Competition: Tell us your Wednesfield memories and win a limited edition calendar - WV11.co.uk - News and events in Wednesfield


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Published on January 22nd, 2010 | by James Clarke

97

Competition: Tell us your Wednesfield memories and win a limited edition calendar

waan_calender_preview

Recently the Wednesfield Area Action Network put together a very special 2010 calendar to celebrate Wednesfield’s history.

WAAN teamed up with staff from the Wolverhampton Archives who very kindly allowed the use of 24 historic photographs that depict Wednesfield’s past. WAAN’s members have picked photos featuring local landmarks, some of which still exist today in an effort to show how Wednesfield has changed over the years.

We have been lucky enough to get our hands on 12 of these glossy A4 calendars to give away to our readers. Read on to find out how to win a calendar…

If you’d like to win one of these fantastic limited edition calendars and own a little piece of local history, all you have to do is post a comment on the WV11 website by clicking here, and tell us your favourite Wednesfield memory. Your memory doesn’t have to be as old as some of these photos, we just want to hear your stories of every day life in the area.

We will pick our 12 favourite memories/stories and notify the winners – your stories will also be featured on the website. Please make sure you add your email address on the comments form in order for us to contact you.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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About the Author

Co-founder of WV11.co.uk. I live in Wednesfield and am involved in various community groups and associations. I build websites and develop digital marketing strategies for a living. When not writing for WV11 or attending meetings I play drums in my band Arbor Lights. I think Wednesfield is a great place, with a great sense of community and it isn't given the credit it deserves. Hopefully WV11.co.uk goes some way to fixing this!



97 Responses to Competition: Tell us your Wednesfield memories and win a limited edition calendar

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  2. Steve Parkes says:

    Quite a recent memory but I thought I'd start things off.

    I was in the supermarket last year as it was being re-branded as a Co-op and decided to buy my partner some sweets as she is fond of reminiscing when her grandparents used to buy her sweets on the weekend from Fine Fare. I heard a mobile phone ring and a little old women shouted down the handset.

    "I'm in the Village buying bread at Fine Fare."

    It doesn't matter what changes happen and whose name is plastered all over the walls somethings never change it's still the village and it's still Fine Fare.

  3. Steph says:

    Ha – How right you are Steve, My Great Grandad used to live in the high rise flats near New Cross and we used to go and visit with him every Friday morning, I remember there being lots of talk about "the village" and me having no idea what they were talking about – It was only a little later on that I realised they meant Wednesfield town and quite often in recent years I've caught myself calling it "the Village" too!!

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Hi Steph,

      When I was a kid, we always shortened the Village to The Vill.
      So if you were going to the High Street, it was "I'm going Down The Vill."
      If we went to Wolverhampton, it was "I'm going Up The Town.

  4. Simon Hamilton says:

    I remember playing over Wednesfield flower park on the long 1970’s summer nights.Our house 15 South Avenue backed onto the alleyway which borders the Park, me and & Brothers used to play golf on the pitch and Putt course and climb the trees.
    We used to play tracker on the park with about what seemed hundreds of other kids from the area. Or we used to get chased of the bowling green by the Parkie’ because we used to break dance on it with our Lino.
    On saturdays it used to be 20 a side playing footie on top of the swing park, and when the parkie’ locked the gates we used to climb back over and finish our games.
    Oh what memories, I miss them days!!

  5. Kelvin Harris says:

    What a day it was when the Queen came to Wednesfield, our school Long knowle along with many others lined up in Lakefield to watch Her Majesty drive past i think she was wearing pink that day back in the 60s, but it was all over in a moment and i could be wrong of the colour.Back in them days i was more intrested in going to the Regal cinema on the corner of Alfred Squire road and High Street on a Saturday morning , walking from the Long knowle estate down Amos Lane over the park thru the flower gardens and out down the alleyway and into Wednesfield the back way.

    • We lined up along Lakefield Road waving our flags and i was convinced that she waved back at me. i was gutted when i found out it wasn’t the queen but her lady in waiting who was in the car on my side of the road

    • Eric Ball says:

      Kelvin, I have EXACTLY the same memories of being at Moat House school and standing along Alfred Squire Road Road in front of the new Council Offices. The short cut (?) into Wednesfield from Long Knowle was also a regular trip.
      Remember one trip To The Regal from my grandparents house in Long Knowle Lane, would have been when I was 12 in 1960, remember it was dark early, cold and wet and my Granddad had let me get the bus by myself. Saw The Battle of the Alamo with John Wayne et al and remember having wet eyes as I caught the bus home!
      I’d only recently visited the barbers top of Well Lane and been convinced that he’d given me a ‘Davy Crocket’ cut, although turned out later he’d listened to my mom and done no such thing?
      The blacksmiths at the Red Lion crossroads with the old wooden shed and big bath out the front was there as a kid and from my grandparents house I could look across open fields and see the steam train puffing along the ‘chemical railway’ on the distant skyline.
      Bellamy Lane was a black cinder track with a stream running the length of it, probably the same stream that ran up the side of Woden Avenue before the covered it over. Hyde Riad was similar, we had a lot of streams in Wednesfield then.

  6. PERD says:

    My family moved into the Village end of Neachells Lane in 1946, and I went to the Primary School just 100yds away: across the road from it was a lovely little sweet shop where I spent my first sixpence after sugar-rationing ended. Alfred Squire Road was just a cinder track, with overgrown allotments and fields on either side – no Police Station or Council Offices, but hedges and thickets and trees and wild undulating ground – wonderful territory for young boys to fight off rampaging Indians or rival gangs. And we often walked that cinder track to the Regal, and I too went alone to see Flash Gordon and Hopalong Cassidy on Saturday mornings. God, life was so good!

    At the foot of Gregory's Bridge was a doll's house of a sweet shop (now an undertaker's?), and opposite, nestling alongside the Dog and Partridge, was a tiny fish'n'chip shop – best chips I've tasted in my 70 years. Between my house and the chippie's was the Marshall forge – old man Marshall was still making animal traps in his smithy, and I often watched as his grandson was my friend. The Village shops were small, quaint, grimy – I remember a miniature chemist's, across from Bailey's the grocer, Done's the baker, and Howe's the greengrocer. I used to buy my comics and get my hair cut at Charlesworth's at the top of Well Lane, by some small chapel. And I had many connections with St Thomas' church. Round the corner in Rookery Lane was Squire's hardware store – fascinating for a kid! – and a little further on was Tedstill's bicycle store and a flea-pit cinema I never visited.

    Opposite our house was a large field (now Pickering Road?) which the farmer ploughed with a shire horse – I have a photo to prove it! Not far away was a haulage company with big trucks – I forget its name, though I never thought I would.

    There was a definite village atmosphere to Wednesfield at the time. It was grimy and downtrodden, but I have only happy memories of growing up there.

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Referring to PERDS recollections of Wednesfield from 1946 onwards.
      The sweet shop, was it the one by the ally leading to Lawfred Cresent?
      The cinder track (now Alfred Squire Road) we always referred to it as 'The Regal Fields' the 'Regal' being the cinema at the High Street end of the field.
      The 'Saturday morning Crush' at the Regal, I remember it well! 2d. Downstairs & 3d. Upstairs.
      I had 6d. Pocket money & and would get a bag of chips (Two pence half pence) from Gradeys wooden chip shop (they opened Saturday mornings just for us kids going to the flicks), 3d. Upstairs at the pictures left me with a half penny to get some sucks on the way home. That’s if I could find somewhere to tether me hoss while I went in the shop.

