Stuck in a rut – beware, folks – the deer are getting horny….

Time to repeat this post as this morning I was riding to work and spotted a stag on Green Lane, Walsall Wood, clearly angered by the traffic interfering with his prancing activities.

Thankfully, after much encouragement by a driver, he skulked off over the fields.

Take care folks…

The above excellent video is a fallow deer stag filmed up on Cannock Chase by reader, contributor and top friend of the blog Peter Barker. That stag really has romance on his mind…

This is just a quick note to warn people given to exploring the open spaces of the area that over the next 8-10 weeks or so the deer population will be getting amorous – it’s rutting time for our large brown friends, and that means one thing: the heaths around Brownhills, Clayhanger, Pelsall and Chasewater in particular are likely to be host to rather grumpy, aggressive stags guarding their female harems.

Deer are normally gentle souls on the whole, but a hormonal stag with love on his mind will be aggressive and prone to attack, and such animals will, and have in the past charged humans and gored dogs.

To avoid being on the unexpectedly rather sharp end of several hundredweight of cervine cassinova with an attitude issue, please keep a respectful distance and keep your dogs under control at all times. Even if they look like they’re just loafing, these normally docile creatures can turn nasty at a moments notice. This warning applies to anywhere where deer have been spotted – from the heaths of Chasewater to the commons and woods of Brownhills, Jockey Meadows, Clayhanger Marsh and even Sandhills – and now they’re as far south as Sutton and even Brookvale Park in Witton!

Deer are not the cleverest of animals, so it might also be wise to take extra care when driving, as the biological imperative is probably outweighing their small amount of road sense at the moment. That excellent local wildlife blogger Chaz Mason posted this warning  a couple of years ago that’s still very much relevant:

N.Tipton 1
Image by Neil Tipton, originally posted on Chaz Mason’s blog.

This week I have been informed that the young male Red Deer have commenced play-fighting locally – by now you should all be aware that this is the first indication that the annual Red Deer Rut is now underway and within the next couple of weeks the older stags are likely to become more territorial.

DOG WALKERS PLEASE!

If you are over the Marsh and Mere for the next couple of months please keep your dog close and if you see any deer PLEASE put your dog on a lead.

I am not in the least bit worried about the deer. For most of the year they will see your dog and run away as fast as they can – but that ain’t now!

These stags are main-lining on testosterone and WILL NOT RUN AWAY. In fact they will not only stand their ground to protect their females they will attack your dog. Over the years I have been aware of at least three instances of local dogs being stabbed by Stags, luckily, so far with injuries-only and no fatalities.

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Would you argue with this? Image by Derek Lees, originally posted on Chaz Mason’s blog.

If you insist on exercising your dogs right to run free and unhindered then please exercise that right somewhere else until at least late November.

As I have tried to impress upon you –
this is not to protect the deer – IT IS TO PROTECT YOUR DOG!

I may not have a dog but I do have great affection for them and many of you know that I regularly time-share many of yours so I hope that you take this warning very seriously. Rutting Deer are a magnificent sight but if you want to watch this display, then please show some respect for the animals and also, some common sense.

Lecture over – Chaz

Of course, once the aggression is over for another year, the commons and heaths will again be given over to the disgusting and lewd mating behaviour one normally sees there. The animals, however, will be behaving impeccably.

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

Important event for carers in Walsall coming up this Thursday…

A wonderful thing for people in a very tough position.

Here’s an important event taking place in Walsall this Thursday morning (18th October 2018) at the Royal Hotel, Ablewell Street from 10am until 12 noon that will be essential for anyone who cares for children or young adults with learning disabilities or special needs in the local area.

The event is being organised by the wonderful FACE Walsall, the Walsall Parent Carer Forum. 

Old friend of the blog and carer herself Jo Yarnall got in touch to explain…

Please can I ask the lovely folk here to spread the word about a Special Educational Needs Information day I’ve organised?

Our group is working so hard to try and find the vunerable children and young people and trying to reach out to parents who are at breaking point as they don’t know what is out there to help them.

So if anyone can help spread the word, please do.

Special Educational Needs Information Day Thursday 11th October 2018 at They Royal Hotel, Ablewell Street, Walsall 10am – 12pm.

This is a FREE event.

In attendance we have Speech and Language Therapists, Walsall Health, Home to School transport services, Transition into adulthood, Special Educucational Needs Disability and Inclusion services, Early Years, Talking Sense, Touch the Spectrum and many others.

See you there?

You can get in touch with FACE Walsall in a number of ways – they have a blog here, theres an active Facebook page here, there’s a twitter presence here and you can email them on facewaalsall@gmail.com.

The group is physically located at the Carers Centre in Darwall Street, Walsall WS1 1DA – the are friendly and welcoming, and offer just the kind of support network needed when you’re a carer.

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Back the Track – see them on TV here!

Image courtesy of Jo Yarnall

Last week I promised to share with you the Central News report on Back the Track which appeared on TV last week – this has proven more difficult than expected, but thanks to the group themselves, I can share the full thing below.

Sadly, ITV no longer make available full episodes of the news show, but condensed, Buzzfeedish clips on the website, which are, I have to say, pretty bad. Thankfully by some means Back the Track go the whole thing an posted it on Facebook.

Here it is:

http://www.facebook.com/SupportBackTheTrack/videos/177135049868496/<br />

Thanks to the people there – I must say it’s a great report and in a week when Brownhills hit the news for such tragic reasons this was a great pick-me0up.

I’ve covered the work of this great bunch of folk before – Brian Stringer and pals started in 2017 to clear out the old railway cutting under the miner island in Brownhills and convert it into a cycling and walking route for all.

Since then, the route has been cleared from the back of the Swan pub to the Smithys Forge, is absolutely beautiful and is a great asset to the community. Central News have been to see what these dedicated volunteers have been up to.

Back the Track is a wonderful project and Brownhills should be very grateful to the volunteers and all who have worked hard to make this dream a reality.I

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Great news everyone – Matthew Lawley found safe and well

Matthew Lawley now safe and well. Image posted on social media by Danielle Lawley.

Great news folks – Matthew Lawley who was missing from home in Walsall Wood over the weekend has been found safe and well.

I’d like to thank everyone who kept a look out, shared posts and helped with information. Nice to be able to share some good news on a grey Monfay.

Thank you all, you are what makes this community wonderful.

Danielle Lawley wrote:


***UPDATE***
Matthew has now been found and is safe. A massive thank you to EVERYONE who has shared this post

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Final gallery of entries for the Summer 2018 photo competition

I had a great summer this year. How about you?

About four eons ago, I started the blog and Facebook photo competition for summer 2018 – and I’ve had a terrific response with over 130 entries all summing up something that encapsulated summer for the person who entered it – you can see the gallery of entries below.

Barring any corrections this is the final gallery from which the five winners and five runners up will be selected. Myself and fellow admins of the group – Linda Mason, Phil Griffin ad Richard Burnell plus honorary blog wise owl the young David Evans will each select a winner and a runner up – winners will be announced next Sunday (hopefully) 14th October 2018.

So sorry for the delays. This has been a lot more work than I expected to be honest – but great fun. Thank you all so much for your patience and submissions.

We won’t be looking for technical excellence or top flight equipment or skills – a wonky phone photo capturing something fun can be every bit as good as the carefully shot image by a pro. It’s about feel and intention.

Entries have been limited to one photo per person to make judging easier.

The five winners will be awarded Backyard Brewhouse ale 5 litre (8.8 pint!) minikegs, which are brewed in Brownhills to great acclaim (you’ll need to pick them up from the brewery in Brownhills), and books for the five runners up – if you’re teetotal or living a long way away we’ll come to some other arrangement.

Prizes are as ever, are funded out of my own pocket. The judges decision will be final. This is for enjoyment and good feeling.

If I’ve missed anyone out, sorry -just contact me ASAP and I’ll add any I’ve overlooked. If you’ve messaged me any pictures on FB, please ping me again – it’s a mare to find images in messages.

The images below can all be viewed larger by clicking on them. If there’s an error, you spot a multiple entry or whatever, shout up. To err is human, to balls stuff up totally is my modus operandi.

If you’re looking for your image, use your browser’s search option is a good way. On a Mac that’s <option> & <F>.

Thank you everyone.

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Sunnyside days

 
The settlement of Sunnyside was the area bounded by Vigo Road, Vigo and Vigo Farm in this map – the five way road junction shows Walsall Wood Road, Vigo Road, Castle Road and Salters Road. Imagery from Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 mapping courtesy of the National Library of Scotland.

It looks like there are some treats in store for the Walsall Wood contingent as the wonderfully generous Tony Portman has allowed the young David Evans access to his private photo album which contains some remarkable, previously unseen material.

Tony, you’ll remember has previously donated wonderful images of Walsall Wood Secondary School and the Boy’s Brigade, and is a wonderful old freeing of the blog and true Walsall Wood stalwart.

I believe this shows men making the road, near the track that led from Vigo Road across the open land to Sunnyside cottages and to Mr Creswell’s double fronted cottage. Image from the Tony Portman collection, very kindly donated by Tony himself via David Evans.

These images show what we consider was probably a hamlet of its own – Sunnyside. This community, centred around the Five Ways Junction on Salters Road has been an area of quarrying for years, but used to look very different to how it does today.

David Evans said:

Hi Bob

Thanks to Tony Portman I cant share these remarkable images of life in Sunnyside, we think possibly from the 20s or 30s.

A track led from Vigo Road to the cluster of cottages that were Sunnyside. Another track led from opposite where the fire station is today to Sunnyside, too.

The reference to Cresswell  double fronted cottage is  an important one as this cottage  was probably the last of the settlement cottages to be demolished.

That cottage was behind the car body workshops corner of what is now Taylors yard.

I think the bungalow now stands on the site of the original cottage.

a huge thanks to Tony Portman..again!

David

There is more to come from Tony and David, and as ever I’m hugely grateful to both gentlemen for their sterling efforts to share an preserve our local history.

These images are obviously discussion points and if you have anything to add, please feel free to do so – either do so by commenting on this post, tugging my coat on social media or mailing me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks!

This image  is taken near the front wall to Mr Creswell’s cottage and shows the open land, the houses in Vigo Road, with some cottages and a shed in Brookland Road, in the far distance. Image from the Tony Portman collection, very kindly donated by Tony himself via David Evans.
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Coffee and cake morning at the Motivation Hub in Walsall Wood this Monday

I love a good coffee morning… and cake! What’s not to love?

It’s good to see the Moivation Hub in Walsall Wood going from strength to strength – this wonderful facility for those with learning disabilities or other special needs fills a real local gap in provision and provides a warm, safe and welcoming atmosphere for folk to socialise, learn and hang out.

This Monday (8th October 2018) at 1pm, there will be a coffee and cake morning with a prize tombola too!

It runs from 10:30am until 12 noon.

