staffed by helpful and friendly volunteers who are always ready to chat and talk about the railway and rolling stock.

At Brownhills west station there are also a lovely model railway, plus a couple of great vintage and collectible stalls. The railway itself has a shop selling books, rail models, toys and other merchandise.

Please do pop down if you haven’t already – Chasewater Railway really isn’t pushed enough; it’s wonderful.

You can check their website here – trains run this and every weekend from 11am to 4pm with the museum, cafes and stations open earlier.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet your local coppers later today in Brownhills and Pelsall

Your local bizzies will be available to chat to this afternoon. Why not go say Hello, hello, hello? Image from West Midlands Police.

Well, what do you know – there’s a neighbourhood police pop-up event taking place at the Parkview Centre in Brownhills later this afternoon (Friday 25th May 2018), from 3:00pm until 5:00pm.

A separate team will also be at the Spar store in Pelsall at the same time from 3:00pm -5:00pm this afternoon.

At these informal events, you can chat to the local policing team about stuff that concerns you, get crime prevention tips, WMNow signups and public safety advice.

I must say, it’s good to see the local police making such concerted efforts to reach out to the public.

Also, if you haven’t signed up for WMNow, please do – it’s free and you can select to receive alerts on all kinds of local issues. It’s a fine thing.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t forget New Hall Mill open day this Spring Bank Holiday Monday!

P1040438

New Hall Mill is a splendid place, restored and run by wonderfully dedicated volunteers.

Theres a lovely thing to visit locally this Bank Holiday Monday (28th May 2018), that’s close by, free and absolutely fascinating

New Hall Mill is open again next Monday for the second open day of 2018. I can heartily recommend the place – it’s fascinating and I had a great time there on 2015 Spring Bank Holiday Monday – not enough people know about this wonderful building.

There’s also an appeal ongoing for people who may be interested to join the friends of New Hall Mill and help in all sorts of ways – the team need all kinds of expertise from guides to engineering types who may have time to spare. Speak to any member of the friends group when you’re there.

The open day is free to enter too (although donations are welcomed).

The Friends of New Hall Mill said:

Bob

The Friends of New Hall Mill will be opening the water mill to the public for the Spring Bank Holiday Monday on 28th May. A bumper festival of events will be located in the meadows and mill yard. Come along and see flour being produced from wheat in the traditional way, have a go on a hand operated quern, experience live music and dancing or simply enjoy the tranquillity of the pathways alongside the mill pond and in the meadow. Something for all tastes awaits.

There is an exhibition room and small tearoom selling cakes and beverages along with a garden shop where produce may be purchased from the millers garden. Don’t forget to visit Auntie Wainwrights to find that bargain that you always wanted.

For your entertainment, returning by popular request, we have The U3A Swing Division playing Swing and Big Band Jazz between 11:00 – 11:45. This will be followed at 13:00 & 14:00 by Glorishears of Brummagem Morris Dancers.

In the cart shed will be a display of Large Steam Models

In the meadows and grounds; we have a bumper collection of Displays & Demonstrations –

  • Turner collection of Steam Models
  • Snuffles Hedgehog Rescue
  • Bournville Bread Basket
  • The National Trust
  • Walsall Hand Spinners
  • Vintage Bike Display
  • Helens Handmade Gifts
  • Face Painting
  • Ladybird Books Display
  • Women’s Hair Accessories Display
  • Smoking Memorabilia
  • 16th Sutton Coldfield Scout Group
  • Birmingham & The Black Country Wildlife Trust
  • Milk Bottles & Churns Display
  • The Vintage Memory Store (vintage and retro toy collection)
  • Model Fairground
  • Gas Engine
  • The Beekeeper
P1040417

I totally geeked out over this wonderful place.

Entry to the site and Parking is free, donations are always welcome in order that we raise funds to maintain the buildings for all to see in the future.

Please note that we open at 10:00 and close at 16:00 with last entry onto site being at 15:45.

Only disability assistance dogs are allowed on site.

Access to the mill is off Wylde Green Road, Sutton Coldfield, B76 1QU some 200 metres from National Cycle Route 534.

Having seen what we do, could you be able to assist? In order to continue holding these events, we need additional membership to help out on Open Days and Work Days. It is not all about Flour production – We have ageing machinery to maintain, kitchen staff are always welcome, there are openings in all areas. Have a chat with a volunteer on Open day.

Hoping to see you there
Alan Dawson – A friend of New Hall Mill.

More details can be found on their website – www.newhallmill.org.uk or their Facebook page here.

This is certainly a project worth visiting and supporting – please do pop along if you can.  You can check out a gallery of my photos taken there last year below. I had a great time.