      • Balloonatic 258 says:

        The sweet shop by Gregory's Bridge was also a watch repairer, and next to it, going towards the canal, where three or four cottages and the small road between the front of them and the footpath going over the bridge was where the boaties used to walk their horses home at the end of a days work.
        I can recall the name Marshalls forge, and I know my dad used to talk about him, but I can't recall just where it was.
        Charlesworth's barbers was Pickerings in my day, and they had a rotary electric hair brush that they held with both hands to run it over your head, (an it da arf hurt). They were also a paper shop, and sold sweets, & tobacco as well.

        • Balloonatic 258 says:

          Tedstill's wasn't the only shop catering for bikes in the Rookery. 'Dave Inner Tube' as we called him also sold bits for bikes from a tiny shop nearer to 'Squires Hardware'.
          The flea-pit you refer to was the 'Smack', the correct name was the 'Ideal Cinema', but if you asked 100 people in Wenesfield where the 'Ideal Cinema' was, 99 of them would not know, but if you asked for the 'Smack' every one of them would be able to tell you.

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Foulks was the name of the transport company. They were coal merchants, and had a yard just over the Rookery Bridge (now a Garden Centre). Then they got a lucrative contract to transport long tubes for the Weldless Steel Tube Co. and took another yard in Neachells Lane.
      The Village atmosphere was somewhat different then, but if you look hard enough, you can still find some of it. (Try me for a start on a Saturday morning when I go to 'Firkins' for my Apple Turnover, or how about that Dude with the straw hat who sells carved wooden items on a market stall, then there is Ray Fellows Local Historian, you can buy his book 'Wednesfield My Village' from the 'Stars News Shop' (as was) in the High Street.

    • Rob Williams says:

      was It Foulkes Transport m8

    • Robert Williams says:

      Joseph Foulkes Haulage.

  7. PERD says:

    Balloonatic – four great posts! Thanks for the memories! Here's my response.

    The alley by the sweetshop opposite the primary school – I thought it led to somewhere we called The Banjo. Maybe that was our name for Lawfred Cresc – alongside The Falcon pub. My friend Colin Gough lived down that way.

    That scrubby area around what's now Alfred Squire Rd: we called the area nearest Neachells Lane 'The Allotments' (though nobody ever worked them). The Regal Fields was the area at the rear of the Regal, where the Community Centre now stands. But perhaps that was just our understanding of the area.

    I don't recall Gradey's chippie near the Regal on Saturday mornings – maybe I couldn't afford it!

    Perhaps the Gregory's Bridge mini-shop did repair watches too – I was a kid and it was the sweeties that grabbed my attention. I don't remember horses using the path alongside: the horses seemed to congregate at the wharf by the Boat Inn, somewhere behind the current library opposite the church.

    Marshall's forge. Start at Gregory's Bridge and go along Neachells Lane. After about 75 yards, the road swings right. Marshall's place was on the bend, on the right. The red-brick house jutted out on to the pavement, and the forge was a barn-like structure just behind. Old man Marshall often stood on the corner to chat to passers-by – he was a very sociable character! They were still exporting huge (and wicked) traps to Africa and Australia in my day – big game stuff.

    Charlesworth's may well have been Pickering's earlier. They also sold pretty desirable toys! In the barber's, I was never subjected to the hair brush, but an Italian worked there who whistled continuously as he lopped one's hair. I remember the draught of his whistling.

    Yes, The Smack! But did anyone ever go there? I think we thought we'd get the plague if we visited!

    I remember Foulks beyond Rookery Bridge – not far from Kenyon's garage and a canal wharf. When Foulks arrived in Neachells Lane, they advertised themselves as Haulage Contractors. Some of my family worked at the Weldless and at Richards & Ross (where I did stocktaking as a student to earn some dosh!).

    I've got the Wednesfield Village Book, of course. The Star News Shops was a real upstart in the village, like the new pet shop between there and the Regal. It was a sign things were changing. One of my friends lived in Hickman Street, off Graiseley Lane. Quite suddenly, Hickman Street disappeared for ever. Then again, it was not a street to merit much affection.

    Thanks again for your fascinating posts!

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Gradey's chippy, was the one by by Gregoreys Pub, (the chips you liked so much).
      I would be approaching over Gregorey's Bridge then down the High Street to the Regal.

      The Smack, It changed it's program twice a week, Mon. Tue. Wed. / Thu. Fri. Sat. But there was always a serial on, so you had to go twice a week if you wanted to keep up with the story.

      • PERD says:

        Oh, was that Gradey's chippy? I'm sure we used to call it "Granny's" – perhaps I misheard the name! She'd sell you a decent bag of potatoes too for just 4d. Super chips, though.

        I seem to recall that the Regal ran two programmes a week as well. And the weekend movies were always a bit better than the earlier ones.

        Yup, I know the banjo off Woden Ave – my Grandma's place backed on to it from Amos Lane. But I don't remember a banjo near where the trolleys turned – unless you mean one that ran out towards the KG playing fields. But wasn't there a banjo between March End and Hart Road, approached from near the Falcon pub?

        Was the chemist's in the old High St called Patterson's? It was run by a woman called Joy. And was there a butcher's in the Rookery, somewhere between Well Lane and Squire's hardware?

        • Balloonatic 258 says:

          The Pudding Bag in Lichfield Road is only Ten yards away from the Bus stop, you can easily miss it, it's so small.

          More on the SMACK
          In the back few rows of seats you could just about sit with your knees in front of you but they would be touching the seat in front. The next rows were closer together so yuo had to sit with your knees sideways. Infront of that there was four rows of wooden benches. Then four rows of us kids sitting cross leged on the bare floor. (And it da arf gi yo a crake in ya neck) looking up at the screen for an hour & half.

        • Balloonatic 258 says:

          Do you remember when only the single decker trolly bus serviced Wednesfield? because a double decker could not get under the railway bridge at the bttom of Broard Street.

          As a kid, had you used to play down "Bacuss End"? It's only in the last few years that I realised it was actually the "End of Back House Lane"

  8. Balloonatic 258 says:

    Hi again,

    A Banjo, or (Pudding Bag) is Wetchfelt slang for a Crescent that has only one entrance, and no exit, so you have to go round the top of the Crescent and out the same way you came in, shaped like a Banjo.

    See Woden Crescent off Woden Avenue, or the one in Lichfield Road, by the terminus (if you don’t know the terminus it’s the traffic island in Lichfield Road, at the top of Wood end Road, where the Trolly busses turned round for the return journey to Wolverhampton.

  9. Eves22 says:

    Does anyone remember Merrill's Hall?

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Yes,
      Merrill's Hall was inside the grounds of the 'Weldless Steel Tube Company' when I worked there.

      It was used as the wages office for a time, I know this because I was once sent to help remove a safe from an upstairs office, through the window using a forklift truck. We got it onto the forks alright, but on reversing, the soft ground gave way.

      The truck, safe and all, tipped over side ways, and a mobile crane had to be hired to retreive the situation.

      Sorry if this was not the romantic memory you had hoped for.

