I am a very young going on 70 year old ex Watling Street boy. I started life by being born in Coronation Road, High Heath, Just happened to be there because of the war, mum was supposed to be going to Sussex but had to stay at Aunty Anne’s as the trains were stopped for air raids.

We lived in Pear Tree Lane, Brownhills West, By the North shore of Norton Pool, (Chasewater) in 1955 we moved to Garden City (The Avenues) by Ogley Co-op. I went to Brownhills Central Boys. I had Asian Flu in 1957 and in the early part of 1958 spent a few months at a Childrens Hospital in Marlboro Wiltshire.

Upon Leaving School, i went to work at Brownhills Motor Sales! i learnt a great deal about working hard but also if you worked for Ralph then you also had the chance to play hard.  I started the blog after Brownhills Bob encouraged me to, I had intended to do one for some time, but never got around to it. There are a lot of things that I cannot do on the blog, like adding video, or (I think it’s called tagging back)

The original idea was, that i had not found anything about my ancesters, our youngest son Martyn passed away, and I thought that I had to put down somewhere about the life of the family in some guise, I will however be publishing other material, going wherever the search sends me. I may start at something Like Duple or Duplex and end up as present looking at Goy motors, as that is where the original post led to after going to do a short piece about Duple’s rivals, but found out that there is so much information about everything. I hope to make it interesting, but may not always.


32 thoughts on “About

  1. G’day Mike
    I will be visiting the UK (from New Zealand) during April and May and would very much like to make contact with an historian in the area. An important part of my family came from Pelsall but at this stage I do not know the right questions to ask. They owned a coal mine (later a brickworks). Alderman. Leadership in the Wesleyan church etc.
    I wrote to “Brownhills Bob” but got no reply. (In fairness, he wrote on his blog that he was having computer troubles at the time).
    Is it possible to meet up with someone such as you or he for a chat?
    Many thanks
    John Harris


    • Hi John,
      I hope that you are well and have good wether down there.
      First Brownhills Bob is a very busy man, he works long hours and sometimes takes quite a while to answer queries. I will send him a copy of your post later.
      Second, sorry to dissapoint you but i am a very recent amateur to this family history lark, which is another reason why i started my blog. However we do have a councillor Harris serving now so i have just sent him an email to see if he can help. I will be in touch. Suppose it will have to be thru the blog. mike


  2. Thanks Mike.
    Many thanks for the prompt response. Lest I confused, my ancestors in the area are not Harris. They are Barnett and Elliott.
    Kind regards
    John Harris
    PS: Weather is distinctly autumnal right now, so I look forward to the English Spring in a few weeks time.


  3. Hi John,
    No Problem, i will do a search for you tomorrow, However we do have a council run Local History building, it’s in Essex Street, North Walsall. don’t know post code. but if you wish to email them, i will look for an email address for you.


  4. Just a quickie (got to get back to footie) in 1896
    A person by the name of Mr E Barnett was the owner of Coppy Hall mine Stubbers Green, Walsall Wood.
    he had 177 workers and 64 Sur (whatever that was) He had the mining rights to coal,H M & S.
    The mine is no longer there but there still is a brickworks. Cannot find any Elliott mine owners.


  5. Edward Barnett is my man. He appears to have been quite a personage in the village. The Elliotts appear to have worked in the mine but James Elliott married the Georgiana Barnett. I suspect that the link is in the Primitive Wesleyan Chapel. One of Barnett’s sons was killed in the village when his car was struck by a traction engine circa 1930. I can send you my notes if you wish, but I was really hoping for a “whine over a wine” and finding out where to look for what.


    • Email localhistorycentre@walsall.gov.uk
      This is email address if you wish to contact them. They do a variety of services and have records dating back tomiddle late 1200’s

      Local history centre 2007

      Welcome to Walsall Local History Centre, the Archive Service and Local Studies Library for Walsall Council.
      Opening hours

      Tuesday 9.30am – 5.30pm
      Wednesday 9.30am – 7pm
      Thursday 9.30am – 5.30pm
      Saturday 9.30am – 1pm

      General information and events

      You can download our current general information leaflet and our latest public events leaflet in PDF format by clicking on the following links. The events leaflet will be revised from time to time as indicated:

      Walsall local history centre leaflet (PDF 723KB)
      Events leaflet January – June 2014 revised 18 January 2014 (PDF)
      Research service

      All users are welcome to visit us to carry out their inquiries in person and there is no charge for access to the centre. However if you are unable to visit us we can carry out research on your behalf for half an hour or a maximum of one hour. The charge for the research service is £8 per half hour. The search forms and details are available on this website under the menu heading services, copy and research service.
      Keep in touch

      Simply search for Walsall Local History Centre when logged in to Facebook, then click on Like to follow us once you have found our page.

