Category Archives: Brownhills

LNWR Buses in Brownhills

LNWR Buses

Buses outside garage
London & North-Western
Railway Buses

On 1st October 1912 the London & North-Western Railway introduced a bus service between Brownhills, Norton Canes and Hednesford using two Milnes Daimler double-decker buses purchased second-hand 3 years previously from the Associated Omnibus Co., London.
The following year, on the 16th June, a variant of the above service began running via Chasetown and Chase Terrace and additional buses, double-decker Commers were sent to Brownhills (as the one in the photograph).

Painted in standard coaching colours of chocolate and milk, buses carried the company name or initials on the front, back and sides of the top deck and displayed the company Coat of Arms on the sides of the lower deck.
The majority of the LNWR bus services in various parts of England and Wales were withdrawn on 17th April 1915, both Brownhills services included. The decision to withdraw services being brought about by the continued ‘call-up’ of staff for military service and the probability of buses being commandeered by the War Office.

LNWR BusThe bus shown, BM2597 was numbered 45 in the LNWR fleet and carried 34 passengers seated.

Happy talk

Happy talk.

Learn more about Brownhills, Walsall, Staffs on Friday, November 28th – with Gerald Reece

Learn more about Brownhills, Walsall, Staffs on Friday, November 28th


Brownhills Christmas market: it’s on – and an appeal for help!

Brownhills Christmas market: it’s on – and an appeal for help!.

A Bit of Brownhills Memorabelia

A Bit of Brownhills Memorabelia

While rooting through some old photos, I came upon this old press cutting – I don’t know many of the people but when I was a kid I always had my shoes from Cyril Kingston’s – and I knew the chap next to him quite well too !Brownhills Early Closers Chase Post 12-5-1994From the Chase Post 12th May 1994

Brownhills Town and Canal Festivals

Brownhills Town and Canal Festivals.

121 – A tale from Brownhills Station – Chasewater News Dec 1989

121Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News December 1989 – 2

Brownhills Memories – P.Aldridge

Sidney Browne worked on the railways in the area for nearly fifty years.  Like many railway men he had many anecdotes recalling his long service.  Sadly Sid died in 1985, but many of his tales are well-remembered by his grandson, Peter Aldridge, who now works on the railway at Chasewater.  One of these tales is now recalled, and if it is not true, it ought to be!In the 1950s Sid worked for British Railways at Brownhills Station in High Street.  One morning in late summer a local resident by the name of Meacher arrived in his brand new Austin motor car.  Pic by oakparkrunnersorry, don’t know which model – here’s three to chose from


Before catching his train Mr. Meacher entrusted his car keys to the Station Master.  The train, an excursion to Blackpool, arrived hauled by a Bescot ‘super D’, and plodded off towards Lichfield.Super D at Consall, Churnet Valley Railway, 2005

Later that morning some of the other station staff reported for work.  They immediately took a shine to the new car parked in the station yard, and promptly purloined the ignition keys and drove off towards Cannock.  Sid, being rather busy, remained at Brownhills.

The day wore on and the Austin did not re-appear.  The evening came, still without any sign of the car or its occupants, and Sid began to get worried.  What would he do if the owner came back and found his beloved car missing?

Sure enough at 11.30pm a grimy ‘super D’ wheezed up the long climb through Hammerwich, past Anglesey Sidings and into Brownhills.  There was Mr. Meacher fast asleep.  Carefully opening the carriage doors, Sid called out in a faint whisper “Brownhills….Brownhills” and then quietly sent the train on its way, with Mr. Meacher, fast asleep, still on board.

Half-an-hour later the phone rang….”Hello” came a voice “Is that Brownhills railway station?  This is Mr. Meacher.  I must have fallen asleep on the train and missed my stop”.

“Yes” replied Sid “I looked for you everywhere, I walked up and down the train calling ‘Brownhills’ as loud as I could”.

“Oh well” said Mr. Meacher “Never mind, I’ll get a taxi home from Walsall and collect my car tomorrow”.

“That’s alright; I’ll look after the car for you! Said Sid, and put down the phone.

At ten to two the Austin re-appeared, being pushed by some very hot and tired railwaymen.  The car had run out of petrol near Milford Common, and having spent all their money on beer, they could not buy any petrol from a garage.Barley Mow on the corner of Milford Common
© Copyright David Bagshaw and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Needless to say the joyriders were sent out early next morning so that Mr. Meacher would, hopefully, never know about his car’s unauthorised – not to mention illegal-day out!

Brownhills – The Spot Bridge, Pier Street.

The Spot Bridge, Brownhills.

 “You cannot be serious”

Yes I can, and it is Wimbledon fortnight!!