      • Eves22 says:

        Hi Balloonatic 258, any memory is great! Thank you for replying. Very interested in local history, especially Merrill's Hall as so little is mentioned about it anywhere, would be interested in hearing any more stories about it, or if anyone has photos. Really enjoyed reading all the memories of Wednesfield.

      • pamela smith says:

        my dads family lived at merrills hall . they say it was haunted .

      • Fiona Cagle says:

        Hi Balloonatic

        I work for a Firm of Solicitors and have been asked to perform some research regarding the working conditions/environement at the Weldless Steel Tube Company in connection with one of our claims.

        I came accross your posts during this research and wonder if you would be willing to have a chat with me regarding your time there? Could you please contact me by e-mail fcagle@boyesturner.com or by telephone: 0118 952 7115.

        Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

        Fiona Cagle

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Hi Eves 22,

      Is this of any interest to you?

      (http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/articles/WednesfieldCanal/Canal.htm)
      South of the Bentley Canal where it approaches Fibbersley bridge there were many mine shafts shown on the 1901 map as “old shafts”. Just off Noose Lane before it crossed the Wolverhampton to Walsall line was Trentham colliery next to the Wellington Brick works. Further along was was the Bull Plack colliery. North of this was Merril’s Hole Colliery marked disused. The whole of this area riddled with old shafts.

      Another old map showed a tramway of what is now Neachell,s Lane bridge and joining up with with Merrill’s Hall Colliery (note difference in spelling).

      The original Merril’s Hall was situated between the Falcon Inn and the canal and enclosed by a moat. The Merril family were well known in Wednesfield in the 17th Century.

  10. Eves22 says:

    Meant to add … not so great for you inside the truck!

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Hi eves22,

      Not me driving the truck, I only went to do the hunping.

      Ray Fellows knows a lady who is interested in Merrill's Hall (or is that you?)

      If you have Ray's book "Wednesfield My Village" his phone No. is on the back.

  11. Eves22 says:

    Hi, yep … it's me – still looking for more info! I would love to hear any more facts or stories you have about Merrills Hall. Nothing is too trivial! By the way, do you remember what year it was demolished?

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Try ‘Second Generation’. He may know more about Merrills Hall,he used to play in that area.

      See http://www.wv11.co.uk/topics/news/history
      For ‘Memories of Wednesfield’ 27-Nov-2010

      Some one there may also be of help.

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Hi Eves 22,

      Just been looking through a book,‘Street Names of Willenhall’, on page 75 is a map showing ‘Merrill’s Hall’ opposite the bottom of Hart Road, it also shows Hope Works (the Steel Tube Co.)

      Just north of Watery Lane, close to Noose Lane it also shows ‘Merrill’s Hall Colliery’.

      I’ll keep feeding you bits of Info. as I come across them.

  12. Balloonatic 258 says:

    Seeing the news item posted in WV11 by James, on 15th–Sep–2010.

    Concerning the replacement Stone Plaques at the main entrance to King George V Playing Fields in Amos Lane.

    Reminds me of watching the building of the pillars back in 1937, and the placing of the original Plaques.

    I was but a nipper at the time, and lived in Amos Lane, almost opposite the main entrance to the playing fields.

    I was in bed with some childhood illness or other. During the daytime my Mother moved me into her bed in the front bedroom, so that I could see and hear more of what was going on out side.

    When the workmen came to start building the gate pillars, Mom manoeuvred the dressing table with the big mirror on it, so that I could watch what was going on without getting out of bed.

    It certainly relieved the boredom for a week or so.

  13. Balloonatic 258 says:

    Wednesfield U D C
    Coat of Arms

    Who remembers the ‘Coat of Arms’ of the old Wednesfield Urban District Council?

    It depicts the ‘Battle of Wodensfield’ fought on the ‘Field of Woden’
    (Now called Bentley Bridge) In the year 910 or 912.

    In the battle the Danish Vikings were defeated, and the whole of English history was changed, otherwise as Phil Bateman says “We would all be speaking Danish now, and drinking Carlsberg instead of Banks’s Bitter”.

  14. Balloonatic 258 says:

    The Battle of Woden's Field. (Wednesfield)

    It happened in 910AD, when three Viking kings left their stronghold in York to carry out raids in the Midlands and South West.
    As they returned from the raid, the King of Wessex caught up with them near Wolverhampton, taking them by surprise and killing thousands, including all three Viking kings.

    An extract from.
    JORVIK VIKING FESTIVAL IN FEBRUARY 2010.

  15. Second Generation says:

    Rememebr my dad bringing us drinks out from the Falcon Pub. We used to play on the streets round there. During flash floods, the land at the bottom of Hart Road, outside seamless tubes would flood and the local kids would turn up with wellies, splashing around.

    The Social club at the bottom of merril’s hall lane where they did karate and would ocassionally get to play pool.

    There was stilla canal here, plus a disused railway running from here to back of Fibbersley nature reserve.

    We had no fear, nor did our parents, if we spent all day just exploring.

    As a parent, I’d be fearful these days. Sad, but true.

    This is all from the late 70’s to 80’s.

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      The Bentley canal at the bottom of Merrill’s Hall Lane. Was there still a arm of the canal in the 70’s – 80’s ?

      When I was a kid the arm used to go down to W-field’s own sewage works.

      At the start of the arm a was an old bridge some twelve or fourteen feet above the tow path. It was made of two inch angle iron. The wooden planks had long since rotted away, just the angle iron frame was left, and on this, holding on to the upright rusty remains of the sidewalls, we would cross over to the other side of the canal.

      We saw no danger at all in this perilous escapade, and could not understand why the workmen at the Weldless Steel Tube Works, on the far side of the Bentley canal, shouted at us to “Get off before you break your Bl***y neck’s. We just thought they were spoil sports.

      Not that they were concerned for our safety.

      • There was definitely canal under the bridge at the bottom of merril’s hall lane well into the 80’s, just after the social club. Then there was a rail track running along the CB Smith factory up to fibbersley, although inactive.

        • Balloonatic 258 says:

          Hi Second Generation,
          The arm of the canal I was thinking about, ran at right angles to the main Bentley canal and went all the way down to Watery Lane, which runs between Neachells Lane and Noose Lane.
          The Bentley Canal ran from the Cast Iron Bridge (still there) at ‘Bentley Bridge’ and was connected to the ‘Curley Whirly’, Wyrley & Essington canal. From there ran in more or less a straight line to Bentley area of Walsall.
          Because it was straight it had to go up and down as it came to a hill or slope. This was achieved by the use of Locks.
          The ‘Curley Whirly’ on the other hand is level and follows the contours of the land, hence it curls and wiggles its way around W-field.
          (There is still a token twenty or thirty yards of the Bentley left at the side of the Arcadia Pub. Next time you are shopping at Sainsbury’s, pop up and have a look, it’s only a couple of hundred yards further on.)

        • KevinT says:

          Yep-you are right. The Canal ran more or less parallel to the railtrack. Well into the sixties, barges of coal were towed line astern by a tug to New Cross. There they were split off and manually towed down the Wednesfield locks to the Tube works.

          My brother and I used to earn up to sixpence each holding the Hawsers for the the Bargies as they sprinted forward to tip the locks and get the gates open. Once through the lock, the Bargie was supposed to close the lock and start it filling ready for his mate who would be pulling the barge behind. Then the empties had to be pulled back up and the locks left ready for the next trip down.

