Archive for April, 2015

Walter. (Walsall Local History Centre)

(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…

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..

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.

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

Patrick Downey gets his MM. 2015.

Patrick Downey gets his Military Medal. 2015.

Read the updated story of Patrick Downey and how his lost Military Medal was sort of returned to him by the Harrison’s Club in Wyrley: