Urgent! Please look out for a moped stolen from Walsall Wood

I see the thefts and criminality in Walsall Wood continnue – please be on the lookout for a  stolen Kymco Super 9s moped VX07CSY, taken on Monday evening 28th November 2016 from Ivy Grove just off Occupation Road, Walsall Wood.

Lisa Powers wrote to me – the bike belongs to her partner who’s bereft without it. She said:

Dear Bob

I was hoping you could put the feelers out for me regarding the theft of my partners motorbike.

It was stolen from our drive on Ivy Grove,Monday night between 6-11pm.

It has since been spotted by our son, being driven on Oak Park/KFC car park by two youths

It is an orange and black Kymco Super 9s 50cc moped, reg VX07 CSY.

Any information would be greatly appreciated and he is hoping it would be returned, as he’s lost without it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope to hear from you,

Kind regards

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

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

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

On the matter of the ongoing issues in the area, I hear there is a Shire Oak neighbourhood watch group in the process of being set up, so any news on that I’ll let you all know.

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Find out about a great local canal restoration with a guided walk this Saturday!

Find out how far they’ve come at Summerhill in just two years in this informative film for the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust

Tom Reid from the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust has been in touch to let us know about the organised walk of the SUmmerhill section that’s taking place this Saturday, 3rd December 2016.

Kicking off from the old Boat Pub on the A461 Walsall Road (now Oddfellows in the Boat)  at 11am, walkers will follow the Heritage Towpath Trail for a kilometre to the aqueduct over the M6 Toll Road.

Bring good boots and dress for the outdoors!

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

At the moment, the volunteers are not only beavering away on the Summerhill section, on the Walsall Road at Summerhill, but also at several sites, including Borrowcop on the A51 at Lichfield, and other places along the route of the lost line.

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

Tom Reid wrote:

Canal Trust Plans Guided Walk

A guided walk along the Summerhill section of the Lichfield Canal will take place on Saturday December 3.

Walkers will be able to see the huge progress made this year by Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust volunteers and the many corporate volunteers from all over the country who have helped transform this section of the abandoned canal.

Starting at the Oddfellows in the Boat on Walsall Road at 11am, walkers will follow the Heritage Towpath Trail for a kilometre to the aqueduct over the M6 Toll Road.

Having learned about the plans for a walkway over the aqueduct and a future proposal for a lock and pumping station to allow narrowboats to cross the Toll Road, the walkers will return to the pub around 1pm where they will be able to buy a hot drink (or something stronger) to warm up.

There is no charge for this event but a donation would be appreciated.

Please make sure you wear suitable footwear as it could be muddy.


Volunteers at work on the Summerhill section of the Lichfield Canal

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

Brownhills Christmas Market Magic 2016 – coming soon!


Always a good event!

Diane Mansell at the Walsall District Management Team has written to let me know that there will be a Christmas market event in Brownhills this year, planned for Saturday 10th December 2016, and the team are appealing for stallholders.

The same day there will be Santa Claus, a Christmas Fayre at Silver Street Methodist Church, a festival of music and light at the Canoe and Outdoor Centre in the evening, a Christmas trail, entertainment for kids, offers, competitions faceprinting and all the usual festive fun stuff.

If you’ve got a stall you think would fit well into this event, please do get in touch with Diane – you can mail her here Diane.Mansell@Walsall.Gov.uk.

Please folks – it’s easy to run down our town and say nothing ever happens, but this is a real chance to come together and stage something we can all enjoy. Over recent years these events have got better and better, so why not give it a go?

Meanwhile, if you’re organising anything for Christmas at all, please do drop me a line. I do like to promote local stuff wherever possible. It’s an easy way for you to reach thousands of readers a week, absolutely free of charge.

Please mail your details to BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Just a normal day in Brownhills....

Just a normal day in Brownhills….

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, It makes me mad!, Just plain daft, Local media, Local politics, News, Reader enquiries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fancy a brew and a chat? Pop into Brownhills Library today!


What a wonderful idea!

Here’s a great chance for a bit of a chinwag, a brew and even a biscuit for anyone who can make it to Brownhills Library, this and every Tuesday morning from 10am until 12 noon, where the new Place of Welcome initiative is running.

