The Anchor is open for business! Join them for a disco tonight


Why not pop down there?

The fine people at the Anchor Inn, Brownhills have been in touch to say that despite some rumours circulating, they’re very much open for business and offer a welcoming pub with a great range of ales and entertainment for all.

The pub just by the canal at Anchor Bridge on the Chester Road has numerous events and a great community atmosphere.

Tonight, Sunday 1st May 2016, there’s a disco from 8pm until late, so why not get up there and check it out?

You”d be most welcome.

For Satnav folk: Anchor Inn, Chester Road, Brownhills, Walsall WS8 6DP


A fine local pub with a great community atmosphere – what not give it a try?

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Woodmen refuse to Lye down


As the end of the season nears, Walsall Wood are standing their ground.

Last Thursday evening (28th April 2016) Walsall Wood were at home entertaining Lye Town, and a goalless match was the result – but unusually for a goalless match it was a great game and entertained Bill Shaw despite the late of goal action.

Bill submitted the following report:

Hiya Bob,

One of those rarities, an entertaining goal-less draw, the only thing missing was a goal or three. It was Wood courtesy of their two goals in the first leg two weeks ago who thoroughly deserved to go through to the final on Tuesday 10th May against Hereford at Solihull Moors ground at Damson Parkway on the opposite side of the A45 to Birmingham Airport.

We’ll probably be outnumbered fifty to one, but sometimes a large partisan crowd can put pressure on their own side, (I’m hoping here but stranger things have happened, being a Wolves supporter I remember unfancied Wolves beating Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison’s moneybags Manchester City in the 1974 League Cup Final, are you listening Mr. Chairman?) So where there’s hope there’s always a chance of an upset, remember it’s not the size of the dog in the fight that counts but the size of the fight in the dog.

Polymac Packaging League Cup Semi-final second leg
Walsall Wood 0 v 0 Lye Town. (Aggregate 2-2)

Wood progressed through to the League Cup Final on the away goals rule to face League Champions Hereford at Solihull Moors ground on Tuesday 10th May. Another night of high drama at The Wood with both sides going for the outright victory with Wood having the better of the chances. The only thing missing was a goal but in the end it was Wood winning the tie courtesy of the two goals scored in the away leg.

It was an even opening without either keeper being put under pressure, but then on 10 minutes Ben Billingham collected a ball on halfway and ran at the centre of the Wood defence and into the box, Steven Hayles across to stop him with a superbly timed challenge. 2 minutes later and it was Joey Butlin returning from injury attacking down the right, he played a quick-fire one-two with Ricardo Ricketts then fired in a low near post cross that Corey Currithers hit inches wide of the post.

Four minutes later an incisive run wide right for Lye by Scott Gennard saw his clever chip into the box find Ryan Rowe to hit a first time rising drive just over.

Back came Wood, Currithers crossed from the left, Butlin on the penalty spot headed the ball down into the path of Louis Harris who screwed his cross shot well wide. Two minutes gone and Max Black won the ball on halfway and raced for goal but was fouled 40 yards out, Butlin took the free kick, his low drive beat the wall and the left hand post. It was Wood now asking all the questions, on 24 minutes Currithers came in from wide left, his driven low cross missed by everyone. It was Currithers again wide left four minutes later, his cross found Black in the centre of the box, he turned and fired in a low drive, keeper Jake Bedford making a full length save but not able to hold the ball, Lewis Taylor Boyce first to the loose ball but under intense pressure poking the ball agonisingly wide. On 36 minutes Hayles cross from wide left found Taylor Boyce in the centre with his back to goal, he turned cleverly but dragged his shot wide.

Four minutes later Wood gave away a silly free kick on the left of the box, Billingham’s far post cross pushed back across goal by keeper Adam Jenkins, Dreniz Bala sparing his blushes by putting the ball over the bar.

Wood lost influential midfield dynamo Harris to illness and Craig Deakin replaced him at the start of the second half. A similar start to the half as to the first with both sides working hard to fashion an opening. On 60 minutes a Town right wing corner flashed across the face of the six yard box, somehow avoiding everyone in a packed area and going out for a goal kick near the left corner flag. Two minutes later Hayles ball into the left hand corner saw Matt Johnson hold off Butlin but his back pass put Bedford under pressure and he sliced the clearance out of play 5 yards up the line. Three minutes later a Wood left wing attack saw Ricketts and Taylor Boyce carve open the away defence with a quick-fire one-two, Ricketts racing into the box only to fire wide of the near post.

Two minutes later Gennard raced onto a ball on the left edge of the Wood box, his first time low drive was bravely blocked by Luke Wright, Gennard first to the loose ball to fire a first time shot too high. Just a little later a free kick on halfway was flicked on by Gennard, Jenkins denying Rowe in the six yard box. It was Gennard again on 72 minutes collecting a ball through the centre, running into the area but firing wide of the right hand post.

