Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, this afternoon!

If you, the kids or grandkids are at a loose end today, since the weather seems decent and that lockdown is eased, it would be an excellent chance to grab the young ones and nip up to Stubbers Green where you can chat to, and learn all about local wildlife with the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are finally back there this afternoon – and every coming  Sunday from 1-3pm and have bird books, binoculars and a wealth of knowledge to share – so why not join them? There’s so much more local wildlife than people think!

Ann Lawrence said:

Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Please bring wild bird seed, sweet corn, porridge oats, lettuce, peas, chopped up vegetables, rice etc to feed the birds.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use. Stickers for the children

The reserve is by the pools on Stubbers Green Road, between Aldridge and Shelfield.

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Get ready for the next Orange Army litter pick coming soon in Brownhills!

There is a community litter pick event taking place in Brownhills soon (Saturday 22nd July 2020) from 10am, meeting at the gates of Holland Park – all are welcome to join in.

The pick is being organised by new local litter group The Orange Army who put a huge effort in to litter pick the park last weekend 25-26th July 2020 – for which I and the blog readership would like to extend our thanks for a top job well done!

Take a bow, folks.

Image from the Orange Army Facebook Page.

It’s easy and fun to join in with these community picks as all kit will be provided!

I like to give as much notice of these sessions as possible as so many people afterwards express sadness that they would have taken part if they’d known sooner…

The pick is being run by to local, committed local volunteer Natalie Dawson and others for the benefit of the the town, so it’ll be a worthwhile event to get involved with and help improve the local environment.

The organisers said:

Hi to all!

We have decided the next date for our meet if anyone would like to join us it is the 22nd of august.

Meet at the gates of Holland Park at 10am we have plenty of equipment that we can provide for you.

We have plenty of equipment for extra people if they wish to help out occasionally or regularly if they wish!

Thanks all
The Orange Army 🧡

You can check out the Orange Army’s Facebook page here.

Previous local litter pick events have been a huge success, so let’s see if we can make this one even better!

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All aboard – for the reopening of a local treasure!

I’m pleased to be able to gradually announce the reopening of local attractions and facilities as they happen, following closures for the pandemic response – and how strange it is to type that even still!

One of the most welcome will be the Aston Manor Road Transport Museum, based in Aldridge, which has announced reopening is to take place on Tuesday 11th August 2020 at 10:30am.

Initially opening will be Tuesdays only, and the museum will remain closed all other days including at weekends – but it is hoped that normal hours can be resumed by the end of August.

Even Salvage Hunters paid the museum a call! Image from the Museum Facebook page.

Restrictions to enable social distancing will be in place, and sadly there’s had to be a slight entry fee increase, but at at £4 for an adult, £11 for a family and kids entry staying at £2 it’s still cracking value.

The museum management posted on Facebook:

[See above for our] initial announcement of reopening – watch this page for further notices and updates.

We are not planning any events in the immediate future, but will continue to assess the situation as time goes on.

Although we are looking at the possibility of some static events – watch this space!

See our website & Facebook page for updates

Welcome back to all at the museum and I wish everyone well. Please do get over and support this gem of a local museum. It really is a fascinating place.

Aston Manor Road Transport Museum
Shenstone Drive, Off Northgate, Aldridge, Walsall W89 8TP2

More details can be found on the museum Facebook page.

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

Can you help Walsall Wood kick off again?

One of the sadder social side effects of the pandemic locally has been the necessary, and totally appropriate cessation of community sport, in particular Walsall Wood Football Club.

As things inch back to normality, sporting activities are resuming and The Woodmen are looking for sponsors for the first team and others, and they’re offering a great competition whereby you can get your name on the team’s shirts for a pocket pleasing £20.

That’s a fair old prize for the winner! Image posted on Twitter by Walsall Wood Football Club.

If you’re interested in supporting a wonderful, historic and very successful community football club, you can take part in the competition to become sponsor by texting Justin of BBG Consultancy on 07939 075285 your team selection on the card shown.

I look forward to seeing the resumption of football and the wood and the Oak Park Ground throwing the gates open once more.

Rest assure that when The Wood kick off once more, full coverage will be posted here!

For the Good of The Wood!

Pick your tea, then text Justin as above. Good luck! Click for a larger version. Image posted on Twitter by Walsall Wood Football Club.

 

 

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Ogley hay Juniors in the late 60s: Who can you spot?

Ogley Hay Juniors, May Day 1965. Image kindly shared by Gail Hughes.

I’m indebted today to local lady Gail Hughes who posted this wonderful pair of Ogley Juniors photos  – the upper one appears to be from the annual May Day event in 1965 (which has featured here many times before from different years) – and Gail thinks the class photo is from around 1969.

I always love these images as they look so relaxed and happy, not the traditionally stiff school photos we normally see. It always strikes me how content the kids were in the pictures from the various Ogley Schools, like the kids were in the Portman Collection of Walsall Wood school photos we also chronicled and shared here.

Gail wrote:

I can name quite a few.

Boys I remember starting from left:

Robert Horton, Paul Norgrove, Alan Tonks, Martin Milner, Mark Mason, Shaun Murphy, Michael ?, Raymond Woodhouse, Roy Holyman, Kevin ? , Andrew Shears, Timothy Whitehouse ( I think)

Girls: Heather Yates, Carol Toddington, Julie Probert, Christine Pearce, Ann Wootton ( I think) Karen Rhead, Susan Sunderland and Patricia Morris.

Kim Parry, Sue Whittaker , Kim Taylor, Karen Slatter, me Gail Pemberton, Joy Middleton, Sue Teece and Wendy ?

Please fill in the missing ones.

Another photo must have been taken because a lot missing from my year.

Happy Days!

So get to it – what do you remember? Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or buttonhole me on social media.

Thanks to Gail for a gorgeous pair of images that are bound to be very popular indeed.

Ogley Hay Juniors, thought to be around 1969. Image kindly shared by Gail Hughes.

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Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, this afternoon!

If you, the kids or grandkids are at a loose end today, since the weather seems decent and that lockdown is eased, it would be an excellent chance to grab the young ones and nip up to Stubbers Green where you can chat to, and learn all about local wildlife with the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are finally back there this afternoon – and every coming  Sunday from 1-3pm and have bird books, binoculars and a wealth of knowledge to share – so why not join them? There’s so much more local wildlife than people think!

Ann Lawrence said:

qSwan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Please bring wild bird seed, sweet corn, porridge oats, lettuce, peas, chopped up vegetables, rice etc to feed the birds.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use. Stickers for the children

The reserve is by the pools on Stubbers Green Road, between Aldridge and Shelfield.

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A journey down the lost canal in pictures

Andy Tidy, otherwise known as the Canal Hunter and creator of the great canal history series on YouTube that I have plugged before here about lost local canals – including our own lost stretch of canal from Ogley Junction to Huddlesford, the Lichfield and Hatherton canal – has published an interesting new video.

This lost line, closed in the 1950s is currently being restored by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust which will eventually rebuild the waterway through Ogley Locks, Summerhill, Wall and Lichfield near to that other newly rejuvenated gem, Sandfields Pumping Station.

Andy Tidy is of course the proprietor of the Jam Butty, a boat selling preserves that will be recognised by anyone attending a local canal event.

At wall, it’s hard to believe the canal came this way, but you can still see the line if you look hard.

The new video is an archive photo tour along the canal, and can be seen below, really bringing the history alive. I commend it, and the rest of Andy’s wonderful work, to readers.

You can find out more about the Canal Hunter series here in my previous post on Ogley Locks.

Andy Tidy has created a wonderful series that I adore, and You can subscribe here – there are already a lot of great episodes, including one on the lost Slough Arm in Brownhills and all about the Black Cock Bridge which I featured previously here.

My congratulations to Andy for a lovely, beautifully produced and informative series of films. I commend you to subscribe.

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Beware – bike theft is a growing problem locally

It’s time, I’m very much afraid, to issue another warning – theft of bikes and ebikes in the Brownhills and wider Walsall area continues to escalate in the wake of the bike boom and  general retail shortage of new machines since lockdown.

Bikes are highly nickable at the moment. Make sure yours is secure. Image from Maya Cycle.

Bikes are in demand right now with the pandemic waning and lockdown relaxation, so are easy to sell sell on the black market, sales sites, etc.

The local police posted the following helpful advice today:

Good afternoon

Lockdown has seen a lot of people dust off their old bike and get back cycling. With a lot of people holidaying at home this year you may well be planning a few bike rides.

We wanted to share our top tips for keeping your bike safe.

Always lock your bike when you leave it – even if it’s only for a few minutes. We would recommend using a D-lock.

Lock it in a busy well-lit area, where lots of people are walking past. Nothing puts off a bike thief as much as an audience!

When at home it’s safer to lock your bike in a garage or shed or keep it indoors rather than leave it in the garden.

There are more tips on our website if you need them https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/your-options/cycle-theft

We wish you a safe staycation and hope for some lovely weather.

Please ensure you lock all your outbuildings, and secure your premises as best you can. Don’t leave valuables on view in cars, and make sure anything that could be used in a burglary – ladders, garden tools etc. – is securely stowed away.

There are some good security tips for sheds and outbuildings at this page here and yet more at this link here. The most important tip I think is not just to lock your bike in the shed, but use a bike lock when it’s in there: Preferably to a ground anchor, but if not to something that will be hard or noisy to separate it from. It won’t stop a determined, professional thief but could alert you to the local opportunistic neds.

Get a decent lock too for when out and about. Tips on those and how to use them properly can be found here.

If you’re offered a cheap bike, tools, car stereo equipment or gardening kit, think hard about where it might have come from, and by all means grub the people flogging them into the rozzers – the stuff is probably nicked. Next time, it could be your stuff they take.

Anyone with information on the recent spate of thefts is urged to contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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

Why not stay at home Wednesday and meet Walsall Humanists in your lounge?

Here’s a quick plug for Lichfield, Walsall and South Staffordshire Humanists – a philosophical debating group – who have their quarterly meeting this Wednesday 15th July 2020 at your home! They are trying this time, since Coronavirus restrictions mean they can’t meet in the usual pub, a videoconference on Zoom instead.

The meeting kicks off at 7:45pm and goes on until about 9:45pm.

Old pal of the blog, Charles Street let me know about the group and their meeting schedule a while back, and this video meet-up looks like fun! Also don’t forget the fact that’s it’s completely free to attend.

If you’re interested in philosophy, the nature of what we believe and accept, this could be a great evening with like minded people. Without leaving your house!

The group said said:

Hello All
As using video conferencing it is so easy to do. You can hold an on-line meeting in the time that it takes you to get to a physical meeting.
So on 15th July we shall be holding our next on line meeting.
General consensus is to do this even after whichever year lockdown ceases.
This will be a Zoom Video Conference. By now we should all be experts at this.
I am advised with the system that we have that we can have a meeting for up to 100 for 40 minutes.
Sometimes the system allows a first meeting to continue past the time. However the other option is to schedule another meeting immediately afterwards.
So here is the plan.
We will meet at 7:45 pm British Summer Time. Wednesday 15th July. I mention BST in case, this time, any of our overseas friends choose to join us.
Then at 8:35 we will schedule another meeting and continue.
If you want to participate, if you haven’t already done so, please download the Zoom Communications app.
After setting up Room, please contact us on the following email address:  lichfieldhumanists@live.co.uk so we know who to send invites to with the relevant entry code and password. If there are any topics that anyone would like to discuss please mention that too.

The Lichfield Walsall and South Staffordshire Humanist Group LWASS meeting. 

3rd Wednesday meeting every quarter for those interested in Humanism, Atheism, Secularism and related subject areas.
We meet on the 3rd Wednesday every quarter January April July and October at 7:45 pm ish until 9:45 pm ish for those interested in Humanism and related matters.
However if you are enjoying the debate you can stay until  closing time if you like  Zoom boots us off
Venue: Your Home where we are all staying.
The Walsall Arms – 17 Bank Street, WS1 2EP
Humanists UK can be explored at https://humanism.org.uk/

Humanism is a comprehensive life stance that upholds human reason, ethics, and justice, and rejects supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition.