Posted in cycling, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An important message from Lynn Shaw

Lynn and Bill following the unveiling of The Shaw End at Walsall Wood Football Club

Lynn and Bill following the unveiling of The Shaw End at Walsall Wood Football Club (Image: Facebook)

It’s been a while now since the sad passing of Bill Shaw and Bill’s wife Lynn has an important announcement to make – there was to have been a ceremony to scatter Bill’s ashes this weekend, but unfortunately it’s had to be postponed.

Lynn said:

Hi Bob

Would you do me a favour please?

Due to circumstances beyond my control this Saturday’s (26th May 2018) memorial and scattering of Bills’ ashes has had to be postponed.

A date in June is to be arranged.

Would you let people know through your blog please?

Thanks,
Lynn x

Thanks so much for the update, Lynn and I’m sorry to hear that – hope it all pans out soon.

As ever my condolences and sympathies, and of course those of the blog readership remain with Lynn and family.

As soon as I have any further news, I’ll share it here.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Followups, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Derek Weaver rest in peace: Funeral details released

Derek Weaver with Ian Neville and friends, raising money for the Remembrance Parade in Brownhills. Image from Ian Neville.

Following the sad news of the death of Derek Weaver, Wendy Dance has asked me if I’d share the arrangements for his funeral for anyone who wants to pay their respects.

Derek was a well known teacher in Brownhills and a respected member of Brownhills Royal British Legion and campaigner for the funding of local Remembrance parades. He will be sadly missed. My sympathies and sincerest condolences to Derek’s family and friends – we have lost a true pillar of the community.

Derek’s funeral will take place on Wednesday 30th May 2018, at St Bernadettes Church, High Street, Brownhills at 10:00am. There will then follow a service at  Streetly Crematorium at 11.30am.

Wendy Dance added the following on Wednesday 23rd May 2018:

Update on Derek Weaver’s funeral:

I have spoken to Derek’s wife Pam and she has confirmed any ex pupils or anyone that knew him in what ever capacity is more than welcome to attend the funeral or the crematorium, or afterwards at Aldridge conservative club Portland road to raise a glass to a wonderful man.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Local miniature railway open this Spring Bank Holiday Monday!

Since it’s Spring Bank Holiday Monday next weekend, there’s a whole load of stuff going on – and Bank Holiday Monday (28th May 2018) sees one of the occasional openings of something remarkable I visited way back in spring 2017, and it’s well worth a visit.

Balleny Green is a narrow gauge, passenger-carrying miniature model railway located at Little Hay, east of Shenstone and north of Sutton Coldfield, just down the lane from the Holly Bush pub.

You can see exact directions on the SCMS website here.

The railway runs it it’s own grounds which are beautiful, and is skilfully and safely operated by dedicated and clever engineers. It’s genuinely breathtaking, and what’s more, absolutely free (although you’d a total tightarse not to make a donation for such a wonderful thing – collecting box right by the clubhouse!)

Balleny Green is something I heartily recommend – it won’t take all day, but it’ll easily burn a couple of hours and leave you feeling thoroughly charmed. It’s open from 11am until 3pm, and would make a great thing to call into on the way to or from New Hall Mill, which is also open Bank Holiday Monday.

You can find out more at the Sutton Coldfield Model Engineering Society’s site here. I posted the following on my 365daysofbiking journal after my last visit. It’s a terrific thing.

May 1st – Today, I did something I’d been meaning to do for years – I paid a visit to Balleny Green, a little-known narrow gauge railway layout run by Sutton Coldfield Model Engineering Society at Little Hay, between Lichfield and Sutton Coldfield.

I’ve known this place was here for years, but never caught it open. This time, I made a concerted effort to find out when it was a ‘steam up day’ and popped in.

This was just so English. No entry fee. No charges to ride. Just a bunch of people sharing their love of a fascinating, beautifully engineered hobby in the middle of rolling countryside in gorgeous grounds.

There is a long layout consisting of several tracks – including a miniature one – but on the larger one, which interestingly is dual gauge – passengers sit in or on carriages and are conveyed by small locomotives – today one steam, one electric – through tunnels, over junctions, level crossings, past ponds, signals, signal boxes. It’s gorgeous.

The whole thing is clearly a labour of love.

There were no other attractions, and none were needed: tea and biscuits, and a tin for donations to cover running costs.

All right here on the doorstep, and few know about it. A wonderful thing.

Find out more about Balleny Green at their website here. I’d like to thank the members for a beautiful, life-affirming thing.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

The Friends of Brownhills Common – May 2018 meeting tonight!

38703574

We all love the common, but its management has proven controversial. Why not pop along to the meeting and discuss the issues with the experts and other users?

Here’s one for people interested in the issues surrounding Brownhills Common – theres a meeting tonight, Monday 21st March 2018 of the Freinds of Brownhills Common group at the Environmental Depot, 200 Pelsall Road, Brownhills – WS8 7EN – please meet in the reception by 7:00pm.

