Wyrleyblog: Milestones

Posted: April 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

Wyrleyblog is 4-years old today

Well who would have believed it? Wyrleyblog launched its first story four years ago today and has, in that time, received just over 100,000 views. I didn’t really think about how long it may go on for, but I didn’t expect that many hits for what is really a small geographical area and no more than a collection of local history stories.

Whatever the story, writing the Blog has helped me through a pretty rough period of ill-health. I hope the stories I have pursued have been interesting, informative and sometimes, eye-opening. I am aware that some of the stories will appeal to some and not to others, but that is the nature of the beast, and many have come about as a result of the centenary of World War One.

Thanks is due to my family a few people that support Wyrleyblog through Facebook shares, likes, retweets on Twitter etc. I am very grateful for the support and I thought, after 4-years, I would start to re-post some of those first stories for a bit of re-airing and would ask if anyone who reads this and is a member of a Facebook group that may find it of interest, to share the story – it all helps as I lose track of what I shared and where.

So, back on 2 April 2014, I launched the inaugural article, which was the first part of a three-part history of the Walsall Imperial. Built in 1868 as the Agricultural Hall, it has been a corn exchange, public venue, concert hall, theatre, cinema, bingo hall and finally a Wetherspoon’s pub…https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/walsall/the-walsall-imperial-1/

The Imperial, 1899

The Imperial, 1899

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Cheslyn Hay c1926, the Red Lion is the white building dead centre of the photograph. (Britain from Above)

This part takes in the stories of Private Walton (who lies at Rugeley) and Private William Usher Parnaby (who is linked with Cheslyn Hay), two soldiers that were broken by the circumstances of a world they were caught-up in, powerless to do anything about, and a military machine that was incapable and unable to offer much in the way of sympathy or help… https://wp.me/P4ui4e-1oY

9 June 1963, this aerial photo shows the Birches Sun Club within the Covert. (Staffs Record Office)


This, the final part, will focus on the naturist side: it opens with a brief look at the history of naturism – placing the Birches Club (the 1950s – 1980s) into context- before looking at what little is known about the Club itself… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/other-places/essington-laid-bare-springhill-and-the-birches-sun-club-part-3/

The Workingmen’s Insitute, for which Thomas was President in 1901. 2017.


I was asked about a man named Thomas Garratt that lived in Great Wyrley prior to 1958, as the remains of an old bench seat dedicated to him and his wife had been found that had, apparently, once stood outside the Senior Citizen’s Centre on Broadmeadow Lane. Who were they and what was the fellowship that dedicated the bench? … https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/?page_id=5819&preview=true

My fantastic family at Pompeii, just prior to my diagnosis.


This isn’t something that will be shared or likely even read and, at the end of the day, I didn’t really want to write it – it is just something I have to dohttps://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/about/brothers-in-arms-personal-musings-for-world-cancer-day/

Springhill House: built in Georgian style, it is orientated to face the old gardens, not the road. 2017.


This is the second part of a three part article on the archaeological and historical landscape of Springhill (Essington Wood) with a special focus on Springhill House and its Covert, a piece of woodland to the rear of this house that once hosted the Birches Sun Club, a former naturist (nudist, in parlance of old) site… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/?page_id=3544&preview=true

The 1834 OS Map, showing the canals and mineral railway from the coal pits near the Mitre Inn. The Enclosure took place after these were constructed. (Walsall Local History Centre)

This is the first of three articles that is on the landscape of Springhill in Essington Wood, the special focus on Springhill House and the Birches Sun Club, a former naturist (nudist, in parlance of old) site located in Springhill Covert, a piece of woodland to the rear of Springhill House (now Springhill Farm), off Broad Lane, in Essington… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/other-places/essington-laid-bare-springhill-and-the-birches-sun-club-part-1/

The terminus of the Wyrley Branch Canal at the Nook, adjacent was the old mineral railway – perhaps where James reloaded before heading off along the canal. 2017.


This story has a personal edge. It has grown out of a paragraph that was within an earlier article I wrote on the lost pubs of Great Wyrley and is the story is about a fatal shooting that took place within the Great Wyrley, Cheslyn Hay and Essington areas in 1870… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/wyrley-landywood/the-wyrley-cannock-colliery-incident-gun-crime-1870/

The junction of Stafford Road/Cemetery Road, Cannock, and the White Lion pub, close to Lycett’s bayonet charge of March 1916! 2017.


This, the third part, looks at three bizarre, alcohol-fuelled incidents that date to February and March 1916 and involve Cannock, Hednesford, Rugeley and Heath Hays. They involve theft, as well as threatening behaviour and the physical assault of policemen… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/cannock/february-march-1916-the-dark-side-of-the-cannock-chase-camps-part-3/

The Newtown Bridge (Bloxwich) over the Stafford Rd has long since gone, the line of the canal, where William was found, can still be made out though towards Fishley. 2017.


This part covers the stories of Private Davill (Walsall) and Private Greenwood (Leeds), whose differing experiences open the dark side of the Cannock Chase camps in January 1916…
https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/cannock/october-1915-january-1916-the-dark-side-of-the-cannock-chase-camps-part-2/