If you would like to know more about Humanism the following link may be a good place to start.

If you tune in to the meeting please drop me the word and tell me how you got on – the Humanists have a whole bunch of stuff going on and their website above is worth a look: I’ve always been a big fan of Birmingham Sceptics in the Pub who post some very interesting, thought provoking stuff on social media.

Tell me more: Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my coat on the antisocial media.

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Elementary my dear Watson…

Postcard view of the Grove Colliery, from whence Grove Cottages were probably names. Image from the book ‘Brownhills and Walsall Wood on old picture postcards’ by Jan Farrow.

While I’m busy today, here’s an interesting family history enquiry from Jo Clifford, who’s tracing her family which seems focussed on the Pelsall area – and I know we have lots of the Pelsall Contingent in.

Jo wrote:

Dear Bob,

I’ve been researching my family history (which is centred, for generations, around Pelsall, Bloxwich and Shelfield) and, during the course of my investigations, I came across your blog. I am not sure if it actually covers the areas I’ve mentioned exactly but I found the parts about the history of the area completely fascinating all the same.

I know it is a long shot but I wondered if you, or any of your contributors, know anything about the Watson family that were registered as living in Watson’s Lane in Pelsall in the 1901 census, at Wolverhampton Road in 1911 and at The Grove Cottages, Norton Road, Pelsall in 19030 [sic – think that’s 1930 – Bob] probate documents. The head of the family was an Enoch Watson who was a coal miner. His wife was Clara Jane.

They had many children but my direct ancestors were Harry Watson and his wife Edith (nee Nicholls) who lived at Irene Villa, Green Lane, Shelfield in 1911. Harry was a solicitors clerk at Enoch Evans & Son in Walsall (I think his boss Enoch Evans was once Mayor of Walsall and Harry was a pallbearer at Enoch’s funeral). Edith is sometimes listed as a school teacher and their children, Harry Charles, Madeline, Donald Eric (I believe Donald may have once been struck by lightning and suffered an injury that led to him dying of diabetes in 1929 but I am not sure if this is true), Joan Edith and Jean Yvonne.

Harry was my great grandfather but I know almost nothing about him.

Apologies if your expertise doesn’t cover this area but I live in Suffolk and don’t know your part of the UK at all (yet).

Many thanks, in advance, for any info you may have or any direction you could point me in.

All the best,
Jo Clifford

If you can help, please do – and thanks to Jo for a fab enquiry. Please comment here, seek me out on social media or even email on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers all!

Posted in News | 13 Comments

In good Stead

As you know I’m very into local industrial history here on the blog, and there’s an area of it that has not received much coverage since the sad death of grandfather of all Walsall local history, Jack Haddock.

Image from Grace’s Industrial Guide.

I am of course talking about Birchills and North Walsall. There were many industries here as I’ve addressed more than a few times on the blog – from iron and glue works, to the canal, to the now long passed power station. All employed large numbers of people and helped make Walsall prosperous.

One such factory was Talbot Stead tubes, latterly TI Stainless, then Stirling Tubes. This was a large tube mill on the Green Lane in Walsall, heading to Bloxwich, where TK Maxx’s operation is today. It was almost opposite the South Staffordshire Waterworks HQ.

The works closed in 2001 and was razed soon afterward.

A rather odd promotional video for Sterling Tubes from the 1980s, I’d have said. 

I have covered Talbot Stead before, and always appealed for more information; thankfully a kind man called Peter Miller got in touch recently to share the material he gathered from his father who worked there in the golden years of the plant.

I’t a joy and an honour to share material of this quality, especially at the moment when so little work seems to be. going on into recent industrial history of Walsall. I thank Peter from the bottom of my heart.

If you have anything to add, please do: Comment on this post, you can mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com of wake me up with a loud ‘Hey you!’ on social media.

Without further ado, I’ll let Peter tell the story.

Peter Miller wrote:

Hi all.

My name is Peter Miller.  I live in the Chase Terrace area but originally from Leamore, Walsall.

I was looking through Bob’s blog (which I have done many times) and noticed a post about Talbot Steads in Green Lane, Walsall.  The post date was August 8th 2013.

Myself, I know it as Talbot Steads but also as a place my dad worked at, Tube Investments and TI Chesterfield.

I worked partly over the road at the once TI Sunhouse, their other TI Sunhouse factory was in New Road, Walsall, behind the church at the top of the market.  That is where I started my apprenticeship in 1979.

Anyway, back to Talbot Steads. My dad James (Dusty) Miller worked there for almost 25 years, his employment starting on the 21st June 1947 and terminating on 30th October 1971.  He retired at the age of 61 on the grounds of ill health, although he manged to attain the grand old age of 98.

So, he was one year off getting his gold watch but sadly the company would not give him this even after all his hard work and reaching the status of Stockyard Foreman.  He did, however, get some pots and pans for my mom.

My dad, like me, kept a lot of memorabilia, this amongst his other life memorabilia has been carefully stored in my loft since 2008 (this being the year he departed this world).  So, we can calculate he was born in 1910.  He was in fact born in Sunderland and married a Leamore lass (my mom).

Having seen the post on BHB, I contacted Bob and asked him if he would like a copy of this memorabilia, he told me he was really interested.  I sent him copies and mentioned I could do a short write up to complement the images.

So, without further ado, let’s get onto the memorabilia.

What’s included:

  • Pension Documents (Personal info removed)
  • Various booklets (E.G. Work’s handbook, rules etc)
  • Plastic circular conversion tables
  • TI Stainless Tubes Monthly Magazine (October 1966)
  • An Old wage packet
  • Life assurance and general pension documents
  • Calculation of redundancy payment
  • A second calculation of redundancy payment for me as a comparison to my dad’s (This will become apparent in explanation)
  • I have also included a newspaper cutting about Paul Wellings who was killed in an accident at Talbot Steads. Paul was related to me through a marriage.
  • A Walsall Observer newspaper cutting of an article referring to my dad who sent in a photo of a Talbot Steads work outing taken in 1926

Pension Documents:

Illustrates documentation for the General Staff Pension and Life Assurance Scheme.  At the time of leaving Talbot Steads my dad was only on £25 Per week after a service of 24 years.  Not the best paid job in the world, don’t know how he manged to look after his wife and 2 young sones aged 7 and 8

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Various Booklets:

Here we can see a rule book, a works handbook, a Talbot Stead handbook and a Forman’s guide to national agreements which has some names written in the back which may be familiar to someone.  I believe J Whitehouse refers to my mom’s cousin.  There was also a Derek Whitehouse who worked under my dad, he was my mom’s nephew. Apparently and unfortunately for him, he was sacked by my dad for misconduct.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Plastic Circular Conversion Tables:

These days we just google but this was not available all those years ago.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

 

TI Stainless Tubes monthly magazine:

Here we have the monthly magazine for October 1966. There are a few articles and names that someone may be familiar with.

On the rear cover are two photos from a monthly photo competition.  The two boys eating ice cream are myself and my brother, the photo was taken by my dad.  The photo was the competition winner but it was in joint place with another.  I wonder what became of the little girl.

The articles mentioned are company news, general activity, production, staff reduction, skills transfer, quality control, diary with upcoming appointments, news of a wedding and sports pages.

You can download a searchable PDF version by clicking here, or use the gallery below.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

An old wage packet:

Not sure of the date of this wage packet, possibly, late 70’s, I think.  As a Stockyard Foreman, my dad was not on a great deal of money. So, looks like he was on 20 pounds and 10 shillings.

I remember talking to kids at school, as you did and asking what their dad’s were on, one lad said 50 pounds a week as his dad was a lorry driver, that sort of thing sticks with me.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Life assurance and general pension documents:

Next up are 3 documents relating to a life assurance scheme and the general staff pension scheme.  These documents relate back to the 40’s and 50’s and have kept in reasonably good condition.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Calculation of redundancy payments:

Here is an interesting comparison referring to redundancy and severance payments.  My dad asked for early retirement on the grounds of ill health.  He had suffered bronchitis for many years and was also affected by the results of shrapnel wounds from his activity in WWII (That is another story).

After 24 years the company offered him redundancy (with no gold watch). I imagine this was to stop his pension kicking in until the correct start date.  In the end my dad had to accept this and accepted redundancy in 1971.

His payment for this was £720.

As mentioned earlier, I worked for TI Sunhouse.  This is where I started my toolmaking apprenticeship.  Unfortunately, after just over a year the company went into administration.  For this I was paid £656 severance pay at age 17.

£720 for 24 years service against £656 for 18 months service must have felt like a kick in the teeth for my dad.

Images very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

In addition to the documents, here are some photos.  First two show my dad in the stockyard and the second two show him with the spoils of his redundancy.

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Dad (James Miller) on the right. Fred Crump (on the left) 1963

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

1960. Talbot Stead stockyard. Dad, back row second from the left with Fred Crump to his right. Others unknown.

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

Retirement 1971

Retirement 1971 (DIY stuff and pots and pans)

Additional Memorabilia:

Factories can be dangerous places to work and accidents can and do often happen.  You may have heard about the incident at Talbot Steads in 1957 when two people were killed at the factory after being overcome by fumes trying to save some factory workmates.  The name of one of those people was Paul W Wellings.

He was actually related to me through marriage as he married my mom’s cousin Edna Constance Jones.

The photo below is one that was supplied to a local newspaper by my dad.  It shows Paul Wellings as an ARP, photograph taken during the war in the 40’s.  My grandad William (Bill) Fellows is also shown, front row, left.

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

The second photo shows 38 Former employees of TI Chesterfield, Walsall, trip to Blackpool to lobby trade union leaders to increase pensions, dated 2nd September 1973.  My dad is shown centre holding a newspaper.

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

The third photo was also supplied to a local newspaper (The Walsall Observer) by my dad and shows a Talbot Steads works outing in 1926.

Image very generously supplied by Peter Miller. Click for a larger version.

If anyone has any information with reference to people in the various photographs this would be most appreciated.

Posted in News | 11 Comments

A heartfelt happy birthday to Aer Reg!

 

Aer Reg contemplating the unveiling of the refurbished George Fullelove Memorial Shelter at The Parade, Brownhills. Image Kindly supplied by David Evans.

Today, Thursday 25th June 2020), is a very important date for one of the foremost members of this little online community: Happy (belated) birthday to the Grandfather of the Brownhills Blog, Reg ‘Aer Reg’ Fullelove, now resident in Norton but a Brownhills lad through and through – and 90 years old today!

Reg is a wonderful local historian, poet and community elder, and his comments on the blog have their own cult following and we all love every one. But more than that Reg has donated over the years a huge amount of meterial, from films like this one of the 1934 Brownhills Carnival that opened up the remarkable history of Edgar Pritchard, to photos of old times, to local ephemera, great tales of his youth and of course, his brilliant poetry.

Happy Birthday old lad, you’re a star and the blog would not be what it is today without you.

All of us here look up to you, and I can’t think of a better Grandfather the blog could have – but you’re not just that, you’re a most excellent friend to us all, too.

Posted in News | 16 Comments

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

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

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

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

Hello Brownhills Bob

Can you make use of these?

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

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

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

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

Bottom row – 5th Arthur?

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

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

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

Perhaps others can fill in the rest of the names?

Regards
Jean Willey (nee Ensor)

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

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

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

I feature them below:

Carole said:

Hello

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

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

I do have a few more also.

Regards
Carole Roper

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

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

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

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

Thanks to all!

Posted in News | 27 Comments

Can you help Ray find an old workmate, please?

Just had this interesting enquiry from Ray Hart, who’s looking for a former workmate who lived at least for a time in the high rise blocks in Brownhills, and worked at Hardy Spicer (Now GKN Driveline) in Erdington, near Castle Bromwich.

