March 13, 2015 § 1 Comment
In 2013 the final Walsall Lives calendar was produced, as the majority of the content included in the eight editions was my own it was inevitable the day would come when the supply would be exhausted.
It was in July 2012 that another of the towns famous landmarks was hit by the phantom flame flinger of old Walsall town when the premises once occupied by J. R. Boak in Bridgeman Street was destroyed by fire. A picture of their premises occupies the left side of the front cover along with a great view taken in the late 1940s from the Savoy Cinema down Park Street towards The Bridge. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
I cannot believe I allowed January to pass by without a new post being added, time seems to pass so quickly and already the first week of February has gone. There is an excuse, there always is! Way back in 2005 I published a book, A Complete Record of Walsall Races & The Hednesford Training Grounds and virtually from day one always regretted not registering it with ISBN. This has now been put right and the book will be republished with the appropriate registration number. It also gave me the opportunity to update various chapters of the book, in particular the World War Two races revival for the war effort and also the chapter on jockeys which is enlarged. That’s my excuse.
This post shows the penultimate Walsall Lives calendar for 2012. The two pictures I like from this edition is the one on the cover looking down Park Street towards The Bridge, the other is the one looking up Park Street to Her Majesty’s Theatre on page three after the map.
December 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Although there was no calendar in 2010 due to lack of new material, very early that year I began working on the calendar for the following year. The reason for this was down to a friend of a friend who had a wonderful picture of the market from the 1930s and allowed me to use it on the front cover. The reader may disagree, but in my opinion this is one of those photographs that speaks a thousand words, one can almost smell and hear the atmosphere. In particular I like the dog snuffling around the boxes in the bottom right……and just look at the people…….hundreds of them!
The market of today bears little, if any, resemblance to the picture below and it is understandable why so many people mourn its demise. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
After a break of four years the Walsall Lives calendar made a reappearance in 2009. The years that had elapsed from the previous edition in 2005 allowed me to add to my collection of Walsall photographs, memorabilia and ephemera.
The photograph that takes prime place on the cover is owned by Thomas Gameson Limited and shows their factory in the 1960s on the left of the picture with the now demolished premises of John Shannon & Son Limited in the background. In the near foreground is the junction of Peel Street and New Street can just be seen. The area where the cars are parked had once been a densely populated area of the town with over-crowded, dilapidated houses which were demolished in the early to mid 1930s. This area was always a good playground for us as youngsters as we made our way home to Caldmore from a Saturday morning at the Gaumont watching the “flics”. The site today is occupied by Asda Supermarket.
Don’t forget to click on each image as this will enlarge it when you do.
November 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
After three successful years of the Walsall Lives calendar I decided to change the format from A4 portrait to A4 landscape in 2005. In this new format each month was spread over two pages, the top page containing the photographs and ephemera etc and the one below it a brief description of the items shown on the page above along with all the dates for the month. In effect the calendar over doubled in size but the price increased by just one pound.
The photograph that takes pride of place on the cover was one of two pictures taken by Harry Hallier of Upper Bridge Street. Pretty rare pictures by today’s standards, they show one of the street decorations that were in place all over the town in October 1886 for the unveiling of the statue in honour of Sister Dora. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 30, 2014 § Leave a comment
The cover for 2004 features a lady connected to the Eyland family dressed in mourning clothes around 1900. To her right is a great picture of Walsall market in the days when it had quality as well as quantity and snaked its way up the hill from Digbeth to the very top of High Street. As Sir John Betjeman said in 1959, “Walsall is a borough which is obviously proud of itself and I thought that if the local council could turn the old High Street into something worthy of the charming and modest buildings, Georgian and Victorian, above the shop-fronts, it could be made into one of the most attractive streets in England. This is the age of local councils. Their increased powers mean that they can make or mar the treasure they have inherited from the past. Local pride can save a place…..short sighted cash considerations can ruin it.“
Sadly no one in authority was listening!
The Bridge on a busy day in the 1920s fills the bottom left corner along with a section of an apprentice indenture for John Fenn, son of the landlord of The Priory in Park Street. Although not the first car to grace the streets of Walsall it was the first registered car to take to the streets. The picture shows Charles Gameson, grandson of Thomas Gameson, with his chauffeur in his 1902/03 Wolseley bearing the number plate DH1, still seen around Walsall on the Mayor’s official car. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
The second edition of Walsall Lives Calendar followed in 2003 in the same format as the first one. One of the pictures on the front cover is a particular favourite of mine, the one in the top left showing Birmingham Street in the 1920s. Growing up in Sandwell Street this area of Walsall was well-known to me from an early age as it was my mother and grandmother’s route to and from “the town”. As a small boy the well-worn steps that can be seen in always fascinated me, “how old must this street be to have steps that have worn away that much” was the question I asked myself. The buildings on the left side had long gone when I was a boy, I think they may have been demolished in the 1930s when Gorton’s Yard and all of the area around St. Matthews was cleared but the buildings on the right remained until around the early 1960s. Past the building on the right side, where the trees protrude, were a couple of 1930s semis and one of them housed a name well-known to Walsall folk, that of Scoltock. The name around Walsall was synonymous with chimney sweeping from the mid-nineteenth century and quite possibly earlier. Neighbours of the Scoltocks were the Tonks family, my mother told me that Jack Tonks was a foreman over the seals department (I think) at the Walsall Lithographic…..she should know, apparently he was her boss when she worked there before WW2. Across the bottom of the cover was a picture of Wednesbury Road, Pleck, in 1912 taken from near the junction with Hilary Street. « Read the rest of this entry »