Local storm updates – post will be updated regularly

Take care folks, it’s windy!



Also a tree down causing delays at Norton Village end of Walsall Road.

Also storm damage at Aldridge:

Tree blown into house at Pear Tree Lane, Brownhills West – report from Walsall Advertiser here.

Lady dies in Wolverhampton city centre after being hit with wind-borne debris – statement from West Midlands Ambulance Service:

Woman dies after debris falls

February 23, 2017 by officialwmas

Thursday 23rd February 2017 – 1.00pm – Murray MacGregor.

A woman has died after a piece of debris fell onto the street in Wolverhampton.
West Midlands Ambulance Service received no fewer than 15 999 emergency calls at 11.43am this morning Thursday to Dudley Street outside Starbucks.

Two ambulances, a paramedic area support officer and the critical care paramedics from the Midlands Air Ambulance in Staffordshire, who responded on a rapid response vehicle, were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, crews found a woman who had suffered very serious head injuries.\

“Sadly, it quickly became apparent that there was nothing that could be done to save her and she was confirmed dead at the scene.”


1:20pm: Steve from Twente Express says ‘also coppice lane leading to industrial estate tree down by old bridge’ – cheers Steve

1:35pm: Buses back to normal on The Parade – thanks to the crews from Walsall Council clearing that up

2:35pm: Worrying incident in Blakenall:

3:40pm: Summary of regional road closures here at the Birmingham Mail.

Posted in News | 5 Comments

Andrew Cooper: a former Walsall man missing form Stourport – the search continues

I make no apologies for running this again – please keep an eye out for the above chap, Andrew Cooper who’s still missing from his home in Stourport as he has been since Wednesday 4th January 2017 – Andrew is a gentleman from Walsall originally and his  family, friends and people who used to work with him are desperately concerned for his welfare.

West Mercia Police wrote:

Appeal to find missing Stourport man

West Mercia Police is appealing to the public to help locate a missing Stourport man.

Andrew Cooper, aged 44, was last seen at his home in Stourport on Wednesday morning (4 January) but did not show up for work on that day and he has not returned home since.

Andrew is described as approximately 5’9″ and of a slim build. He has short grey spiked hair and a beard, with brown eyes. He normally wears glasses and a silver wedding ring, a black leather plaited bracelet and a silver ring on his right hand. He speaks with a Walsall accent.

Andrew was last seen wearing blue jeans, an orange t-shirt with stripes, a medium blue padded puffa jacket with a white sheepskin lining and tan Caterpillar work boots. He has tattoos on his chest and shoulders.

Police and Andrew’s family are growing concerned for his welfare. If you have seen Andrew or a man matching his description, please call West Mercia Police on 101.

Issued: 9.10am, Friday 6 January, Holly Claydon-Bevan, Corporate Communications.

It’s very possible Andrew could have returned to Walsall, so please do keep an eye out – there clearly a lot of love and respect for him here, and his family and freiends are very concerned.

Anyone with information should call West Mercia Police on 101 or the Missing People charity on 116 000.

Posted in Environment, Events, Interesting photos, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Appeal – do you know Barbara Roberts, formerly of Valley View?


valley View is a quiet, residential street in the Catshill/Ogley Hay area of Brownhills. Image from Google Streetview.

Hi folks, another unusual enquiry please but I hope it’s one the readership might be able to help with.

Mairee Vincent writes:

Hello Bob

Could I please appeal to all my Midlands friends?

We have recently had a death within the family and we are trying to trace someone. We dont have much to go on but with the power of Facebook you never know someone somewhere or their parents may know, so its worth a go…

We are looking for Barbara Roberts (nee Jones), her mum was Doris but everyone knew her as Dos and her dad was David.

They lived in Valley View, Catshill, Brownhills for a long time – it’s believed that Barbara moved from Valley view at somepoint during the 1980s.

If this rings a bell with anyone or their parents please could you get in touch failing that please could you share this post wide and far.

Many thanks
Mairee Vincent

If you have any information about Barbara or know where she might be contacted, please message Mairee via Facebook here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.


Posted in Environment, Local History, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bogus gardeners operating once more in Brownhills – be vigilant

Untitled 9

The con was in Shire Oak, but be vigilant all over the area. Imagery from Bing! Maps.

Reader Andy from Shire Oak has been in touch who is very concerned and upset that his mother was conned by bogus ‘gardeners’ who claimed to have cut her back hedge and then charged an extortionate fee.

Andy said:

Hi People of Brownhills and Walsall wood,

My mom who lives in Shire Oak has been ripped off yet again by some unscrupulous bastard that’s pretended to trim back her hedge and charged her £160!

My mom is 79, lives on her own, suffers from early onset Dementia and is very trusting of people!

Please spread the word that this is happening in your area and keep a look out for so called trades people ripping off the vulnerable.


Please tell your relatives and neighbours about these ratbags, and impress upon them how important it is not to buy from, or accept services at the door, no matter how plausible the people offering them. 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, tree pruning etc., and that if they are at all unsure of any caller, to close the door and contact the police.

Scumbags engaged in the robbing of OAPs are lower than a snake’s knees, and I find it shocking and disturbing that the lady concerned was unable to contact the police. I shall draw this unfortunate situation to their attention.

Please,  if you have any further information relating to these incidents, or if you witnessed something  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

The Portman Collection – part three: Final forms, and on with the sport


Image 7: Another class with some great clothes, and some remarkable collars. Photo generously supplied by Tony Portman via David Evans. Click for a larger version.