All this takes place at the Hub’s premises in the former Youth Club behind Walsall Wood Primary School at Streets Corner Walsall Wood – Call Suzanne Sant for more information on 07388 553615‬ or email her on santsuzanne@yahoo.com – you can also check out the Motivation Hub’s Facebook page here.

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Woodmen bested by Wulfs in late penalty shocker

Tuesday last (17th January 2016), the Woodmen faced AFC Wulfrunians at Oak Park, and sadly, were met with another resounding defeat.It’s all change down at Walsall Wood FC’s Oak Park ground, where there’s a new team manager in Darren Byfield, and the faithful yesterday (Saturday, 6th October 2018) were hoping for a win – but it was not to be.

The young David Evans braved the cold in stoic optimism, and came home afterwards not entirely amused:

Walsall Wood FC 0 v 1 AFC Wulfrunians
 
A bitingly cold afternoon and a fresh start for Walsall Wood as Darren Byfield  was welcomed into the furnace room of management here at Oak Park.

AFC Wulfrunians and the Wood played some determined accurate football despite the fresh wind that blew the whole length of the pitch. An early vicious tackle on a Wood player risked turning this fine contest sour, which would have been highly regretable for the visitors and for the home side in equal measure. However, this and some unwelcome petulance was dealt with and then spectators were able to enjoy a positive game of soccer.

There was a definite spring in the step of the home side, still weakened by ongoing injury, and with a side chosen by the manager to showcase and introduce new players. This gave today’s contest a new and captivating facet for all the spectators. How would these players fare? 
 
The first half brought speedy through passing, running, some superb headers, and very little slack play by both sides. The game sparkled from start to finish of this half.

Half time break, piping hot soup or tea for the flash chilled spectators; steaming hot broth with wholemeal croutons for the players, served with accompanying gentle small-talk by their respective managers.
 
Thus revived, refreshed and reinvigorated the players emerged from the comfort of the changing rooms to play out the second half. Spectators shuffled back to their stations, throats lubricated, mufflers tightly re-knotted and dentures defrosted. Now this hotly contested game took on a newness and a gritted determination all of its own. Now another side took its enforced turn to play into the polar wind.
 
There was some interesting  audible vocality  in the visitors’  play at times  and  apparent increasing frustration as again and again they  found themselves confronted by  the stalwart resolute defensive thin Red Line. The Wood now took on a more openly proactive,  sweepingly  broad approach to their attacks, but were met by a pack of Wulfrunians in close order defence.

The  Wood today lacked the attacking formation and rapid counter-attack’s finishing moves that the Wulfrunians performed to good effect. 
A penalty was awarded by the referee, following vocal encouragement by the visitors, for, well, to be honest, I cannot say. A  Wood player was sent off and following the inevitable goal to the visitors, the depleted home side had to play their hearts out to contain and hold the line. 
AFC Wulfrunians will be pleased with today’s fortuitous victory. A draw would have been a more fitting result, all things considered.

David Evans
 

Cheers to David for a great report and pictures, as ever.

Walsall Wood are a good team and an excellent, community-spirited club. They need our support – please do attend the coming games if you can.

For The Good of the Wood!

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chasewater Railway Coal Train event all this weekend

Who doesn’t fondly remember the coal trains rumbling through Brownhills? Your chance to stir a few memories…

Sorry again for the late notice but I note Chasewater Railway have their Coal Train event this weekend (Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October 2018) with a mixture of diesel and steam runnings, demo trains and working plant.

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, with an intensive passenger service so please do wander down if you can.

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

Don’t miss Walsall Wood at home to AFC Wulfrunians this afternoon!

P1000426

Walsall Wood FC have a great reputation for entertaining football, and a keen, loyal and friendly bunch of supporters! Come join in the fun and see some cracking football.

Saturday 6th October 2018

Walsall Wood FC at home to AFC Wulfrunians

Don’t break your Wood vows be there and be faithful to your local heroes – for Darren Byfield’s first match as the Wood’s new manager!

3:00pm kickoff

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Oak Park, Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood. WS9 9NP.

Hopefully, a match report will follow

Check out the club website here.

 

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Why not Stay and Play – at Brownhills Community Centre this Saturday morning

This is proving really popular!

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 6th October 2018 from 10-11:30am.

It costs just two quid per kid and includes fruit and a drink, so it’s great value and it’s run by those wonderful people at the Little Green Dragons Nursery, who are resident at the centre and are fully qualified nursery teachers.

There are games and toys and all manner of fun for the weans – and you get a break to boot.

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more,  you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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So much going on in the heart of Brownhills this autumn!

A wonderful facility in the heart of Brownhills!

Brownhills Community Association have been in touch, asking me if I’d share their latest newsletter here on the blog – and as ever, I’m happy to do so.

The Community Association are based at Brownhills Community Centre, just by the Miner Island in central Brownhills, and always have lots going on for people from the town – and the wider community – to enjoy.

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more about the events and activities listed, you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

My best wishes to Janet and the gang, please do pop along and check them out.

Autumn at Brownhills Community Centre

Our Singalong Cinema Season continues with a special Halloween presentation plus there’s a couple of events for the artists and connoisseurs and a charity showcase in aid of the Royal Park Charity for those living with brain injury.

Our classes and groups are starting up again, we have belly dancing, Tae Kwon-Do, Yoga and singing classes, along with many others.

If you’ve any suggestions for events or classes you’d like to see, then please get in touch with us at: info@brownhillsca.org.uk

Our current list of activities can be found at: http://www.brownhillsca.org.uk/

Charity Concert at the Lamp

In aid of the Royal Park Charity for those living with brain injury, Backstreet Theatre Company, vocal harmony quartet 3QA and Followspot Productions have joined forces for a one night only concert on Saturday 6th October at 7.30 pm.

The show features songs from the shows and the hit parade of the last 50 years and maybe a few favourites from the download charts for the youngsters!

Tickets are £7.00, available only on this number 0777 543 6839.

Art Classes

Wildlife artist Shane Wiseman runs his popular pastels workshop at the Centre on Saturday 13th October & 10th November from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.

(Cheetah Cub October, Cheetah Head November)

Places are limited, so book now at the Centre or call us on 01543 452119 – £35.00 for the day, a £10.00 deposit is required to secure your place.

 

Halloween Special

The Lamp have a special singalong screening of cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show (certificate 15) on Saturday 27th October.

The show starts at 6.00 pm and tickets are £4.00 (£3.00 for concessions).

http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/the-lamp-arts-centre.

 

 

Art Show 27th October

For one day only the Community Centre is taken over by a group of talented artists from a local group under the tutelage of Pat Ryan from nearby Pelsall.

There is a wide range of media on display including pencil, oil, acrylic, watercolour and pastel.

Come along to this great exhibition and sale of original works.

 

Room Hire

If you’ve an event or family occasion coming up, don’t forget that Brownhills Community Centre have rooms for hire.

Two of our larger activity spaces have recently been re-fitted and now have kitchen facilities.

To discuss dates and rates, call us on 01543 452119 or drop in at the Centre for a look around.

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Details of Walsall Council’s park bonfire events for 2018

Always a good display….

Readers have been asking for details of this year’s Walsall Council Bonfire Night events in the borough, and particularly Brownhills, so here is the latest information.

The Brownhills Holland Park event will take place on Saturday, 27th October 2018. Other events take place in Willenhall on the Thursday 1st November, Walsall Arboretum on Saturday 3rd November and Bloxwich on Monday 5th November 2018.

Entry for the local events is still a pocket-pleasing £4 for adults and £1 for kids – plus little ones under 5 get in free.

For safety reasons – no fireworks or sparklers. No alcohol allowed. Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

Walsall Council wrote:

Bonfire and Firework Displays

Walsall’s four regular Bonfire and Firework displays will be taking place in 2018 at :-

Holland Park on Saturday 27th October
Willenhall Memorial Park on Thursday 1st November
Walsall Arboretum on Saturday 3rd November
King George Vth Playing Fields on Monday 5th November

All four of these events will include funfairs, catering stalls, and our bonfires and fireworks.

Please note that as a condition of entry being granted into these events, you may be subject to a security search. This may  result in queues, so please arrive early if there is a particular event or activity you plan to see.

Tickets for Holland Park, Willenhall Memorial Park, and King George V Memorial Playing Fields will be available on the gate, and priced at £4 for adults, £1 for children, and under 5s will be free. Limited car parking is available at all the sites – King George Vth Playing Fields via the Stafford Road entrance, Holland Park via the Parade vehicle entrance, and at Willenhall Memorial there are parking spots within the park via the Pinson Road entrance.

These are at £1 per vehicle, and we would encourage walking or taking the bus to the parks if possible.

For these three parks;
Gates will open at 5:30pm, as will our fairground and concession stalls
Bonfire will be lit at 7:00pm
Fireworks display starting after 8:00pm
*****Times subject to change *****

Tickets for these three sites will be available on the entrance gates of the events, at £4 for adults, £1 for children, and free for under 5s.

Holland Park bonfire is always a good one. Image by the wonderful Steve Martin.

For the Arboretum, this year as last year, you will need to purchase advance tickets online from www.ticketsource.co.uk/walsallarboretum. These are priced at £9 for adults, £4 for children, and under 3’s go free. Family tickets are available for groups of two adults and two children at £24, and all these online tickets are subject to a booking fee.

There are cash only sales of tickets available at the Arboretum Visitor Centre between 10am – 3pm Monday til Sunday, but this will only be available before the day of the event (3rd November.) 

No tickets will be sold on the entrance gates.

For the Arboretum, car parking is available at the Sutton Road / The Crescent entrance, WS1 2DD, and will be priced at £2 per vehicle.

At the Arboretum;
Gates will open at 5:00pm, as will Pat Collins Fairground
The Free Radio Stage live music will start from 5:30pm
The Fire Act show starts at 6:00pm, from the second stage
The Alice in Wonderland Stage Show starts at 6:45pm, from the second stage
The bonfire will be lit at 7:00pm
Doreen Tipton will start at 7:10pm
The Fire Act Show has a reprise at 7:30pm, from the second stage
Lemar starts on the Free Radio Stage from 7:30pm
And the fireworks will be lit after 8:00pm
***** Times subject to change *****
 

For safety reasons, no fireworks or sparklers may be brought onto any of these venues. No alcohol is permitted.

Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult. Please note that as a condition of entry being granted into this event, you may be subject to a search.

Walsall Council reserves the right to change any of the attractions, which are all subject to weather conditions.

For up to date information about the bonfire and firework events, please check our dedicated Facebook event pages for our bonfires, the official Facebook of Walsall Arboretum, or follow us on Twitter @WMBCGreenspaces or @WalsalArboretum

For any more information about this years fireworks events, please contact us on cleanandgreen@walsall.gov.uk , or call us on 01922653344

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

Teenagers mugged at knifepoint yesterday in Brownhills

Beware on the Black Path.

A reader has contacted me with worrying news: It seems a couple of lads were mugged at knifepoint yesterday (Tuesday 2nd October 2018) at 5:30pm on the Black Path through Holland Park, near to Brownhills School. 