This is a great chance for people to meet in a relaxed, pleasant and friendly environment to chat, have a laugh or two and just generally relax and meet others. Like Aldridge Men’s Shed, I really like the idea of a place for adults to just hang out for a bit and shoot the breeze – there’s not enough of that in the busy world we live in.

Assistant Area Librarian Kim Bailey dropped me the following message about the Place of Welcome project:

Hi Bob,

Please would you mind mentioning this to any likely person as you go out and about?

It is a national scheme whereby people can drop into a Place of Welcome (unconditionally) for a free drink / biscuit and a chat.

It starts Tuesday 25th October 10-12 noon and then every week at Brownhills Library, in our new coffee lounge area.

Also would you put this on your Facebook, Twitter and website please? We’d be most grateful.

This is really helpful for those community members who are at times isolated and lonely.

Thank you so much.

Kim Bayley
Assistant Area Librarian

I wish Kim and all involved the very best with this – it’s a fine thing indeed. Why not get down and check it out?

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Disturbing incident in Shire Oak – householders be on your guard!

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A disturbing incident in Shire Oak – be on your guard, folks. Image from Bing! Maps.

A reader living in the Commonside/Occupation Road area of Shire Oak has just been in touch with me asking to share with readers a frightening incident they experienced on Sunday Evening (27th November 2016) when it appears a youth tried to gain entry to their house while the occupants were watching TV.

The reader said:

Warning To All Our Neighbours

Myself, my husband and daughter were sitting watching the TV in our lounge on Sunday Evening at about 7:50pm when  I heard a thump and noticed a youth approx 6ft wearing jogging bottoms and a black padded coat with the hood up trying to open our porch door.

My husband has gone out to look for him – please can I ask you all to keep your doors locked?

I’m hearing from a fair few readers that there have been ongoing issues with gangs of roaming youths around Shire Oak and Walsall Wood of late, so take care. This comes after the recent wheelchair theft and vandalism incidents at the new Oak Park Centre.

I really think it’s time the local coppers got on top of this.

In recent days and weeks shed and garage burglaries have taken place in Shire Oak, Brownhills and Clayhanger and it seems nothing not well secured is safe – even a locked shed seemingly presents little obstacle to these scum.

Please report all incidents to the police, however trivial: they use this data to target policing resources, so it does make a difference.

Please be vigilant, and I’d ask anyone with information to contact the Police, no matter how trivial you think it may be. It could, after all, be your home next.

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

Cheers all.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, It makes me mad!, Local Blogs, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Charles Henry Ruddock: After the Great War


Mr Charles Ruddock, seated second from right, front row. Image kindly supplied by Dorothy Ruddock via David Evans.

David Evans’ painstaking recording and sharing of the Ruddock family archive continues today with a look at the post Great War history of Walsall Wood man, Charles Henry Ruddock.

A few months ago, we kicked the series off with an article about Charles’ history in the army in the late Victorian era and South Africa, which has caused no small amount of debate and ponderance amongst the blog readers.

We also featured Charles’ history in the Great War a couple of weeks ago.

This occurred following the wonderful material that recently came to light, so kindly donated by Julie Whitehouse and Dorothy Ruddock who have continued to share a hugely disparate range of fascinating family ephemera, most of which is still yet to be published here.

This is the third instalment of the history of Charles Henry Ruddock, with a couple more to come!

A good starting point on the subject is the post here regarding the Cape by Janet Davies Warallo followed by the post about Dulce Domum and the Ruddock family photos.

My thanks again to Dorothy, Julie and David – if you have anything to add, please do: comment here or mail me, please – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Charles Henry Ruddock: A local life after the Great War

Charles’ long periods of service in the Army had ended. This Attestation of 1890 shows that he was enlisted in to the 3rd battalion, South Staffs Regiment.


Image kindly supplied by David Evans. Click for a larger version.

Wikipedia says this of the 3rd Battalion:

The 3rd, Militia battalion, was embodied in May 1900, and disembodied in December the same year. They were again embodied in May 1901, and the following month 500 men embarked for service in South Africa during the Second Boer War. The battalion returned in July 1902.


Image kindly supplied by David Evans. Click for a larger version.