Hardy Spicer in the old days, as maybe Ray would remember it. Image found on Pinterest.

I’ll let Ray explain:

Good afternoon Bob.

I’m searching for a very old pal of mine Ray Fryer.

Ray and I worked together at Hardy Spicer in Erdington circa 1962, at the time Ray and his wife lived Lozells. In 1967 I think? They lived in one of those blocks of flats on the left as you drove into Brownhills from Birmingham. Waine, Bayley & Humphries Houses.

There’s no problem at all. I’m sure many of us have been having a good sort out as a result of Covid 19. During one such sort, I came across some photo’s of Ray and his toddler daughter playing with my toddler son, in our garden taken in the summer of 1967.

Like me he would be in his mid seventies. It would be brilliant to meet him again, and of course, give him the photographs.

Look forward to any info my may be able come by.

Many thanks
Ray Hart

Did you know Ray Fryer or his family? I don’t recognise the name, but I do know many people in the Brownhills and wider area worked at Hardy Spicer so I think we have a good chance of reuniting old workmates here.

If you can help, please do. If you know anything, please mail me, preferably on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com and I’ll hook you up.

Hardy Spicer – now GKN Driveline – was just a quick hop down the Chester Road from Brownhills and id still a large employer of local people. Imagery from Apple Maps.

 

You can comment on this post too, but obviously I may have to edit any personal info posted, but will pass it on.

Thanks to Ray for a lovely enquiry and I wish him luck in his search.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Abnormal load likely to cause traffic issues in Brownhills this week

An important one here from Staffordshire Police who are warning that a large, abnormal load is coming through Staffordshire and through Brownhills this week.

The load is a 40-metre oxygen tank being transported from Cheshire to Warwickshire.

Tanks for the tipoff: Image from Staffordshire Police.

The tank will progress through the county of Staffordshire over five days in total, but dips into the West Midlands on Thursday when it will traverse the Watling Street and Chester Road in Brownhills, from where it will got to Four Oaks and back to the A5. That’s a long way to avoid a railway bridge!

This is the first of four similar loads in coming weeks. I’d ask for people’s patience and welcome any photos of this remarkable load readers would like to share – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

This kind of work is exactly what we need to get the country moving again. so best wishes to all involved.

Staffordshire Police wrote:

Warning to motorists as police set to escort large oxygen tank through county

Police are warning motorists of likely delays and diversions next week as officers help escort a large, medical grade oxygen tank through the county.

The tank – which is empty, 40 metres long and 6.5 metres in diameter – will be picked up on Monday 15 June and will make its way from the Cheshire border through areas including Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stone, Stafford, Rugeley, Cannock, Brownhills and Shenstone – finishing up in Warwickshire on Friday 19 June.

This is the first of four similar pick-ups over the next six weeks and we’ll be working with tree cutters and BT telephone engineers to ensure the load fits under trees and cables throughout the journey.

The full route:

Monday 15th June, Day 1:

  • At roundabout, turn right onto A34 in Congleton
  • Turn left onto A34 at Talke
  • Continue on A34 through 4 roundabouts
  • At roundabout, turn left onto A52 in Newcastle under Lyme
  • At roundabout, turn right onto A527
  • At roundabout, turn left onto A34.

Day 1 stops at Strongford

Tuesday 16th June, Day 2:

  • Continue on A34 through 9 roundabouts

    End of Day 2 at RedHill

Wednesday 17th June, Day 3:

  • At roundabout, turn left onto A513 Beaconside
  • At roundabout, turn right onto A518 Weston Rd
  • At roundabout, turn left onto A34 Queensway in Stafford
  • At roundabout, turn left onto A34 Lichfield Rd
  • At roundabout, continue on A34 Queensville
  • At mini roundabout, turn left onto A513 Weeping Cross
  • At double roundabout, turn right onto A51 in Woseley Bridge
  • At roundabout, turn left onto A51
  • At roundabout, turn right onto B5013 Station Rd in Rugeley
  • At double mini roundabout in Rugeley, continue on B5013
  • At roundabout, continue straight onto A460 Hednesford Rd
  • Continue on A460 through 10 roundabouts to Cannock

    End of Day 3 Great Wyrley

Thursday 18th June, Day 4:

  • At roundabout, continue straight onto A5 Watling Street
  • Continue on A5 through 1 roundabout
  • At roundabout, turn right onto A452 Chester Rd at Brownhills
  • Continue through 1 roundabout
  • At roundabout, turn left A454 Aldridge Road
  • At roundabout, turn left at Four Oaks Station onto A5127 Lichfield Road all the way back up to the A5
  • At roundabout, turn right onto A5
  • At roundabout, exit onto Roman Rd/Watling Street through Hints

    Day 4 Stops half way along Watling St

Friday 18th June, Day 5:

  • At roundabout, in Fazeley, turn right onto A4091

You can keep up to date with the movements on Twitter via @Tactical_Police.

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A token of my curiosity

Here’s a quick one for a Sunday afternoon – reader Elaine Griffiths has sent me the below image of a token that’s been dug up in a Norton Canes garden.

A curious find dug up in a local garden: But what was the Pelsall March? Image kindly sent in by Elaine Griffiths.

The question is simple: What is it, and what does it commemorate?

It bears the legend ‘Pelsall March 1906’ I think, but that could be 1900 or 1908. It’s a heart-shaped double pierced token, and from the green staining possibly brass or copper.

Anyone got any ideas? A quick Google threw up nothing.

I know there were lots of church and chapel related parades in the period, but I don’t think I’ve seen a token like this before.

Any ideas? Please do shout up: Either comment on this post, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or whisper in my ear on social media.

Cheers to Elaine for a great enquiry!

 

Posted in News | 4 Comments

A hundred years apart: Way out west of here…

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Old friend of the blog Ian Broad has been in touch again to continue his series of hundred years apart photos – this is the eighth set – he’s creating as part of his lockdown exercise bike rides.

This set are from a place to the west of here most readers will know well – where do you recognise? I think these are easy this week!

The first three images be seen in this post here, the second set can be seen here and the third wonderful set can be seen here. A couple of weeks ago, the fourth set also caused a lot of debate on social media and the fifth set covered some great pubs. The sixth set last weekend was a good talking point, too. Ian’s seventh set here of notable junctions was a hit too.

These brilliant images have caused quite the stir – a wonderfully popular project from a great blog contributor.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

Jill Manchester did this with great success a few years ago in Walsall Wood.

As usual, I shan’t identify locations, I’ll let readers work them out…

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Thanks to Ian for another great post and very thought provoking set of images, and if you have any views on this wonderful work, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Beware – bike thefts from garages and sheds occurring locally again

It’s time, I’m very much afraid, to issue another warning – it seems local burglars are at it again – In the last few weeks there have been a number of break-ins to sheds and outbuildings in the Brownhills and wider Walsall area targeting in particular pedal bikes and eBikes.

Bikes are highly nickable at the moment. Make sure yours is secure. Image from Maya Cycle.

Bikes are in demand right now with the pandemic waning and lockdown relaxation, so are easy to sell sell on the black market, sales sites, etc.

The local police posted the following warning last week:

Good afternoon

We have noticed an increase in the reports of theft of pedal cycles from sheds, garages and other outbuildings over recent weeks, particularly in the Bloxwich area of the borough.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind residents to review the security of your outbuildings. In many cases outbuildings are extremely vulnerable to crime and are often out of view, especially at night, or at the bottom of the garden. The security of these buildings is often overlooked, however many residents keep expensive bikes and tools in them without considering the security and vulnerability of the shed or building.

Please ensure you lock all your outbuildings, and secure your premises as best you can. Don’t leave valuables on view in cars, and make sure anything that could be used in a burglary – ladders, garden tools etc. – is securely stowed away.

There are some good security tips for sheds and outbuildings at this page here and yet more at this link here. The most important tip I think is not just to lock your bike in the shed, but use a bike lock when it’s in there: Preferably to a ground anchor, but if not to something that will be hard or noisy to separate it from. It won’t stop a determined, professional thief but could alert you to the local opportunistic neds.

Get a decent lock too for when out and about. Tips on those and how to use them properly can be found here.

If you’re offered a cheap bike, tools, car stereo equipment or gardening kit, think hard about where it might have come from, and by all means grub the people flogging them into the rozzers – the stuff is probably nicked. Next time, it could be your stuff they take.

Anyone with information on the recent spate of thefts is urged to contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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

Can you identify this mystery cottage?

Image of a cottage once in Hall Lane, courtesy of Colin White.

Here’s a fascinating one that’s literally just come in: Aldridge history buff and genealogist Colin White posted this picture this afternoon, found in his family effects, and asked where it stood.

Colin believes this image was where his wife’s family lived in Hall Lane and thinks the image dates from 1900.

The cottage bears the number 237 and that is, I think, a clue: The canal cottages at the Black Cock end of the lane still bear their canal plaques 238 and 239, despite having street numbers of 178 and 180.

I think it’s possible this cottage was adjacent to the right of these two:

Imagery and mapping embedded from Google Maps/Streetview.

Colin added:

My wife’s great grandparents resided in hall lane early 1911 and we discovered this photo.

I think it still stood in 1921 looking forward to the next census info!

I believe hat my wife’s great grandmother died in 1936 living in Hall Lane number 140 by then so the cottage may have come down by that time not sure ?

My question is simple: Can you help Colin with more info about this house? Do you remember it, or know when it came down? Do you remember number 140, which seems to have been replaced ivy modern housing in the 60s or 70s?

David Evans recalls a Snail Bank Cottage being in the Hall Lane area: Was this it?

If you can help, please do get in touch. Either comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my coat on Social Media.

Cheers to Colin for a great photo and very intriguing enquiry.

 

 

Posted in News | 8 Comments

A hundred years apart: Up the junction

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Old friend of the blog Ian Broad has been in touch again to continue his series of hundred years apart photos – this is the seventh set – he’s creating as part of his lockdown exercise bike rides.

This set are from some notable local junctions – where do you recognise? I think a couple of these are quite hard.

The first three images be seen in this post here, the second set can be seen here and the third wonderful set can be seen here. A couple of weeks ago, the fourth set also caused a lot of debate on social media and the fifth set last week covered some great pubs. The sixth set last weekend was a good talking point, too.

These brilliant images have caused quite the stir – a wonderfully popular project from a great blog contributor.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

Jill Manchester did this with great success a few years ago in Walsall Wood.

As usual, I shan’t identify locations, I’ll let readers work them out…

Thanks to Ian for another great post and very thought provoking set of images, and if you have any views on this wonderful work, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Posted in News | 7 Comments

I live where it’s grey: A mystery image surfaces

The image is definitely Brownhills, and I’m 95% sure of where it was taken. But what do you think? Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reece via David Evans. Click for a larger version.

A quick one as I’m busy at work right now but here’s a puzzle from the immense and popular Gerald Reece collection I’d like reader comment upon.

This photo has been found by David Evans in the huge amount of material donated to the blog by Gerald. It is of Brownhills, and would be in the postwar: I’m 95% sure I know where it was taken from and that would make it unique and remarkable.

What I can’t make out is the writing on the back, which obliquely, doesn’t tally but is kind of related to the same area, in my opinion.

What do you think? My query is that simple! Where is it and what’s the note on the back about? If you have any thoughts on this2, please do share them – comment here, find me on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

I thank Gerald and David for yet another remarkable find – you are a very wonderful and generous gentlemen.

The rear of the mystery image says: ‘Gibson, Block 7. Safety Equipment. Bhills 1949.’ Now, I can think of a reference to Block 7 in Brownhills history, and in this probably area: but this doesn’t tie up if 1949 is a date. It may, however, be a phone number. Any ideas? Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reed via the wonderful David Evans.

The donor of this remarkable image, Gerald Reece is of course a talented and superlative local historian, now resident in Devon, who wrote the seminal work ‘Brownhills – A walk into history’ upon which this blog stands.