The lads escaped with minor injuries thankfully, but a rather distinctive mobile phone was taken.

The reader would like to warn others that these muggers are at large, and to appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

The reader said:

Hi

My 15 yr old son and his friend were attacked, robbed and held at knifepoint in Holland Park this evening, Tuesday 2nd October 2018.

It was on the path that runs along the side of the Brownhills school, not far from the school site.

This took place about 5:50pm.

It was a group of three lads approximately 15-16 years old that did the punching and another guy on a bike and a girl that were trying to diffuse the situation.

One of the guys that punched my son pulled a red Swiss Army knife on him and took his phone. My son and his friend ran to get away.

Luckily the lads escaped with bloody faces, no other injuries.

The phone is unusual, it’s a Razer phone which is from America, worth a lot. So if anyone is offered one to buy then please contact the police, who are dealing with this.

Thanks in advance.

If your lad, or one of your friends has a new phone phone he hasn’t the money to buy, please contact the police: It might be you he’s threatening with a knife next. This needs stopping now.

This is the type of phone that was stolen: It’s quite distinctive. Image from Gameworld.

If you have any information, or saw anything, please do contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can, as always, email me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or give me a shout on social media in total confidence and I’ll pass any information on.

Thank you. 

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, It makes me mad!, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Back the Track on Central News this evening

Image courtesy of Jo Yarnall

Just a quick headsup to point out that this evening (Tuesday 2nd October 2018) Brownhills very own Back the Track project will feature on Central News, which starts on ITV at 6pm.

I’ve covered the work of this great bunch of folk before – Brian Stringer and pals started in 2017 to clear out the old railway cutting under the miner island in Brownhills and convert it into a cycling and walking route for all.

Since then, the route has been cleared from the back of the Swan pub to the Smithys Forge, is absolutely beautiful and is a great asset to the community. Central News have been to see what these dedicated volunteers have been up to.

Back the Track is a wonderful project and Brownhills should be very grateful to the volunteers and all who have worked hard to make this dream a reality.

I’ll see if I can record the section and post it here later.

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Lichfield Waterworks Trust October 2018 public meeting this 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 coming Monday evening (8th October 2018) there will be the monthly Public Meeting of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group.

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 October News Letter

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on Monday 8th October 2018 at 7.30pm, in the rear meeting room of:

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, everyone is welcome.

Meeting Notes

August meeting Notes are available here 
September meeting Notes are available here
 
Events

Tonight’s talk is by our very own Alan Hill. Alan has been a member of our team for quite some time now and has done some sterling work renovating the Cornish Beam Engine.
 
Alan is a well-known speaker who can talk about a wide range of engineering and industrial heritage subjects. Born in a shipbuilding town, brought up where “coal was king”, and working in a manufacturing city – Alan developed an interest in industrial archaeology and the development of engineering technology particularly coal mining technology – subjects on which he has had four books published to date.
 
Tonight, Alan is going to tell us all about a recent visit to Springhead Pumping Station, a Grade II Listed Building in Kingston upon Hull. Like Sandfields, Spring Head is a water pumping station still containing an unusual Cornish Beam engine, installed at almost the same time as the one at Sandfields. Being somewhat larger than the Sandfields engine, the Springhead engine has many similarities as well as a number of interesting differences, as the following illustrated talk will show.
 
This promises to be a fascinating evening, so please join us, and bring a friend to find out more. 

Health and Safety
 
We are really pleased to report that we have been working for another month where there have been no incidents relating to health and safety. A very big thank you again to everyone for working safely and looking after your fellow volunteers.

Engineering Team Report

The engineering team are continuing to make steady but continual progress. Read more on the link below.
 
Progress notes from the engineering team are available here.
 
Donations

With over 1,300 volunteer working hours, (equates to more than one full time equivalent) and over £6,000 spent in cleaning equipment, materials and scaffold. This month has seen quite a drain on our bank balance with invoices for the viability study and scaffolding landing on the desk. Looking at the engine now, as opposed to how it looked in 2016, the volunteers have made some remarkable progress.
 
We will also always invest in our people and we are planning further training days soon. All these costs soon mount up, so if you can donate, then please visit our donation page here.
 
Any amount is helpful, is well appreciated and will be carefully spent preserving our industrial past for our future generations, developing skills for our people and making our community a better place
 
Please make cheques payable to; Lichfield Waterworks Trust, and send to our address:
 
22 Walsall Road
Lichfield
WS13 8AB
Membership
 
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.
 
If you would like to unsubscribe form this mailing list, then just replay to this email with unsubscribe in the subject line.

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.
 
If you would like to unsubscribe form this mailing list, then just replay to this email with unsubscribe in the subject line.
 
Finally

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

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phoebe James found safe and well – thank you all

Images posted on social media by the James family

Great news just in – missing teenager Phoebe James from Burntwood has been found safe and well.

Liz James, Phoebe’s mum, posted in the last few minutes:

****update****

By the power of Facebook and Thankyou to you all , the police have got my baby and bringing her home. 

I can’t Thankyou enough.

Thanks to all who helped by sharing and keeping an eye out. This is community at work.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Worcester source of Woodmen’s woes – plus an important announcement

Images and captions kindly supplied by the young David Evans.

A fine autumn Saturday afternoon yesterday (29th September 2018) saw Walsall Wood FC lose to Oak Park visitors Worcester City in an entertaining match that frustrated blog football reporter David Evans…

But first, after the match yesterday, Walsall Wood FC made a very important announcement which I have been asked to post here.

The club said:

Following a number of meetings over the past week, we can now confirm that Manger Gary Birch will be stepping down as First Team Manager with immediate effect and has been appointed Director of Football at Walsall Wood FC.

The following decision has not been taken easily and has been made due to a change in Gary’s personal work commitments. Gary’s new position will be to assist with first team duties and help us develop an improved structure at Youth level for Boys and Girls.

Gary will assist myself, as Chairman, the board members and committee  in continuing the development all aspects of Walsall Wood FC.

This is a very exciting time to be part of Walsall Wood FC and the club are delighted Gary has accepted this role.

FURTHER ANNOUNCEMENT

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Darren Byfield as First Team Manager with immediate effect. Darren brings with him a wealth of experience and connections in the non-league pyramid.

Darren will be assisted by Richard Teesdale (Assistant Manager), Gavin Hurren (First Team Coach) and Jehmiah Richards (Physiotherapist).

We look forward to this new structure off the field and hope you all continue to show your magnificent support as you have always done.

Justin Hodgin
Chairman
Walsall Wood Football Club.

David said:

Walsall Wood 1 v 2 Worcester City

Walsall Wood welcomed Worcester players and their large throng of friendly supporters to Oak Park on a beautifully sunny late autumn afternoon. There was a slight chill in the air but the lack of breeze and the finely manicured real grass playing surface were sure to give both teams the opportunity to delight the supporters today.

And yet, and yet, Walsall Wood were sadly only able to field a team  that was depleted by ongoing unresolved injury and professional commitments elsewhere. How would the team in red fare in these circumstances?

The first half highlighted the differences between a regular side, in this case, that of Worcester, and Walsall Wood’s eleven players, who,  though ably dealing with Worcester’s numerous attacking moves, seemed to lack the final co-ordinated moves in their infrequent attacks on Worcester’s goal.

Fine , solid play in midfield was evident in  both sides throughout this fluid game today. Worcester’s attackers were fleet of foot and worldly-wise. Wood’s defence was resolute and powerful where and when it was required. But there seemed to be a regularity, and predictability about this game, from both sides.

The game needed a firecracker, to set the game alight. For Walsall Wood, especially.

This in itself reflected the tightness and skilful soccer  that was being played out in front of the spectators. In this contest where the visitors had the slight edge in accuracy of passing, Wood gave them space and time to achieve this. Wood, on the other hand, performed better in the leaping for high balls, and delighted the home crowd with some very sweet accurate tackles, seen before in several other matches recently. 
Spectators  were enjoying  the mature nature of this display of fine soccer, but the game needed a goal.

At half time there was still none . Would the tea  and wholemeal cucumber sandwiches with the trainers work their usual magic?

The second half came alight and the two teams seemed to have been supercharged by the brew and crusts. Now we saw much more determination by the visitors who kicked accurately, turned, passed, tackled, ran with gusto. And so did the Wood, who played their hearts out.

The visitors achieved that  important first goal, and then within a few minutes another to give the Wood a mountain to climb. To their credit, the Wood pulled out all the stops, firing on all four cylinders, gained a penalty goal, and so very nearly scored a second goal to earn a score draw. But, not today, and the events of the day did not end with the final whistle, either.

David Evans

Thanks to David there – For The Good Of The Wood!

Walsall Wood Football Club are a top local side and last season’s league champions with a big-hearted faithful who know how to have a great time supporting their lads, and welcome all comers to come enjoy great local soccer.

The boys from The Wood have been at the heart of the local community for a century or more, so please do go check out a match or two if you’re curious.

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Bells of Brownhills

I get asked some unusual questions here on the blog and I was asked in the last week on Facebook what I knew of the poem The Bells of Brownhills, and what they in fact were; this was actually quite easy for me, as being an avid fan of local historian Sir Gerald of Reece, I recognised immediately his handiwork as featured in his 1996 book, ‘Brownhills: A walk into history’.

Engine Lane was once a pollution-scarred route past mineshaft and spoil heaps: Now it’s a almost a rural idyll. Image from my 365daysofbiking journal.

Since the person that asked didn’t have a copy of the book, I vowed to scan the relevant chapter and post it this weekend, which I’m doing here and now as I have with much of the book. Since the work is now rarer than rocking horse dung, it seems sad not to share what is the finest work on Brownhills with a wider audience where possible.

The Bells of Brownhills is a poetic lament to lads killed in an early Brownhills mining accident, written by Gerald in the absence of any real folk music of our town – but there is so much more in this chapter than that. I’d forgotten what a cracker this is.

As ever, I pay tribute to Gerald for this remarkable work, researched and written in a time before the internet and as ever, packed choc full of facts. If you ever get chance to buy a copy of his book, do so – it’s rare though, and will cost usually several times the original cover price.

Any observations? Comment here, feel free to mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tap my shoulder on social media.

Gerald wrote:

XXIV THE WESTERN BOUNDARY

The bridge over the lost Slough Arm. Image from my 365daysofbiking journal.

The Wilkin Inn dates back into history but not as far as some would have us believe. It is not an old Toll House, from the simple fact that the roads that passed here were never turnpiked. I have to admit that my story of Queen Victoria having a secret meeting there with Adolf Hider was also an exaggeration. She would never have indulged in such ‘Monkey’ business. The Wilkin Inn is mentioned in the census returns for 1871 when the landlady was Lucy Follows, Widow, aged 31 years.

1914 J. Hughes
1926 F. Cook

The Pear Tree cottage existed in 1851 when William Hartshaw was the Beer Retailer there. Allbut’s Road is named after the Allbut family who farmed in the area from the 1760’s.

The Crown Inn, 196 Wading Street.

