Walsall Races book re-published in 2015

July 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

It has been ten years since I self-published the first edition of A Complete Record of Walsall Races & The Hednesford Training Grounds and almost from day one I regretted the fact that I never registered it with the British Library…….in other words, it didn’t have an ISBN. At the time it seemed like a good idea as it added to the cost of producing the book. In the ten years that have passed I have produced many books for local history societies and individual authors and quite a high percentage of them have been registered with the British Library, it one was of these authors that allowed me to register this revised edition.Walsall Races new cover

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Town End Bank and the Wisemore

May 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

This day and age the words Town End Bank and the Wisemore mean very little to the people of the town but in the past they were both famous, some would say infamous, areas of Walsall

Her Majesty's area 1928

An aerial view of the Wisemore and Town End taken in 1928. Her Majesty’s Theatre can be seen towards the bottom left of the picture, also in the far right lower corner is the Grand Theatre. The Wisemore Schools are half way up the picture on the right. (Taken from Britain From Above, http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/)

The perceptions of Walsall past are looked at by many people through rose-tinted glasses to say the very least. Words such as beautiful and spotless are regularly used to describe scenes of old Walsall shown in postcard pictures posted on social media sites; the pictures may be both of those things but the town certainly wasn’t. « Read the rest of this entry »

Walsall Lives 2013

March 13, 2015 § Leave a 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.Cover « Read the rest of this entry »

Chuckery Senior School 1904-1972

February 17, 2015 § 2 Comments

In memory of Bill Jeynes our metalwork teacher who died on 10th October 2016 aged 89. Thanks Bill, it was a pleasure knowing such a nice and talented bloke.

Another member of staff to have died in recent times was Michael Davies, Deputy Head during Miss Prentice’s reign. Mr. Davies died at his home in Codsall on Saturday 10th October 2015 aged 85. Michael had died exactly one year earlier to the day than his colleague Bill Jeynes. 

 Although Chuckery Primary School is still going strong Chuckery Senior School, opened in 1904, has long since gone,  the site the school once occupied has been a housing estate for the last fourteen or fifteen years. In 1972 when Chuckery Senior School closed the premises were taken over by arch rivals, Blue Coat School and later the nomad of Walsall’s education system, the School of Art, took over the premises for several years. By 1999 plans were already under way to demolish and develop the site. In February 2000 I arrived at my old school with the intention of taking photographs of the doomed premises only to find it had virtually gone. The majority of the buildings had been demolished and a huge brick pile stood where the classroom used for domestic science (that’s what it was called in my day) stood. Speaking to one of the workmen he told me the bricks were destined for the crusher that made aggregate for road building etc, after hearing that I knew they had it in for the old place!

A view of the Senior school in 1950. The church building in the right foreground is not part of the school.

A view of the Senior school in 1950 from britainfromabove.org.uk website.

I wandered around the decimated site trying to photograph something…… anything would do! To make matters worse it was a typical winter day, cold, very overcast with appalling light; with the demolition almost complete this was no time to get artistic, click the bloody shutter and go! Maybe I should have got a bit artistic because when the film was developed many of the pictures were so under exposed you couldn’t see them, only a few were of sufficient quality to reproduce and two of them can be seen later in the post. « Read the rest of this entry »

Walsall Lives 2012

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.

Cover « Read the rest of this entry »

Walsall Lives 2011

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.Cover « Read the rest of this entry »

Walsall Lives 2009

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.

Calendar 2005 « Read the rest of this entry »

Walsall – A Town Plan – 1943 style

November 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Cover 1

The front cover of the publication from 71 years ago price 6d (2.5p).

In the last few days whilst preparing to put the Walsall Lives Calendar for 2009 onto the blog I came across a page that I thought warranted further investigation and explanation. It concerned the Council’s plans for redevelopment seventy-one years ago.

In November 1943 the County Borough of Walsall  produced a twelve page booklet telling of their vision for the future of the town. Included in the booklet were two large maps titled “Plan A” and “Plan B”, produced separately, folded and stored in a flap on the inside back cover. It is these two maps which will be of main interest to the readers of this post, don’t forget to click on the images as this will enlarge them. « Read the rest of this entry »