Three minutes later Currithers collected the ball from a right wing throw, his delightful chip over a tiring defence found Black, who took one touch but fell foul of the infamous Wood bobble and put his shot just too high. Then on 84 minutes substitute Craig Deakin won the ball right of centre before playing the ball down the right to find Butlin, who cleverly turned his marker and fired a cross shot over the far angle.

Wood sat deep for the last few minutes, denying Town any space in the last third of the pitch. The final whistle saw Wood reach their first final since season 2012-2013.

OK, it’s against Hereford on Tuesday May 10th but who would have given Albion a prayer at Spurs on Monday night. At the end of the day its 11 against 11 and in football funny things sometimes happen.

Bill Shaw

The Teams:

Walsall Wood: Jenkins, Ricketts, Hayles, Beckett (c), Wright, Black, L. Harris, Juxon, Butlin , Taylor Boyce, Currithers, Deakin, Aiton, Evans, Roberts, Adams.

Lye Town: Bedford, Johnson, McFarlane, Meacham, Dallison, Tye, Bala, Gennard, Rowe, Billingham, Evitts (c), Guy, Beasley, Wilkins, Williams, Price.

My thanks to Bill for a great report – and for all those he selflessly writes and send to me after every match. They really are popular, and a credit to Bill and the club. Walsall Wood have a reputation for being a great, community spirited group of people and these reports demonstrate that – it’s an honour and joy to feature them here.

For the good of the Wood!

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Up around the bend


A new image of the SLS May 1959 rail tour – but it is really at the Conduit Colliery? Image spotted on Six Bells Junction by Simon Swain, sourced from the John Debens Collection.

More here today that goes to show the Venn diagram of history forever curiously overlaps – Ian pell has waded in once more on the subject of the notorious May 1959 rail tour up the Walsall Wood line to the Conduit Colliery – from which a few pictures have emerged over the years and was raised here again last week by Simon Swain with a great new picture.

Ian, local rail expert and longtime friend and contributor to the Brownhills Blog of many  brilliant and informative articles has spotted something curious about last week’s photo, which may also be of relevance to the Harpers bus enthusiasts.

Ian wrote:

It’s the rail thing – Conduit or is it further round the bend?

Hi Bob

What a fascinating and intriguing new photograph has been unearthed of the SLS special of May 1959. Thanks Simon for drawing it to our attention and Six Bells Junction for adding it to their Railtour notes of the event.

The photograph shows the special at buffer stops, and is captioned as being ‘at Conduit Colliery’ (Jerome’s), Norton Canes. After looking at the photograph for some time I was puzzling as to how the No.2 end of the train, i.e.:- the end with the not quite correct headcode and the ‘SLS special’ headboard, which was at the southern end of the train, could end up with this end at the buffers. Surely, if the No.1 end of the train was the north end this would be the end at the buffers at Jerome’s?   This appears to be borne out by the Ian Clarke photo at Conduit Colliery Sidings on the return leg and the other photographs by John Debens on the return trip at Walsall Wood and Aldridge. This leads us into an area of speculation that the final destination was not Conduit Colliery sidings (as I initially thought – see ‘Bending Conduit’), or Conduit Colliery as per the caption, but Coppice Colliery at Five Ways! Unfortunately, I only have a little video footage of this location shot by Ivo Peters, and so I apologise if I am off the mark, but sticking my neck out a long way I would suggest that the special is actually in the colliery yard at Coppice, with the Harper Bros. bus depot in the rear left of the photograph. To get to Coppice the train would have had to reverse up the Five Ways branch from Conduit, hence the No.2 end being at the buffer stops.

If this was able to be confirmed, it would indeed be the tour that reached the ‘other parts of the system’, and would have meant travelling over the very tightly curved section from Conduit Colliery sidings to Conduit Colliery, and the NCB section from the exchange sidings to the colliery at Coppice. It would be (I stand to be corrected) the only special to have traversed the Five Ways branch and the connection between the LNWR and Midland lines at Norton Canes.

The Six Bells Junction website shows the booked times for the tour, with very tight margins at all the stops. It begs the question as to whether the itinery was changed and the Five Ways section added? The times also do not give any stops for Conduit Colliery sdgs or Walsall Wood, which again gives rise as to whether the timings were changed.


SLS special 30th May 1959 Ryecroft MR avoiding line. Photo by M.Mensing, image supplied by Ian Pell.

