A feast of wire

Local rail buff Simon Swain has been busy of late covering the momentous and important Chase Line Electrification Project, which is seeing the rail line between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley electrified for hopefully faster and more reliable services.

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Up the Ryecroft Junction

Local rail buff Simon Swain has once again been busy with the camera and maps, tracing out the history of the South Staffordshire railway line that used to run from Wychnor near Alrewas to Dudley, but called at Lichfield, Brownhills and Walsall on the way.

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The death throes of the local line

Local rail buff Simon Swain last week sent in the above image of one of the last freight workings on the South Staffordshire Line through central Brownhills – and there was a large amount of interest in this remarkably evocative photo.

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One of the final few

Local rail buff Simon Swain has been in touch with a remarkable image of Brownhills recording the very last days of the railway here – just before construction of the Miner Island in 1984.

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A found connection

Way back last year, Patricia Cotton sent in the above photo of her brother Tony, family friends Dora Rathbone and her son Bob enjoying a picnic and a paddle in 1955 by the canal in Brownhills, aroundabout where the banks of the old clay pit are today.

stack

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Caught short on the Pelsall Road

I’ve received via Facebook from very generous reader Patricia Cotton who’s send a very interesting picture, not just because it’s a wonderful period photo, but because lurking on the skyline is an indication of something being present several people dispute.

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Troy, the Chasewater Station cat is missing – can you help?

An important and somewhat sad appeal reaches me from Chasewater Railway, the hidden gem at our favourite local country park – it seems that Troy, the Brownhills West Station cat has gone AWOL and volunteers are desperate to see if he’s OK.

troy

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Action stations

Thanks to Twitter cycling whizz and all round top guy @WolvesOnWheels who tipped me off last week, there’s a Facebook group that’s been featuring a lot of Brownhills, Walsall Wood and Pelsall railway photographs lately, posted by Si Swain.

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A summer long since passed

Readers may well remember the photo of the Brigade football team from the 1960s – the young David Evans, himself a former member of the local Brigade has been in contact with local chap John Genders, who’s dug out some lovely pics of the summer camps they had after the war. John also supplied the lovely…

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Truncated

I’m going to share here an absolutely astounding image donated by Brownhills Local History researcher in exile Gerald Reece, which is sure to create some debate – I’m going to be brief, as I feel it’s best.
P1070223

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When Mom wasn’t pleased to see me

Here’s another great instalment from the series I started a couple of months ago, chronicling the memories of Walsall Wood lady Audrey Proffitt, carefully and faithfully transcribed by reader and Walsall Wood correspondent David Evans.

page16_2

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Get another glimpse into Brownhills Past

Regular readers will remember that last Autumn, there was an exhibition at Walsall Local History Centre featuring a whole tranche of of historic Brownhills photos and ephemera from the civic collection – this had proven to be so successful, that the top operatives at the town archives have decided to set many of the exhibits up on show in Brownhills Library, at the Parkview Centre, from now until the end of February 2014.
Hussey Arms Building Plan

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The disappearing fish

page19-version-2
Here’s another great instalment from the series I started a couple of months ago, chronicling the memories of Walsall Wood lady Audrey Proffitt, carefully and faithfully transcribed by reader and Walsall Wood correspondent David Evans.

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Following the engine

Yesterday, I featured a fascinating analysis of a great picture of steam locomotive at Brownhills Station in the early part of last century, sent in by reader Ian Pell = the picture originated in a press release for the upcoming Walsall Local History Centre exhibition entitled Brownhills Past & Present.

WLHC2923 Brownhills Railway Station, early 1900s

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Now departed

Yesterday, I posted about a new exhibition coming to the Walsall Local History Centre on the subject of Brownhills Past & Present – Stuart Williams had supplied some really great images with the exhibition press release, one of them being of a steam locomotive at Brownhills Station from ‘the early 1900s’.
Untitled2

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Brownhills Past & Present: new exhibition coming soon

Stuart Williams of the Walsall Local History Centre has been in touch regarding a soon-to-start new exhibition of Brownhills photos and ephemera at the town archives.
Hussey Arms Building Plan

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Following tracks

The wonderful local rail historian and Brownhills Choral Society chronicler Ian Pell has been in touch to tell me that the book he mentioned, ‘Walsall Routes’ is now available to order from the publisher, as well as from Amazon.
Walsall Routes - MP  200713002

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Mind the Gap

The enquiry about the local Watford Gap sparked way more interest than I expected, to be honest, so this morning, I decided to test the theory postulated by Andy Dennis that the area really was in a ‘gap’ between the hills of north Sutton.

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Surging forward

I should have known, really. No sooner had I delved into the fascinating world of the Brownhills surge stack, then Ian Pell, railway historian extraordinaire, had written to me with a whole bunch of new information, clarifications and even a few questions.

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Hiding in plain sight?

It seems like we’re in a period for odd historical tangents and discoveries. It all started with Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler’s classic bit of gentrified nimbyism from ‘Captain’ Harrison at Aldershaw(e). From there, we alighted at Sandfields Pumping Station at Lichfield, and found a wonderful, but neglected steam engine. We’ve found since, via Peter’s further diligent research, and that of Dave Moore, a chap clearly expert on the matter, that there was a long forgotten water tower in Brownhills.

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Not in MY backyard (1896 style)…

Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler has been in touch with a lovely quick snippet he spotted in the excellent History of the South Staffordshire Waterworks Company, which is available online for free. It really is an excellent read and deserves wider exposure.

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Call the fire brigade!

Thanks to a tipoff from top local history sort Clive Roberts, I’m able to share some wonderful videos that have just appeared on YouTube. They’re uploaded by user BulldogDave303, and although not Brownhills, they’re in and around Walsall and are really rather good…

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