Gerald and Cherry Reece: on whose shoulders all my work here stands. Image kindly supplied by David Evans.
Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

New allotments for Brownhills and Chasetown – what do you think?

Hey folks – a couple of weeks ago I featured an article prompted by an email from Declan Hammonds of Sewell Hammods Group who have purchased a site near Chasewater that was for many years occupied by a sewage works. It sits on the area of land between the canal and Chasetown Bypass/M6 Toll interchange, in an area sometimes referred to as ‘The Sandhills’.

I’ve tried finding a web presence for Brownhills Allotment Society mentioned on the flyer but can’t find anything, which is curious. They appear to have had a twitter account which was deleted. And contact for them would be useful please.

You can read that post here, which gives the location, or see the foot of this post where I’ve included it again for completeness.

The approximate proposed site. Imagery from Apple Maps.

Declan is fielding views from readers about converting the site into allotments, which seems like a fine idea to me.

Declan wrote to me last week:

Good Afternoon,

I write further to my previous email concerning the former Brownhills Sewage Works in Walsall. We have read with interest your post on the matter and the replies of your readers.

After a number of enquiries into our intentions at the site, we are exploring the possibility of providing allotment gardens. We would be interested in your view/opinions on the matter.

We would also be very keen to hear from your readers as stakeholders in the site, being that many of them probably use the footpath network that crosses it.

Regards
Declan

Declan Hammonds BSc (Hons) MICFor MArborA
Director

So, what do you think? Please do comment here or mail me – comment is probably better here where it’s easier for Declan to find than on social media.

Cheers all, and thanks to Declan for being so considerate.

I originally posted:

1938 1:2,500 ordnance survey plot of Anglesey Wharf overlaid on recent Google Earth imagery. The lost sewage works is circled. Click for a larger version.

An interesting enquiry came in recently from Declan Hammonds, who is interested in the history of a bit of edgeland in Brownhills, between the former Anglesey Wharf and the M6 Toll/Chasetown Bypass interchange that used to contain a sewage works.

The works is marked on some maps as Lichfield Rural District Council, and on others, Brownhills.

Declan asked:

Good Evening,
We have recently purchased the site of the former Brownhills RDC Sewage Works off Whitehorse road in Walsall (over the canal bridge) and wonder if this is the site mentioned and photographed in your blog.
Whilst the land has been purchased through our company, I take great interest in historical land use and wonder if you have any information on when the site last operated or was demolished.
The site has been cleared in its entirety and all that remains of its past is the sign (picture attached) and a few sporadic manhole covers.
Regards
Declan

The sewage works – clearly demolished – as seen in the 1963 NCB aerial survey. Click for a larger version. Image courtesy of Lichfield District Council.

The facility seems to have been gone by 1963, when the NCB did their aerial survey of the area – this above shows the adjacent sand quarry growing and what appears to be the remains of the circular filter beds on the ground.

If I’m honest, I’m unclear whose sewage this installation would have been filtering unless there was a sewer under the canal, but I’d say it discharged into the nearby Crane Brook. The White Horse Estate doesn’t seem to have grown until after the plant’s demise.

This 1962 1:1250 Ordnance Survey excerpt shows the sewage works expanded and still functional – but this will have been exhibiting mapping lag so it wasn’t necessarily there in 1962 at all. Click for a larger version.

Can anyone help please? It’s a really good question and a local feature I’d noted before but not really thought about. There has been some discussion of this in the past, but nothing solid. As it were.

If you can help, please do: Comment on this post, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tap my window on social media. Cheers to Declan for a really interesting enquiry.

The only remnant? Image kindly supplied by Declan Hammonds.

Posted in News | 7 Comments

A hundred years apart: Meet me on the street

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Old friend of the blog Ian Broad has been in touch again to continue his series of hundred years apart photos – this is the sixth set – he’s creating as part of his lockdown exercise bike rides.

This set are from the more southerly e and of town – where do you recognise? Not too hard this week…

The first three images be seen in this post here, the second set can be seen here and the third wonderful set can be seen here. A couple of weeks ago, the fourth set also caused a lot of debate on social media and the fifth set last week covered some great pubs.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

These brilliant images have caused quite the stir – a wonderfully popular project from a great blog contributor.

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

Jill Manchester did this with great success a few years ago in Walsall Wood.

As usual, I shan’t identify locations, I’ll let readers work them out…

Thanks to Ian for another great post and very thought provoking set of images, and if you have any views on this wonderful work, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Posted in News | 9 Comments

The demolition of a much loved local

I thought I’d continue sharing the hugely popular run of archive images today from the immense Gerald Reece collection. This set is a remarkable set I had no idea existed of the legendary pub ‘The Sportsman’, formerly The Huntsman, and before that Brownhills Working Mens Club [Not Ogley as I originally asserted, sorry – Bob] – being demolished.

This would I think be early to mid 1990s. It was replaced by Smithys Forge pub.

These images have been scanned by David Evans from Gerald’s material recently donated to the blog, and shows the loss of an very much loved, if frankly ugly, local icon.

I thank Gerald and David for yet another remarkable set – you are a very wonderful and generous gentlemen.

The donor of these remarkable images, Gerald Reece is of course a talented and superlative local historian, indeed now resident in Devon, who wrote the seminal work ‘Brownhills – A walk into history’ upon which this blog stands.

What do you recall from this gallery? If you have any thoughts or questions, please do share them – comment here, find me on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Gerald and Cherry Reece: on whose shoulders all my work here stands. Image kindly supplied by David Evans.
Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Ogley Hay May Day 1952-3: A historical Staple!

Images kindly supplied by Elizabeth Staples. Click for larger versions.

In the last couple of weeks old friend of the blog Elizabeth Staples – mother of the remarkably talented Mark Staples who, with others, created the 1880s Brownhills local history book whilst still at school – has posted the above gallery of Ogley Hay Infants School’s May Day celebrations from 1952/3.

This is a wonderful set, a little different to the many May Day pictures we’ve had before: Rather than the usual posed class photos – which are always excellent, but in a different way – these show a school busy and having fun, and really convey the spirit of the event, the same way that the gym photos shared by Dawn Hayton a couple of years ago did. There are real gems to be found in the detail.

Apart from the school and year, I have no information, so get to it – what do you remember? Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or buttonhole me on social media.

Thanks to Elizabeth for a gorgeous set that is bound to be very popular indeed.

I include Dawn Hayton original set below, for further memory jogging!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Reports of bogus workmen preying on local elderly: Please warn your friends!

I note with concern that the bogus workmen touting for gutter clearances and gardening and then bullying victims to pay an inflated bill are once again in operation and targeting the local elderly folk.

Picture from Police Scotland.

I have seen several reports in the last week in the Burntwood, Brownhills and Norton areas of this chancers door knocking and being  intimidating. 

Never take on gardeners or workpeople do do jobs on your property in response to a knock at the door. Always use reputable, known traders and get quotes beforehand. 

Please tell your relatives and neighbours about these scammers, and impress upon them how important it is not to be menaced into buying, or giving money for services  at the door, no matter how plausible the people demanding cash are. Genuine companies will always contact you by other means.

Explain that no official body will turn up unannounced demanding money for services like gardening, drain cleaning, fence repairs, tree pruning etc., and that if they are at all unsure of any caller, to close the door and contact the police.

Scumbags preying on the elderly and vulnerable are lower than a snake’s knees.

Please,  if you have any further information relating to this matter, or if you’ve witnessed something suspicious, please contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 (999 in an emergency, obviously) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Local media, News, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community | Leave a comment

Time to be careful around the local deer, please…

This is really important with the deer currently preparing to nurture their young.

I need to alert readers if possible to the issue of the local deer population at the moment, many of whom will be giving birth or nurturing this season’s young – last year a concerned local came across a newly born fawn on Brownhills Common and was challenged by the mother.

They can be very aggressive in protection of their offspring.

The man who made the discovery was concerned for the health of the fawn and called rangers and the RSPCA – who judged that the fawn was fine and should be left alone.

If you are concerned for the health or other aspects of a deer, you can call the police on 101 who will contact the on call ranger for help. But fawns should be left – nature will take its course.

If there’s been a serious traffic collision, of course dial 999.

As the days move on to high summer, the females will be straying from their normal herd groupings and places to find quiet cover to give birth, and then they’ll be quite protective of their young.

A very long-range photo (hence the poor quality) showing heavily pregnant fallow deer on the Chase. They were skittish, and clearly easily spooked.

I know we all love these beautiful, majestic creatures and seeing them on the commons and green spaces hereabouts is always a treat – but at the moment, the ladies will be truculent and intolerant of dogs and nuisance.

If you’re in a place where there are likely to be deer, make sure your dog is on a lead, and keep your distance. This is true at any time especially at Chasewater where morons with out of control animals every year are responsible for scared deer and disturbed nesting birds – please don’t be like them; control your hounds please.

If you’re lucky you’ll see fawns as they become mobile and believe me, they have cute in bucketloads – but if you find one alone, heed the warning above; leave well alone and don’t touch because momma will be back!

These bathing beauties were spotted taking a dip in the canal near Chasewater back at this time in 2017 by good pal and top fellow blogger Linda Mason.

This is, however a great time of year to spot deer if you’re responsible, and who knows you may spot them bathing like Linda did above and Angela Morris recorded in 2016 when she created the following footage. My thanks to Angela for sharing it.

I think almost everyone hereabouts love the deer, and they are wonderful to watch. Please do, but do so responsibly – and feel free to share any footage you create!

Thanks, all.

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

A further sad update from New Hall Mill

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

Yesterday, I had another sad update from Alan Dawson about New Hall Mill, that fabulous historic gem of a working watermill just down the road near Sutton Coldfield.

Regular readers will know well I always plug their events and am a keen supporter of what they’re doing.

So it’s very sad, but of course, totally understandable that the Friends of New Hall Mill have now decided to keep the attraction closed throughout 2020 and hope to open again in May of next year.

One of my favourite things about curating the blog in summer is knowing I can direct a healthy flow of interested folk to great, otherwise hidden local attractions like New Hall Mill. I love the place and adore getting them better known – the mill is gorgeous and so quintessentially English it’s impossible not to love.

To see it closed for a whole year fills me with sadness.

This is absolutely the correct action, but by jove, I’ll miss these folk and their events.

Alan Dawson, on behalf of The Friends of New Hall Mill, said:

Hi Bob

              New Hall Mill – Coronavirus Update

I hope that you are well and keeping yourself socially distanced from others during these horrendous times.

As I have previously indicated – We are aware of the interest that your blog creates, many visitors to the mill indicating that their attendance was the result of your promoting the open days, for which we are immensely grateful.

Could you please post the following updated information on your blog?

NEW HALL MILL – Unfortunately, we have to report that New Hall Mill will not be open to visitors during 2020. This decision has not been taken lightly as we know how much pleasure is gained by both visitors and ourselves.

We cannot open the site owing to very important Health and Safety issues –

  1. Many of our volunteers fall into the “At Risk” category, we had already received notifications that a number would not be available for attendance on open days this year due to the pandemic.
  1. It is impossible to be “Socially Distant” in the Mill, Tea Room & Gift Shop.

The Health and Well Being of our volunteers, event exhibitors and the public has to be our number one priority during these unprecedented  times.

We hope that readers understand our situation. We expect to reopen in May 2021 and look forward to seeing you then.

Our Face Book page NEW HALL MILL will post updates throughout our closed period.

Many thanks in anticipation, Best wishes from New Hall Valley

Alan Dawson – A friend of New Hall Mill

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

Obviously, I would imagine the same goes for similar attractions locally like Balleny Green miniature railway at Little Hay, Clay Mills pumping station near Burton, Klondyke Mill at Draycott and so forth.

This is so very sad but I will be so ready to welcome them all back when this strange time passes. My best wishes to Alan and all at New Hall Mill, and to all those volunteers, organisers and grafters who put events on and now find themselves oddly spare for a season.