To add to the fleshing out of the tour it was the Stephenson Locomotive Society’s 50th Anniversary Railtour around Birmingham and the West Midlands. It was split into two sections, the later being formed of two three –car Birmingham built Metro-Cammell DMUs. They travelled from Birmingham New Street via the Soho loop, Bescot, Walsall and the north Walsall line as far as Bushbury No.1. The 2 DMUs then ran via Wolverhampton High level and the North Walsall line to Aldridge, before undertaking the Walsall Wood branch trip. They were photographed by Michael Mensing heading eastwards for Aldridge along the ex-MR avoiding line and crossing the Walsall – Rugeley line at Ryecroft. The front end of the train shows the split headcode and “SLS special” headboard.

So, if any one can confirm that timber was stored in the colliery yard at Coppice or indeed that the background buildings are those of Harper Bros. it would go a long way towards solving the rather intriguing question of where this photograph was taken and prove or otherwise, that the tour did reach Coppice Colliery. Now that would be a turn up for the books!

Whatever, the outcome it always amazes me of the buried treasure that still surfaces from time to time to make us reassess our assumptions of ‘the facts’ from over 50 years ago.

Kindest regards

Ian never ceases to stun me with his knowledge and deduction. My hat is doffed. Thanks so much.

Please, if anyone has anything to add, you’re welcome. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Great live music at The Chase Inn this evening!


Fancy some classic 80s rock? This is the gig for you…

Kim Savage from the Chase Inn at Newtown, Brownhills has been in touch to let me know that there’s live music on again this weekend at the popular Brownhills pub.

Tonight (Saturday 30th April 2016) at 9:00pm, classic 80s rock outfit Knucklebones will be on stage for some fantastic good-times music.

You can check out the Knucklebones Facebook page here.

Why not get down there? You’re guaranteed an excellent time…

For the satnav folk, the address is: 6 Watling Street, Newtown, Brownhills WS8 6JS

You can contact the pub on: 01543 899568 or visit their Facebook page.


The Chase Inn is a great local pub for music, entertainment and real ale! Image from the pub’s Facebook page.

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Walsall Wood FC at home to Continental Star this afternoon!


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

Saturday 30th April 2016

Last match of the 2015/16 season

The Wood are at home!

Walsall Wood FC versus Continental Star FC

Kick off is 3:00pm

Hopefully, a match report will follow…

For the Good of the Wood!

Check out the club website here.


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Aldridge Manor Youth Club restarts in a new home this coming Tuesday!


Aldridge Manor, once home to a great youth club, which has since closed – but the club lives on, and starts at a new venue next week!. Picture by Adrian Rothery and posted on Gegograph under a Creative Commons license.

Following the sad closure of Aldridge Manor Youth Club at the end of March, local activist Paul Sharpe has been beavering away to try and continue the club in some form in a new venue – I posted his appeal for help here a couple of months ago.

Paul has now, with the help of local businesses, volunteers and donors found a new venue and will be restarting the club at 6pm on Tuesday 3rd May 2016 at The Arena Aldridge, situated near the Croft entrance to the Aldridge Shopping Centre.

Paul released the following information a couple of days ago:

Hi Bob

The Manor House Youth Club closed down on 31st March after fifty or sixty years.

However with support from The Arena Aldridge (Entertainment /Tribute Band Venue) and from Rosie’s Helping Hands Charity we are now in a position to begin a voluntary youth club every Tuesday night from 6pm to 9pm from Tuesday 3rd May.

It will be at at the Arena Aldridge which is based in Aldridge Shopping Centre (upstairs) by the Croft entrance.

Juniors 6pm to 730pm Ages 9 to 13 years
Seniors 7pm to 9pm Ages 13 to 17 years.

Cost will be £1.50 a night to cover costs

We will have some great facilities

Please bring your children/young people along to give it a whirl if you can to support this venture!

Local people/parents also interested in playing a voluntary role with the youth club are also welcome to come along.

Thank You !
Paul Sharpe

I wish Paul all the best with this new project and am very impressed with his dogged determination, in the face of at times some very negative comment.

If you want to know more, or can help you can contact Paul on Facebook here, or mail me and I’ll pass your message on: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Thanks Paul – community activism at it’s best.

Posted in Environment, Events, Followups, It makes me mad!, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local media, Local politics, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chasewater Spring Fair this Saturday!


Chasewater from the air – remarkable kite photography by Barry Carpenter.


Just a quick heads up that this Saturday (rather than the usual Sunday…) (30th April 2016), there’s to be a Spring Fair at Chasewater – there will be craft stalls, food, art, amusements and all the usual type things there.

The event is around the Innovation Centre and Cafe and runs from 11-4pm. Worth a punt if you’re at a loose end – and there’s always the Chasewater Railway while you’re up there. I must say, the Cafe at the station has been recently refurbished and does a cracking butty.


Looks like a great event!

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