After dark in Walsall c.1920

February 10, 2017 § Leave a comment


fred-mother-sister

Frederick with his sister Elsie and mother Kate c.1910

Frederick Blanchard was Headmaster of Blue Coat Senior School for many years and also a prolific photographer, a member of Walsall Photographic Society. His daughter Freda, also a teacher but at Blue Coat Infants and Junior Schools was also a member of the Society some years later. During his lifetime he took thousands of photographs with a plate camera in the early days and later film camera.

Around 1920 Frederick took six photographs on glass negatives showing various buildings in Walsall town centre very late at night. The images have an eerie look about them and it makes one wonder who…. or what lurks in the shadows?

Plate cameras were bulky things to lug around and taking photographs with them, even in good light was tricky so to do this in darkness was the ultimate challenge. Frederick didn’t make a bad job of it as you will see, only one photograph suffered from some camera movement. « Read the rest of this entry »

Walsall Lives 2013

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.Cover « Read the rest of this entry »

Chuckery Senior School 1904-1972

February 17, 2015 § 1 Comment


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 »

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