My sympathies. See you on the other side.

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

Walsall tips to reopen with limited operations – but please be patient!

On your marks – get set – and toss! Image from Walsall Council.

An important note here to point out that Walsall Council’s tips – known as Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) reopen today, Saturday 16th May 2020 following their closure during the coronavirus pandemic in line with government guidelines that declared tip runs were not ‘essential journeys’.

Readers will find all the relevant information below and SHOULD BE PREPARED TO QUEUE. Strict social distancing will be enforced, and the actual waste that can be accepted is limited, again by government instruction. Traffic will not be allowed to enter Merchants Way in Aldridge from Snubbers Green Road.

You can find out all you need to know in the details below, on the council’s Bins and Things site by clicking here  and Facebook group by clicking here.

If your trip can be left until another day, for heaven’s sake leave it a while. It’s going to be hellish.

Remember, however angry you get, this is going to be very busy indeed, and the staff manning the sites, marshalling queues and manning social media are just humans, doing a job. Give them a break and be polite, please.

Council officers are so concerned you know the regulations, they’ve created a video for you starring Mike ‘Blofeld’ Bird to chivvy you through it. I notice the famous charm has never waned.

Note also that there are now live webcams so you can see how busy the sites are on the recant HWRC webpage – Merchants Way Aldridge here and Fryers Road Bloxwich here.

Walsall Council said:

 

Walsall tips to reopen with limited operations

From Saturday, 16 May 2020, Walsall Household Waste and Recycling Centres (tips) will reopen with limited operations.

Only essential trips to dispose of waste, or recycling that cannot be stored at home without causing risk of injury, health or harm, are permitted under new government guidelines.

Opening Times from Saturday 16 May 2020:

From Saturday 16 May you will be able to ‘view the queue’ at each site via a live web cam feed at the above links. This will be a live feed and will not be recorded.

Accepted waste

  • Black bags, containing items which can decompose and may cause a hazard to health (excess food waste, nappies, hygiene products, pet waste etc.)
  • Garden waste (grass and hedge cuttings, leaves, weeds, old plants and flowers)
  • Large electrical items (fridges, tumble dryers, televisions etc.)
  • Furniture (three-piece suite, mattress, drawers etc.)

If you bring items we cannot accept you will need to take them back home with you.

Making your way to the sites

Traffic management systems, including a one-way traffic flow, will be in operation at both sites.

Please expect to queue

We expect demand for both sites to be high, so expect to queue when you approach the HWRCs.  Our site operatives will be on hand along the queue to guide you.

Identification and proof of residency

You will need two forms of identification. One must be photo ID (drivers licence, passport, etc.) and the other must show proof of Walsall residency (recent utility bill, current council tax summary). Please remain in your vehicle whilst in the queue, and show your ID through the closed window of your vehicle to HWRC operatives.

Safety and social distancing

Social distancing measures are in place throughout both sites and you need to remain within your marked bay whilst unloading your vehicle.  Bulky items can be left in the marked zone at the side of your bay.  Our operatives will remove them when your vehicle has left.  Please exit the sites using the traffic management guidance and direction from site operatives.

Please note:

  • Journeys to HWRCs must only be undertaken if waste or recycling cannot be stored at home safely or disposed of safely by other means. By this we mean the waste cannot be stored without causing risk of injury, health or harm. No other reason for the journey would be considered a legitimate purpose. If residents can temporarily store waste or recycling in a way that does not pose a risk to their own or others’ safety or human health, they must do so.
  • Residents who are showing symptoms of COVID-19, in a 14-day household isolation or who are vulnerable and remaining at home for shielding purposes should not attend HWRC sites.
  • For households with residents showing COVID-19 symptoms, waste should be left for 72 hours before being double-bagged and brought to the HWRC.
  • New, temporary traffic management arrangements will be in place at both sites and sites will operate on a ‘one car out, one car in’ arrangement, controlled by the staff on site who will direct residents where to park and unload.
  • Residents who travel to HWRCs must remain in their vehicle while queuing to aid with social distancing and must not leave their vehicle until it is necessary to get out.
  • Pedestrians walking in with waste will not be permitted access to the sites.
  • Only one person will be permitted in each car, unless bringing a bulky item that requires two people to unload it or if the person is registered as having a disability and carries an authorised Blue Badge. If two people are required they must be from the same household.
  • Site staff will be unable to offer any assistance with unloading vehicles or carrying items.
  • To comply with social distancing restrictions both sites will be operating with revised layouts, marked with signage and barriers to limit pedestrian movement.
  • Visitors to HWRCs must observe social distancing at all times. Residents who do not comply with social distancing guidance will be asked to leave. If social distancing is not being maintained by visitors, sites may have to close temporarily.
  • Residents bringing items to the site that cannot be accepted will be asked to keep the items in their vehicle and take them home. Prohibited items include items such as gas bottles, car batteries, tyres, rubble, oil or chemicals.
  • Vehicles which will be permitted entry to Walsall HWRCs include cars and smaller vans only. Large cargo vehicles such as Transit vans or similar will not be permitted. Trade waste is never accepted at either HWRC site.
  • Residents returning home after any essential journey, including visits to HWRCs, should remember not to touch their face and to wash their hands for 20 seconds on arrival at their destination.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Filtering the evidence

1938 1:2,500 ordnance survey plot of Anglesey Wharf overlaid on recent Google Earth imagery. The lost sewage works is circled. Click for a larger version.

An interesting enquiry came in recently from Declan Hammonds, who is interested in the history of a bit of edgeland in Brownhills, between the former Anglesey Wharf and the M6 Toll/Chasetown Bypass interchange that used to contain a sewage works.

The works is marked on some maps as Lichfield Rural District Council, and on others, Brownhills.

Declan asked:

Good Evening,
We have recently purchased the site of the former Brownhills RDC Sewage Works off Whitehorse road in Walsall (over the canal bridge) and wonder if this is the site mentioned and photographed in your blog.
Whilst the land has been purchased through our company, I take great interest in historical land use and wonder if you have any information on when the site last operated or was demolished.
The site has been cleared in its entirety and all that remains of its past is the sign (picture attached) and a few sporadic manhole covers.
Regards
Declan

The sewage works – clearly demolished – as seen in the 1963 NCB aerial survey. Click for a larger version. Image courtesy of Lichfield District Council.

The facility seems to have been gone by 1963, when the NCB did their aerial survey of the area – this above shows the adjacent sand quarry growing and what appears to be the remains of the circular filter beds on the ground.

If I’m honest, I’m unclear whose sewage this installation would have been filtering unless there was a sewer under the canal, but I’d say it discharged into the nearby Crane Brook. The White Horse Estate doesn’t seem to have grown until after the plant’s demise.

This 1962 1:1250 Ordnance Survey excerpt shows the sewage works expanded and still functional – but this will have been exhibiting mapping lag so it wasn’t necessarily there in 1962 at all. Click for a larger version.

Can anyone help please? It’s a really good question and a local feature I’d noted before but not really thought about. There has been some discussion of this in the past, but nothing solid. As it were.

If you can help, please do: Comment on this post, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tap my window on social media. Cheers to Declan for a really interesting enquiry.

The only remnant? Image kindly supplied by Declan Hammonds.

Posted in News | 13 Comments

A hundred years apart: Time, gentlemen please – and a grand clock tower!

Old friend of the blog Ian Broad has been in touch again to continue his series of hundred years apart photos – this is the fifth set – he’s creating as part of his lockdown exercise bike rides.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

The first three images be seen in this post here, the second set can be seen here and the third wonderful set can be seen here. Last week the fourth set also caused a lot of debate on social media. These brilliant images have caused quite the stir – a wonderfully popular project from a great blog contributor.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

Jill Manchester did this with great success a few years ago in Walsall Wood.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

As usual, I shan’t identify locations, I’ll let readers work them out…

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Thanks to Ian for another great post and very thought provoking set of images, and if you have any views on this wonderful work, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Fancy a bit of Brownhills poetry?

Janet Grinnell has been in touch from Knaves Court in Brownhills – that wonderful extra care facility near Anchor Bridge for older folk – to let me know that following the great success of their previous book, ‘Chatting with Brownhills’, they’ve just launched a new book on Amazon of Brownhills poetry.

If it’s half as good as their last communal work it’ll be absolutely brilliant. I loved Chatting With Brownhills and pick it up regularly for a read, so this should be most excellent too!

The book is just £3.99 which is very pocket-pleasing indeed, and if you have one of those Kindle things it’s only £1.99 in electronic form, so what’s not to love? To buy your copy, click here.

Janet Grinnell wrote:

Hi Bob

This is Janet from Knaves Court.

Just to let you know that following our ‘Chatting with Brownhills’ book, we have now published a book of poetry  – again with work from people in the wider Brownhills community and also some of our residents.  Hoping you will help to spread the word for us as you have been so good in the past.

The book is available on Amazon, “Poetry in Brownhills” edited by Jan Grinnell £3.99 for paperback or £1.99 for Kindle.  As with our other book, all monies raised will go back to our resident and community group, ‘The Friends of Knaves Court’ to help us carry on the good work.

Many thanks for your help, both now and in the past.

Janet Grinnell

Activities Co-ordinator

Direct Dial 0370 192 4204
Knaves Court, High Street, Brownhills, Walsall, WS8 6DJ
Website: www.housingandcare21.co.uk
Follow us: Facebook / Twitter (@HousingCare21) / Linkdin

Thanks to Janet for letting me know – always love new local books!

If you get a copy, I’d love to hear what you think: Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

A hundred years apart: A lucky escape for a lorry driver and a ride to the Castles

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Old friend of the blog Ian Broad has been in touch again to continue his series of hundred years apart photos – this is the fourth set – he’s creating as part of his lockdown exercise bike rides.

The first three images be seen in this post here, the second set can be seen here and the third wonderful set can be seen here. These brilliant images have caused quite the stir – a wonderfully popular project from a great blog contributor.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

Jill Manchester did this with great success a few years ago in Walsall Wood.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

As usual, I shan’t identify locations, I’ll let readers work them out…

Thanks to Ian for another great post and very thought provoking set of images, and if you have any views on this wonderful work, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Posted in News | 14 Comments

Lichfield Waterworks Trust April news update

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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 share the latest newsletter of  the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group.

In the current pandemic, the trust has had to suspend meetings and activities like any other such organisation, but the task of saving Sandfields still goes on and Dave has lots of news to share.

Dave wrote:

Lichfield Waterworks Trust April Newsletter

As you are no doubt aware of the current global coronavirus pandemic the trust, as with many other organisations has had to suspend its onsite activities and meeting.

From its initial inception, the trust has always put the safety, health and wellbeing of its members first and foremost. Therefore, we will be following government and heath professional guidelines to keep everyone and the NHS safe.

As soon as the lockdown restrictions are lifted, please be assured we will re-commence work on site at the earliest opportunity.




The trustees would like everyone to know that we are thinking of you all and looking forward to the days when we can resume some normality.

Latest News

Building Lease Update:

Two trustees met with Persimmon on Tuesday 5 November to discuss the lease. The trustees have also met to discuss the offer made by Persimmon Homes Ltd. While the overall details of the lease still need to be negotiated and there are still some outstanding issues that need to be addressed. The trustees have a great deal of confidence in the teams of volunteers who are making things on site happen. The trustees have also carful considered the enormous and significant contribution the members have made to this project, therefore the trustees believed that it’s time to stop kicking the problems back and forth and instead to move things forward.

We have therefore agreed that we are in a position to move on with the lease. We have informed Persimmon Homes Ltd and are waiting for them to contact our solicitors.

The trustee would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your ongoing help and support.

Important Note:

After the visit by Historic England on 16 Jan, the site has unfortunately been placed on the Heritage At Risk Register.

This is indeed sad news to see that this magnificent piece of industrial heritage is now officially at risk of permanent loss.
 
The trust is committed to continue working with the owner, Persimmon Homes Ltd to find a sustainable solution that will bring this building and its historic contents aback into a community use.