          If you dropped the Hawser or the lock wasnt left ready the Bargies would not be at all happy…

          The Canal was not navigable through to Fibbersley. There was a waste or water pipe laid across the cut just below the Tube, and an old barge left rotting which blocked the way. It was all full of reeds and waste there since there was no through route to maintain.

      • Rob Williams says:

        Hi Do You Know When The Falcon Was Built? And Was It On The Site Of an Old Falcon Pub?Think Some One Pulling My Leg So Need To Know! Ta

    • KevinT says:

      The railway ran alongside St Marys Catholic school in Willenhall, and we would all rush to climb the playground fence whenever a steam train went past.

      Up at the Neachells Lane end of the line was the goods yard. It seemed to be full of old sheds and disused carrriages. The son of the site manager who lived there was in my class at Neachells Lane primary in the early 60’s. The line was still there in the late 70’s as my younger brother used it as a short cut to Willenhall Carnival one summer.

      • Balloonatic 258 says:

        Hi Kevin T,

        Sounds as though you know a thing or two about W-field of yester year.

        (When I were a lad) W-field station in Neachells Lane was still a passenger station though very few people ever used it.

        Its main use was the Goods, and Shunting yard between Neachells Lane and the bottom of Well Lane. And very busy it was in those days.

        Us kids, on our way to Backus End to play on the pit mounds, would sometimes go Well Lane way, and over the railway shunting yard, most times we would place a Penny on the line and then sit and wait for a train to come along and squash it to twice the size.

        Of course if any of the railway men saw us they would chase us off, for our own safety.

        At the age we were then, kids never saw Danger in anything.

        You may have noticed I have changed the spelling of (Baccus End), this is due to new info that will lead to other tale in the future.

    • gary prosser says:

      just read your post great, i used to live in houses oppersit falcon pub till 1977 happy days

  16. KevinT says:

    The Banjo was (and still is) a Banjo shaped part of Lawfred Avenue. It can be reached from Neachells Lane only through the alley passing alonside the Conservative club, and then crossing the ‘Top Patch’ (a large area of grass) and head further on towards Merrils Hall Lane.

    Some of the houses at the round end of the Banjo back onto what was the Falcon Pub Bowling Green.

  17. Second Generation says:

    I went to Neachells Infant school as it was in the 70’s and early 80’s. I vaguely remember that there were no lights at Neachells Lane/March End Road junction.

    It only ever got busy at rush hour.

    I remember playing with old car tyres (without the rims!!!) in Infant school, but someone broke their leg when hit by one and these were taken away. This was way before the Health and Safety culture. The family definitely DID NOT sue the school/education authority! heady days indeed. Don’t forget, tyres were much smaller in those days.

    It’s funny, before this website I didn’t really think about pre-70’s Wednesfield. Fascinating.

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Hi Second Generation

      My Auntie Emma lived next door to Neachells Lane school, she was so fed up with balls coming over the wall that she would not give them back untill the last day of term, even if they were the schools property.

      See http://www.wv11.co.uk/topics/news/history
      For ‘Memories of Wednesfield’ 27-Nov-2010

      Come along, listen to tales of Wednesfield of yesteryear, or tell your Memories of years gone by.

  18. Balloonatic 258 says:

    MY WEDNESFIELD MEMORIES

    Percy Arkinstall (The Blacksmith)

    Percy Arkinstall’s forge stood back off the road, at the end of Long Knowle Lane, just over the cross roads from the Red Lion. After the forge was closed, four modern houses were built on the site, in the late 1980s.

    Percy also had a little wooden shop that sold torch batteries, bicycle tyres and bits and pieces like that.

    On the ground outside his forge was a large circular piece of steel, about six feet diameter and an inch thick, with a hole in the centre some ten or twelve inches diameter.

    One day when a few of us kids on our bikes we went to Percy’s to buy new batteries for our bike lamps, we asked Mr Arkinstall what the plate was for. He replied, “Come back tomorrow morning and I’ll Show you what it’s used for, I’ve got a job to do on it then”.

    When we arrived the following morning, Mr Arkinstall had already started his work, and laid flat on the big plate was a wooden cartwheel. The hub of the wheel sat neatly in the central hole and the rim rested flat on the plate.

    Mr Arkinstall explained that he was going to fit a new steel rim, (or tyre as it was then called) to the wheel as the old one had worn so thin that it had come off.

    First he had to get a measurement for the new tyre, this he did by chalking a mark on the rim of the cartwheel, then with a tool that consisted of a wooden disk (about seven and a half inches diameter) that rotated in a forked handle, he set the zero on the disk to the chalk mark on the cartwheel and ran the disk around the cartwheel counting how many times the disk revolved before returning to the chalk mark.

    When he had noted the measurement he got a long strip of steel from a rack at the back of the forge, laid it on the floor, then starting with the zero on his wooden disk, level with the end of the metal strip, he ran the wooden disk the same number of revolutions along the strip as he had round the cartwheel and cut off the strip to that length.

    After rolling the strip into a circle, he then fire-welded the ends together, and then took it outside and tried it on the wheel. – – It was too small!

    Now comes the bit where we thought we were much cleverer than Percy and his many years of experience. Saying to him “you have made it too small”, with big grins on our faces.

    “Have I?” he said with a knowing wink and a nod of his head. He took the steel tyre back onto the hearth and heated it, continually turning it in the hot breezes. When it was heated to his satisfaction, he brought it back out and tried it again, this time it slipped on quite easily (the heating had expanded the tyre), but there is still more of Percy’s magic (experience) to come.

    Some buckets of cold water had been strategically placed on the ground around the wheel. Percy now proceeded to use the water to cool the hot steel band. This then shrank the tyre back to its original undersized state. In doing so, and with lots of creaking and groaning from the wood, the rim and spokes were all pulled tight together, making it a solid wheel again.

    So, who was the cleverest, and who had the last laugh?

    Old Percy Arkinstall wasn’t so green as he was cabbage looking – was he?!

  19. James says:

    Balloonatic 258 – would you mind if we posted your previous comment/story as a new article on the website?

    We’d love to start a series of ‘Wednesfield Memories’ and post these on the site to give them the attention they deserve!

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Hi James, – I’m a very Senior Silver Surfer who has not got the hang of this posting messages yet, it’s a bit hit and miss with me at the moment ( more Miss than hit).

      I did try to get in touch with you some weeks ago, asking if you could advise me on how to go about it, that was obviously a Miss, as I heard nothing from you.

      I also signed up to an ‘Introduction Page’ one day, saying I had lots of tales of Wednesfield of yesteryear to tell, but I can’t even find that page now.

      So you see I really do need Help!

      I would not mind in the slightest if you posted my article to the web site, I think old memories of Wednesfield should be published somewhere before they are lost for ever.

  20. Balloonatic 258 says:

    THE CHRISTMAS GIFTS
    (To be read in Blackcountry Dialect)
    When Crimble Time comes round each year,
    Presents we give, to those that we love, and those we hold dear.

    But how many know, what the giving of Christmas gifts is really about?

    For them wot doe know. And them wots forgot,
    I’ll tell yer a tail of long long ago.

    It’s about three Wise Men wot travelled a’far, from the Orient it’s sed
    Each one was a King, with a crown on his yed.

    They travelled by day and they travelled by night,
    Following a bright star, wot gid lots o light.

