BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘history’

January 11th – Unusually, I came through the pedestrian centre of Darlaston today, and noted that the old Caldmore Accord Housing Association offices were now empty: this must surely have been a pub once, but I can’t find it on any old pub sites, so I’m a bit puzzled. The courtyard is lovely, and the Mindful Gifts shop next door is an Aladdin’s Cave.

I hope a use can be found for this lovely building.

January 3rd – Returning to Brownhills, there was a lovely, low sun at lunchtime so I visited the row of trees that make for such great autumn pictures during the leaf fall.

It’s fair to say they look totally different undressed, but no less beautiful.

Every time I see these, I can’t help but remember the when I was a kid, I remember these saplings being planted. 

Oh, how that makes me feel old…

December 20th – Returning through Shenstone, I popped into the village to the shop on an errand. Coming back down the village, I was reminded what a handsome pub The Railway is.

The extension in the foreground was once a chapel, then a butcher’s shop, but is now part of the stone-flagged lounge and has a large window it’s great to sit by and watch the world go by.

A lovely pub I’d almost forgotten about.

October 30th – Not a bad day for a Monday. I had to nip to a hospital appointment at lunchtime, so left work and cycled along a sun-dappled, peaceful canal to the centre of Walsall. Turning to leave the canal and ride on to Bridgman Street, I looked at the Town Arm Junction.

This place has changed beyond recognition in my lifetime. When I was a nipper it was grimy, surrounded by blackened, semi derelict factories; there was little wildlife and the waters were nothing more than a polluted stew.

Not all change is for the worse.

September 24th – Nice to see the refurbished Fullelove Memorial Shelter back in public use at the Parade in Brownhills. Often mistaken for a bus stop, the shelter was erected by Brownhills Urban District Council for the old folks in memory of George Fullelove, the great chorister and choirmaster of Brownhills.

This hexagonal, elegant brick structure has provided a place to shoot the breeze, hide from the rain, or enjoy an illicit fag for generations, yet I bet few know why it’s actually there.

A lovely thing, well restored and congratulations to the Brownhills Local Committee and the Friends of Brownhills Common who achieved it.

August 25th – Travellers of a different kind in central Walsall. Still feeling grim even for the sun and fresh air, my burning of the candle at both ends was finally catching up with me, so a breather and a brew watching this narrowboat negotiate the locks at near Smiths Flour Mill in Walsall was in order.

I love to see the narrowboats – and this was a good one, in a scene hugely transformed in the last few decades. Once, the boat would have been grubby, in even blacker, heavily polluted surroundings, perhaps carrying coal to the power station, but now we’re surrounded by green and modern urbanity, and the cargo is not coal, but travellers, holidaymakers or boat enthusiasts passing another once industrial town.

How times change.

August 6th – A better day spent mainly at home getting domestic things done, and resting, which is what I needed more than anything. I left for a ride late on a freshly tuned, clean, unladen bike and had forgotten just how lively and fun my bike is to throw around in such a state. I rocketed around the common and Chasewater and felt better, and liberated. I only had to go a few weeks. And I could get more stuff done. This isn’t all bad.

Talking of getting stuff done, I noted that the Fullelove Memorial Shelter at the bottom of The Parade is being well renovated. Built in memoriam to the great Brownhillian choral singer George Fullelove, I believe the shelter was built after his passing for the elderly to sit and watch the world go by. Over the years I’ve seen much time there, like many a Brownhills lad: sheltering, dossing, socialising or having an illicit fag. 

Like most people, until I was older I had no idea of the purpose of this hexagonal, elegant structure as no plaque records it’s purpose, but it is a fitting tribute, and also to Brownhills Local Committee and Doug Birch who have pushed for the renovation.

Thanks. This is a real piece of Brownhills history, your efforts are appreciated.

February 19th – I had to be in work on a Sunday, unusually, early in the morning. After spending a few hours there, I decided to make the best of the day and head on to the canals of the Black Country. I shot over to Tipton, then through the Netherton Tunnel, wound around Brierley Hill to Stourbridge, out to Stourton and then all the way up to Wolverhampton on the Staffs and Worcester, heading back home on the good old Curley Wyrley to Bloxwich.

I love riding the Netherton Tunnel – at 3036 yards it’s a long one, and the effects of water seepage and time make it an interesting and dramatic journey. 

Those air vents still remind me of something out of Doom or Quake.

Didn’t see another soul down there, either, which was odd. Bumble Hole at the far end was busy, though.

December 1st – The long-closed Shire Oak Pub at the crossroads atop Shire Oak hill reopened only a few days ago, and it’s so nice to see the building lit up again at night. The pub deserves a good future as it’s a historic and well loved inn that’s survived many years. 

As I winched myself up the hill from an errand in Stonnall I appreciated the warm, welcoming lights and hoped the new team running it have every success.

October 17th – I’ve passed through Ocker Hill and Toll End a fair bit lately, and I’ve noticed this house at the top of Toll End Road near the island.

It’s old. I think it’s older than anything in the immediate vicinity, and of what looks like a very un-black country design; the only thing I can liken it to around these parts is the old White Lion in Caldmore Green, Walsall.

Does anyone know the history of this curious house please?