Tony’s notes for image 7. Click for a larger version.

In the third serialised article of what will turn out to be quite a few, here’s the next three photos from Walsall Wood Secondary School in the 1950s with accompanying notes, as introduced in this blog post here – This time, I am including the handwritten notes by Tony himself below each image.

I shall post the photos in batches of three so we aren’t swamped with too much information at once – and these ones feature he last two form groups for now, and the first team photo.

I shan’t comment on the notes directly, or attempt to transcribe: these are clearly a matter for readers as they obviously raise questions as well as answer them – and the last thing I want to do is lead the witnesses!

Thanks to Tony Portman who generously granted access to a remarkable collection, and to David Evans for scanning them so diligently. People like you gentlemen are keeping local history alive. Thank you.

Please, any comments, contributions or observations welcome. Either comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.


Image 8: This seems to be the last form photo for a while. Love the Walsall Wood Colliery chimney belching smoke in the background. This form teacher looks a bit uncomfortable! Photo generously supplied by Tony Portman via David Evans. Click for a larger version.


Tony’s notes for image 8. Click for a larger version.


Image 9: Walsall Wood Secondary Modern First 11 – the first team photo of the collection. What a cracking bunch of lads these look. Photo generously supplied by Tony Portman via David Evans. Click for a larger version.


Tony’s notes for image 9. Click for a larger version.

Posted in News | 7 Comments

A message of thanks from the Shed


There’s crafts for ladies and gentlemen of all tastes at Aldridge Shed – image from their Facebook page.

Just a quick note to than friends of the blog Steve Hames from SJH Computing and Ray Johnson from Shire Oak who helped Aldridge Shed project with donated computer hardware following their recent request for help, which I publicised here on the blog.

Cheers to both gents and to the ever-helpful Russell Smith who was an excellent go-between – such community spirit and generosity are great to see and I’m chuffed the blog readers always seem to rally around a good cause.

In the mean time, Aldridge Shed is going from strength to strength, and meets every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30am – 12:30 and 13:00 – 16:00 at Alrewych Court on Northgate – Between Walsall Wood and Aldridge.

They recently featured on BBC Midlands Today – watch the video below.

The Shed folk also want to point out that this is a project open to men and women, and there are open days coming in March 2017 (although you can just drop in any time they’re open, of course)A message of thanks from the Shed:

Hi Shedders

Please note we are not all about men and woodwork. We are a Shed not a men’s Shed. We have a clean/craft room for sewing painting and other clean crafts such as book folding and help with computer use and Photoshop processes.

We are having open days on 7th 8th and 9th March with free refreshments. Come along and see us and see how we have progressed and see if we can help you make anything you would like to do.

We are located at Alrewych Court, 220 Northgate, Aldridge, WS9 8AF

You can find out more at their website here and their Facebook page here.


It’s not all woodwork down at the Aldridge Shed – but there’s still plenty, if that’s what you fancy. Image from the Shed Facebook page.

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Update on recent Chasewater Dam works from Andy Dennis

Images kindly supplied by Andy Dennis.

There’s ongoing interest in the drainage works taking place at Chasewater Dam, and I’m indebted to reader and top blog contributor Andy Dennis who’s kindly sent me another bunch of pictures and a short video of what’s going on.

I haven’t been able to get up there myself yet, so this is a great help – thanks Andy!

Andy also continues to do great work on his own local history blog and I commend all readers to go take a look at what he’s up to – it’s fantastic stuff.

The dam works at the moment seem to be tweaks to the terrace drainage. The dam, being constructed over two centuries ago of what was in essence loose material constantly passes water – around 200 litres a minute when the reservoir first refilled to full after the dam works, and much of the work then was making sure this didn’t cause erosion.

This flow is what irrigates the wetland at the foot of the dam and has made it such a rare habitat worthy of such careful protection, and led to it being declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

I would imagine management of such a flow is neither easy, nor a precise art and this is the second time since the original dam works finished that the drainage has been modified. I’m frankly surprised there hasn’t been more work necessary.

Staffordshire County Council issued this statement on their Chasewater Facebook page in the week, and it’s a little more detailed than the Lichfield Live report featured hear a week or so ago.

Yet again, I’m struck by the misfortune of local authorities having to maintain and monitor a structure that’s a major part of the local canal infrastructure: the Canal and River Trust must breathe a sigh of relief every time they think of the management bills they escape paying…

Staffordshire County Council said:

Chasewater reservoir maintenance

Maintenance work is being carried out at Chasewater Reservoir to improve drainage in the dam wall.

The wall, made of clay, earth and stone, is semi-permeable and designed by its original engineers to allow some water to filter through.

Now council workers are adding more stone, installing new drains and clearing silt from existing ones.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council cabinet member, said: “Chasewater is one of Staffordshire’s most popular attractions and that is why we have made considerable investments there in recent years.

‘The design and nature of the dam wall means that it needs ongoing monitoring and care. We’ll be working on it for the next few weeks and passers-by will notice we’ve lowered the water to summer levels and closed the wall-top to traffic to help.’

The reservoir is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest because certain aquatic plants thrive there. The work is being done in such a way that it does not affect them and their well-being is being monitored as a matter of course by an ecologist.

The county council has been responsible for the 200-year-old dam since it took over a £5.5 million repair project in May 2011 from Lichfield District Council.

Rather than being a source of drinking water, it supplies part of the Midlands canal network.

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