Photo – BCN Photo Gallery

While visiting the Brownhills Canal Festival, I crossed the bridge and thought – “it doesn’t sing to you like the old one used to”.  To try to explain, when you climbed the steps of the old metal bridge, you heard a definite ‘Dong-Dong-Dong’ and when you crossed the bridge itself, it changed to’ Bong  –  Bong  –  Bong’ not quite a modern ‘Boing’ definitely ‘Bong’.  Then, of course it was back to the Dongs as you climbed back down.  The new bridge, a very nice one of the modern style, unfortunately has no voice at all – it’s just there to be walked over – sad, really.  Since I left Brownhills in 1960, I can only remember crossing the old bridge once, about seven or eight years ago, but the sound was unmistakeable – and unforgettable.  I hope I’m not the only one to remember it!  One thing about the bridge that I don’t remember, and that is calling it the ‘Spot Bridge’, it’s somewhere in the back of my brain (with everything else these days!) but I don’t ever remember using the name.One thing I will say in favour of the new bridge – it’s not just good for disabled people to use, also dogs that are getting past their sell by date.  My Dobe, Ellie, comes into that category nowadays, she looks in fine fettle but struggles to run with any speed at all.  She is very arthriticky (good word, eh!) in her back end due in no small part to not being able to be exercised for nearly 12 months after an accident chasing a squirrel in which she snapped all the tendons in her right front leg, which now has a plate and a number of bolts holding it together – it’s probably the best leg she’s got these days!  All of this means that she has great difficulty in climbing steps, so without the new bridge and its ramps, we would have been stuck on the Brownhills side of the canal!

Chasewater Railway Museum News – Our Latest Donation – From Brownhills!

Chasewater Railway Museum News

 Our Latest Donation – From Brownhills!

 While the museum was open for the Industrial Railway Society meeting and AGM, we received a visit from Douglas Birch MBE from Brownhills.  He offered, and we were proud to accept, an old leg vice, believed to have been used at the loco shed at Harrison’s Old Yard in the mid-nineteenth century.  I shall reproduce the full information that Doug provided.Barry Bull (Museum Curator) with Doug Birch and the leg vice.

 William Harrison’s, Brownhills Common.

By Douglas Birch MBE

‘Harrison’s Old Yard’ was situated on Wyrley Common near to the Shant Bridge over the former LNWR mineral line on the A5 at Brownhills West.

The yard consisted of Workshops, Admin. Offices, Loco Shed, Sawmill and Cottages servicing the adjacent Cathedral Colliery and a number of other small pits in the locality.

A crane hire company now occupies some of the original buildings.  When the Wyrley Grove Colliery was sunk in 1870 all operations and plant was moved to the new site where a much bigger complex was built, which in part eventually served two other new collieries in the Harrison Group – Wyrley No.3 (The Sinking) and Mid-Cannock, including extensive wagon repair shops, sawmill and a new loco shed with space for four engines.

My grandfather, Arthur John Birch, was Head Engine fitter around the turn of the century both at the Old Yard and at Wyrley Grove.  He was succeeded by his son Oliver, my uncle, in the early 1920s.  Oliver held the position until his death in the early 1960s.  His son Arthur John in turn succeeded him until the closure of the Grove in 1963.

I too spent all my working life in the coal industry as a Mechanical Engineer.  The first eighteen years in the Grove Pit fitting shop.  My final twenty years in the industry was as a Safety and Training Officer at Cannock Central Workshops.

The leg vice I am offering to your museum may be of interest because it is considered to be a family heirloom and has passed down from my grandfather to my father, and then to me.  I have had it in my workshop since 1953 and it was in my father’s workshop (he was a carpenter) for a similar period before that.  The historical interest is that we have always understood that the vice originated from the loco shed at Harrison’s Old Yard via my grandfather which makes it very old indeed and worthy of preservation.  It would be an awful shame if the vice went for scrap after surviving for so long.

 William Harrison’s Steam Locomotives

Cathedral Pit

‘Emlyn’                 0-6-0ST scrapped 1920

‘Black Prince’       0-6-0ST scrapped 1909

‘Agincourt’            0-6-0ST scrapped 1906

‘Success’              0-6-0ST scrapped 1913  (Purchased 1869)

‘Warrior’                0-6-0ST scrapped 1933

Grove Pit

‘No.3                     0-6-0ST Purchased new 1895 Peckett    To NCB‘The Colonel’        0-6-0ST Purchased new 1914  Hudswell Clarke  To NCB

Loco Driver – Harry Jones

Steam Crane Driver – Jack Jones  (This crane was manufactured in France and reputedly saw military service during the 1914 – 1918 war.

Loco Fireman – Charles Dalton.Many Thanks, Doug.

Brownhills – Just one photo!

The Railway Tavern

One of the members of the Chasewater Railway had a clearout of magazines and brought some of the old ones into the museum to sell or keep.  I had to go through them all of course – great stuff! One picture more than any other took my interest – the Railway Tavern formerly in Lichfield Road.This photo was taken from the ‘Railway Forum’ of 1970

I can only remember going to this pub once.  There was a Darts League Dinner and Presentation at the Memo which my wife and I and two good friends were going to.  Sadly, we were too late for the dinner – they were almost on the sweet course – so we popped up the road for a quickie (or two!) in the Railway – and that was it, my entire drinking career in the Railway.  (We did one hell of a lot more in the Memo later, from what I can remember!)

I can’t recall ever seeing a photo of the inside of the Railway before so it brought back some good memories – I hope it does for others, too.Photo by Brian Walker, 1993.