William Thomas Deakin Sambrook, joint winner of the Russell Challenge Cup in 1916. (Queen Mary's Grammar School)

William Thomas Deakin Sambrook, joint winner of the Russell Challenge Cup in 1916.
(Queen Mary’s Grammar School)

William Sambrook is another name mis-spelt on the Great Wyrley Memorial Gates. Read about this one time star athlete at Queen Mary’s Grammar School, teacher at Great Wyrley Council School and soldier in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Remember him for who he was and give him his name back… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/wyrley-landywood/great-wyrleys-fallen-wwi/william-sambrook-a-race-too-far/

Reginald Coley Woodhouse, former Queen Mary's, Walsall pupil (QMS Magazine December 1918)

Reginald Coley Woodhouse, former Queen Mary’s, Walsall pupil
(QMS Magazine December 1918)

Sometime back I wrote an article about an error on the Great Wyrley memorial gates – that the WMH Woodhouse depicted on the plaques of the fallen should in fact be Reginald Coley Woodhouse. By chance, I found a little more about him… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/wyrley-landywood/great-wyrleys-fallen-wwi/lcpl-reginald-coley-woodhouse-catching-the-irish-mail/

Frank Emberton's DCM, 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. (Staffordshire Regimental Museum)

Frank Emberton’s DCM, 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
(Staffordshire Regimental Museum)


A little bit to add to Frank’s story, thanks to Andrew Thornton and the Staffordshire Regimental Museum…
https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/wyrley-landywood/the-harrisons-club-great-wyrley-war-memorial-history/the-things-i-have-seen-the-life-of-frank-emberton-d-c-m/

The perambulation of Pelsall, 1634. (Walsall Local History Centre)

The perambulation of Pelsall, 1634.
(Walsall Local History Centre)

As the Archivist at the Walsall Local History Centre I do look after some nice little documents. The Walsall Local History Centre houses a perambulation for the beating of the bounds for the Liberty of Pelsall, which dates back to 1634. A perambulation effectively means the a tour (walk around) of the boundary of a township, manor or whatever it is a perambulation of. I suppose the hope is that some from the locale can actually still trace some of these features or have a good guess as to where they were… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/walsall/the-boundaries-of-pelsall-1634/

Houses on Watling St, 1926 - 102 was Frank Emberton's after returning from India. (Historic England)

Houses on Watling St, 1926 – 102 was Frank Emberton’s after returning from India.
(Historic England)

Over the past year or so I have tried to bring back a little of the lives of the fallen soldiers from the locality, in order to show they are not just names on a stone and that they were real people. One problem with this is that the men that fought and survived are often overlooked, after all they had a life didn’t they? In this article I intended to pick a name of a soldier that served and survived at random from the roll of honour at Harrison’s Club, however I did notice that an F Emberton had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and so I thought I would tackle his story. I have published the story today as he would have been celebrating his 130th birthday and his story would take me from Bridgtown, Cheslyn Hay and Great Wyrley to other places in Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Nothumberland, as well as France, Belgium and India… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/wyrley-landywood/the-harrisons-club-great-wyrley-war-memorial-history/the-things-i-have-seen-the-life-of-frank-emberton-d-c-m/

Aerial photo of the Butts pre-1935. The western half of Warwick St (now demolished for the School) leads from the bottom right to Teddesley St. (Walsall Local History Centre)

Aerial photo of the Butts pre-1935. The western half of Warwick St (now demolished for the School) leads from the bottom right to Teddesley St.
(Walsall Local History Centre)