Archive and Historical Research Team Report

The heritage of the modern water industry is almost entirely absent, despite its unarguable relevance to human development.

Document of the Month April 2020

Specification for a Cornish Beam Engine

William Vawdrey is the second son of the late Rev. A. A. Vawdrey, who was for many years Vicar of St. Agnes, Cornwall. Born at St. Day Vicarage on the 17th ‘of April 1840. As a youth he was sent as a student to Messrs. Harvey and Company’s Foundry at Hayle, where he remained seven years. He was then employed in erecting pumping and winding-engines for Messrs Eustace and Son and other owners.

In 1865, after passing the requisite examination, he entered the Royal Navy, but soon afterwards retiring from the service he was appointed assistant engineer to the South Staffordshire Waterworks under Mr. J. R.McClean.

Two years later he assumed full charge of the works and remained with the company up to his death on the 2nd of January 1895. During these 30 years of service Mr. Vawdrey proved himself a most able and energetic promoter of the company’s welfare and substantially developed the activity of South Staffs Water.

Vawdrey designed, specified and tendered the 65-inch Cornish Beam Engine at Sandfields Pumping Station, known today as engine number 4. The South Staffs Water archive still holds copies of the original engine specification written in hand manuscript. These documents are a treasure and will provide educational, study and research opportunities for many years to come.



Linda Shapiro has been studying Victorian culture for many years, her research work can be seen on her website Dewsbury Victorian Family’s. She has painstakingly transcribed this document and a number of others relating to the construction of the original impounding reservoir at Stowe Pool and a number of transaction from William Vawdreys’ daybook.

Here is a sample of the transcribed manuscript for you to enjoy. We will in due course be releasing a full version of this transcript for study, comment, a study day, booklet and a talk.


The Contract shall include the Engine Boilers, Pumps  Air Vessel, and other works and all duplicates. Tools and Materials hereinafter described with all needful 8888 and complete apparatus, appendages, attachments, appliances, and connections  jointed fixed and set to work; and comprise also all proper and necessary floor joists to support the stone landings of the working floor, and the plates for floor of Cylinder stage and other floors, together with access frames and plates for the same wherever required and also all holding down bolts washer plates, bed plates beams, spring beams, bearers, handrails, balusters and other matters and things whatsoever pertaining  incident or appurtenant to the Engine, Boilers, Machinery and other works and apparatus and their supports fixings attachments connections, appliances and conveniences respectively including all waste and other pipes to the outside of the buildings and all pump work as far as one pipe outside of the air vessel.

The Engine shall be of the kind known as a Cornish or single acting expansive condensing Beam Engine, and shall be made according to the most improved construction and arrangement in all its details and be finished bright in all parts usually so finished by the best makers of first class Water Works Engines, and the working gear shall be so arranged that the steam may be cut off at any point from one sixth of the stroke downwards as may be found desirable, and that the Engine may be capable of making fully ten strokes per minute  continuously, with a pressure equal to (135 lbs, one hundred and thirty five pounds) to the square inch on the pump bucket, and the Contractor shall so proportion and construct the Engine, Pump valves, Air vessel and other works as to enable the Engine satisfactorily to work through  a 24 ins diameter Main at the above named speed and pressure and throw at each stroke the full quantity of water due to the area of the bucket and length of stroke without loss through valves, and if upon trial the Engine shall not be found capable of doing this continuously the Contractor shall make such alterations in any parts thereof as shall be required to enable it so to perform the work aforesaid.


As you can clearly see, this is a beautifully written technical document with all the nuances of Victorian culture. It is a joy to read and study, so watch this space, there will be more to come.

We feel privileged here at Sandfields because it is one of the rare industrial building that still holds a comprehensive archive of materiel form the past. The archive record held at Sandfields Pumping Station is an invaluable record and a window to the day to day activity of operating a waterworks. Here we see evidence of working practices and skills, now lost.

If you hold an interest in history or are just curious about the past and want to learn more, then why not drop by for tea.

3D Walkthrough

Dudley Technical College has been extremely kind in producing a 3D Walkthrough for the trust. This is an amazing piece of work that not only showcases the site, it also provides an opportunity to those who are unable to visit the site or climb the stairs

Please click on the image below

History West Midlands – Podcast

History West Midlands have produced a stunning podcast titled – Making Cholera History in the Black Country.

Presented by writer and broadcaster Graham Fisher and Directed by Andy Partington, featuring David Moore, the podcast gives a detailed history of both Sandfields pumping Station and the story of clean water.

Please click on the image below

Donations

The current global coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the trust. With no onsite activity, meeting, talks or raffles we are seriously down of income. We do manage our money very carefully and have no paid staff, therefore we will get by. But it would be nice to hit the ground running as soon as we get a return to normality.

We have lots of events and activities planned, so if you can give a small donation, we can get things on the moves as quickly as possible.


 
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.
 
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.

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

When poor Pollie had toothache…

Moors Gorse pumping station if I’m not mistaken. A lovely card from Ian Broad.

Top bloke Ian Broad has been in touch again this week, this time with a postcard mystery, as he knows we love those here on the blog!

Ian has currently been working on a series of ‘100 years apart’ old and new contrast images, the first three of which be seen in this post here and the second set can be seen here. I featured another, third set here last weekend and have yet more in the bag. These brilliant images have caused quite the stir – a wonderfully popular project from a great blog contributor.

But today, something a little different. Ian has the above postcard – which if I’m not mistaken is Moors Gorse pumping station, situated on Cannock Chase where Marquis Drive crosses the A460 Rugeley Road by the former level crossing at the foot of Kitbag Hill.

The postcard has not been postally used, and the reverse says:

You know my ability with handwriting is dreadful! Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad. Click for a larger version.

Ian asks:

Hi Bob

A post Card Mystery!

Does anybody know anything about the folks in this undelivered post card? I’ve tried to find where 25 New Buildings is but can’t find any record. Post card isn’t dated. It’s from Pollie to Annie Cartwright.

Pollie has toothache so she didn’t go to Walsall and Annie has had a cold!

Cheers
Ian Borad

So, what do you guys think then? You know the drill… If you have anything to say, please do comment here, find me on social media or even mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Thanks to Ian for another wonderfully thought provoking post.

 

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

Posted in News | 3 Comments

A coin of some value

Image from an eBay sale by Gutteridges.

A great spot on eBay here for folks into local church history. Most of you will know that Walsall Wood Church of St John is older than Brownhills, which was ex-parochial until St James’ was constructed in 1850. Walsall Wood has had it’s lovely, devotional Church of St. John since 1837.

Old pal of the blog and top Wood Mon™  Brian Beard spotted this memorial coin – presumably struck for subscribers(donors) to the new church in Walsall Wood in 1837 – for sale on eBay, at the time of posting for £65. The seller, Wednesbury based Gutteridges, says they obtained the item as a result of a house clearance.

You can see the original sale here.

Image from an eBay sale by Gutteridges.

The coin appears to be copper, and notes:

This church erected to the glory of The Triune Jehovah [Holy trinity as I understand it – Bob] and for the eternal good of souls was built by voluntary subscription.

Consecrated Aug 22nd 1837.

Eph.11.20.21

[Ephesians, I think: Perhaps a Bible scholar could look that one up? – Bob]

Image from an eBay sale by Gutteridges.

On the other side is a nice relief of the original church, before either extension, and as it was originally built, and the test says:

‘An habitation for the mighty God of Jacob St John’s Walsall Wood’

I have no connection with the seller, and just wondered what readers might have to say about this curious bit of ecclesiastical ephemera: Are there many about? Do your family or relatives own such a coin? Comment here, mail me or find me on social media. Please have your say!

Thanks to Brian for a remarkable spot.

St Johns looks a bit different today to how it did on that coin. Not just the 1980s aberration at the tower end, but the flanks added at the sides and rear by the Victorians which make this a much bigger church than it was when opened in 1837. Image from my 365days archive.

For those who want to know more about the history of St. John’s, way back in 2012, local lady Jenny Langford donated a printed booklet entitled ‘The Parish Church of Walsall Wood, A Short History’, which does exactly what it says on the cover. David Evans subsequently took great effort to scan each page, then sent them to me by email. I reassembled them into a .PDF file for readers. 

You can download a copy here – it’s well worth a look.

There’s a similar history of St. James’ Church in Brownhills, which has been available online for some time. It appears to date from the 1970’s or 80’s.

Click on the image above to download the .PDF file. It’s 4.1 megabytes in size, so it may take a while on a slow connection.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In memoriam, Eileen and Bill Gough

Susan Arrowsmith has been in touch and asked me to share with you all the sad news that her parents Eileen Gough (nee Bradshaw) and Bill Gough recently passed away within days of each other.

Eileen and Bill Gough. Image kindly supplied by Susan Arrowsmith.

Formerly Brownhills residents before moving to Walsall Wood and High Heath, the couple  were well known and respected locally.

Obviously in these difficult times the funeral service is limited in attendance, but Susan would like folk to know when her parents will be taking their final journey.

Susan wrote:

These are strange times when news does not circulate the way you might expect.

Eileen Gough (nee Bradshaw)  Bill Gough (my darling dad) was a Brownhills lad born and bred, a long serving member of WW Boys Brigade. Both lived on the Chester Road, Shire Oak until married before moving to the Wood then into High Heath.

If you think there might be people in your sphere who knew them then please do pass this news on.

Their double funeral is Friday 24th April 2020 up at Fradley and will passing through Walsall Wood, Clayhanger, Brownhills and Shire Oak.

Such a happy couple. Eileen and Bill, rest in peace. Image kindly supplied by Susan Arrowsmith.

The funeral is limited to 10 people but I would like for as many people as possible to know they are making one last journey at 9am. Thank you.

My sincerest condolences and sympathies to Susan and all of the Gough family and their friends, and my gratitude goes out to Susan for letting us know.

 

Posted in News | 12 Comments

Barnetts Lane Cemetery: An important update from St James Church

I have been asked to post a public notice here by Roger Corbett, Chuchwarden of St. James Church in Ogley Hay, Brownhills and by default responsible for Barnetts Lane Cemetery in the town, operated by the Diocese of Lichfield.

The community came forward and worked very had last year to get Barnetts Lane tidy. The community effort was very much appreciated, mostly. Image from the Cemetery Facebook page.

This is a remarkable thing that’s very strongly worded. I have been asked to post it here and I am doing so as is my public duty.

What I will point out is that if you have anything to say about this, best course of action is to contact the Church.

There is a Facebook page staffed by a volunteer here.

St James Church Brownhills
Barnetts Lane Cemetery

This cemetery is currently still open. We want it to remain so long as possible to enable family and friends to visit their loved ones. This means taking all necessary precautions and maintaining social distancing when you are there

Please do not use the benches as use by multiple people can be a source of infection

As long as the rules are observed it should be possible to keep the Cemetery open

We need to point out now that the grass is currently growing. It will continue to grow, and we are unable to do anything about it. No one is able to do anything as cutting things back is not classified as “necessary work”

This year it will overtake us like never before and we simply have to accept this. It does mean that the area will become quite overgrown. If it becomes dangerous then consideration will have to be given to closing the cemetery for safety reasons

Please stay safe

Roger Corbett
Church Warden

Posted in News | Leave a comment

A shady mystery!

Thanks to longstanding contributor John Anslow, I have a Shelfield mystery for the readers and researchers this fine Sunday – all help with this would be appreciated, please.

John, long time contributor with his late brother Paul sent in a fascinating article last week regarding a collection of Victorian portrait photos, wherein John also informed us of Paul’s sad passing.

Encouraged by the interest in his latest historical conundrum, John’s raised an interesting question from an old news clipping: Where was Shady Park in Shelfield?

John Anslow wrote:

It looks like the typeface of the Lichfield Mercury, but not sure. It’d say like John, 1920s-1930s. Click for a larger version.

Hello again, Bob.