    Bethlehem was the plerce, where the star come to stop,
    Right over a stable to be quite precise.

    The three blokes, they knocked on the door,
    And sed “con we come in”

    Mary said. “Yes do come right on in”
    “Ween bin expectin yow, Weer have yo bin”
    The three Kings, (cause that’s wot they was,)
    Entered the stable, and wot did they see ?

    A new born babbie, fast asleep on the hay,
    All wrapped in swaddling clothes, and in a manger he lay.

    “What dun yo call him”? One on um sed,
    “Jasus”, sed Joseph, with a nod of his yed.

    The Kings, They’d brung gifts for to give to the child.
    Wot laid there asleep all meek, and all mild.

    The fust un gid gold (a precious metal)
    Cause Jasus ud become a King one day he sed,
    Arr, King of Heaven, and King of the Jews.

    Second un brung Frankincense (a sweet smelling incense)
    For all the sweet and good things Jasus would do,
    Like feed the five thousand. And raising the jed.

    Last un gid Myrrh (a bitter tasting herb)
    Because of the bitter and painful way Jesus would meet his demise,
    Nailed to a cross and left there to die.

    So when you’m opening ya pressies,
    From under the tree.

    Owd up! Just for a Mo !

    And think of that babbie, Wot was just born.
    On that very fust, “Christmas Morn.”

  21. Balloonatic 258 says:

    So you think this snow is bad?

    In the winter of 1947, (That’s when we had that six weeks frost in March)

    In Amos Lane we had the ‘Willenhall to Bushbury’ Double Decker Bus stuck in the snow, just at the beginning of the Cottage Homes playing fields and the bottom of North Avenue. It was left there over night.

    It snowed again during the night and a strong wind got up as well, come daylight the snow had drifted completely over the top of the bus, even on the leeward side only the top deck windows were visible.

    They had to get a ‘Bull Dowser’ to dig it out.

  22. Eric from NZ says:

    What a really great thread!

    Balloonmatic – you talk about Percy Arkinstall (no memory of that name) having a forge at the cross-roads of Longknowle Lan and Lower Prestwood Rd. I remember the old wooden shed there, and I think I can remember it being divided in two – with the left side the forge and the right side the shop? It was also a Garage by the time I was around 10 (1958), Regent petrol as I recall, and there was a lady named Muriel (she lived somewhere March End Rd I think) with quite a tanned appearance who ran it for quite some time.
    Do you have any knowledge of the area at the other end of Linthouse Lane, down by The Albion public House? I moved from Longknowle Lane age around four to one of the new Council Houses opposite The Albion and spent so many happy hours playing on a patch of land that was bounded by Linthouse Lane, Lichfield Road and the canal. It was surrounded by a small ciltivated strip on the road side and had a hilly bit toward the canal that had a brick chimney stack attached to a stationery steam engine and a couple of old traction engines as well as pool or two.
    Possibly one of my most enduring memories of Wednesfield (yes, we always called it The Village) was standing at the bus stop opposite the Regal Cinema one dark, cold (possibly wet?) evening, having just seen my childhood hero – Davy Crocket – die! I had recently had my hair cut (at Pickerings) in a style that left a little ‘tail’ at the neck, supposedly like the racoon hat Crocket made famous. Cried most of the way back home.
    A more recent memory was of happy hours spent (principally on a Sunday) at the Civil Defence club in Alfred Squire Road (mind, I was only 15 at the time!) after taking part in the regular weekend exercises they held then. I think it was because my Brother-in-law (some six years older than me) was a member (only so he could play in their football team) and managed to get them to turn ablind eye to me being under age. Cyril was the club ‘steward’ as I recall – my favourite track on the ‘Juke Box’ was The Beatles B side ‘Yes It Is’. Happy days.

    All the best.

    Eric

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Hi Eric from NZ

      My tale of Perce Arkinstall dates back to c.1945-6

      Yes I do know Linthouse Lane, There has been some traffic improvements outside the Albion in the last few months, as the rush hour traffic was forming queues back as far as Lakefield Road, if you have been away before that was built substitute Hyde Road.

      An island has been placed on the Lichfield Road at the bottom of Linthouse Lane, and another one at the top of Stubby Lane. In-between these two islands the road has been widened to two lanes each way, quite confusing over such a short distance. No one knows who has right of way, but we are starting to get used to it.

      The brick chimney stack attached to a stationery steam engine once belonged to one of the many coal pits in that area, if that was how you remember it, (on it’s own), that would be after the land had been open cast to remove the last of the remaining coal.

      It is now ‘Coppice Farm’ a large housing estate, the far end past the steam engine (towards New Invention) was a bit ‘Gerry’ built before the ground had settled and some of the houses had large cracks appear and had to be under pinned at great expense. One half of a pair of semi-detached houses leaned so far over there was a two foot gap between them. The other half remained upright, and the occupants continued to live in it. Don’t think I could have done so, could you?

      Next time I’ll tell you a tale about ‘THE BRUSH’ and Pickerings

      • Eric says:

        Hi Balloonatic,

        This would have been around 1955 and the stationery steam engine (or at least the massive boiler) was still attached to the stack at that time, however, the pools I mentioned were most probably the results of the open cast activity you mention.
        You probably remember the original ‘White House’ then at the top of what I knew as ‘Devils Elbow Lane’? Nice old country pub set back off Linthouse Lane as I recall. Also there was another country pub the other side of Ashmore Forest (an absolutely fabulous place full, of such a wide variety of deciduous trees that became Ashmore Park estate shortly after) that backed onto what we knew as the ‘chemical railway’, I could see the steam trains puffing along that line from the bedroom window of my grandparents in Long Knowle Lane.

        Eric

  23. Rachel says:

    Hi Ballonatic and Eric, I have been reading your posts to my nan who is 90 and has many memories of Wednesfield. She was born in Taylor Street, moved to Wood Avenue when the houses were built. Do you remember the two cottages opposite the old white house pub, that is where her grandmother lived, all named Harris? She has many memories of going to the Regal and the old Smack. She knew Brian Harris who was the projectionist at the Regal until it was demolished.

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Hi Rachel

      I can’t remember the exact position of the White House Pub, but I do remember a Mrs. Harris who lived in a cottage just over ‘Devils Elbow Bridge’, are we talking the same Harris Family?

      If so I would love to find out more about the White House, and the rest of that area.

      As a child I lived in Amos Lane (Top of Wood Avenue), does your Nan remember ‘Old Jenkins’ from Wood Avenue? He used to be the ‘King of Mirth’ at all the W-field Carnivals, he used to sing a song called ‘Susannas a Funnical Man’ with all sorts of funny noises.

      I worked at the Yale in Waddams Brook with his daughter Floss I think her name was.

      I used to play over on ‘Ashmore Rails’ when I was a kid, and to get there we would go over ‘Devils Elbow Bridge’ and can remember standing there and watching corn being thrashed in the field on the opposite side of the canal to Mrs. Harris’s cottage, the pink painted thrashing machine was driven by a long leather belt from a steam tractor engine.

      I do hope Nan is from the same Harris family, and that she remembers some of the things I have spoken about.

