This is the staff which was used on the single track from Walsall Wood Colliery to Norton Junction on the LNWR at Pelsall. Until the staff was given to the Museum, I must confess that I didn’t know that there was such a line.There it is – just below the word ‘Clayhanger’
The staff was donated to the Museum by Mr. Trevor Astbury and his son Tom.
For anyone who knew Brownhills some 50-odd years ago, there was a seed shop in the High Street called Cockram’s. Mr. and Mrs. Cockram worked in the shop with an assistant by the name of Sid Pritchard. (Anyone who does remember the shop must surely remember the warm, sweet smell of the seed in the sacks, and if you were a child, the feeling of running your hands through the seed – that shop will never be forgotten by anyone whoever paid a visit.)
Back to Sid – he had a brother who worked at Walsall Wood Colliery and when it closed, somehow or other, he kept the staff. Sid was later given the staff, and later still, passed it on to his nexr door neighbour. This was Trevor. Trevor’s brother lives in Hednesford and is a good friend of mine, and he knows that I am a volunteer in the museum. Ron, my friend, mentioned this to his brother and eventually he donated the staff to the Chasewater Railway Museum. It is one of the few remaining items of railway equipment used on the local mineral lines.
The staff is marked on all four sides. ‘Walsall Wood Colliery’ ‘Canal Bridge’ ‘Train Staff’ and ‘Norton Junction’.
Chasewater Railway Museum
In the early days at Chasewater, the Museum Collection was housed in one of the old carriages owned by the railway, as can be seen in these photographs taken in the 1970s.
When it became clear that the railway had to move its Headquarters due to the redevelopment of the old station at Brownhills West, the railway’s collection of artefacts and archives was moved off-site pending the provision of suitable display facilities.
The Museum was to be housed in the Heritage Centre, and when the building was completed, the fitting out of display and storage facilities was carried out. As we were starting virtually from scratch, advice was taken on the best way to catalogue, number, store and display as much of the collection as possible. A number of Museum volunteers have attended many courses run by Staffs, Birmingham and Midland Museum Authorities to learn how to catalogue, number and mark the Museum collection correctly. We gratefully acknowledge the help and support we have been given by these bodies – we could not have done it without them.
The display and storage rooms ready, a start was made bringing the collection back to Chasewater and the Curator’s job started in earnest. Hopefully, with donations and loans continuing to arrive, his job will never be completed, but the collection will continue to grow and be used for educational and other purposes to keep the memories of old industrial railways and coal mining alive.
Over the next few weeks and months I shall be adding posts about our Museum Collection.