Regular readers of Wyrleyblog will know that every few months or so I dip into the Walsall Coroner’s records to recount an old tale, especially if it has a relevance in some way to today. The story that I have picked for this article centres on the Butts area of Walsall; it tells the story of one George Loake, who inexplicably took his pocket-knife to his estranged wife’s throat and left her for dead on the August Bank Holiday of 1911. Loake offered no resistance on his arrest and ultimately no explanation when questioned. Make no bones about it, at the heart of this story lies a shocking death and all the brutality of the subsequent execution; but laying the crime aside for the moment, the questions remain as to what really was George Loake’s state of mind at the time of the killing, did a lack of money to pay for ‘skilled witnesses’ have a baring and, had it still been a capital offence, would he have hanged today? The issues of what constitutes diminished responsibility, rights to legal aid and the death penalty as a whole are still hotly debated today – and as Loake shows, there are no easy answers… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/walsall/tales-from-the-walsall-coroner/a-state-of-mind-george-loake-and-the-butts-murder-walsall-1911/

Walter. (Walsall Local History Centre)

Walter.
(Walsall Local History Centre)

Unlike for many of the Wyrley fallen, we do have some service records for Walter – albeit somewhat damaged. The fresh-faced Collins was called to the War in April 1918, signing-up officially on 23 April. He was described as 19 years of age, 5′ 5″ in height, 128 lbs (9 stones, 2 lb) in weight and of good development. His physical features were having ‘very dark brown hair and blue eyes’. He was of course unmarried… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/wyrley-landywood/great-wyrleys-fallen-wwi/great-wyrleys-fallen-walter-collins-and-his-five-weeks-in-france/

Alfred Whitehouse (Cannock Library)

Alfred Whitehouse
(Cannock Library)

I thought it was time to return to the Great Wyrley fallen and the name I chose was that of EA Whitehouse. This man, I felt secure, would not be an error – after all, the Whitehouse family have been very prominent in the village over time: the farm that once stood on the Walsall Road, opposite the Swan Inn, and demolished when Brook Lane was driven through was called Whitehouse Farm and, added to this, there are the names of twelve other Whitehouse men that served and survived on the pillar plaques either side of the gates. Sadly of course, I was to be wrong.. https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/wyrley-landywood/great-wyrleys-fallen-wwi/great-wyrleys-fallen-alfred-whitehouse/

I had the good fortune, as the Archivist at the Walsall Local History Centre, to bump into Stuart Attwood a few months back. Stuart once ran a publication on Bloxwich, back in the 90s. He also wrote a few pamphlet guides on pubs – one of which covered Great Wyrley.

Davy Lamp in the mid-1980s. (Stuart Attwood)

Davy Lamp in the mid-1980s.
(Stuart Attwood)

Stuart deposited his photographs with the Centre, those that he had accumulated regarding the publications. I was zipping through them yesterday in order to see what was in it and what to do regarding duplicates and protecting the photos etc, when I found the photos he had taken from c mid-1980s of the local pubs for Wyrley area.

The Robin Hood, likely in the early 1980s. (Stuart Attwood)

The Robin Hood, likely in the early 1980s.
(Stuart Attwood)

Staurt allowed us to use the photos, so I have included them in my blog stories – and I have updated the Lost Pubs (for the Davy Lamp), Robin Hood and Royal Oak stories to include them. However, as they are so nice, I thought I would give them their own blog post as well.

The Royal Oak in the early 1980s, with additions, but before rendering. (Stuart Attwood)

The Royal Oak in the early 1980s, with additions, but before rendering.
(Stuart Attwood)

So a big thank you to Stuart Attwood. The Davy Lamp photo shows the old outdoor and the Royal Oak shows the brickwork before the pub was rendered – clearly indicating the old frontage and where it was extended to encompass the old outdoor area. Terrific stuff. Remember to click on the photos to enlarge.

P1030641
The Royal Oak developed from a cottage near what was the one-time hub of the village around 1842. A gritty beer-house, it clearly served miners and other local working men, as the court cases testify. The owner and publican had a second job, so the family must have helped run the Oak. Eventually, the pub was sold to a small brewery chain, the City Brewery (Lichfield) around 1900. They instigated a failed attempt to move premises (Norton Lane being now just off the beaten track), followed by an extension and remodelling to the buildings. The pub was taken over by Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries after the City Brewery burnt down in 1916…read the full story https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/wyrley-landywood/the-pubs-of-great-wyrley/the-pubs-of-great-wyrley-the-royal-oak/