Your Page

Back in 2001 when I was publishing the Pelsall Times magazine, I started to devote two pages to readers who were keen to share their memories with myself and other readers. 

People used to write in to ask for historical information, share photographs or in the hope of tracing relatives. 

On one occasion I received a letter from a reader from Wales who was keen to organise a school reunion with her friends from Pelsall Secondary School.  The lady forwarded to me a black and white photograph of a school trip to Beaudessert in 1953.  After the photograph was published, all 25 ladies got in touch and a school reunion was organised. 

I was delighted to be invited to the event which I covered and published in Issue 19 of Pelsall Times.  

Since publishing the Pelsall Times website a number of readers have contacted me to share their memories which I am now going to include on the website.

In addition to this I will also include some of the many memories shared with me in my Pelsall Times magazine which I think readers may find very interesting.

Hence, if you would like to share your memories, why not get in touch?

I look forward to hearing from your soon.

To start...…….

I was born in 1946 to Irene and Philip Yarnall who lived at 182 Allens Lane, Pelsall.  As a child I would play in the wood behind the house and climb the hill which must have been the spoil heap from the colliery unaware of the tragedy which happened there.  I would climb to the top then run down all the way home. Terrified of what I did not know.  I kept horses in the field opposite Birches shop and remember going into the shop when Miss Birch kept it.  I think next door was someone selling high class second hand clothing? But, I do not remember activity in the foundry.  I remember the area by the road which had brambles and mangled fencing.  The Clockmill Estate was built as I was growing up and the children caused me problems with minor vandalism, which as a 14 year old, I do remember dealing with myself!

From Maggie Dinning  nee Yarnall  (Maggie used to be known as Pat)

When I published the email above, the content of it reminded me of a letter which I once received from Mrs F J Derry nee Turner.  I published the letter in Issue 11 of Pelsall Times.

The letter read:

I am replying to your request for past memories of Mouse Hill Stores and the adjoining properties.  I will tell you my memories from the late 1930's to the late 1950's. I spent my childhood days there until I got married in 1953.

I lived in Allens Lane with my family from the age of 4 years.  I can remember the cottages, shop and Wilkes Foundry in Foundry Lane and Mouse Hill.  I can recall the names of Amos Farmer, Beech, Parkes, Lloyd, Parton, Rochelle, Kate Birch, Fred Deakin an Cy Turner who was my father's cousin.  He lived in the cottage next to the shop at the bottom of Mouse Hill.  It was a second hand shop run by Cy Turner's second wife.  You could get a good work jacket for the sum of ten shillings.

The wall you refer to is the boundary wall from The Cottage to Wilkes Foundry gates in Mouse hill.  The local post box was situated on the wall.

The Mouse Hill shop was kept by Miss Kate Birch, it was an off licence and general stores.  Opposite the shop there was a small field and it is still there today.  We used to call it Birches field.  Miss Birch used to keep poultry in there.  It was also used by the cottages to hang out their washing as there were no gardens to the cottages.

Mr Rochelle had one corner of the field as a garden.  Mr Parton in Foundry Lane used to make bikes up and sell them.

As we move towards Allens Lane there was a detached cottage where Mr Fred Deakin lived.  He was a keen gardener and made the bouquet for my wedding in 1953.

In Allens Lane just below Mouse Hill stood a row of cottages called 'The Whitewash Row'.  The names I can recall are Perkins, Brassington, Mason, Stackhouse and Bowers.

In the garden next to the cottages stood an old horse drawn caravan in which Mr and Mrs Miles lived.

These were demolished in 1954.

 

Moving up to Paradise Lane, I received a rather unusual request which I published in Issue 33 of Pelsall Times.  It related to the search for Adam and Eve.

Over the years Pelsall has lost much of its history through the demolition of various buildings of historical significance.  

When the vicarage was still standing in Paradise Lane, above the door of this thatched roofed building was a stained glass image of Adam and Eve.

Remarkably, despite its great age, this rather delicate piece of history was rescued ensuring its survival.

The stained glass image of Adam and Eve was moved to the opposite side of the road where it was positioned above Collins Coal Merchant's door.