1880 Edmund & Eliza Broome
1901 Joseph Read
1908 William Thacker
1914 Joseph Harrison
1940 Joseph Pearce

The signpost that stands at the junction of the Old Chester Turnpike Road and the Watling Street Road was erected in 1982. It was made by R. Bridgegroom of Lichfield. It replaced the earlier sign that was removed in 1978 and is now in the Staffordshire County Museum at Shugborough. That Signpost had been restored in 1931 by a Company in Oxford. A series of such signs had stood at or near the present site since 1777 when the first Signpost was erected by the Turnpike Trust.

A turn off the 1900s view of the Watling Street, looking east from Shants Bridge. The chapel on the right in the mist was the Rehoboth, and was demolished to make the modern Rising Sun island. Image from ‘Brownhills: A walk into history’ by Gerald Reece.

The Rising Sun is reputed to be the oldest surviving public house in Brownhills and I have come across nothing to contradict this. It was an old established hostelry in 1800 and a recognised stop on the London-Chester coaching route. It has been rebuilt at least four times during its existence. The customary list of known licensees follows:

1834 John Thacker 1850 Thomas Latham
1854 John Owen 1861 Thomas Yates
1880 Elizabeth Steadman 1888 Richard Chatfield
1892 John Broadhurst 1893 Thomas Marshall
1908 Joseph Tideswell 1919 Samuel Smith
1924 William Lawton 1936 Clifford Perrins
1940 Thomas Perks

1990 Paul Humphries ‘a fair and generous landlord’

It became part of the William Roberts empire in 1880’s. A photograph of the building at the turn of the century can be seen just inside the bar area. In 1985 The Rising Sun was sold to Burton wood Breweries for a reputed £½m. History has a habit of repeating itself, in 1858 licensees were taken to court for serving short measure.

The rising sun in 1892. Image from ‘Brownhills: A walk into history’ by Gerald Reece.

At the Bridge [Known as Shants Bridge – Bob] marking the boundary of Brownhills at the present division between Staffordshire and the West Midlands is a rural staircase leading down to the old Midland Railway Line, now used as a Nature Trail. It was built in the 1980’s, courtesy of the Manpower Services Commission. They utilised the otherwise unemployed, whose ancestors 100 years earlier had been employed repairing County Roads, whose ancestors 100 years earlier had been employed repairing Turnpike Roads, whose ancestors had been employed repairing roads long before the Romans arrived.

The lands on the Staffordshire side of the boundary are the Conduit Lands. They had been bequeathed by generous benefactors to the Feoffees and Sidesmen of Lichfield Conduit Trust. The revenue raised from leasing out the lands paid for the installation and maintenance of the early piped water system in Lichfield. The Conduit Colliery Pits 1, 2 and 3 stood on the ground now occupied by Lew-Ways Limited. The first mining shaft was sunk there in 1865. I worked at Lew-Ways from 1955 until 1958. A decent wage, considering.

The land upon which the Old Norton Branch Bridge stands is the edge of Little Wyrley Common. In 1855 John Robinson McClean had negotiated terms to build the Norton Branch Railway that would join his South Staffordshire Railway at High Bridges to the East Cannock Junction between Cannock and Hednesford. Compensation for the use of the Common Land was set at £61.5s.0d. The payment of this money seems to have been overlooked and it was to be another 25 years before it was finally paid, with interest. Half of the money allocated was spent trying to find out just who was still entitled after all those years. John Craddock of Wolverhampton Lane, Brownhills received 3d.

The major holders of Rights upon Little Wyrley Common in 1884 were:

Elizabeth Hussey 800 Acres
Vicars Choral, Lichfield 155 Acres
Feoffees of Lichfield Conduit 94 Acres
Thomas Knight 42 Acres
Dean & Chapter, Lichfield 42 Acres
Queen Mary’s School, Walsall 58 Acres

The Cathedral Pit stood where the Plant Hire rusts. Crabtree Switchgear occupied the buildings here for many years. The lands once belonged to the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral Church of Lichfield.

The land at the rear of the Rising Sun Inn was known as House Meadow, later to be called Engine Meadow. It was owned in 1840 by Henry Thomas Lister and was occupied by James Thacker. The area of Brownhills Common was crossed with deep water channels and drained by Steam Driven Pumping Engines. Remains of the water channels can still be identified. Near to Engine Meadow was the Old Coppice Colliery No. 3 Pit. It was reopened briefly in 1956 as a private concern under license from the National Coal Board’s monopoly. It was allowed to operate as long as it did not employ more than thirty underground workers. Several small pits were reopened and operated by George Jones, a local businessman. He was also a member of Brownhills Urban District Council.

The remains of the Branch Railway that served the Little Wyrley Common Pits and the Wyrley Grove Pit can still be traced. The Grove Pit was the site of a terrible disaster on 1st October 1930 when an explosion ripped through the underground workings and fourteen miners were killed. Ten of them were Brownhills men. They were buried with honour in a collective grave in St. James’ New Cemetery.

The worst mining accident in the history of Brownhills was barely mentioned in the National Press. The disaster was eclipsed by the destruction of the Airship R101 in which 46 people were killed.

The site of Coppice Colliery No. 5 and Colliery Brick Works is now a Fishing Pond [Marklews Pond – Bob].

The footings of a building can still be identified on the Common at the junction of Engine Lane and Coppice Lane. This was once the Farmhouse that was rented from the Hussey Estate by George Roberts. It was here that William (Brewer) Roberts spent his youth.

The bridge near the level-crossing in Engine Lane spans a shallow stream. This was the Branch of the Wyrley and Essington Canal that ran from the Slough Basin to near the Rising Sun. A clause included in the Act of Parliament that allowed the building of the main canal in 1794 made provisions for ‘Cuts’ to be built for the use of the Lord of the Manor. Remains of the Canal Lock Gates still hang hidden beneath the undergrowth in this grey place. Coppice Lane was settled in the mid 1800’s. Houses were built here for the Agents from the neighbouring mines. William Hanbury had built ‘The Coppice’ for his Agent and William Harrison agreed to the building of ‘Woodside’ for his. In the 1860’s the ‘Woodside’ Agent was Matthew Webb.

Cross referencing data I came across details that tied in the facts of several events. Extract from the Staffordshire Advertiser dated 3rd January 1863:-

Brownhills Rifle Volunteers. Captain Harrison of Norton Hall, has erected a very handsome monument in Ogley Hay churchyard over the remains of the late Hyla John Webb, second son of Mr. M. Webb, of Brownhills, as a tribute of respect to the memory of a member of his Company who was universally esteemed. The design by Mr. Robinson of Derby is purely Gothic, and has been executed with the greatest taste in blue York stone by Mr. Longmore of Walsall.

The monument still stands in Ogley Hay churchyard and can be seen right rear of the church as you enter from Vicarage Road.

‘Woodside’ grew over the years and became a large imposing residence. Fit indeed for a country squire. It was purchased in the 1880’s by Dr. John Coombe Maddever, Medical Officer to Brownhills Health Board. He renamed the building ‘Coombe House’. After his death the building became the residence of a line of eminent Doctors connected with Brownhills Urban District Council. A notable being Dr. Robert George Bradford M.D., after whom was named Bradford Road.

In 1951 Coombe House was purchased by BUDC for £2,000 and converted into additional office space.

I remember delivering early morning newspapers there in the 1950’s. I would hide my delivery bag in Birch Coppice and time myself on my internal verbal clock whilst sprinting there and back. I then worked, morning and evenings, delivering for Mr. Cyril Tomlinson, Newsagent, 52 High Street. Often, on a Wednesday evening, I would also work next door at No. 50 for Mr. Spinks the butcher. My task was to boil up the meats to make the brawn and to concoct from a secret recipe of herbs, rusk and meats the speciality of the house, sausages. ‘You can’t eat our sausages without bread’ was our motto.

After the amalgamation of Brownhills and Aldridge Councils in 1966 Coombe House fell empty. Anxious to find a use for the building the ‘new council’ leased it to Mr. C. A. Archbold of Leeds. He got a very good deal. Rent free for four years, paying rates only, with an option to purchase if he so wished. He turned ‘Coombe House’ into a Night Club. Members only. I had become a ‘Folk Singer’ by that time and I visited the ‘Night Club’ on many occasions to see the local group ‘Ceilidh’ perform. The ‘Night Club’ never really caught on.

Finding no further use for the building and faced with the burden of squatters and vandals BUDC had ‘Coombe House’ demolished. Sections of the garden wall still stand as a reminder of this once stately home.

As a Folk Singer I did research for ethnic songs of Brownhills but I found nothing of local interest. As most of the original community came from outside the area it was no surprise that renditions concerning the exploits of two German Officers crossing the Rhine and Four and Twenty Lassies from Inverness were high on the repertoire of local balladeers.

Not to be oudone I have composed a traditional Brownhills Folk Song, based upon fact and complete with nasal undertones. I carried it around in my head for twelve years before putting it to paper. In the key of G, I hope you like it.

THE BELLS OF BROWNHILLS

John and James lie neath the clay
their brave young lives they threw away.
They left their homes in Ogley Hay
to work the Bells of Brownhills

How rich the harvest seemed that day
they went to reap their double pay.
They left two widows in their sway
to mourn the bells of Brownhills.

Why did you leave your land so fine
to work in an infernal mine,
why sell your souls for one and nine
to toll the Bells of Brownhills.

A warning then from me take care
brave Ogley lads I pray beware.
Stave venture into journey there
and shun the Bells of Brownhills.

John Cooper and his brother James were killed along with five other miners when the roof of Mr. Harrison’s Brownhills Colliery collapsed in January 1861. The youngest victim was Levi Craddock, aged 11 years.

Birch Coppice escaped most of the devestation that pillaged and mined much of the surrounding lands. In the earlier days of mining Bell Pits had dotted the scenery but these were only superficial scars and left no lasting damage. The Midland Railway’s incursion that disected the area in 1882 also caused little interuption to the tranquil woodlands. The Birch Coppice had existed for centuries on the cloyed heavy soil. In 1935 The Potters Clay Company took a lease on the land. Their initial objective was to remove the surface coal deposits and the underlying clays. The Clays were transported to The Potteries in North Staffordshire where they were made into ceramic tiles and sanitary ware. A district in the Potteries is also known as Brownhills. A promise was made in those early years that the land would be returned to its natural state when the diggings were exhausted. In 1954 the Potters Clay Company sought permission to excavate the Heath and Common as far north as the Wading street. It was refused on the grounds that they had not reclaimed any of the land that they had earlier taken. Local Governments used to do that then. Really the rest is history, Potters Clay were unable to conform to standards. They sought the help of Leigh Environmental Ltd., who were only too willing to help out. They had succeeded in filling the underground workings of Walsall Wood Colliery to make it safe. Leigh have pulled out all stops over the last twenty years in their effort to help fill the gap. They have even called on overseas assistance in their bid. Perhaps it was only fitting that after all the years that Brownhills coals were sent to the comers of the world we received their residue contributions. Leigh Environmental Ltd., have promised that they will comply with regulations and return the land to nature when their task is completed.

