Was the investigation into the Grove Pit Disaster a whitewash?

The 1st October 2016 was the 86th anniversary of the worst modern-day pit disaster in our area, the Grove Pit Disaster, in which fourteen miners perished following an explosion a mile and a half below Brownhills Common, beneath the Ring Sun Inn.

Image kindly supplied by Simon Swain

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A mine of information

In my last article, I pointed out that I’d received extra information on a couple of posts over the weekend – both on the Anglesey/sea question, and also on the Mine Rescue Team image shared by John Sale and Bill Mayo.

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Rescue me

The great Bill Mayo, local historian and photo collector, has recently been digging in his files and found a few mystery images, like the one above of a local mines rescue team.

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A local mining accident – more information available

A couple of days ago I asked for information about a local mining accident, suffered by the Grandfather of reader Gill Joesbury, but the request it was a bit of a mission impossible, as we didn’t have a name to go on – since then, Gill has now been in touch with more information.

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A local mining accident – can you help?

Here’s a quick one to get the researchers scratching their heads – and it’s a very long shot, but please do what you can, I’ve asked for more information from Gill, and I’m hoping she’ll comment here.

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Anyone for tennis?

Further to the great material sent in by Marion Jones, relating to the lost pumping station on The Spot at Clayhanger, she also sent me some interesting photos of the gardens of the Jones House in Clayhanger in the 1920s.60437345

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Challenging landscapes

Today, I’ve mostly been trawling the paper mapping record for Clayhanger, in order to throw a little more light on the issues it faced in the post war years – debate about subsidence and flooding and the subsequent land restoration that occurred has been ongoing, and this is a really interesting bit of local history for me.

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Don’t believe everything you read…

I’ve been droning on now for some months about the need for accuracy and careful research in local history. It’s because I know that I’m as fallible as the next man that I, like you readers, worry so much about it. When researching stuff, you really want things to confirm what you already think or…

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The social contract

There has been some discussion here recently between regulars David Evans and Peter Cutler about miners working at Walsall Wood Colliery on day to day contracts. As a consequence, Peter found the following article in the Lichfield Mercury of Friday, 26th June 1914. This article gives a remarkable insight into the pernicious hold the still…

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Who’d be a carthorse?

Here’s another gem from [Howmuch?], who’s found this wonderful photo in the archives at Lichfield. It took us a while to work out, as it was unlabelled, but it is, of course, the western approach to the Black Cock Bridge, Bullings Heath, Walsall Wood. We’ve discussed it at some length, and we think this is…

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Made from girders

The long pondered question of subsidence in the Bullings Heath area, and the age of the black Cock bridge became a little clearer last week. Top reader and local history ferret [Howmuch?] found this wonderful snippet in the archives of the long gone newspaper, ‘The Brownhills Reporter’. There have been many references found in the local…

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Good news on Brownhills Business Park: once again, sense prevails

I had a welcome email yesterday from top reader and contributor Andy Dennis. He pointed out that the appeal against the refusal of planning permission for the demolition of Brownhills Business Park and the construction of a housing development had now been dropped by the developers, Ashtenne Industrial Fund. The news was posted on Walsall…

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The night the roof fell in

Brian Stringer – The Clayhanger Kid himself – has very kindly contacted me with his memories of the October 1956 accident at Walsall Wood Colliery. Brian sent me the following: Hi Bob. The article you featured re the medals presented to Mr Schofield (as we had to address him), George Bywater and Henry Joiner, brought…

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Back from the dead?

It seems a bizarre, defeated planning application that has been covered here before on the blog has been resurrected. The plan to demolish Brownhills Business Park currently existing on the former site of Walsall Wood Colliery, and latterly Brownhills Commercials was thrown out by Walsall Council, and subsequently by a government planning inspectorate tribunal way…

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Heroes of the underground

I thank [Howmuch?] for the following contribution, which he found amongst his paperwork while having his annual clear out. He really is every it the star… CENTRAL CHANCERY OF THE ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD. St. James’s Paloce, S.W.1. 12th February, 1957. The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to give orders for the undermentioned appointment to the…

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The rise and fall

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve compiled two posts that questioned the oft-repeated local legend that the cottages by the Black Cock Bridge in Hall Lane, Walsall Wood, were originally built at the level of the canal and sank due to subsidence. In my second post, I laid out some of my research in…

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Toxic assets: Brownhills Businesss Park housing plan withdrawn

I noted with some amusement on Friday that the planned scheme to build nearly a hundred dwellings on the business park on the corner of Lindon Road and Coppice Road in Walsall Wood had been abandoned. This project has been subject of a lengthy legal battle between Walsall Council and the developers, owners of Brownhills…

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The way the land lies

Since musing on the question of mining subsidence and the cottage in Hall Lane, Walsall Wood last week, I’ve been bowled over by the interest readers have shown in this topic. It seems to fascinate you folks as much as it does me. I’ve been given information, sent diagrams, pored over maps and books. People…

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A sound foundation?

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been told by an assortment of teachers, old timers and local historians that the house by The Black Cock Bridge in Hall Lane, Walsall Wood, was originally built at the level of the canal and subsequently sunk due to mining subsidence. I’ve seen this line asserted so many…

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Holding on for a hero

Top bloke and contributor Stevie378 recently commented that a relative was in a local mine rescue team. With that in mind, and especially for his mum, whom I know to be a keen reader of this blog, I’ve dredged the internet and fired up the scanner to bring you some pictures of the proud volunteers…

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John Bernard Whittaker, rest in peace.

Further to yesterday’s enquiry from Janet Whittaker, and my subsequent blog post, this evening I went to see if I could find the resting place of John Whittaker, Janet’s grandfather, tragically lost along with 13 other miners in the Grove Pit Disaster of October 1st, 1930. Janet had said that she thought the grave was…

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A new glimpse into the past

I’ve just managed to get hold of a new book of photographs of Brownhills. Entitled ”Around Pelsall & Brownhills’ it’s part of the huge ‘Britain in old photographs’ series, compiled by David F. Vodden and published by Sutton Publishing Limited (128 pages, 1998, ISBN 0-7509-1898-5). It’s a book I’d noted the existence of, but never…

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The Effluent society

Further to my post last week, regarding the plans by The Ashtenne Industrial Fund Unit Trust to demolish Brownhills Business Park and construct housing, granted on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate, I’ve been looking into the history of the site in question. Initially, the land was the site of Walsall Wood Colliery, which ceased production in 1964….

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Shafted?

I notice that there’s some commotion on the Brownhills/Walsall Wood border at the moment. Local councillor Mike ‘Burger Boy’ Flower has rightly flagged up in his thankfully rejuvenated blog that a plan to demolish Brownhills Business Park (the former surface buildings of Walsall Wood Colliery) and build housing in it’s place has been granted outline…

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