I found this dog-eared and yellowing newspaper cutting while sorting through a box of old documents the other day. It has no date but, judging from the hats and other attire, it appears to be from the early 1930s.

It describes the opening of a new pavilion at Shelfield Y.M. Sports Club by ‘Mrs. Reece, of Walsall Wood’.

Lucy Reece was the wife of Sid Reece, tenant of Dairy Farm around the time of the Great War. This farm, with its magnificent barn, has previously been the subject of much interest on your blog.

The secretary of the club, Teddy Nash, also pictured here, subsequently married Lucy’s daughter, Mary.

Also referred to in the cutting are several people who would have been well known in Shelfield and Walsall Wood for their charitable work and public service; they include Arthur Newbould and Doctor F. R. Roberts.

Arthur can be seen in the picture of the Nurses’ Fete you published in 2014, and Dr Roberts has been mentioned previously here in comments by Reg Fullelove and David Evans.

Do any of your readers remember the sports club or the pavilion? I confess the name “Shady Park” is unfamiliar to me.

 All the best,

 John Anslow

The clipping (above) mentions many locally well-known names in recording the opening of a new Sports Pavilion at the aforementioned park; but I can’t find it in the online archives – nor can I find mention of it anywhere else.

I’m assuming it’s what is now known as ‘Shelfield Park’ or ‘Parklands Playground’ – here’s how it was recorded in 1938:

National Library of Scotland archive Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 scale mapping of Shelfield, issue dated 1938. Click for a larger version.

Note that the park had buildings in the 1930s which would probably be pavilions. Opening Sports Pavillions was a popular leisure investment by councils, social organisations and companies in the interwar period: Many are recorded including Walsall Wood, Lichfield, several in Walsall and across the wider Black Country.

But I can find no reference to this.

Here’s what the park looks like today in modern Google Earth imagery. Click for a larger version.

So: What do you know? Can you help?

If a better crate-digger than me can find this in the archives, or another reference to it, so that it could be dated, that would be most excellent. I welcome all contributions, as always: Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or find me lallygagging on social media.

This is a fine contribution for which I am, as ever, indebted to John Anslow. The brothers Anslow have shone a beautifully crafted light upon some of the wonderful, little-known corners of Walsall Wood history – from sneaking into garden parties to cocksure monstinks; from dignity in poverty to odd interconnected stories, the Anslow boys have been behind some of my very favourite things to share here.

I am honoured to be able to feature these contributions here. Thank you John.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Taking the Hammerwich, Hednesford and Chasewater hundreds!

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Old friend of the blog Ian Broad has been in touch again to continue his series of hundred years apart photos – this is the third set – he’s creating as part of his lockdown exercise bike rides.

The first three images be seen in this post here and the second set can be seen here. Thes brilliant images have caused quite the stir – a wonderfully popular project from a great blog contributor.

Spring Valley, Heath Hayes. But where was/is it? Can you help please?

You can actually help Ian here too – he’d like to know where the above image is taken. Do you have any idea, please? Heath Hayes isn’t my speciality, so contributions welcome on that one.

Hi Bob,

As I live in Heath Hayes I thought this might be a good 100 years project  pic.  However, I can’t find it… No reference to it apart from this postcard.

Any idea where it might be?

Thanks.

Ian.

Please do comment or mail me.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Jill Manchester did this with great success a few years ago in Walsall Wood.

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

The bike is a lovely touch. Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

I shan’t identify locations, I’ll let readers work them out…

Thanks to Ian for another great post and very thought provoking set of images, and if you have any views on this wonderful work, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Posted in News | 18 Comments

Why not stay at home Wednesday and meet Walsall Humanists in your lounge?

Here’s a quick plug for Lichfield, Walsall and South Staffordshire Humanists – a philosophical debating group – who have their quarterly meeting this Wednesday 15th April 2020 at your home! They are trying this time, since Coronavirus restrictions mean they can’t meet in the usual pub, a videoconference on Zoom instead.

The meeting kicks off at 7:45pm and goes on until about 9:45pm.

Old pal of the blog, Charles Street let me know about the group and their meeting schedule a while back, and this video meet-up looks like fun! Also don’t forget the fact that’s it’s completely free to attend.

If you’re interested in philosophy, the nature of what we believe and accept, this could be a great evening with like minded people. Without leaving your house!

Charles said:

Hello Everyone

Quite clearly we will not be meeting at our usual venue for our April meeting.

So we are going to try a Zoom Video Conference. I am advised with the system that we have that we can have a meeting for up to 100 for 40 minutes. How we will cope is anyone’s guess. Sometimes the system allows a first meeting to continue past the time. However the other option is to schedule another meeting immediately afterwards.

So here is the plan.

We will meet at 7:45 pm British Summer Time. Wednesday 15th April. I mention BST in case, this time, any of our overseas friends choose to join us.

Then at 8:35 we will schedule another meeting and continue.

If you want to participate, if you haven’t already done so, please download the Zoom Communications app. Then please reply to this email so we know who to send invites to with the relevant entry code and password. If there are any topics that anyone would like to discuss please mention that too.

The email address is: lichfieldhumanists@live.co.uk

What could possibly go wrong?

If this works, at this time, we might even meet more often given we have zero traveling time.

The Lichfield Walsall and South Staffordshire Humanist Group LWASS meeting. 

3rd Wednesday meeting every quarter for those interested in Humanism, Atheism, Secularism and related subject areas.
We meet on the 3rd Wednesday every quarter January April July and October at 7:45 pm ish until 9:45 pm ish for those interested in Humanism and related matters.
However if you are enjoying the debate you can stay until  closing time if you like  Zoom boots us off
Venue: Your Home where we are all staying.
The Walsall Arms – 17 Bank Street, WS1 2EP

Humanists UK can be explored at https://humanism.org.uk/

Humanism is a comprehensive life stance that upholds human reason, ethics, and justice, and rejects supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition.

If you would like to know more about Humanism the following link may be a good place to start.

Regards Chas

If you tune in to the meeting please drop me the word and tell me how you got on – the Humanists have a whole bunch of stuff going on and their website above is worth a look: I’ve always been a big fan of Birmingham Sceptics in the Pub who post some very interesting, thought provoking stuff on social media.

Tell me more: Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my coat on the antisocial media.

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A monumental mystery!

A bit of an interesting mystery today on the blog – Walsall Wood Church of St. John is one we’ve covered a few times over the years, and at heart it’s quite an old building. Heavily extended both by the Victorians and in our living memory, it’s still recognisably the same church, but now considerably larger.

Walsall Wood Church before the 1980s extension…. reproportioned it. note the tall monuments in the front churchyard. Image kindly supplied by the wonderful Bill Mayo.

However, David Evans is curious about a mystery connected with this fine building. At some point in recent decades, the front churchyard was cleared of monuments and memorials. This is not unusual, as many old churchyards contained decaying structures that were often tidied to improve the church for parishioners – this happened at Pelsall and Brownhills, of course.

David has long mused over an obelisk-like, tall memorial in front of St. Johns that disappeared during the clearance, and he’d love to know more about it.

I’ll let David talk you through it with the aid of a couple of great period photos from the wonderful Link family.

HI Bob

We are fortunate in having such generous local people who contribute with good heart to our communal history. Over recent years your wonderful blog has been instrumental in seeing this rich history brought to light and flourish so well

One of the enduring mysteries in Walsall Wood is the Lost Obelisk that once graced the grounds of St John’s Parish Church. Very old images of the church appear in Bill Mayo’s local history books… These manly being from around the turn of the 20th century.

This wedding photo at St Johns Church, High Street Walsall Wood was taken in 1956 and was kindly offered by Mr and Mrs Lynk a few years ago. It shows the view towards the nearby corner with Coppice Road and the Co-op butchers and grocery shops there and the now demolished houses at the corner with Brookland Road and Lichfield Road.

Mr and Mrs Lynk kindly let me scan two of their wedding photos which show that this Obelisk was still there in 1956… A helpful date to have.

But the mystery of what happened to the monument, and who and what it commemorated still remains unresolved.

kind regards

David Evans

This image was taken outside the front door to the church and shows the High Street shops near Headley’s shop… It also shows the lost obelisk in front of the dark tree.

Can you help with this? If so, please do: Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my sleeve on social media. Thanks to David and the Link family for the continued generosity and a great puzzle!

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Another hundred years apart

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Old friend of the blog Ian Broad has been in touch again to continue his series of hundred years apart photos he’s creating as part of his lockdown exercise bike rides.

The first three images featured last Sunday can be seen in this post here and caused quite the stir – a wonderfully popular project from a great blog contributor.

Jill Manchester did this with great success a few years ago in Walsall Wood.

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

I shan’t identify locations, I’ll let readers work them out…

Thanks to Ian for another great post and very thought provoking set of images, and if you have any views on this wonderful work, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Posted in News | 12 Comments

Some very sad news, yet another fine man has left us – but he left us a puzzle to be going on with

In all probability, this scholarly looking gentleman is Thomas Reakes (1831-1903), vicar of Walsall Wood. Image kindly supplied by John Anslow.

Today, after a week of chaos and bad health, I have finally picked up the reigns of the blog again to catch up. Now nearing full speed again, I’m actually rested and recovering, so welcome back folks – let’s try and keep ourselves distracted in the curious, strange times we find ourselves within.

It’s my solemn duty first of all to share the very sad news that Paul Anslow, long time contributor to the Brownhills Blog, passed away suddenly in January. Paul was of course, brother of John and over the years the brothers Anslow have shone a beautifully crafted light upon some of the wonderful, little-known corners of Walsall Wood history – from sneaking into garden parties to cocksure monstinks; from dignity in poverty to odd interconnected stories, the Anslow boys have been behind some of my very favourite things to share here.

I would like to extend my condolences and deepest sympathy, and of course that of all of the readership, to John and all of Paul’s family and friends. I wish I’d met him. He always sounded like a fantastic bloke. Reading John’s email below, he sounded a real character, too.

Thank you John and belatedly to Paul too for all you’ve contributed. Paul will be very much missed here but he leaves behind him such a fine foundation for any scholar of local history. Something to be forever proud of. I will ensure it’s kept online for as long as I have breath.

John Anslow wrote:

Dear Bob,

Sadly, I have to tell you that my brother, Paul, died suddenly in mid-January. It was completely unexpected.

We used to speak on the telephone every evening and often discussed local history, particularly the Walsall Wood characters and stories he had heard about from our parents and grandparents. He was a mine of information about the late Victorian and Edwardian eras and had an enormous collection of CDs featuring the great singers of those periods such as Luisa Tetrazinni, John McCormack and, of course, Enrico Caruso.

We had recently been talking about submitting a short piece to you concerning a page of four photographs dating from around 1880. Paul was convinced that the fellow in the top right was Thomas Reakes, vicar of Walsall Wood during the late Victorian years. We were going to ask if you or your readers could confirm this, and maybe even offer suggestions as to the identity of the remaining three.

Your request for submissions to your blog last week spurred me into writing something, which I attach as a pdf together with a scan of the page in question.

To close, I must tell you something that might amuse you. At Paul’s funeral, his daughter, who is completely bilingual in Welsh and English, gave a brief address to the congregation in which she recited the first line of a poem she had written in Welsh and which had won first prize at a local eisteddfod when she was in primary school. The subject for the competition was ‘My Dad’.

The one person in the congregation who spoke Welsh smiled on hearing the verse; Helen translated for the rest of us:

 ‘My Dad swears
Farts
And listens to Caruso’

 That was Paul.

Keep up the good work with the Brownhills Bob Blog, William. It’s sorely needed during these difficult times.

 Yours sincerely,
John Anslow

John also wrote:

Hello Bob.

I’d like to tell you more about the photograph album that belonged to my great- grandmother, Hannah Eliza Jackson (née Street), who lived at the thatched cottage on Streets Corner until her death in 1935.

