After dark in Walsall c.1920

February 10, 2017 § 6 Comments


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 »

The Walsall hurricane of 1895

January 23, 2017 § Leave a comment


With all the talk of global warming and adverse weather it seems meteorology has only been “invented” in the last 40 years, bit like sex was invented in the 1960s! But in 1895 the weather hit Walsall hard in the form of a hurricane.

The report from which the information has been taken was first published in the Walsall Advertiser on Saturday 30th March 1895.general-1934-copyThe General Hospital in 1935 badly damaged in the hurricane 40 years earlier. Although the hospital had been extended by this time the wards with the long windows on the left was where the chimney came through the roof. The chimney stood behind the thin building with the pointed roof adjoining the new extension.

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JOB TOON – Brush maker, jockey, horse trainer and publican!

April 8, 2016 § 2 Comments


Although Job Toon, the central character in this story was not originally from Walsall he did live in the town in his early life and also ended his days there.  In the years in between he became a jockey, head lad, assistant trainer, trainer/stud manager and finally, the licensee of the New Inn, John Street, Walsall. How many other Walsall publicans can say they came second in the Irish Derby as a jockey and then won the same race a few years later as a trainer?

Job Toon

Thought to be a young Job Toon, an image taken from the German book,  Album des Deutschen Rennsport published in 1900. Courtesy of Tim Cox.

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Walsall Races book re-published in 2015

July 1, 2015 § 11 Comments


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 § 1 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 – 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 »

Cold enough for a hairnet missus….memories of Caldmore

October 15, 2014 § 14 Comments


Poppleton bill copySince beginning this blog some months ago it has been my intention to produce a post about Caldmore, the place where I grew up and had a cracking childhood. My family associations with Caldmore ended with the death of my mother in November 2006 when I was fifty-nine years old. My mother was born at 226 Sandwell Street and lived the rest of her life three doors up at 220, her parents, William and Mary (Lizzy) Moseley began the Sandwell Street family connection way back in April 1915 when they married and move into their new home.

Things were much different 101 years ago, see my grandma’s bill from A. Poppletons at 29 Caldmore Road and look how much she purchased for £1 8s 1.5d (approximately £1.40p in decimal currency) in 1913. Prior to her marriage my Gran’ was Lizzy Fellows who lived in Hospital Street with her parents and nine siblings, she worked in Caldmore at The Summit buckle works in New Street, opposite Dandy’s Walk. « Read the rest of this entry »

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