      Internet users can now sign up to follow Walsall Local History Centre’s news and announcements via Twitter messages by visiting the centre’s page at twitter.com/WalsallLHCentre The centre’s Flickr page may be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/walsallhistory.

      Contact us

      Centre Manager
      Walsall Local History Centre
      Essex Street
      WS2 7AS
      United Kingdom

      Telephone (U.K.) 01922 721305- (International) +44 1922 721305
      Fax (U.K.) 01922 634954 – (International) +44 1922 634954
      Email localhistorycentre@walsall.gov.uk

      This page was last updated on 06 March 2014
      Pages in this section

      Leather Museum
      Local History Centre
      Planning a visit to the Local History Centre
      CARN tickets
      Local History Centre map and directions
      Local History Centre Charges
      Historic images
      Local census indexes
      Local church records
      Local history centre online
      Services For Schools
      Trace your family tree
      Walsall Asian Heritage Project
      Special Offers and News
      Walsall’s history
      Local History Centre Service Standards
      Walsall Museum
      Museum service standards

      See also

      Capturing the Past Project (external link)
      Historic images of Walsall (external link)
      Walsall History Online Project (external link)I hope that this info gives you a boost, and i will look into info you sent above, see if i can come up with anything,


  6. G’day again Mike
    On your recommendation, I will be spending Saturday 10 May at the museum/ archives.
    I also have an appointment on the Sunday morning.
    Is there any chance of meeting up with yourself or someone knowledgeable on the area on the Saturday afternoon?
    Also, nothing beats local knowledge. Is that any hotel that you would recommend in the Walsall / Brownhills area?
    Many thanks


  7. I may not be able to meet up while you are here, I have to see if I can change arrangements, so we will see. However I have been in touch with Bobby and although he is very busy he says he will try to find something out for you.
    Be in touch.


  8. Hi John, Did you have a good time when you came over to Blighty. I was so sorry to miss you, but it fell real awkward for me for many reasons, but mainly i am not well at the moment and under the hospital and the other was that our son was fifty that weekend. I hope that you saw all the documents at Essex St.
    Hope to hear from you again Regards Mike.


  9. Thanks Mike
    Indeed, I had a most useful time and made a few contacts that have been a great help to me.
    I am currently following up on those.
    Cheers, John


  10. Hi Mike
    You seem to have a lot of data on local vehicles. One of my ancestors that I was following up on was killed in a motor accident in 1929. The “other” vehicle was a Sentinel steam wagon. I have located a photo of one, but it would be really nice if I could find one with the Henry Hawkins Ltd, Cannock logo and colours. (I guess colour would be pushing it from 1929, but logo perhaps) Would you perchance have such a picture?
    Cheers, John


    • I will take a look for you and you never know someone reading this may well have one and forward it to us. As with Phil who posted me the pictures of the Harpers buses when I published the wrong one.


    • Hi John, Hope that you are all well down under. I just wondered if you had received any feedback on your request with regards to the road accident. I did put a request out for information with regards to colour of livery and if anyone could give information. No one has got back in touch with me although I did give your email address. I know that at sometime in the past it was mentioned on Brownhills Bob, but i could not find it. I also asked Cheslyn Hay Local History Society if they could help, but although they have been in touch with other stuff, I wondered if they were in direct touch with you as it was easier, to deal direct than via me, as you would have information that I did not.be in touch soon.


    • I will put it out again, as I have not been able to find anything, sorry. I thought that Cheslyn Hay would have helped because i used to be a member.
      I will keep in touch!


  11. Hi Im afraid I cant help with the picture but a bit of background may help in your search, Henry Hawkins had a colliery and brickworks in Cannock, it was large enough to warrant its own basin on the canal. One interesting feature of the basin was its lift bridge across the entrance, not a common sight on the BCN. Maybe cross referencing your search with some of these details will help?


    • Thank you for your reply. I have not had any other feedback on this enquiry for John, but I will keep trying to get him an answer. Thank you again it gives another avenue to try.


  12. Hi John. Just had an email from The Wyrley Blog. Paul from wyrely blog asks if you would email him on wyrleyblog@yahoo.co.uk and give him any details which you have regarding the accident with The Hawkins steam Wagon.as he is going to try and research it for you. He would appreciate any dates ages names that you have. I hope that this gets you the information that your after. BEST OF LUCK Mike. Please keep me informed on whether you get there after all this time.


  13. Hello
    Im interested to know if the brother who worked for Collins/ United Carriers was John Stackhouse?

    Dave (Eddy) Edwards


      • No…I haven’t seen or spoken to John for ages, but you know where I am if he’s interested


      • Hope that you are well and when I see him later in the week i Mike. will tell him that you have been in touch. He reads BBobs blog regular but only looks at mine from time to time.


  14. Thanks Mike, I am well thank you. I also read/contribute to Bobs blog. John may have seen me there but not realised who it was.