      • Eric says:

        Hi Rachel & Baloonatic,

        The White House was situated at the top (Linthouse end) of the old Devils Elbow lane and was on the corner (set back around 25 yards) nearest to the Linthouse lLane canal bridge. I remember a few cottages around there, including a few on the opposite side of Linthouse Lane (Ashmore Park side) that would have had the view across the canal toward the stationery steam engine I mentioned.
        There’s a really excellent resource of period photography with many excellent examples of Wednesfield during the late 1800’s through to modern day at http://blackcountryhistory.org/collections/search/?cb_ipp=15&cb_img_only=1&q=wednesfield&cb_submit=Search&cb_page=1
        Really suggest you take a look at http://blackcountryhistory.org/collections/getrecord/GB149_P_258/ for a great aerial view of that particular area in, I’d guess, around 1960-65
        You’ll also find lots of pictures of Ahsmore Farm, the Ideal Cinema, Devils Elbow etc….
        The cottages you refer to Baloonatic were possibly the ones that were on the right as you passed across Devils Elbow bridge heading toward Wednesfield. The were bordered one side by the path (that eventually in around 100 yards joined the towpath) and the towpath proper.

        Take a look at that photo archive – it’s really excellent. In fact, this one http://blackcountryhistory.org/collections/getrecord/GB149_P_6269/ clearly shows the house I was born in.

        Happy New Year to all in Wednesfield from Eric in Rangiora NZ

        • Balloonatic 258 says:

          Hi Eric from N Z

          Thanks for the info on W-field photos, they are great, very informative.

          One in particular, http://blackcountryhistory.org/collections/getrecord/GB149_P_258/.

          When you enlarge the photo, and follow the canal up the photo, to where it reaches Linthouse Lane,
          Is the largeish building, just above, on the right hand side, the Whitehouse Pub?

          As you don’t recall Percy Arkinstall’s Forge, as I described in an earlier posting, try

          http://blackcountryhistory.org/collections/getrecord/GB149_P_4198/

          from the web site you recommended to me. It may jog your memory. You can see the wooden shop
          on the left of the drawing, and the horse is looking down towards the thick round steel plate that the wheels were repaired on.

          I go past the house where you were born each time I go to ‘Lidl’s’ in Blackhalve Lane.

          • Eric from NZ says:

            Hi Balloonatic,

            That was quite a tidy looking place that eventually ended up backing onto the ‘basin’ that was formed in the canal there. No, the white House was directly opposite it the other side of Linthouse Lane on the corner of Devils Elbow Lane. This pic is dated somewhere early sixties and the White House disappeared somewhere around the early/mid fifties. Even then, it was never what one might call ‘white’, being in need of a new coat of paint (as I recall it was plaster finish walls) even then.
            Certainly don’t remember Atkinsons smithy looking as it does in that picture, must have been just before my time. However, the artist – A J Butler, and his stylised signature seem vaguely familiar, a little like the ‘Arrowsmith’ drawings from the Express and Star those days?
            As you say you pass my old birthplace nowadays heading for Blackhalve Lane, I wonder if you remember the old Wine Shop that used to be on the left hand corner of Longknowle and Blackhalve Lanes? Lovely little old place with a big Willow tree that hung over it lending a really bucolic feel to the place. Seem to remember it was run by two sisters – may have been spinster sisters, not too sure of that. I also remember playing on and in the old air raid shelter that was on the opposite corner.
            Moving back to the other end of Longknowle Lane I have vivid memories of watching the lamplighter climbing up his little triangular shaped ladder to light the gas lamps in Bellamy Lane. That’s when Bellamy Lane was unsurfaced being a type of fine black coal dust type construction with a really big stream/gulley that ran down the left-hand side (heading away from Longknowle Lane) that ran in front of the (new then) pre-fab houses. Speaking of streams, do you remember the one (probably the same water source?) that ran on the left of Woden Ave (again, viewed from Longknowle Lane)? It ran part of the way in front of those 20 or so houses on the left just past Woden Crescent, I remember that in flood one time with water all over the road.
            Getting back to the photo of my Grandfathers house in Longknowle Lane where I lived until I was five years old, I remember when none of the houses on the Longknowle estate opposite were there (don’t even think there were any of the house at the top of Wood End Rd at that time either)and we could watch the trains on what we came to know as the ‘chemical railway’ puffing across the skyline in the distance – think that must have been the railway line that crossed Blackhalve Lane halfway up to Essington.
            Ahhh . . . happy days.

      • Eric from NZ says:

        Hi Ballonatic,

        You also worked at the Yale? When was that?

        Take a look at http://blackcountryhistory.org/collections/getrecord/GB149_P_6346/

        That’s certainly NOT Boscobell House – but it looks awfully like St Thomas’s taken from the end of Well Lane?

        Eric

        • Balloonatic 258 says:

          Hi again Eric,

          Wine Shop,
          Yes I remember it as having a tall privet hedge. Don’t know about being rustic, always seemed to be a spooky place to me.

          The old gas lamplighter.
          Yes again, I remember him riding his bike one handed with the triangular ladder hanging vertically from his left shoulder.
          We also had one come down Amos Lane with a long pole that had a hook on the end that he used that to switch them on with, I think it may have been the same one, but now he only had to stop his bike at the lamp post, not dismount, just reach up with his pole.
          It wasn’t long before learned to just slow down at each lamp post and use his pole on the move, I suppose then he would have time for a pint on his way back to the gas works.

          Bellamy Lane,
          Yes again. This time I remember hiding from the ‘Bobby’ in that ‘stream/gulley’ one dark evening coming up to Bonfire night, my mate and I had
          !!Found!! Some new pit props that we thought would better on our bonfire, than lying in some store yard.
          The ‘Bobby’ found us though, but we managed to convince him our uncle had given them to us.
          I have never !!Found!! any thing from that day to this.

          ‘chemical railway’
          We always called it ‘Paddy Whack’ it ran from ‘Hilton Main Colliery’ to ? (will try to find out). Some of us kids used to ride our bikes up ‘Old Hampton Lane’ to where ‘Paddy Whack’ crossed it, there was a crossing keepers hut there, he had no more than six trains a day, but he had to go out each time a train was due, with his Red flag and his Green flag to control the traffic ( of which I never saw any)’.
          So he had lots of time on his hands. We would take him old corn beef tins and he would cut them into strips and use them to wrap around the top of gipsy pegs he had made, then he would get us to take them home, and sell them to our Moms, taking him the money next time we visited.

          Ahhh . . . Yes happy days.

  24. Rachel says:

    Hi Ballonatic,

    Many thanks for your reply. My nan remembers old jenkings and his daughter Floss, they lived opposite her in wood ave. My Nans name was Badger. She wonders if you knew Derek Myatt (he married her niece, Sylvia) and he worked at the Yale in waddensbrook too, he is Blind.
    She thinks you refer to Harriot who lived down the old elbow. She remembers Brian Harris who lived by her grandmothers cottage in linthouse Lane, ( the Brian she referred to at the Regal). Her mother lived in the cottages that would have been on the island at the top of Griffiths Drive ( where Griffiths Drive meets Linthouse Lane). They were all named Harris that lived around there.
    She can remember a relation of her mother who lived alone in a cottage on the side of the canal and the cottage fell into the canal.
    Do you remember Florrie Evans that lived in the wooden hut, situated at the top of moathouse lane? She had a baby stall on the Market.
    I will post more again soon x

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Hi Rachel,

      Try http://blackcountryhistory.org/collections/getrecord/GB149_P_4198/

      to go with my tale of Percy Arkinstall.

