… but you can’t take planning out of the boy.

Well, that is what was said around the time I decided to leave the employ of Walsall Council.

However, as I once remarked to a former colleague, once you are on the outside planning becomes largely invisible.  Today, though, I noticed something that triggered a rye smile. Continue reading “… but you can’t take planning out of the boy.”

Publicans & Beer Sellers

Revised to inlclude download link.

This is a bit of hard core local history research, but it might be the sort of project that appeals to other family historians with heritage to do with pubs and beer houses.

prince of wales 2 (640x531)
Prince of Wales, Watling Street, Brownhills.

For several years I have been building a dataset of public houses, inns and beerhouses, with particular focus on their proprietors, managers and keepers.  I have focused on the areas inhabited by those ancestors who lived near to my home, that is mainly Brownhills and Chasetown.  I have been in many of them at one time or another, those that were still open in my adult life.  Some were run at one time by Andrew’s Kindred – the “Pub Dennises“, some were, doubtless, frequented by others, and some grew up there.

You are welcome to download, share and add more information.

Continue reading “Publicans & Beer Sellers”

Walsall Archives Opening Hours

Preparations for the move by Walsall Local History Centre to the town centre will temporarily restrict opening hours:  this from Weste via Rootschat:

Walsall Archives (Staffordshire) – RootsChat.Com

Reduced opening hours effective from April 1st 2017

Opening Tuesdays and Wednesdays only to the public from 10 am to 4pm . Other days they will be cataloguing etc ready for the move to Lichfield Street library in Walsall town centre. Don’t know the move date.

It’s not an early April fools joke!

Short term pain for long term gain.

The Seventh Stile

This has long been something of a minor mystery to me,  but there must be some local folk who can give a definitive answer.  Every now and then I walk over to Hammerwich (and beyond), much as my local ancestors often did on Sunday afternoons.  My parents knew this route from the Triangle as The Seven Stiles, but just where were the stiles?

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Ordnance Survey 1974 (surveyed over a long period), showing the official public footpath in pecked green. It also shows the current path in a fine black dotted line.

To find out more it would be interesting to see how the land lay in great grandfather’s day.

Continue reading “The Seventh Stile”

1939 and all that

chapel street 43 (640x452)
Rear view of 43 Chapel Street, Brownhills, by Joan Jackson.

A while back I looked at my father’s family as war approached – also 1939 and all that.  Now I visit my mother’s family, name of Brown, who lived at 41 Chapel Street.  Number 41 is the house beyond the hedge on the right of the painting.  The artist was Joan Jackson, who lived later at 43 with her husband Les.  Number 41 was where I spent the first year of my life and where my mother grew up.

I pointed out that searching the 1939 Register, online via Findmypast, can be a frustrating exercise, as the records of many people who are long dead remain locked because they have not been updated to anything like the present.  This time it would be more difficult.  I would have to break in by the back door.

Continue reading “1939 and all that”

Esme and the Nasty Twisty Bridge

burntwood-rd-br-1938-survey
Burntwood Road Bridge. Ordnance Survey 1938 survey. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Esme Cynthia Dennis was a cousin I didn’t know I had. She was my second cousin once removed, one of the Pub Dennises – her father and his father ran the Royal Oak, Chasetown, which is why I had no idea of her existence.  Anyway, Esme was a posh name, to be encountered in plays or books about posh people, such as those lampooned by P G Wodehouse (Jeeves and Wooster).

Burntwood Road Bridge, to use the proper name, was dubbed the “Nasty Twisty Bridge” by my uncle Frank. It was a hazardous S-bend, where an important local commuter road, connecting Brownhills to Burntwood, crossed the canal. It was always a marvel that so few accidents occurred there.  Buses would knock chunks out of the brick parapets and there are still fallen bricks on the bottom of the canal. The high parapets obscured any forward vision for car drivers, who approached the bridge blind.

Continue reading “Esme and the Nasty Twisty Bridge”

Hard Times At The Collieries

I found an article in the local press, one among many about parents not sending their children regularly to school, which resonated in two ways.  Most recently the debate about parents who take their children out of school for holidays, and maybe the reason from around 1875-80, why some of Andrew’s Kindred migrated to Derbyshire to find work.

Continue reading “Hard Times At The Collieries”