The plan below shows the route taken by the Norton Branch of the South Staffordshire Railway when it was opened in 1858. No. 38 is Engine Lane. History has a habit of repeating itself and once again this area has become a hive of industry.

 The plan of the Norton Branch line and who owned the nearby land. Image from ‘Brownhills: A walk into history’ by Gerald Reece.
Key to landowners.  Image from ‘Brownhills: A walk into history’ by Gerald Reece.
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Walsall Wood play Worcester City this afternoon at Oak Park

P1000426
Walsall Wood FC have a great reputation for entertaining football, and a keen, loyal and friendly bunch of supporters! Come join in the fun and see some cracking football.

Saturday 29th September 2018

Walsall Wood FC at home to Worcester City in a big-name match!

Don’t break your Wood vows be there and be faithful to your local heroes

3:00pm kickoff

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Oak Park, Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood. WS9 9NP.

Check out the club website here.

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

Janet Foy found safe and well

Great news – Janet Foy has been found safe and well.

Thanks to all who shared and went out looking.

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Emily’s Coffee House and Grill is one year old this weekend – celebrate with free cake!

I’m please to share the news that Emily’s Cafe (formerly the Coffee House and Grill) in High Street, Brownhills is doing really well and celebrating it’s first year in business, during which it has gained a growing number of loyal customers who love Emily’s great food and the lovely atmosphere.

A couple of days ago proprietor Emily Chard contacted me to say that tocelebrate this excellent milestone, and also to thank loyal customers old and new the cafe will be giving free cake with any breakfast or meal purchased on Friday 28th, Saturday 29th or Sunday 30th September 2018.

Emily said:

Hi bob

Just a special thank you to all of our customers for our first year trading, it has been an amazing first year getting to know all of you, so we’re giving away free cake to mark the event this Friday Saturday and Sunday.

We will have traditional birthday cake, old school sponge cake and cupcakes for takeaway orders!

We have a busy Facebook page at Emily’s Cafe here.

Many thanks
Emily, Helen & Gus x

The food and hospitality are wonderful, so do pop in for a brew and chat. Let’s really get behind and support this growing local business.

People frequently moan about Brownhills High Street, but it has some excellent traders running some great, independent businesses, well worthy of your support.

See you there?

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The permissive society

An unusual view of Brownhills Station. Image from Walsall Local History Centre/A Click in Time.

Just as I hoped when I first saw the report, local railway historian and expert Ian Pell has been in touch to add his comments to the matter of the 1873 railway accident I featured the findings of last weekend.

You can see the 1873 report from the Railways Archive here.

I was surprised at the time that signalling systems and control procedures were already so complex, even though the railway was still effectively in it’s infancy; now Ian lights the whole thing up. It’s truly fascinating.

My thanks, as ever to Ian whose knowledge of the subject is huge and yet always takes time out to answer questions and offer a wise owl view on such matters here on the blog.

If you’d like to meet Ian, he has a talk coming up soon in Brownhills – he’ll be giving a talk entitled ‘From Water to Oil’ on Tuesday, 23rd October 2018 at the Scout Hut,  Barnetts Lane,  Brownhills for  the ‘Back the Track’ Group.  18.45 for 19.00 start.

If you have anything to add, please do – comment here is welcome, as is buttonholing me on social media or a good old fashioned email to Brownhillsbob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Ian wrote:

Brownhills Station in 1967 after closure. Image kindly supplied by Chasewater Railway Museum.

Hi Bob

A Question if Visibility

Such incidents were not uncommon on the railways of the 1870s.  At that time the wagons or carriage were unfitted, ie:-  there was no continuous braking system throughout the train, and as such the trains relied on the locomotives brake, the guard’s van’s brake and the skill of the crew in understanding the gradients of the line.  The event was not really due to the system being overloaded but more the signalling system’s limitations.   A similar rear end collision occurred on 4th March 1873 on the Cannock line from Birchills to Bloxwich, where a proceeding goods train slipping on the up hill gradient was rear ended by a passenger train injuring 12 passengers.  Train travel in those days was a lot more exciting!

Tfc23718 15.10.1873 Walsall & Wichnor – various signal alterations to be carried out in connection with the Block Telegraph viz:- Wichnor Junction, Alrewas Station, Lichfield Trent Valley Junction, Lichfield City Station, Lichfield Water Works Siding, Hammerwich Station, Anglesea Sidings, Brownhills, Pelsall and Rushall stations
Off 10559 18.11.1873 Mr.Sutton reported that the Train Telegraph on the permissive system will be put into operation between Walsall and Wichnor Junction on Monday 24th inst
PW15784 19.11.1873 Minutes of Other Committees:-Walsall & Wichnor Block System – Wichnor Junction (not revised), Alrewas Station, Lichfield TV Junction, Lichfield City Station, Lichfield Water Works Siding, Hammerwich Station, Anglesea Sidings, Brownhills, Pelsall, Rushall Station various signalling arrangements to be carried out in connection with the Block Telegraph.
The Block system was adopted throughout the South Staffs line not long after the accident as is seen in the above table of events.  However, some parts of the line were signalled under “Permissive” Block while others “Absolute” Block.  Even in those days it came down to cost and as coal traffic was predominant, simplicity.  Eventually, the whole line was signalled by “Absolute” Block.

Put simply –

Permissive block signalling.  Under the permissive block system, trains were permitted to pass signals indicating the line ahead was occupied, but only at such a speed that they could stop safely driving by sight.  Permissive block working could also be used in an emergency.

Absolute block signalling is designed to ensure safe operation by allowing only one train to occupy a defined section of track (block) at any time.  A train approaching a section is offered by a signalman to his counterpart at the next signal box. If the section is clear, the latter accepts the train, and the first signalman may clear his signals to give permission for the train to enter the section. This communication traditionally takes place by bell codes and status indications transmitted over a simple wire circuit between signalmen using a device called a block instrument, although some contemporary block working is operated wirelessly. This process is repeated for every block section a train passes through.

Below is a copy of the 1899 signalling diagram for Brownhills, when the original signal box was replaced with the new box that was to remain until its closure in January 1967.   Far left is the distant signal in question.  It also shows the down goods loop, adjacent to the goods shed which existed in this form for a number of years.  It was approved for construction on 17thOctober 1873.

A remarkable document: The 1899 signalling plan for Brownhills Station. Image kindly supplied by Ian Pell. Click for a larger version.

I think the signal andkindred is referring to is the Norton Junction distant adjacent to the pony centre off the Pelsall Road – although I could well be wrong.   The distant signal in the report was closer to Brownhills between bridge Nos. 68 Bullows Road and 69 Clayhanger Lane.

This must be the most photographed disused signal ever… Image from my 365days journal.

Hope these ramblings are of some assistance.

Kind regards
Ian

PS.  For anyone who’s interested I’m due to give a presentation entitled “From Water to Oil” on Tuesday, 23rd October at the 2nd Brownhills Scout HQ,  Barnetts Lane,  Brownhills for  the “Back the Track” Group.  18.45 for 19.00 start.

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Lady violently assaulted outside Brownhills Tesco store – did you witness anything?

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Tesco Brownhills where a lady was attacked last Friday

A worrying incident is being reported locally on social media that’s causing me great concern: It appears that on Friday evening, 21st September 2018 outside the Tesco store in Brownhills a local lady was violently assaulted, resulting in the loss of two teeth, and considerable damage to her mouth and jaw.

From the details I have, I can say that at about 8:30pm there was a brief exchange and the lady was punched in the face by a youth, believed to have been using a knuckleduster.

The youth in question was apparently part of a larger group and was mixed race in appearance. 

I have contacted local police about this incident, but disappointingly, I have yet to receive a response, which is quite troubling.

If you have any information about this incident or the gang of lads involved, please contact West Midlands Police on 101 – or online here. You can also contact me in total confidence by emailing me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or through the usual social media channels.

Should I hear from the police further on this matter, I’ll share anything I’m able to here. In the mean time, please be vigilant and report anything you may recall, no matter how minor you think it may be.

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Two sugars please: join the Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning this Saturday in Brownhills!

MacMillan are a hugely important charity to me.

John Fogarty from Brownhills Community Association has been in touch to point out they have an event planned this Saturday 29th September 2018 as part of the Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning campaign.

Their Coffee Morning will take place at Brownhills Community Centre just off the miner island, Brownhills from 10:00am until 1:00pm Saturday 29th September 2018. The function will feature tea, coffee, refreshments, games, entertainments and great company, as you’d expect from a Community Association event.

MacMillan are a charity I personally care a lot about: They are hugely important to those suffering with cancer and they do astoundingly wonderful work.

Best of luck to all involved, and please do drop me a line to let me know how you all got on.

A great charity with fantastic people.
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Some mothers did have them – parties, that is…

Brownhills Mothers Union members at their Christmas party in the 1950s. Image kindly supplied by Elizabeth Staples. Click for a larger version.

A little bit of really interesting history passed me by some years ago and popped up again this week from Facebook Memories – this image posted on a local group by the lovely Elisabeth Staples, who I believe is the mother of Mark, who worked on the wonderful Brownhills Memories book featured here previously.

The image is of the Brownhills Mothers Union Christmas party in the 1950s.

Elizabeth said:

Here is a photo of St James Mothers Union Christmas party. I think in the 1950s.

A second photo was contributed by Jane Dyke of the same organisation, which seems to be about the same time. I’m fairly sure the upper photo is in St James Church Hall, due to the curved ceiling, but where is the second? Possibly the Memorial Hall?

I must confess, I don’t think I had any idea that this club/union existed. This is quite a find. What do we know? I’m thinking that Mrs. Parsley must have been involved at some point, surely?

I have some names for ladies in these images, but I thought I’d leave them open for readers to see what they have to offer. Please do comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or prod me on social media.

Thanks to Elizabeth and Jane for lovely pictures and I’m sorry I missed them in 2014!

 Same Mothers Union, similar time I think, different event – and I’d like to know where. Image kindly supplied by Jane Dyke. Click for a larger version.
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Woodmen fight Coventry United for a well-earned win

Images and captions kindly supplied by David Evans

Walsall Wood FC were at home to Coventry United yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 22nd September 2018, and much to the delight of the faithful, they Woodmen pulled off a hard-fought win.

Footage of the match highlights by Russell Smith for the wonderful, highly professional The-Wood.tv – similar footage of Tuesday’s Uttoxeter replay can be seen at this link here.

David Evans was there, and was pleased with what he saw:

Hiya Bob,

Walsall Wood 1 v 0 Coventry United

This afternoon’s soccer match brought a visually delightful display of soccer to thrill all those spectators who had braved the rain to watch this game. Some has travelled from Coventry and were  made welcome by the home supporters, as is the tradition here and at other grounds.

The heavy drizzle which lasted all through the match did not dampen the spirits of either the earnest players, their unruffled managers, or  even  the keen  spectators. 