    • Eric from NZ says:

      Hello Rachel,

      Whilst I recall there being cottages on the right (traveling up Linthouse Lane from the Lichfield Road end) just after the large white house (not The White House Inn, opposite that) I really can’t recall too much about them, but these must have been the ones your Nan refers to.
      You mention Derek Myat who worked at the Yale in Waddensbrook Lane – would he have been working there in the mid-sixties, as I recall he was a relative of someone I knew there named Harris?

      Eric in NZ

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Hi again Rachel,

      What a small world it is, Eric from New Zealand thinks he knows Derek Myatt, I certainly did we would eat together in the canteen almost every day, along together with Fred Cockayne who lost his sight when a lorry he was in overturned, both Derek & Fred accepted the the facts, and got on with the job and with their lives.

      Derek and Fred were capstan operators, It always fascinated me to see how Derek put his finger on the end of the drill while he advanced it to the
      Rotating work piece, I never knew him to get injured though, but he still turned out as many components as a sighted person.

      Mrs. Harris’s cottage by the canal, Didn’t Fall in the canal.
      The kids threw it in. Slate by Slate, Brick by Brick, even the red floor quarries went in, there was so many house bricks under the bridge that the ‘Long Boats’ going to a ‘rally’ further towards Essington all got stuck on them, it was well after midnight before the last one was freed on that Friday evening.

      The canal company spent the best part of a week dredging the cut to make it navigable again.

      Florrie Evans, the name ring a very quiet bell but can’t say I can put a face to her. May have herd my Mom mention her, Mom came from Wood End

      Bye for now.

  25. joey90 says:

    Quite a recent memory but I thought I

  26. Rachel says:

    Hi Eric and balloonatic,

    Thanks again for your replys, what a small world it is. My Nan keeps asking me what your names are, would you be so kind to share this information? She wonders if your surname Eric is Lee? As you lived not far from her by the Albion pub. My nan lives in olinthus ave since the house was built and was a friend of Edna Lee.
    Hope you both well, post again soon x

    • Eric says:

      Hi Rachel,

      No, Eric Lee lived next door to me, however, he was probably about 10 years older than me then (I lived there from age 5 until 11) and next to Mr & Mrs Lee there was Mr & Mrs Tarmy. They had a son about my age, can’t recall his nmae now though. On the corner of Lichfield Road and Linthouse Lane were the Dunbars and then up Linthouse Lane were the Calverts and then the Payne’s.
      My name is Eric Ball, worked (briefly) at Eaton Yale & Town around 77/78 as a NC/CNC electrician. Remember a chap named Harris was one of the maintenance electricians – was he a relation of yours?
      Whereabouts in Olinthus Ave was your nan? I remember my sister (3 years older than me) had a friend that lived on the left (as you leave Linthouse Lane) a few doors down, their back-garden pretty much faced ours, and I also seem to remember a chap in the first house on the right, although he was older than me. There was also a chap nmaed Roy Garner, lived up by that little green area on the right – opposite the alley that led back down to Lichfield Raod. Also a girl nmae of – I think – Gwen?? Lived a bit further along Olinthus Avenue on the right, not far before the doctors susrgery on the opposite side of the road. Remember being at a party at her house the night the news broke about JFK’s assasination – I think!

      Eric

      • Balloonatic 258 says:

        Hi Eric

        I am going to the archives this after noon, thought I would tell them of your discovery about the photo of Boscobel House / St. Thomas Church, had a last look to make sure of the number, and it has the correct photo now. Have you had it changed?

        On the 26th. of Feb. at the Vine Inn Lichfield Road. ‘Ray Fellows’ is organizing a meeting to try to get a W-field Historical Society started, he’s roped me in to talk about the Spitfire that crash landed on the Lichfield Road, just over the Perry Hall bridge.

        Will let you know how it goes.

        Best wishes

    • Balloonatic 258 says:

      Hi Rachel
      On the 26th. of Feb. (Start 7.00 pm).at the Vine Inn Lichfield Road. ‘Ray Fellows’ is organizing a meeting to try to get a
      W-field Historical Society started, he’s roped me in to talk about the Spitfire that crash landed on the Lichfield Road, just over the Perry Hall bridge. Why not come along? Your Nan might find the answers to some of her Questions.

  27. Balloonatic 258 says:

    Hi Eric

    I am going to the archives this after noon, thought I would tell them of your discovery about the photo of Boscobel House / St. Thomas Church, had a last look to make sure of the number, and it had the correct photo now. Have you had it changed?

    On the 26th. of Feb. at the Vine Inn Lichfield Road. ‘Ray Fellows’ is organizing a meeting to try to get a W-field Historical Society started, he’s roped me in to talk about the Spitfire that crash landed on the Lichfield Road, just over the Perry Hall bridge.

    Will let you know how it goes.

    Best wishes

  28. John says:

    I remember the sense of community when i was little growing up on Ashmore Park. Neighbours would always pop by for a cup of tea, my mum used to leave her front door open while she popped across the road for a nayyer. I remember as kids, all the kids in my street used to play kick the can, or tick and it was all safe. I remember going over fields and woods at lunch time and coming back when it was dark and not being scared of any cars or strangers because Ashmore park was (and still is) a community. I remember the chip shop at the bottom shops doing chips and batter bits. I remember playing on the biggest slide and square climbing frame in the world and he biggest swings, and fastest roundabout (so fast i got sick) on ashmore park park. I rememberlying on the park grass looking up at the sky with friends making shapes out of clouds. I remember the excitement when the fair was at thepark, and even remember my only ever trip to the circus on Ashmore park park too (and i remember the lions smelled). I remember good friends many of whome are here today, and remember good family who have passed. I remember the library at the bottom shops being a source for all choose your own adventure books, and i remember the moat at he bottom shops. I remember my school was built on a mine or rubbish site, and i remember the faithful morning that the park sank because of methane. I rememer it snowing so hard i could play on my sledge on the banks by the top shops and in new invention. I remember wednesfield marketon a saturday, and that Woolworths was the best toyshop in wednesfield. I have very fond memories of the vilage and town i was bought up in :) a few bad but thats life-one things for sure, theres no place like wednesfield, theres no place lile home :)

  29. Andy J says:

    Reading through some earlier comment i can confirm that the railway that used to run through the ‘Tube’ works (i did my appenticeship there)was actually used maybe untill 1980ish. I remember the the steel ingots being offloaded by magnetic overhead crane. If i remember correctly the goods carraiges used to freewheel down from Wolverhampton with only the guards van to slow them down. The canel was still there but not used and where it left the tube works towards Fibbersly it was drained and filled with a square concrete tunnel which carried Waddens brook from Waddens Brook Lane at the junction of Silverton way.
    On another note, i have a record that Vicarage Road was called Slang Lane before the Vicarage was built there, this is on my house deeds which dates from 1893 (i think).

  30. Balloonatic 258 says:

    Hi Andy J.

    I too remember the gantry crane at the ‘Tube’. the bars of steel were about 20ft. long and 4in. X 4in. I don’t know how heavy they were (perhapse you can work that out), but they were heavy.

    When they were stored outside,the magnet could pick up four of them at a time,to carry them to the cutting off shears.