Charles’ discharge papers, 1918

The family notes state that Charles returned to Ogley Square, Brownhills and that ‘he founded the Brownhills British Legion and United Services Fund Branch of which he was secretary for many years’. In his capacity as secretary he fought and many cases of errors in pension brought to his attention. The Brownhills Branch of the British Legion headquarters were in the George IV Inn, or The Old Fourpenny Shop as it was called.

Charles started pig and poultry breeding whilst living in Ogley Square. The notes continue, saying that during the 1926 strike he gave one peck of flour each week to every miner at Ogley Square who was out on strike.

He was a member of the Brownhills Memorial Hall Committee and that he was instrumental in having the maplewood dance floor installed in the hall, and was also known for staging military tableaux in the Brownhills Flower Show Processions.

He was employed as clerk at the Brownhills Labour Exchange which was held in ‘the present Scouts headquarters’ (1959) and continued in employment until his retirement. He started up a coal merchants business. In his retirement he drew up the plans and built his bungalow in Occupation Road, by the Cape.

A trustee of Ogley Hay Working Men’s Club, Charles was instrumental in having the new extension built there ( 1930s).

He was a member of the Old Comrades Association and attended their functions until he became bed-ridden.

Charles’ obituary printed in the press mentions that he was vice-president of Friezland Lane Working Men’s Club, and that at his funeral service in 1959 his coffin was draped with the Union Jack, and was borne by six sergeants from the South Staffordshire Regiment,  that the Regiment was also represented by Major Hilton and Sergeant Major Chamberlain, and that contingents of Brownhills British Legion and the Old Comrades’ Association  attended.


Charles’ wife’s mother, Ada Warner, who lived in Ogley Square, Brownhills. Image kindly supplied by Dorothy Ruddock via David Evans.

And some other interesting images from the photo album…


An interesting image, believed to show Sgt Ruddock, with a dog. Possibly a military mascot ?Image kindly supplied by Dorothy Ruddock via David Evans.


And what is written on the reverse of the photo. (deciphering welcome! – Bob). Image kindly supplied by Dorothy Ruddock via David Evans.


And this amazing photo. Walsall Wood Colliery soccer team – player Robert Ruddock and the team mascot, believed to be 189. 1Image kindly supplied by Dorothy Ruddock via David Evans.


I was allowed to review these deeds which relate to a field in Occupation Road, where, I am told,  retired ponies from Walsall Wood Colliery would spend their final years enjoying sweet fresh air, rest, sunshine and fresh pasture. Image kindly supplied by David Evans, of a document held by Dorothy Ruddock.


I would like to thank Dorothy Ruddock for her generosity and kindness in offering these materials and documents and so helping to bring another part of our local history to light, and a special thanks to Reg Fullelove, BEM, also,for his initiative.

David Evans,
September 2016 

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Taming a leopard


I think there was only one Leopard Inn in Sandhills. Can an expert qualify this please? Image posted on Geopgraph by Geoff M.

Having real problems with WordPress at the moment which is having an off day, so posting is difficult – sorry folks. Hopefully normal service resumes later.

Meanwhile, I had this enquiry in the week from reader Sarah Jones about the Leopard Inn in Sandhills, at the foot of Shire Oak. This is a subject that sporadically comes up here and I’m wondering if any of the researchers hereabouts might like to give a definitive answer?

I have a feeling the answer hinges on the plaque on the building at Sandhills which is ambiguous: it reads

The Old Leopard Inn – C1750-1911

If I recall correctly, the ‘old’ wasn’t part of the name?

We’ve mentioned it previously here and in this post, here. I have a feeling it was nailed definitively but it would be nice to get all the information together.

Good evening

I have seen on the Internet that you have been looking into the possibility that there were 2 Leopard Inn’s in Sandhills.

I think one member of my family Joseph Langley around 1850 was set up as a licensed victualler in the Leopard Inn, Sandhills further down the Walsall Road from the Boat Inn which I think they also ran around 1860.

Would you have any details that I could see that will confirm this information I have about my family member being involved with the 2 Inns?

I hope you don’t mind me asking. Thank you.

Kind regards
Sarah Jones

If you can help, please do – comment here please, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks!

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