This was going to be a display of fine, quality soccer. I could sense this before the kick off. It was indeed a contest which showed  mature, graceful play – through passes, ball control, measured off the ball running, determined leaping for balls; all reflecting two proficient sides whose team understanding and cohesion was self-evident.

Walsall Wood fielded some different players today following the wear and tear and injuries sustained in the last week or so, thus giving a fresh look to the team, and the opportunity to employ fresh tactics from the repertoire.

The score remained at no goals to either side as half time brought a welcome break for players and spectators. Tea and cucumber sandwiches for the players and their managers, in private.

Both sides displayed different patterns of play in the second half; made various substitutions to bring a new balance to their sides’ composition. The centre field players dominance and key roles remained as they had been in the first half. Solid, strong, powerful. Delightful to spectate. Both goalkeepers  played majestically and brilliantly. 

The hard work paid off when an eventual breakthrough goal came for Walsall Wood, and immediately Coventry responded in force, which brought greater endeavour too by the home side who launched attack after attack; with excellent defensive play by the visitors and home side.

As is always the case, the last minutes of a match can either zoom by or take an eternity to complete.  But this entire game today passed quickly for the spectators: a sure reflection of the captivating nature of the finely-balanced  contest.

The game ended with Walsall Wood winning by one goal to nil. But, there were no losers. Not today. This afternoon it was football, the sport and the players in both teams,  who were also the winners, as the applause that rang out at the end of the game bore witness.

Full respect for the players today.

David Evans

Thanks to David Evans once more for an honest, entertaining match report as ever complete with great photos. It really is an honour to feature them.

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here.

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Top Tipton

William Perry, legendary pugilist and son of Tipton rages at the rain clouds – but the hardy were undaunted

Despite the bad weather yesterday (Saturday, 22nd September 2018) I took the afternoon out to support a great event in the industrial heart of the Black Country – and it’s also on this afternoon (Sunday 23rd) – so if you fancy a trip out get to the Tipton Canal and Community Festival, it’s only a short journey away.

A wonderful thing. Click for a larger version

This remarkable canal festival held along the canal and in the park near the Owen Road island in Tipton is packed with boats, stalls, food, entertainment and all manner of historic memories and fun for all the family. You can have a pint in the Fountain, enjoy a kangaroo burger as I did, dine on the finest Black Country scratchings, see and buy all manner of canal and local history ephemera. There’s live music, comedy, chat and crafts – you can even take a boat tide.

It really is a boster. I got absolutely soaked and the rain was atrocious – but it was all the better for that British ‘Dunkirk spirit’ – I commend this fine event to you all. 

You can find out more at this link here or see the poster in the text. It’s really a wonderful thing, and confirms my belief that Tipton really is a wonderful place.

I’d like to add a belated note of thanks to The Stymaster who pointed this festival out to me earlier in the week as I’d totally forgotten about it. Cheers mate.

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A question of visibility?

This view of the old L&NWR station was taken from High Street, a suffix applied to it’s name between 1924 and 1930. It is looking north-east. The station would continue to operate until 1965. Image from the Peter Shoesmith collection.

I have an interesting one here for people interested in the history of rail in Brownhills and rail accidents in general – while diving in the Railway Accident Report Archive for something else, I found this remarkable document from 1873.

On the 29th August 1873, a Derby-bound train shunted into the rear of a waiting goods train just outside of Brownhills Station, at a site I assume to be adjacent to the Pelsall Road.

Thankfully, any injuries were minor and there was limited damage to the rolling stock, but the story this report tells – startlingly familiar if one delves through the language – shows how little had changed in these matters in 145 years.

I’d be interested on comments from local rail buffs on this – but one thing that occurs to me here is just how thorough and modern the enquiry is here, and it shows the railway was far less Heath Robinson and more formalised than I would have expected for the time period.

If you have anything to add, please do: Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com of tug my sleeve on social media.

LONDON AND NORTH-WESTERN RAILWAY.

Shrewsbury, 14th November 1873.

Sir,

In  compliance with the instructions contained in your minute of the 4th instant, I have the honour to report, for the information of the Board of Trade, the result of my inquiry into the circumstances connected with the collision that occurred on the 29th ultimo [Last. month – Bob] at the south end of Brownhills station on the London and North-western Railway.

There are sidings at both sides of the line at the south end of this station, which is protected by home signals that are placed at the north end of the platform, and by distant signals in each direction. The distant-signal at the south end of the station is 500 yards from the home-signal, and about 60 yards beyond a through crossing to one of the sidings. This through crossing to the siding is pro­tected by another distant-signal  placed 500 yards outside the station distant-signal. The distant-signal which protects the crossing is worked by a lever placed near the crossing, and is only used at such times as the crossing is occupied by trains shunting into the siding. The station distant-signals are worked from the station platform, and are not interlocked with the points. The block system is in operation on the down line over a section of railway about one mile in length to the north of Brownhills, and it is also in operation on the up line, for a section about a mile and a half in length at the south side of Brownhills station. The collision however occurred on the down line at, the south side of the station, and therefore on a part of it which is not worked on the block system.

A goods train from Dudley arrived at the south side of Brownhills about 8 o’clock. Tho goods train was not timed to stop at Brownhills, but the station was blocked by a coal train, and the goods train came to a stand with the break-van[sic], which was at the tail of the train, about 145 yards inside the station down distant-signal. This goods train consisted of an engine and tender, 41 waggons, and the break-van. The distant-signal stood at danger, aud the breaksman of the goods train considered that his train was sufficiently pro­tected by tho distant-signal which was burning brightly, and which he considered could be plainly seen by a driver approaching from Walsall. The goods train had been standing for about 15 minutes at the place where it was stopped, when it was run into by the 7.10p.m. passenger train from Birmingham to Derby. This passenger train consisted of an engine and tender and five coaches, the last coach being a third-class carriage with a break compartment and a guard in it. The engine ran into the van at tho tail of the goods train at a speed of about four or five miles an hour. No damage was done to the goods train, and the breaking of the buffer castings of the passenger engine was the only damage tliat was done to any vehicle of the passenger train. No vehicles in either train left the rails and no damage was done to the permanent way. The engine-driver of the passenger train was an experienced man, and bears a good character. He was perfectly acquainted with the nature of the line over which he was travelling. He stated that he did not see the Brownhills distant. signal, which was at danger, until he was close to it.

The passenger train was timed to stop at Brownhills, and it was only running about ten miles au hour, with steam shut off, at the time that the engine-driver noticed the distant-signal to be at danger. He at once reversed, put on steam, applied sand, and whistled for the guard’s break, but could not stop his train before the engine struck the van at the tail of the goods train. The side lights and the tail lamp were all burning brightly on the van at the tail of the goods train which was run into, and the breaksmen in charge of this train was inside his van, engaged in making out a time bill, at the time that the collision occurred. Neither this man or the driver and fireman of the passenger train were hurt; but two passengers in the passenger train have complained of slight injuries.

South of Brownhills Station, from the collection of Peter Shoesmith: This is a nice view of Class 8F, 48514 from Bescot Shed pulling a mineral train. This site is now surrounded by a large roundabout that forms the junction of Pelsall Road, Chester Road North, Lichfield Road and High Street. To put the scene in context today, to the far left can be seen the clock and chimney of the old Council House that now forms part of the Park View Centre.

The accident was caused by the engine-driver of the passenger train neglecting to keep a proper look out as he was approaching a busy station. This man pleaded in excuse that tho night was foggy, and that he thinks the distant-signal must have been obscured by the steam of two engines that were standing in the siding, inside the down distant-signal at Brownhills. From the evidence of the station-master at Brownhills and of the breaksman of the goods train it appears that although the night was a little hazy there was nothing to prevent the engine-driver of the passenger train seeing the distant-signal in sufficient time to stop his train and avoid the collision. The regulations of the London and North-western Railway Company provide that if drivers cannot see a signal, they are to consider such signal as being at danger, and con­sequently if the driver did not see the distant-signal as he was approaching Brownhills he ought to have reduced the speed of his train so as to be able to stop before he reached it.

The guard of the goods train excused himself for not going back to protect his train as he should have done in accordauce with the company’s rules, by stating that he thought that his train was sufficiently far inside the distant-signal to ensure its safety. I think, under the circumstances, that the train ought to have been safe in the position in which it stood, but the breaksman should have gone back and taken further means to protect his train instead of remaining in his van during the fifteen minutes that he stopped at the station. More siding accommodation should be pro­vided at Brownhills station, so that the main line shall not be kept blocked by goods trains; and the sooner the points and signals are interlocked, aud the block system introduced, the better, as this part of the line consists of heavy gradients and sharp curves where the view is very limited. The distant-signals at Brownhills should be moved farther back. The com­pany have arranged for this to be done, and for the points and signals to be interlocked, and also for the permissive block system to be introduced at once, for which latter they have bad men in training for some weeks back.

I would suggest that the absolute block should be adopted instead of the permissive block system.

I have, & c.
F. H. Rich
Col. R. E.

The Secretary,
(Railway Department)
Board of Trade.

Printed copies of the above report were sent to the Company on the 8th December.

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Fancy a jumble sale today?

Tracey, take a meow…

Here’s a great looking jumble sale taking place today (Saturday 22nd September 2018) in the buildings just opposite Barons Court Hotel near the Snooker Club – and it’s in aid of a wonderful charity.

Tracy’s Cats Kitty are a great bunch of people doing wonderful things to help our furry feline pals, and as everyone knows, I adore cats.

The sale runs from 12-3pm at CJs Room Hire, and you can also drop off donations there to help the cause.

Happy bargain spotting, everyone!

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Stay and Play – at Brownhills Community Centre this Saturday morning

What a lovely thing this is!

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this very morning, Saturday 22nd September 2018 from 10-11:30am.

It costs just two quid per kid and includes fruit and a drink, so it’s great value and it’s run by those wonderful people at the Little Green Dragons Nursery, who are resident at the centre and are fully qualified nursery teachers.

This week’s theme is Autumn, and there are games and toys and all manner of fun for the weans – and you get a break to boot.

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more,  you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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Walsall Wood at home to Coventry United this afternoon!

Welcome to Walsall Wood, Coventry United!

This afternoon, Saturday 22nd September 2018

The Wood are at home to Coventry United!

Come watch the match at Oak Park!

Oak Park, Walsall Wood WS9 9NP

Kick off is at 3:00pm

Hopefully, a match report will follow…

For the Good of the Wood!

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here.

Any colour you like, so long as it’s red.
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A great sing along showing Grease this very evening in Brownhills!

This could be the one you want… for a great singalong this very evening!

Very late notice of something this evening (Friday 21st September 2018) at Brownhills Community Centre on the Miner Island in Brownhills – a singalong showing of the classic film Grease (unbelievably 40 years old now) in a relaxed environment which everyone will love.