However, one day, it simply vanished, never to be seen again.

Many people were rather upset to notice that Adam and Eve had gone missing since it was known to be an ancient stained glass window.

Despite the appeal regrettably, no news of Adam and Eve ever emerged.

 

On the subject of Churches I received a very interesting letter from Mrs Broadhurst which I published in Issue 32 of Pelsall Times.

 

In days gone by, attending Church was a priority on Sunday mornings. In 1851 in particular, regular attendance at Church or chapel became rather an issue, so much so that if you failed to attend unless you had an extremely good reason you would be fined.

Mrs Broadhurst told me in her letter that as a child in the 1920's she, her siblings and all other children were issued with what was known as a Star Card by her chapel.

She recalled having to attend the chapel both morning and night with her siblings, and on each occasion these cards were stamped as proof that they had attended.

Like all children would, Mrs Broadhurst told me how she and her siblings found a way around not having to stay in chapel after having their cards stamped.  Despite this however, before getting home, she remembers having to make sure of finding out who had taken the service and what the lesson of the day was as her father would always ask to make sure they had been there.

Unfortunately, Mrs Broadhurst was not able to locate her old Star Card but asked if anyone still had theirs.

As said in Issue 32, it would certainly be interesting to see one.

Moving onto the subject of education, in Issue 8 of Pelsall Times I published an interesting letter which bought back fond memories to many of my readers.

In his letter Derek Everton referred to an area known as Cookery Corner or Silvers Corner which was situated on the corner of Old Town Lane and High Street.

This area was the site of a single storey building which was built in the 1920's.

The building was used to teach cookery and domestic subjects to girls from the local schools.

The reason why the area was known as Silvers corner was because of the milliners shop of Anne Silver which was also situated in the close vicinity.

Mr Silver's house was situated where the 'Scratter' is today.

On the subject of Baking I received a letter from Bob Sawyer who recalled the very conscientious Harold Dukes who was known as the Midnight Baker.

Bob, who was a baker himself recalled that it was not unusual for Harold Dukes to be delivering bread at 2am on Christmas morning.

And for Harold to be delivering bread late in the evening any other time was not unusual.  It was due to such twilight hours of work that Harold Dukes became fondly known as the Midnight Baker. 

Bob Sawyer began his apprenticeship as a baker in 1955.  At this time he worked for Mr Cumberlidge who many readers may remember.

Back then, Mr Cumberlidge owned the village bakery which was situated around the region where the 'Chinese Takeaway' is today on Pelsall High Street.

Mr Cumberlidge's shop was at the front whilst the rear of the building housed stables, the confectionary part of the bakery and the stoke holes. Bob worked there with his brother Ray and Peter Osbourne.

In 1955 the village bakery, then owned by Mr Cumberlidge was situated where Mr Harrington's shop once was.

During the war......

Back in 2002 one of my readers related to me that in 1947 prisoners of war were used in Pelsall to clear the roads of snow in the winter time.  The POW's were based at Cannock.

Whilst the POW's were working, villagers made tea for them.

When the Circus Stayed in Pelsall

Today, Pelsall is host to fairs that arrive in our village on special occasions such as Carnival day.

The fair is always great fun and people come from miles around to be part of it.

Many years ago Pelsall village played host to a Circus which became very well known and loved by the people of Pelsall.

Back in 2003 a lady contacted me with her memories of the Circus in Pelsall.

She recalled that when she was a youngster the Circus always stayed in Pelsall for the winter in the grounds of the Station Hotel.

A big top show was held two to three times a week and it was 1p to get in.

She recalled how 10 shillings were offered to anyone who could stand on horse back all the way round the ring.  This was not done unaided of course, the horse and harness was attached to a pole in the middle of the ring.

Naturally for this amount of money many a youngster tried their hand at this and they always fell off.

However, on one occasion, a young girl did in fact manage to stay the course and so took away with her the 10 shillings offered.

The lady who wished to remain anonymous, told me at the time that the Circus was always very popular and always received a big and appreciative audience.  

The Circus which used to stay in Pelsall was part of a much bigger one.

Don't forget to send in your memories as I will be updating this page regularly.