    • Yes I read BB all the while, in fact it was he who got me into doing a blog. But I haver sort of gone off track to do the current blog on all players who have ever been on the books at Walsall.Not sure that I can do that! However there will be enough information for the Trust to do their book, which the proceeds will be for ex saddlers in times of distress. We will await publication!. Do you still live local to Brownhills-Walsall Wood? Speak soon Mike.


      • Hi Mike
        Yes I’ve noticed your contributions on BobsB. I came across your blog looking for any items on Collins/UCL. I found your stuff !!! great. I also like the things on WFC as a life long part time supporter. Did you see the blog about the guy who walked from Walsall to Wembley for the JPT final. That was my nephew Graeme Brooks
        I think your listing all their players is great. Yes I currently live in Burntwood.


  15. Hi there Mike
    I do not write as eloquently as you and this has nothing to do with your blogs – but I just thought that you or your readers might be interested in what I had on my mind this week.
    ANZAC Day 2015
    Down here in the Antipodes, we celebrate “Poppy Day” on 24 April. That is the day in 1915 when the ANZAC (Australia & New Zealand Army Corp) landed at Gallipoli. Although Australians and New Zealanders went on to fight in all theatres of the war, this was their “Baptism by Fire” and there is hardly a town in this part of the world that does not have a memorial to those who went to Gallipoli and never came home.
    I happened to be in Australia on ANZAC Day at a little settlement north of Sydney called Killcare – so named because it is so peaceful that you can go there to “kill your cares” – so I attended the local memorial service. I have to say that it was the most brutal memorial that I have ever attended. Brutal on my emotions that is.
    We sat there in silence – silence apart from the raucous cries of the cockatoos in the gum trees – and listened to youngsters reading what they understood the day to be about. So far so good.
    Next a gravelly voiced guitarist sang “And the band played Waltzing Matilda”. I know that this was written by an immigrant and was possibly more in protest against another war; but it has been taken at face value down under and is regularly played at this time of year to remind us all just how dreadful war is. It pulls no punches regarding the sheer horror of war. If you are unfamiliar with it, I have included a link. This particular version has been hijacked by the Canadians, but no worry. Change a few names and it is their story too. I like the pictures and the fact that they have made the link to more recent wars, each as awful in their own way. The voice is that of the writer, Eric Bogle. https://youtu.be/WG48Ftsr3OI
    Lest we forget those who did return home, but returned home broken.
    As if that were not enough, next up was an old man who recited Jim Brown’s poem “The ANZAC on the Wall”. Once again this is a relatively recent poem and I had always thought it to be a true story. In the wider sense it reminds us of how quickly we forget, but it tells of a soldier who did not come home and of the effect on his mother and fiancé.
    The framed photograph is real but the stories are apparently an amalgam of actual letters. Perhaps that is even more sobering as one is reminded how many families received “the telegram”. I have included a link to that as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4dtw2OCIoCs
    Lest we forget those who waited in vain at home for their fathers and their sons and their brothers and their lovers.
    The address was about women at war, particularly medical staff. Particularly the fact that most troops in the trenches were rotated regularly, but staff at hospitals – even forward ones – were not.
    Lest we forget those who served without a rifle in their hands, often in more demanding roles than those who could defend themselves.
    Just in case all that were not enough, when I returned to New Zealand, I listened to a radio documentary entitled “100 years, 100 horses”. A hundred years ago 187 farmers rode down from the hill country in North Canterbury to volunteer for the war. 42 of the farmers never returned, none of their horses did. The really cruel part was that those horses, having served so faithfully through the war and occupation were simply abandoned (at the behest of the military, not the farmers) and probably starved to death in the harsh environment of the Middle East.
    At dawn this ANZAC Day, over a hundred riders, dressed in uniforms of the day, rode the 20kms to the Waikari memorial. What was particularly fitting was that the riders were just ordinary folk and their horses were just ordinary horses; so although they tried to ride in formation, some of the horses were quite skittish so close to others. It was not done with military precision, but it was done with passion. Pretty much like it must have been 100 years ago.
    Lest we forget our faithful furred and feathered companions.
    Like I say, ANZAC Day this year was pretty brutal on the senses. Just thought that you might like to know.


    • Hi John Thank you very much for your thoughts, they interesting. My father fought in the second world war, but never spoke to us about his experience’s. Unfortuneatly when he got older he sufferred from Parkinsons and senility. As a child he sat with us and watched a series which the BBC put out on a Saturday night about the war and I remember that when the soiuldiers were draining the oil out of the engines and then running them as they left them on the side of the road as they made their way down to the beaches for evacuation. I now have a copy of his company diary which shows that on their return to France on D-Day, he was on duty on the beach unloading ammunition etc. Thank you again for getting in touch mike.


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