It kicks off at 7:00pm and you can book tickets online right now, so what’s not to love? Click here to buy yours – just £4 adults, £3 for kids…

Brownhills Community Association wrote:

Can it really be 40 years since the cinema queues went right around the block and songs from the Grease soundtrack dominated the Top Forty? 
Come and celebrate those ‘Summer Nights’ with The Lamp’s special singalong showing of this magical musical movie.

Tickets are £4.00 (£3.00 concessions) and the show starts at 7.00 pm.

Tickets available online at the link below (no fees) or from 01453 452119.

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/the-lamp-arts-centre

If you haven’t yet visited The Lamp for a show, you really are missing out; it’s a wonderfully modern and intimate community theatre with a wonderful 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!
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John Dennis, rest in peace

The Memorial Hall and the wider Brownhills community has lost a true friend.

Sad news reaches me from Dawn Hayton who has let me know that John Dennis, the handyman at The Memo for many years when it was the beating heart of the Brownhills community, has passed away suddenly.

John will be greatly missed and was a good friend to all who knew him and was dedicated and tireless in his support of Brownhills and the local community.

My sincerest condolences go out to John’s family, friends and also to Dawn and all the other folks who worked with him at the Memorial Hall. 

My sympathies, may he rest in peace.

It is with great sadness to pass on the news of the recent sudden death of John Dennis, our amazing volunteer at The Memo.

John, fondly known by many as JD gave many hours of his own time until last year bringing The Memo gardens back into order. Mowing, pruning, weeding, sweeping and burning rubbish when possible or using his own car to help with trips to the tip.

When the grounds were looking good he put his hand to painting railings, gates, walls and jet washing pathways all amazing work transforming the building and complimented by many. 

John attended many events bringing in new people and was always there for the heavy jobs of setting rooms up plus always being on hand to both The Sunshine Club and Darby & Joan when needed. Basically if something needed doing JD would happily help. A superstar.

For those who would like to pay their respects, JD’s funeral is Friday 28th September 2018 and will be leaving from Smithy’s Forge at 11am for a service at Streetly Crematorium Midday, then returning to Smithy’s Forge.

Huge condolences to his girls Karen, Jo, Tina and Sam and their families at this very sad time and to his many friends both old and new. 

A proper Brownhills Lad, big respect John, sleep tight.  

Much love from Team Memo x

Dennis’s daughter, Sam asked me to add this morning:

We would like to thank Tina the manager and her team at Smithy’s Forge for their brave and quick response at giving Dad CPR. We are eternally grateful.

He was having his last pint which is exactly what he would have wanted. We have seen the best community spirit come from the people of Brownhills this week and it has helped immensely.

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Do you know a kid who could make Brownhills alive… With the Sound of Music?

Looks set to be a great show, as usual!

Old pal of the blog Jamie Norgrove contacted me from Brownhills Musical Theatre Company yesterday to ask if I’d put out this appeal for children and young people who’d like to audition for the youngsters roles in the company’s next production, ‘The Sound of Music’, to be staged at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre in May 2019.

Brownhills Musical Theatre Company are are a highly regarded, very talented collective who have won many awards for what are, to put it frankly, very professional shows – they generally stage two per year.

This is a great chance to get involved in theatre and performance, and make something really wonderful at the same time.

Jamie wrote:

ARE YOU THE NEXT ‘JUNIOR’ VON TRAPP? 


BMTC are looking for young actors for our May 2019 production of ‘The Sound of Music’, for performances at The Lichfield Garrick from 7th – 11th May 2019.

Open auditions are being held for the following roles (with suggested playing ages in brackets):

Liesl von Trapp (16)
Friedrich von Trapp (14)
Louisa von Trapp (13)
Kurt von Trapp (11)
Brigitta von Trapp (10)
Marta von Trapp (7)
Gretl von Trapp (5)
In addition to the seven children, we are also looking to cast Rolf Gruber (17) at the same time.

The parts of Leisl and Rolf will be covered by one actor for each role, the other six children will be doubled up for the run of the show.

The Children’s Launch night is Tuesday 9th October at The Lamp, Brownhills Community Centre, Brownhills from 7:30pm.

Childrens auditions are planned for Sunday 18th November. 

If you or anyone you know is interested in joining us, please email BMTCSoundofMusic2019@hotmail.com to register your attendance for the launch night and to be sent further information.

Many thanks and look forward to seeing you on 9th October!

Brownhills MTC have an excellent reputation for staging sellout shows.

If you’re maybe parent of a budding Brannagh, or have one amongst your friends or family the next Elaine Paige, why not suggest they have a go? After all, it’s a great way to have fun and do something really remarkable. Your nascent star could be on stage in a nationally noted theatre…

Jamie asks that anyone interested get in touch as soon as they can on BMTCSoundofMusic2019@hotmail.com, or contact him via the Company’s Facebook page

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Woodmen give it five to send Uttoxeter home defeated

Pictures and captions Kindly supplied by the young David Evans.

Yesterday evening (Tuesday 18th September 2018) Walsall Wood FC faced down weekend away rivals Uttoxeter Town who had, on the previous Saturday held Wood to a two-all draw.

I’m pleased to note the the Woodmen won on home turf, in a high-scoring game that ended five to four in favour of the home side.

David Evans was there, and enjoyed a great game of football:

Hi Bob

Walsall Wood 5 v 4 Uttoxeter Town

On the floodlit magnificent green grass real lawn that is the  football pitch at Oak Park, the replay of the weekend away match that ended in a two-all stalemate was set to take place.

Numerous away supporters, some not seen at Uttoxeter last Saturday brought their presence and views to this stadium . We were expecting a thriller of a replay match. We were not disappointed.

The visitors started the contest with swift and effective play, sometimes to great effect, and to some measure of consternation among the home side. In what was a nightmare of a first half they were three goals ahead and Walsall Wood seemed to be in shock at this moment. Uttoxeter’s  passing and running was accurate and effective.

The barracking given by the away bench of the referee jarred uncomfortably in my mind and detracted from the fine sport on display by both sides  on the field of play.

The second half saw a revitalised home team emerge after enjoying  a cup of tea and cucumber sandwich with the manager. A different approach and different tactics to grind away at the questionable stamina of the opponents was employed. A pro-active scheme was rolled out.

The full time score was four goals to each side, Walsall Wood playing a magnificent mature game in the second half to achieve this.

Extra time was full blooded football where the maturity and skill of the seasoned home side won through.

The final score was five goals to Walsall Wood, four goals to Uttoxeter Town. Uttoxeter will have learned much from their two FA Vase matches against Walsall Wood and the experience they have gained here will be remembered for a long time, I feel.

The following footage from the weekend away match at Uttoxeter was posted by the ever-excellent The-Wood.tv and Russell Smith last night:

Cheers to David and Russell, the faithful and of course the players. For the Good of The Wood!

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Walsall Wood at home to Uttoxeter this evening

Can The Wood beat Uttoxeter on home turf?

Tuesday 18th September 2018

Walsall Wood FC at home to Uttoxeter Town FC

Don’t break your Wood vows be there  at Oak Park tonight and be faithful to your local heroes

7:45pm kickoff

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Check out the club website here

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Fancy a laugh this Wednesday evening?

Garry Powndland in particular is hilarious. Good to see live comedy making a comeback locally.

A quick headsup for a new comedy club that’s operating in Aldridge and has social media comedy star Gary Powndland this Wednesday evening (19th September 2018) – it takes place at Aldridge Social Club in the High Street and entry is just £8.

You can find out more about Juney’s Comedy Club at their Facebook page here or you can call 01922 456742.

The organisers said:

Wolverhampton’s Gary Powndland is coming to help launch Aldridge’s own new comedy club on Weds 19 Sept at Aldridge Social Club, plus Britain’s Got Talent’s Nick Page, UK Pun Champion / Free Radio’s Lovdev Barpaga, Charmian Hughes and MC Paul Savage. Only £8!

Then Britain’s Got Talent’s Mandy Muden headlines on Weds 24 October. With Andrew McBurney, Craig Deeley and regular Juney’s MC Maureen Younger. This will be a unmissable night!

Tickets are available directly from the club or tickets for September gigs can be bought online here and online ticket sales for October are here.

Please note Gary Powndland’s shows always sell out so book quickly! Please message if any questions. 🙂

Over 18s. Bar open 7pm.

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Meet you local coppers in Brownhills this morning!

A great way to get to know your local policing team

Sorry for the late notice, but there’s another local police pop-up event this morning Tuesday 18th September 2018 where you can meet the local policing team and discuss issues that are important to you.

It takes place in Brownhills Library, in the Parkview Centre, just off the Miner Island and starts at 11am.

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

Police issue statement on incident in Brownhills High Street, Friday 14th September 2018

Many readers will be aware of an incident that took place in Brownhills High Street on Friday afternoon, 14th September 2018 – police attended an incident involving a man at the Miner Island end of town.

Naturally, rumour was rife so I put a request in to the West Midlands Police press office who today (Sunday, 16th September 2018) issued the following brief statement.

Hi Bob,

We were called to Brownhills High Street at around 3.40pm on 14 September to reports that a man carrying knives was making threats and damaging vehicles with a hammer.

A 28-year-old man was treated for a minor cut to his hand and was arrested at the scene.

Regards,

Mike

My sympathies to anyone affected. 

This post is for information only and comment is not invited, cheers.

Posted in News

Woodmen washed out by Cleethorpes wave, but dig in against Uttoxeter

Pictures and captions Kindly supplied by the young David Evans.

A bit of a football special this week – a couple of reports and some orphaned footage I couldn’t fit in elsewhere: David Evans covered the Uttoxeter match and his son, Simon, the game from Cleethorpes tlast week – so pull up a chair and a brew and we’ll kick off.

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday 15th September 2018) Walsall Wood FC took a trip out into central Staffordshire to face Uttoxeter at their Oldfields ground – and came home after a cracking, tense math with a two-all draw that’s clearly unfinished business.

David Evans was there, and liked what he saw…

Hi Bob

Uttoxeter 2 v 2 Walsall Wood

A beautiful autumnal afternoon and a beautiful setting in Uttoxeter to watch a fine display of hard fought yet sporting cup-tie soccer between two proficient and determined teams. The elegant cricket pavilion stood proud and solid away in the distance,  its outdoor tables forlornly displaying the numerous relinquished empty  pint glasses glinting in the gentle thin sunshine, and the delicate aroma of best beefburgers and chips crept over the freshly cut grass. The scene was set. The contest was set to thrill and delight, in equal measure. 

Wood started brightly and scored a precious early first goal, to the chagrin of the home bench, whose passionate cries echoed shrill and curt for a while. Above the huffing and puffing, the click of boot on boot, the whack of squarely booted caseball, and the calling among the players.
 
Two teams of match-fit athletes, adept and crisp in their passing, running and shooting, brought this game into sharp focus. Youthful players on both sides ran like the wind, leapt, rolled, anticipated, out-manoeuvred, were robbed of the ball by superb tackles, headed with gusto and drive. This afternoon’s spectacle had everything-  except that deciding, winning goal, that is.

