August 30th – Posting letters at Darlaston Post Office, I spotted this very old metal plaque fixed to the wall above the postbox.
Think about this. Dig through the archaic legal language, and consider it. What on earth were the circumstances that were so severe this notice was required to be made in metal and fixed so prominently?
Answers on a postcard, placed in a postbox in full accordance with the bylaws please, to…
June 9th – A trip into Birmingham on some errands on a grey, overcast and miserable afternoon. Crossing what’s now called ‘Spiceal Street’ – the open space running down from the Bullring Centre to the Markets and St. Martins, I looked down and noticed this curious plaque set into a manhole cover in the paving.
I suppose I ought to look it up, but this seems bizarre to me; how can a meteorite fall twice? In 2000, this was a building site. Is this some pop-culture reference I’m dumb to, or is it genuine?
Hang on. This really has a whiff of Bill Drummond about it – it feels like one of his.
How peculiar… anyone know about this?
November 9th – Since it’s Remembrance, I thought I’d feature this little-noticed war memorial, which I pass often. It sits in an anonymous, unremarkable wall near shops and industrial units on the Pleck Road in Walsall, just opposite the Manor Hospital.
I know nothing at all about the Cyclops Iron Works, and must check it out, but it’s nice the memorial was restored and survived, unlike many other industrial plaques which were lost as factories closed.
I wonder how many pass this every day, and not realise what it is?
August 15th – There’s a story here, I’m sure of it. This house is on the A460 Uxbridge Street, just next to the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Hednesford. Looking up by chance, I noticed it bore the plaque ‘Forge Street’, whose junction with Uxbridge Street is about 50 metres to the south. Underneath the word ‘Street’, another word seems to have been chiselled out. Why would a house bear a street name to a thoroughfare it’s not standing on, and why would part of the inscription be so wrong as to require removal?
Any ideas welcome.
November 6th – I was cycling through Little Aston, as you do. I stopped to adjust my scarf… looked my my left and there it was, screwed to the wall of Little Latches Cottage. The English sense of humour is remarkable, warm and silly. I have nothing further to add…
August 16th – Redditch, despite its tedious, unrelentingly bland modernity, has an old quarter of sorts. Heading from Church Green down to Abbeydale on the cycle route that passes trough town, I recently noticed this unusual pair of house plaques. Celebrating the coronation of Edward VII and his queen Alexandra in 1902, it’s an unusual thing. Edward was the classic long time king in waiting, Victoria’s son, he spent years in waiting, a situation resonant today. He did, however, more or less invent the modern Royal Family, encouraging his mother to make public appearances, attend openings and suchlike. In the end, the king they called The Peacemaker died in May, 1910 after being on the throne only eight years. Edward was widely considered to be a decent, good monarch and was nicknamed ‘The Uncle of Europe’, due to his scholarly love of peace and foreign affairs.
All reflected in one house in a bland street in a new town.
April 12th – I’ve been able to find out little of John Smith. He was clearly a big cheese, because he could afford a handsome, three-storey foursquare traditional redbrick Staffordshire farmhouse – Ivy House Farm, Lower Stonnall. I pass this name stone set into the barn an awful lot, and often wonder if the stonemason did that deliberately, or if he was just illiterate, and copying something written for him. It’s a charming little mystery.