    If it picked up five bars,(as it some times did), the crane driver was supposed to put the load down, adjust the crane a few inches and pick up only four. one day I was walking with another fitter, down the concreat road that went under the crane track, followed by Terse North the Foreman fitter, who was deep in conversation with the junior Foreman, so deep in conversation that they did not hear the crane approach, or the driver dinging his bell.

    As the driver applied his break, and the sudden change of speed shook the fifth one off.

    It landed so close to Terse that it ripped the sleeve from his overalls, but never even sratched him.

    His ‘Gardian Angel’ must have been working overtime that day.

    • KevinT says:

      My dad wasnt quite so lucky with the Tube magnetic crane. He was a driver and was getting loaded up and the magnet dropped its load. He dived under the truck and ‘fortunately’ only got a crushed foot. He ended up in Patshull Park rehabilitation centre for ages. This was either ’53 or ’55 cos my mum goes on about having to walk most of the way to visit and being pregnant with either me or my elder brother.

      My brother Chris also worked at Yale in Waddens Brook lane, after a spell at Richards and Ross, which was handy for him as we only lived in the banjo which backed onto the Falcon Pub.

      My dad ended up working for the Tube and became a quality inspector and was full of tales of blokes getting injured at a hot rolling plant called Pilger Mill. He was also the compere at the Tube club for years, and I remember it being in a metal roofed nissen hut until a purpose built working mens club was built, with a proper stage and all….

  31. Balloonatic 258 says:

    Don’t forget to come and meet your
    Local Historian RAY FELLOWS
    on the 26TH. Feb. 2011

    Items of Interest:

    Talks on WEDNESFIELD HISTORY

    Formation of WEDNESFIELD HISTORY SOCIETY

    Share your memories of OLD WEDNESFIELD

    For more details: see Local Librarys, Ahmore Park Community Centre,
    Or ring 01902 739592 between 14-00 & 20-00

  32. Balloonatic 258 says:

    Can anyone recall a Spitfire crashing in the garden of a house in Lichfield Road

    Also a four engined Lancaster Bomber crashing on the Lichfield Road

    And who remembers ‘The Stay At Home Holidays’ during the war with trotting races on King George’s playing field, complete with Bookmakers and tic-tac men.

    If you do remember any of them, or you would like to hear about them.

    Come and talk to RAY FELLOWS your local Historian on Saturday Evening 26th Feb. 7.00pm.
    At the Vine Inn Lichfield Road Wednesfield

  33. Leon Paterson says:

    Re: Chemist shop in the High St. (No. 12).
    This was Paterson’s Chemists.
    It was run by my aunt – Kathleen Elaine Paterson.
    Her father (my Grandfather) Alexander Gustave Clive Paterson owned No. 12 and also the chemists shop in Graiseley Lane (No. 41 ?).
    He retired in 1953 and went to live in Shoeburyness Essex.
    He sold the two shops to Frosts the Chemists.
    Is this some help to you.

  34. andrew legge says:

    i grew up around wednesfield..i lived on the corner of amos lane and wood avenue, opposite the park, it haunts me, i wished i could go back with all my heart

  35. Mick o connor says:

    My mates mom told us about the spitfire crash her. Dad Mede her a glass ring out of some of the cockpit glass

  36. Ellymay says:

    My family lived for many years in Amos Lane opposite the KG playing fields. Number 29. I remember the carnival on the playing fields. Hubbles sweet shop with a lady with an iron brace on her leg. The off licence where you went up a couple of steps, My grandmother planted a small tree in the front garden of her house many many years ago, and it is still there today growing tall and strong. Our tree.

  37. does any one remember florence hadley who work in the village her familey go back a long way in wednesfield would love to hear from some one who remembers her or family her husband arthur was a pattern maker back in the days

  38. George E Morris says:

    I was at the Cottage Homes sometime after 1944 (birth) until 1958. My name was then George Sanders or Saunders. In 1949 I was run over by a trolley bus between the then Regal cinema & St Thomas’s church. I was in New Cross hospital for about 14 months.
    I was with Mrs D Ratcliffe in number 5 cottage. I went to Prestwood road infant school then Heathtown primary & then Springfield road school. I do not have any bad memories of my time in the Homes. If anyone wants to contact me, they can by email. I now live in Cannock.

  39. Syvia Myatt says:

    hello just been looking through all the messages. I am married to Derek Myatt, as mentioned by the gentleman above. He is 82 now, still going strong after many years of retirement.

  40. Tony Gough says:

    Hi Syvia Myatt,

    Just looking through this old page,havn’t read it in years.

    Is your Derek Myatt, My Derek Myatt, from the Yale in Wodams Brook, back in the 50s / 60s?

    If so I would love to meet up with him (& you) again.

    There is a meeting of the W/field History Society on Saturday evening 28/Nov/2015 at 7-00pm.

    it is held at the British Legion in Vicerage Road. Entry is free.

    I may be telling a tale or two there, so if it is my Derek Myatt, and you could get along I think

    it might be a lovely place to meet up again.

    Balloonatic 258

  41. Sylvia Myatt says:

    Hello Tony, just seen your message. Yes it is the Derek Myatt who worked at the Yale in Wednesfield all those years ago Would love to meet with you again. Only just seen your message.

  42. Patmac says:

    Have just discovered this web site, remember most of what has been said, definitely remember Derek Myatt and his wife Sylvia, lived two doors away from her before she was married, basically grew up with her.

  43. Robert Williams says:

    At Ashmore Park ‘Bottom Shops’ There Was Once a Pool By The Library,What Year Did It Get Filled In?

  44. Have to admit that I’m absolutely fascinated by talk of Merrills Hall itself…… especially any information about it being ‘haunted’ (as mentioned by Pamela Smith above!!) Just during the course of a couple of ‘ghost investigations’ that I’ve been involved with (locally) over recent years, a mention of the Hall has ‘come up’ – so I’d absolutely LOVE to hear more on the topic, if someone would be kind enough to contact me, please?

  45. Angela Hickman Swain says:

    We lived in Amos Avenue (1935 -53). Our garden backed onto a large field belonging to Harry Griffiths who lived just around the corner in a beautiful home called “Wodgate”. Have treasured memories of a childhood playing in their magnificent gardens. He also owned the land next to his house , now Cedar Way. When the war broke out, the men of Amos Avenue dug a deep trench in the field, away from any houses, as there were no shelters anywhere near. It was a balmy night when the first air-raid warnings shrieked out and it was fun for a four year old to sit in the trench, safe in her mother’s arms. It was a false alarm. However, the next time, after heavy rain, it was impossible to use. The next step was building an Anderson shelter. The winter of 1939 was one of the coldest in decades, cold enough to freeze the…….off a polar bear, as my Dad quipped. The shelter was used but once. After that, a stately old Victorian home on Amos Lane, opposite Amos Avenue, owned by the Sidebothoms, opened its cavernous cellars for use during raids. Amos Avenue had one of the biggest bonfires and firework displays in the area when VJ was celebrated. Happy memories. Played tennis (badly) at the Wednesfield Tennis Club at the back of Woden Avenue Primary School. My Grandparents lived in Woden Avenue and when I revisited the area, 40 years after we emigrated, little had changed except all the little front gardens being paved in for parking. In my grandparents day, no-one had a car to park. My sisters and I enjoyed free-range lives, wandering near and far without any thought of danger.

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