Substitutions were made by both sides, and with good effect, bringing fresh players to replace those who had taken the game to their opponents and whose limbs and lungs were tired by the contest. There was no letting up in the pace or industry of the players. Not in this game; not today. 

The final whistle was blown after extra time had been played out. This was no stale-mate game. It is unfinished business. The replay, here at Oak Park,  should be one for the archives

David Evans

There’s also the following footage which was published by the ever-excellent The-Wood.tv after the Stourport match review was published from 1st September:

Additionally, I have some images and a great review of the Walsall Wood away match at Cleethorpes last week (Saturday 8th September 2018) which the Woodmen sadly lost to the seasiders.

Simon Evans said:

Images kindly supplied by Simon Evans

Hi Bob

Cleethorpes 4 V 1 Walsall Wood 

Cleethorpes kicked off and from the start went straight at the Wood. Kyle Rowley heading clear within the first two minutes. Cleethorpes kept pressing and on 13 minutes they opened the scoring. A free kick eluded everyone in the box, Lloyd Ransome misjudged it and the ball ended up in the net: 1-0.

From the restart Cleethorpes gained possession, a dangerous cross was well claimed by LLoyd Ransome in the Wood goal. Wood went on the offensive, Javia Roberts broke free his cross eluded everyone in the box. After 20 minutes, Dean Rathbone’s 20 yarder hit the post via the keepers fingertips, the corner was cleared.

Cleethorpes attacked, a great tackle in the box by Mitchell Tolley, whilst everyone was expecting a corner, the referee pointed for a penalty, which was despatched 2-0. Wood then had a couple of free kicks which the Cleethorpes defence coped with.

Half time:  2-0

Wood started the second half, a couple of quick free kicks came to nothing. On 58 minutes Javia Roberts broke free but the shot was high.

Cleethorpes capitalised on some Wood overplay to make it 3-0. Wood then had a great chance, a pull back to Joey Butiln who was six yards out – his power blaster was goal bound, the keeper going the wrong way but his leg deflected the ball over the bar.

On 68 minutes a Cleethorpes free kick was headed in 4-0.

Wood responded and a couple of minutes later Kyle Rowley headed home 4-1. Cleethorpes were then down to 10 men for a challenge on Dean Rathbone. Kyle Rowley then had a couple of chances, his headers going over  following  freekicks.

The last attack saw Woods sub bear down on goal, there keeper making a fine save. 

FT Cleethorpes 4 – 1 Wood

Simon Evans

Cheers to David and Simon for great reports and images, and also to Russell for his great match footage, and of course to all down at Oak Park for more great community focussed football. 

It’s all for The Good of The Wood!

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stuck in a rut – beware, folks – the deer are getting horny….

The above excellent video is a fallow deer stag filmed up on Cannock Chase by reader, contributor and top friend of the blog Peter Barker. That stag really has romance on his mind…

This is just a quick note to warn people given to exploring the open spaces of the area that over the next 8-10 weeks or so the deer population will be getting amorous – it’s rutting time for our large brown friends, and that means one thing: the heaths around Brownhills, Clayhanger, Pelsall and Chasewater in particular are likely to be host to rather grumpy, aggressive stags guarding their female harems.

Deer are normally gentle souls on the whole, but a hormonal stag with love on his mind will be aggressive and prone to attack, and such animals will, and have in the past charged humans and gored dogs.

To avoid being on the unexpectedly rather sharp end of several hundredweight of cervine cassinova with an attitude issue, please keep a respectful distance and keep your dogs under control at all times. Even if they look like they’re just loafing, these normally docile creatures can turn nasty at a moments notice. This warning applies to anywhere where deer have been spotted – from the heaths of Chasewater to the commons and woods of Brownhills, Jockey Meadows, Clayhanger Marsh and even Sandhills – and now they’re as far south as Sutton and even Brookvale Park in Witton!

Deer are not the cleverest of animals, so it might also be wise to take extra care when driving, as the biological imperative is probably outweighing their small amount of road sense at the moment. That excellent local wildlife blogger Chaz Mason posted this warning  a couple of years ago that’s still very much relevant:

N.Tipton 1

Image by Neil Tipton, originally posted on Chaz Mason’s blog.

This week I have been informed that the young male Red Deer have commenced play-fighting locally – by now you should all be aware that this is the first indication that the annual Red Deer Rut is now underway and within the next couple of weeks the older stags are likely to become more territorial.

DOG WALKERS PLEASE!

If you are over the Marsh and Mere for the next couple of months please keep your dog close and if you see any deer PLEASE put your dog on a lead.

I am not in the least bit worried about the deer. For most of the year they will see your dog and run away as fast as they can – but that ain’t now!

These stags are main-lining on testosterone and WILL NOT RUN AWAY. In fact they will not only stand their ground to protect their females they will attack your dog. Over the years I have been aware of at least three instances of local dogs being stabbed by Stags, luckily, so far with injuries-only and no fatalities.

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Would you argue with this? Image by Derek Lees, originally posted on Chaz Mason’s blog.

If you insist on exercising your dogs right to run free and unhindered then please exercise that right somewhere else until at least late November.

As I have tried to impress upon you –
this is not to protect the deer – IT IS TO PROTECT YOUR DOG!

I may not have a dog but I do have great affection for them and many of you know that I regularly time-share many of yours so I hope that you take this warning very seriously. Rutting Deer are a magnificent sight but if you want to watch this display, then please show some respect for the animals and also, some common sense.

Lecture over – Chaz

Of course, once the aggression is over for another year, the commons and heaths will again be given over to the disgusting and lewd mating behaviour one normally sees there. The animals, however, will be behaving impeccably.

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

Working at the BRD – a couple of photos, a magazine… and a treat in store

The crankshaft works at the BRD, Aldridge in full production. These crankshafts will have gone to many local vehicle manufacturers of the day. Image from a source to be revealed.

A treat coming for those interested in recent industrial history of the area – many readers will have worked or had relatives that did, at the BRD factory in Aldridge – a huge, sprawling automotive component manufacturing company producing mainly vehicle crankshafts.

There are many warm memories of this place that employed thousands, and is now sadly lost; but the recollections are strong. Well, I’ve a treat coming in the next week, I won’t say yet what it is, but I’ll leave these two images with readers for debate and recollection.

A supervisor inspects a crankshaft being machined. Hope he was carful to avoid burrs! Image from a source to be revealed.

David Hughes has previously written about the BRD company for the blog, Linda Mason has recorded with great love and fondness her memories of the great Aldridge factories. Many local people worked there and travelled daily on the works busses from local towns like Brownhills.

Like many large factories, the social life was almost as important as the job, and David Hughes last year supplied a 63 year old booklet from the Sports and Social Club associated with the factory which records many things – events, satirical poetry, hatched matched and dispatched – even an emigration. But also local history, a crossword and other stuff. It’s a wonderful thing. You can peruse it in the gallery at the foot of the post.

I’m hoping these pictures and David’s wonderful magazine will stir memories and debate in preparation for the treasure I have coming up – please do comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my coat on social media if you have anything to add.

You can click on any page in the gallery below for a full size version, or download the whole thing in searchable PDF form at this link here.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, It makes me mad!, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, Local politics, News, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Walsall Wood away against Uttoxeter this afternoon

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A great team from a historic town! Image from the Groundhopper.

Saturday 15th September 2018

Walsall Wood FC away to Uttoxeter Town FC

Don’t break your Wood vows be there and be faithful to your local heroes

Note the slightly later than usual 3:15pm kickoff

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Oldfields Sports Club, Springfield Road, Uttoxeter
ST14 7JX

Check out the club website here

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Lichfield repair cafe – get together to get things fixed this Saturday!

What a fantastic idea this is!

Never one to sit back and let life pass her by, that there Kate Cardigan from the wonderful Lichfield Lore is involved with the wonderful Lichfield Repair Cafe project – which starts a regular run at it’s new home this Saturday (Saturday, 15th September 2018) at Curborough Community Centre, Lichfield from 2pm until 5pm.

Kate, who’s more usually known for her excellent work with Lichfield local history group, Lichfield Discovered and other projects, started a community project to help people repair, recycle and put back to good use things that my be broken or need some love.

This looks like a great way to have fun, meet up with other like minded folk and also learn some new skills.

If you’re unsure where to find  Curborough Community Centere, check out their contact page here, and the address for satnav wranglers is 37, Reynolds Close, Lichfield Ws13 7NY.

I’ll let Kate explain:

Hello! 

The Lichfield Repair & Share cafe launches at Curborough Community Centre on Saturday 15th September between 2pm and 5pm. As a way of reducing waste whilst learning new skills, we have a team of volunteer repairers on hand to show people how to try and mend their broken or damaged items, rather than throw them away. 

We are also running workshops on how to make desk tidies from junk. Volunteers from the centre will be running a cafe with hot and cold drinks and cakes. Whilst there is no charge, voluntary donations are appreciated!

The cafe will be taking place at Curborough on the 3rd Saturday of every month and we are always looking for more people to get involved whether they want to offer their skills as a repairer or run a workshop. To find our more information, or to volunteer, please email lichfieldshare@gmail.com, join the group’s Facebook page Lichfield Repair Café or follow us on Twitter @lichfieldshare.

For more information, contact Kate Gomez at lichfieldshare@gmail.com or joing the Lichfield Repair & Share group on Facebook here.

Many thanks as ever!
Kate

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Quiz and ploughman’s supper at Brownhills Community Centre this Saturday!

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It’s all going on at Brownhills Community Centre. Image from Walsall Council.

I’d like to draw your attention to a great quiz night taking place this Saturday evening at 7:30pm (15th August 2018) at Brownhills Community Centre.

It’s being hosted by the wonderful Laura Hucker who has organised many events for the local community over the years and also runs the wonderful Reading Rooms Coffee Shop and cake emporium in Pelsall.

We will be hosting a quiz on Saturday 15th September 2018 at Brownhills Community Centre.

The quiz is for all abilities and we will also be holding some fun games throughout to give you a chance to win spot prizes!

The winning team take home prizes and of course, there will be booby prizes for the losing team.

During the interval, a ploughman’s lunch will be served.

This event is bring your own drinks, making it a really cheap night out!

Tickets are £5 per person, teams of four or less.

We will also be holding a raffle in aid of St Giles Hospice, Goscote.

To book, please call Laura on 07713 634811.

There will be ploughman’s supper included and it’s only £5 a person to enter. What’s not to love there?

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more,  you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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Local canal restoration volunteers celebrate 30 years of progress

Guests at Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s 30thanniversary celebration barbecue watch on as chairperson Christine Bull introduces the three remaining Trust founders, Phil Sharpe, Eric Wood and Dennis Cooper

Tom Reid from the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust has been in touch to let us know about the celebrations the canal restoration group have staged to mark their 30 years since creation.

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 the nature reserve around the canal 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 CELEBRATES 30thANNIVERSARY

Lichfield’s canal restoration trust has celebrated the 30thanniversary of its foundation.