Brownhills Common needs a good active friends group and this is your opportunity to join in and have your say in shaping the future management of the open space we all love.

The meeting is also open to the general public who may not wish to join the friends group, but are encouraged to attend and hear what everyone has to say.

It’s important that we recognise what a valuable, fragile and important habitat Brownhills Common is, and why it requires careful and measured stewardship.

If you’ve only heard the alarmists, it’s a good opportunity to go out and meet, talk and listen to people who understand the issues and want to preserve the wildlife, and to help shape the future of Brownhills’ greatest asset.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, Local politics, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Urgent! Please look out for these stolen motorbikes

Images posted on Facebook by Stacey Woodfull

Hey folks – please be on the lookout for these stolen motorbikes/quads, taken last night Saturday 19th/Sunday 20th May 2018 from Brownhills West and a separate incident in Norton East Road, Norton Canes – due to the proximity of both incidents it would be remarkable were they not linked.

Stacey Woodfull posted on Facebook:

Welsh big wheel pit bike. Back cog broken.

Stolen from Brownhills West last night along with another pit bike and a quad bike.

If any one knows the whereabouts of these please let me know!

This is the bike stolen the same night from Norton, posted on Facebook by Alan Potts:

Image posted on Facebook by Alan Potts.

 

Someone in a white transit van NL54TAX just nicked my bike from Norton East Road.

Honda CB1300s reg KH07GYF white and red.

Three white males anyone hears anything let me know thanks

If someone you know has just inexplicably tooled up on a new bike, check it out, please – after all, it might be your stuff they steal next.

Anyone with information about this theft is urged to contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

You can always mail me in confidence if you’d rather – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Interesting photos, It makes me mad!, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walsall Wood FC end of season roundup!

Images and captions Kindly supplied by the young David Evans.

A real hotchpotch of odds and ends from recent matches for League Winners Walsall Wood this week – it was a very busy few days with matches at Bescot (of all places) on Tuesday and Thursday, both cup finals; and yesterday (Saturday 19th May 2018) the semi final of the J.W. Hunt Cup against Wolverhampton Sporting.

Sadly, Walsall Wood lost to Wolves Sporting 3-1 – a gallery from that match has been supplied above from the Young David Evans.

Last Thursday evening 17th May 2018, Wood played Rushall Olympic in the final of the Walsall Senior Cup at Bescot, scoreline 2-2 at the final whistle, and frustratingly after a great, tense match the Wood went on to lose to the Pics on Penalties. A recorded live feed of the coverage of the penalty shoot-out from The-Wood.tv can be viewed here.

Professional footage, as ever from Russell Smith – normally of the wonderful The-Wood.tv but this time as Jumpers for Goalposts, his other local football channel. Confused? Try writing these posts…

On Tuesday evening 15th May 2018, The Woodmen were up against Coleshill Town in the final of Polymac Packaging cup at Bescot: Wood won that one, and therefore the Cup – final score 2-1. A recorded live feed of the celebration, unedited, again from Russell Smith’s wonderful The-Wood.TV can be seen here.

Finally, last Sunday 13th May 2018 saw a charity match at Oak Park in aid of the Ben Kinsella Trust in memory of Reagan Asbury, who was tragically lost to knife crime last autumn. David Evans attended and supplied a great gallery at the foot of this post. You can find out more about that match here.

Congratulations to the lads and all at Walsall Wood FC for a record breaking, very successful season, and commiserations for the losses. Thanks most of all from me to the young David Evans, Simon Evans and Russell Smith for keeping us informed – it’s hard graft but so much worth the effort.

Images Kindly supplied by the young David Evans.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Narrowboat convoy heading through Brownhills and Walsall Wood today!

The Birmingham Canal Navigations Explorer Cruise is always a real spectacle. Image by the very talented Steve Martin.

Hi folks – it’s a lovely day today (Sunday 20th May 2018) and Brownhills is set to see the passage of a large number of narrowboats on the Birmingham Canal Navigations 2018 cruise.

The boats are headed from Pelsall where they spent the night, through Brownhills to Catshill Juction, up to Anglesey Basin near Chasewater, then back down to Longwood Junction in Aldridge through Walsall Wood.

This is a fantastic waterway spectacle, which drone photographer Steve Martin captured beautifully with his wonderful drone photo set of the cruise visiting Brownhills this time last year – click here to see here.

Thanks to David Hodgkinson for the headsup. You can read more ant the BCN website here.

If you see the tour and take some pics, why not send them in? BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Day 2 Sunday 20th May, to Longwood, Daw End canal (11 miles 0 locks 6 hrs)

Leave Pelsall Junction and continue to Catshill Junction, visit Anglesey Basin, return to Catshill Junction and take the Daw End canal.  Moor at the Longwood Junction where a Chineese take away evening and Historical talk/presentation is planned at the Longwood Boat Club.

 

Posted in News | Leave a comment