I live in Wednesbury
Why am I writing about where I live? Because this week my blogs have been featured on the YamYam, a local news website that aggregates local news and views from websites like the Express and Star newspaper. I’m a baby boomer, my mom had 8 children. I grew up in an era of listening to the radio and the sound of drop forge hammers pounding away. I live about half way between Wednesbury and Darlaston and I can remember hearing the drop forge hammers of Golchers, Garringtons and the one at the bottom of St Pauls Road when I was in High School.
I remember going to see a pantomime at the theatre when I was a kid. We didn’t have to travel out of Wednesbury we had our own theatre. It was the Hippodrome, on the corner of the High Street and High Bullen. In the High Street was a cinema, the Palace; it wasn’t a palace of course. It was a bit of a dive!
Around the corner was the really posh Gaumont cinema which in 1947 was owned by Associated Provincial Picture Houses who wanted to show films on a Sunday. The local council imposed a condition on the licence to the effect children couldn’t be admitted on a Sunday. This went to court and an important legal precedent was set when the conditions imposed by the council were considered to be unreasonable. That legal precedence became known as ‘Wednesbury unreasonableness’, it has been superseded now by EU law but it was a good precedence. How often are bureaucrats unreasonable?
There was another cheap cinema too in Earp’s Lane (Yes, Wednesbury has a connection to the Earp family) that was the Rialto. I think it was thrupence to sit at the front the last time I went in there!
In the High Street, we had Gray’s sweet shop and that’s still there, thank God. The sweets are made in North Street, Dudley and you can still ask for a quarter of your favourite sweets and get 100 grams!
Wednesbury is in the Black Country, so named because of the coal and the industry that is largely gone now. I used to look out of my bedroom window at the Old Park Works and see the trains pulling trucks on the railway line there. We would hear sirens that sounded like air raid sirens calling in the workers in the morning and again at lunchtime; few people could afford a watch in those days.
We used to go to Brunswick Park when I was child, a Victorian park landscaped from 34 acres of old mine workings. We would go down Handley Street past the Leathern Bottle, a pub that is now 500 years old (established in 1510). There was a lot of pubs then, many of them have disappeared. I remember taking bets in to the Cottage Spring on the Darlaston Road just after it closed down. I think betting had just been made legal then!
I also used to go to the public library every Saturday, it is a Carnegie library, built with money from Andrew Carnegie and built to a high standard. I remember the revolving doors to keep out the draughts and the spiral staircase (both long gone). The reference library is gone now and the archives, even the kids section appears to be gone. They do have computers though!
The town hall is still there but no longer houses the council, just adult social services, the council is now miles away in Oldbury. We still have the art gallery and museum, not quite as expensive and iconic as The Public at West Bromwich but it is Victorian. It’s red brick as opposed to shocking pink. The old Post Office is still there, but is now some community thing. The colleges that used to be in Wednesbury have gone too. We don’t really need further education though, all the industry and commerce has gone. The Lloyds bank building is a vets and even the police station is only open part time. Wednesbury is a shadow of it’s former self but at least we don’t have all the smoke and dirt; we have a lot more trees now!
I hope you have enjoyed today’s ramble, please click share and share with your friends on Facebook. Wednesbury isn’t known for artists and writers and so at least support someone having a go! There are more amazing blogs on my Home Page. Please comment!
If you are wondering where all the money went; to the Earl of Dudley and his friends; the toffs get preferential treatment, they are aristocrats…
- Black Country humour (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- Neodigital Art | Changing scenes (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- A Sunday Ramble (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- Black Country and proud? (emmawalkerwolves.wordpress.com)
- Ready, steady, grow! (ladybirdathome.wordpress.com)
- Week three – the pace quickens (ladybirdathome.wordpress.com)