Judging by the clothes and hairstyles, the photographs cover the period from about 1880 to 1910 but, sadly, I cannot identify many of the people portrayed. You and your readers might, nonetheless, be interested in this record of Walsall Wood fashion, and may even suggest a possible name or two.

The album includes photographs of some of Hannah’s immediate family, but also of local worthies such as Mr Bradbury, the colliery manager, whose portrait (with bicycle) prompted a discussion on your blog in May 2014.

So top right is in all likelihood the Vicar of Walsall Wood; but who are the rest of these folk? A beautifully scanned snapshot of history from John Anslow. Click for a larger version.

The page I’ve attached comprises four cartes de visite. It includes one at the top right that my late brother, Paul, was certain was Thomas Reakes (1831-1903), vicar of Walsall Wood. He is recorded on the 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses listed respectively as “Vicar of the Parish (Walsall Wood)”, “Clerk in Holy Orders” and “Clergy from Ch of England”. He also appears on the 1871 census as a schoolmaster in Tor Moham, Devon.

There was a tale in my family that the vicar’s wife, Elizabeth, undertook the role of census enumerator in Walsall Wood and, being a trusting and unworldly soul, she was was often given false information, particularly about the names and ages of children. Having never found any serious inconsistencies in my own family’s census records, however, I have to wonder whether this story gained something in the telling over the years.

The identities of the other three sitters are unknown to me. The fellow at the bottom left has an air of prosperity about him, with his dog, his gun and his broad-brimmed, low-crowned hat. That lady is presumably his wife, but who is the fellow with a passing resemblance to Lord Palmerston? [I’m a bit startled there by the resemblance to Sir Gerald of Reece, of this parish, to be honest – Bob]

Hannah came from a respectable, working-class family (her father was a bricklayer) and she married a coal miner. Her sons all went down the pit and her daughters into domestic service, so Paul and I often wondered about the people in the early photographs. Might they have been employers rather than family? Then again, as anyone with photographs of their working-class ancestors will confirm, our forebears often dressed well and showed a dignity and style that would shame many of their modern descendants.

I shall be pleased to read comments from you and your readers and will submit a few more scans from the album if you think they would be of interest.

As ever, John Anslow

Thanks to John for a wonderful photo puzzle – and more of this kind of thing is always welcome. Thank you so much. I am with you in your loss.

Can you help identify any of these dignified folk? Please comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Plea to find family of deceased Walsall resident: Can you help please?

Walsall Client Welfare Services Department have issued an appeal to trace any family of a Walsall resident who recently passed away at New Cross Hospital – Michael Hinton, aged 79, of 30 Lister Street, Willenhall.

Mr. Hinton had been a Willenhall resident for many years. Image from Apple Maps.

I realise this appeal is not immediately local, but relatives can be spread far and wide so these requests are essential, and I really feel for anyone who passes away alone.

Client Welfare Services  issued the following request:

Local residents are being asked to help with the search for relatives and friends of a man who recently passed away at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton after a short illness.

Client Welfare Officers are keen to get in touch with any family members or friends of Mr Michael Hinton, aged 79, of 30 Lister Street, Willenhall WV13 2HQ, where he lived for the past 30 years. His previous address to this was 19 Webb Road, Toll End, Tipton.

Mr Hinton was a widower when he died, his late wife was Margaret Valerie Hinton (nee Crombie).  

Mr Hinton was involved in the Civil Defence Corps with the Civic Defence Division in the ’60s. He is believed to have worked at Alfred Allen Fasteners, Deepdale Road in Lower Gornal, Sedgley as a driver until 1982.

Mr and Mrs Hinton loved dogs and cats, and Mr Hinton leaves behind his beloved dog Bella, aged 11.

Officers extend their sympathy at this time and would be grateful to hear from any relatives or friends of Mr Hinton, or anyone who might have helpful information about his family so that proper arrangements for his funeral can be made.

If anyone has any information about Mr Hinton’s family they are asked to contact Walsall Council Client Welfare Services on 01922 655551.

Thanks in advance. If anyone would prefer no to contact the council directly for whatever reason, email me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot come and I’ll pass any messages on.

Although such appeals by Councils are a legal requirement, I’ll always support them and run them; this blog has a large readership now, and someone out there may just unlock a mystery. It must be horrible to lose a parent, sibling or child and not know, whatever the relationship between you. Nobody should ever pass unmourned. Closure is important.

If you’re wondering why we suddenly see a lot of these, Walsall Council (as with any authority) have always had a legal duty to trace relatives in such cases, but formerly used classified adverts in local papers. Recently, they’ve wisely started using social media, too.

Thanks.

Posted in Environment, Local History, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Right down the line

Just a quick heads up as the great Canal Hunter Andy Tidy posted two new episodes of a great canal history series on YouTube that I have plugged before about lost local canals – episodes 3 and 4 of Ogley Locks, covering Wall to Lichfield and Sandfields Pumping Station.

Andy Tidy is of course the proprietor of the Jam Butty, a boat selling preserves that will be recognised by anyone attending a local canal event.

At wall, it’s hard to believe the canal came this way, but you can still see the line if you look hard.

The new episodes are a further exploration of the lost Ogley Locks, a flight on the Wyrley and Essington from Ogley Junction (near Grasmere Gardens in Brownhills) down to Lichfield – a huge flight  on a section of canal closed in 1954, and currently being restored by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

You can see the first two episodes in the series here.

Ogley Locks used a huge amount of water for every boat passage through the whole 30 locks on what is now referred to as the Lichfield Canal, from Ogley Junction to Huddlesford Junction.

Andy Tidy has created a wonderful series that I adore, and You can subscribe here – there are already a lot of great episodes, including one on the lost Slough Arm in Brownhills and all about the Black Cock Bridge which I featured previously here.

My congratulations to Andy for a lovely, beautifully produced and informative series of films. I commend you to subscribe.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

A hundred years apart

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

A nice diversion here from the relentless tide of bad news – old friend of the blog Ian Broad has been in touch to say that he’s using his current downtime to undertake a rather interesting photo history project – he’s trying to take modern pictures from the same angle as well known historic images.

Jill Manchester did this with great success a few years ago in Walsall Wood.

Ian has previously supplied lots of material for the blog. including an eternally popular 1982 Shire Oak School leaver group photo outside the Royal Oak pub in Shire Oak and lots about the history of Ian’s family shop Tom’s Cabin, a fixture of Brownhills for many years throughout the 1980s.

It’s always good to hear from old friends!

I shan’t identify locations, I’ll let readers work them out…

Ian wrote:

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Hi Bob,

Hope you and yours are well.

I’ve been using some old pics during my cycle rides (from your blog) to create 100 yrs apart pics.

It’s hard to capture the angles exactly as the iPhone is quite a wide angle lens.

I’ve also noticed that most old pics were taken from the middle of the road! Not too much of a problem to do that at the moment with such little traffic about.

As a cyclist I’ve also tried to find pics with bikes in them and then put mine in the same place. I’ve got quite a few more to do yet. The old Crossed Keys pub pic at Heath Hayes / Hednesford is one I want to get next.

Hope you like the pics.

Thanks to Ian for another great post and very thought provoking set of images, and if you have any views on this wonderful work, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Image kindly supplied by Ian Broad.

Posted in News | 13 Comments

Can you help identify a local Landy?

This series one may have been owned locally, possibly at Shire Oak Quarry – it was thought to be yellow then; do you recognise it? Image kindly supplied by reader Glenn.

And now, as a famous comedy crew used to say, for something completely different.

I was interested yesterday in comments about me not running an April fool piece here on the blog; whilst I think perhaps, on reflection I might have done, the general absence of such japes in the wider media made me think I’d judged the mood reasonably, but I would like to take folks up on one point made so eloquently by Graham: He asked if there was anything readers could do to help.

Yes there is, please – I need contributions. Short, long, photos – whatever. Please send me stuff in to share. My work is keeping me very busy at the moment but I am keeping the blog running so any help with diversionary material would be lovely. Everything is welcome.

You can mail anything you have to me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Anyway, today we have something rather unusual which is sure to get the petrol (or diesel) head’s motors running – an enquiry into the history of a series one Landrover that could have been owned locally.

Reader Glenn writes from Hampshire:

Hi there Bob!

Hope you’re keeping well!

I came across your blog while doing some research into your local area and I wondered with your local knowledge if you might be just the man to help me!  Also, it was a pleasure to find a good old fashioned blog in these times of Facebook, it was heart warming and reminded me of how the internet used to be in the good old days (the 90s!) 🙂

Anyway, the reason for my email;  I am the current owner of a 1950 Series One Land Rover which I’d like to trace the history of.

I bought her off a lovely old chap in his late 80s, who took her to the Orkney Isles and back! But he also told me he purchased the landy from ‘a man who lived in a quarry and ran a haulage firm near Tamworth’ in the early 1960s. The car was painted yellow then. I’d dearly love to find out which haulage firm and which quarry might have been. I was told by a trucker on Facebook that there used to be a man living in Shire Oak/Brownhills quarry around that time, but I’ve exhausted all my internet leads.

I wondered with your local knowledge and contacts whether you might be able to give me any clues on tires mystery?

All the best,

Glenn
Hampshire

Well, I guess we are sort of near Tamworth and it’s entirely possible the vehicle was owned locally; but let’s not forget Tamworth is surrounded by quarries – at Hints, Packington and to the south along the tame from Middleton to Kingsbury and on.

If you remember a little yellow Lady locally, this could be the one, though – so what do you know? I do know we have a few vehicle fans in the readership so any help is a boon.

Thanks to Glenn for a lovely, offbeat enquiry and to all who can maybe help. Comment here, tug my sleeve on social media for mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Cheers.

Posted in News | 6 Comments

A break with tradition…

Normally on this day every year I run a hoax or joke article for you folk to enjoy.

With the situation as it is this year, right now my heart just isn’t in it and I don’t think it would be appropriate.

I did have what I thought might be a good one lined up for April fools Day this year, but I’ll keep it until we’re in a sunnier clime, and we’ll enjoy it the better.

Stay safe folks.

I know how he feels.

Posted in News | 4 Comments

St Giles Hospice needs us more than ever right now…

An important one brought to my attention by David Evans here: A charitable institution down the road that’s very close to my heart needs community support more than ever right now – despite the ongoing pandemic, hospice and palliative care services are still desperately needed and St. Giles relies on our donations to keep running.

With events cancelled and charity shops shut, it’s now more important than ever that we get behind St Giles.

They wrote:

St. Giles Hospice needs our help more than ever. Image from eHospice UK.

It takes a community to make a hospice and we’ve never needed you more than we need you today.

This is an extremely worrying time for everyone, especially our patients and their families who are living with a terminal illness. As a hospice we are experiencing a big increase in people needing palliative care at this time.

We’re continuing to care for the community’s most vulnerable people which is easing the burden on the NHS. Our dedicated care teams are still out there working 24/7 in our hospices and our community.

Our shops have had to close, our events are being cancelled and our income has almost dried up meaning that we are now reliant on donations to continue our work in your local community.  We’re extremely worried about the impact the coronavirus outbreak will have on your hospice’s future.

But, we need to raise £850,000 every single month just to keep our service going.

See below for some of the ways you can support.

For some light relief…Orange Week, April!

Wherever you are, whatever you do, make sure it’s orange this Orange Month!

When? 1st April – 30th April

Where? At work or at home!

What? Go orange for one day, the whole week, or the whole month in support of St Giles!

Simply think of a ‘bright’ idea – from wearing some wonderful orange attire, to decorating your desk/home in all things orange – or if you’re at home you could walk ‘virtual miles for St Giles’ to help us raise vital funds for local people.

Visit our website https://www.stgileshospice.com/

For more information on any of our campaigns or how to support St Giles Hospice during Covid 19 please contact me, Joanne. I would love to hear from you.

Joanne.barlow@stgileshospice.com

07805759985

Thank you so much for your continued support!

Joanne Barlow
Regional Fundraiser

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