Some history on Old Hill in the county of Staffordshire
A lovely Edwardian view of Holy Trinity Church. The area around the building was supposed to serve as a small green space for local residents but it has been turned into a blinkin' car park. The ecclesiastical parish of Old Hill was formed on August 26th, 1876 with the church designed to accommodate the increased population in this part of Rowley Regis. They underestimated the number of applications for sittings so work on enlarging the church was still taking place when the building was consecrated by the Bishop of Worcester on April 19th, 1876. The west wall had to be taken down and the nave extended by 15 feet. A temporary brick wall was erected while this work was undertaken. I assume the workers were told to down tools and brew some tea whilst the bishop did his stuff.
Costing £15,219, the church was constructed in the Decorated style with Penkridge stone and Bath stone dressings. It was designed by the Wombourne-born architect and surveyor, Joseph T. Meredith, who had a practice in Kidderminster. Messrs. Thompson's, the building contractors, were also based in the carpet town. They worked under the direction of Mr. Howells, as clerk of the works. Inside, notable features are the pulpit of Caen and Penkridge stone, with alabaster shafts and richly-carved arcadi, the work of William Forsyth, of Worcester, who executed the font in a similar style. The heavy peal of eight bells was by John Taylor & Co., of Loughborough, and the clock was manufactured by J. B. Joyce & Co., of Whitchurch.
Captured on camera around 1911, this photograph shows the Zion's Hill Methodist New Connexion Chapel that stood on Halesowen Road. The building has long since vanished, though the neighbouring school building has survived. The latter dates from 1867 but the chapel was younger. There was an older church but it was deemed dilapidated and a decision was made to erect a new building in 1885. The Cradley Heath architect and surveyor, Isaac Meacham, was instructed to prepare the plans for a building to accommodate 600 people. The tender submitted by the builder, Mr. W. Willetts, also of Cradley Heath, was accepted. It was agreed that he would erect the building for £1,123 on the understanding that £150 was allowed for the old building and materials. On the afternoon of Monday July 13th, 1885, four memorial stones were laid by Messrs W. Foster [Sedgley], G Green, R. Barnsley, and W. Green. Amongst those present were the Revs. E. J. Hope, C. Jordan [curate of Quarry Bank], and Walter Bassano, J.P. The latter, resident of Haden Hall, congratulated the members the Methodist New Connexion body in making efforts to provide a chapel to meet the requirements for the increasing congregation. This photograph was taken from a position in Court Street. A man wearing a straw boater can be seen locking the gate.
In this view captured from Lawrence Lane, one can see the spoil heap of the Black Waggon Colliery to the rear of housing on Halesowen Road. My first thought on seeing this was that the mound seems enormous, almost the equal of a fair-sized hill. Much of this had vanished when I was a child but I was used to the spoil heap on Bearmore Bank, a playground of my youth. However, this one looks much bigger. The coal excavated from the Black Waggon Colliery was mostly transported to the blast furnaces at the Corngreaves Works of the New British Iron Company. A mineral railway was laid on a bridge across Halesowen Road, over the future site of the fire station in Mace Street, over Lawrence Lane and skirting the Bearmore Colliery. Note the shop on Halesowen Road in this photograph. It has the appearance of a grocery outlet back then but I remember it as a chip shop in the 1970s. I am not sure who was running it then but the chippy is fondly remembered when operated by the Taylor family in the 1950s and 1960s. They also made crisps which, if the stories of older residents are true, were wonderful. The proprietor, David Taylor, apparently drank in the Liberal Club when he wasn't frying up. Looking back in old trade directories, the Taylor family were here as early as 1916. Hannah Taylor ran the business in those days. The shop passed to her son, David, who ran the chippy with his wife Lilian.
In capturing this view the photographer was stood in Blackheath but the view is of Old Hill. It is a wonderful image taken from the top of the hill but looking back across Perry Park. This shows the recently constructed tram line built to connect Old Hill with Blackheath. Like they thought they could safely have a tram line on Waterfall Lane! The moving of earth to create this gradient must have been quite an undertaking. The contractor for the work was George Law & Co. Ltd., a firm also responsible for the overhead cables and other infrastructure. Opened in November 1904, tram services ran every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. until 7.40 p.m., and every 15 minutes afterwards until 11.40 p.m. Oh, to have such a service these days! The fare was one penny from the Cross at Old Hill to the Crown Inn near the railway station, and a further penny from the Crown Inn to the Handel Hotel near the market at Blackheath. A twopenny fare for the whole distance was regarded in the district as excessive, and passengers complained that, if they were compelled to pay a penny from the Cross to the Crown, then they should be able to go the whole distance for 1½d. The line would be later transformed into Perry Park Road and is known colloquially as "The Tump." The landscape seen here is littered with sheds and chimneys of local brick factories. The working of coal can also be seen at Haden Hill and Riddins. The train line from Birmingham to Stourbridge can also be seen on the left. There overhead cables of the tram line may not be in place which would date the photograph to 1904.
In this view one can see the brickworks of Hughes Brothers on Station Road. The refractories can clearly be seen. This works was in operation until the Second World War. In more recent times the site has been occupied by Palmer Timber. In the foreground of the image the bridge carrying the G.W.R. Stourbridge Extension line can be seen. High Haden Wood can be seen in the background. An example of a Hughes brick is shown here - they crop up on ebay but many people in the Old Hill area are known to find one with their garden fork!
The Sportsman and Railway public-house can be seen to the left of this photograph. Above the building is Old Hill Railway Station. To the right of the station is a canal bridge which still stands. This led into South Staffordshire Mines Drainage Works, the tall chimney being part of the complex of buildings. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1873 to facilitate the drainage of mines in parts of the South Staffordshire and East Worcestershire coal fields. Initially, a rate of one penny per ton of coal extracted was levied on the colliery owners. It was necessary to increase this tenfold in order to construct the necessary works to drain the workings and prevent early closure of mines due to flooding. However they did not think it through and the operation was something of a folly with water being pumped into streams only to find its way back into the mines. The works was still operating when this photograph was taken but a map surveyed in 1914 marked it as disused.
I have posted this image on my page for Cradley Heath as the factory is in Reddal Hill, the area where the two towns collide. The chain shop of Harry Stevens Limited was based in Oak Street between Reddal Hill and Newtown. Technically, it is part of Old Hill. It would appear that the men and women were probably glad of a short break in production to pose for this photograph. Based on this image, it would appear that the company specialised in small chain - not that the labour involved was less strenuous. It is interesting to note that all of the women are very young. Up until the 1980s, Oak Street was a very noisy thoroughfare with heavy stamping forming the soundscape for local residents.
I should know of all the noise - our back garden wall backed onto those in Oak Street. Some of the factories operated around the clock. Combined with the heavy stamping heard from Burton Delingpole and the freight trains operating at night, it is a wonder how we all managed to get a good night's sleep. Indeed, I have no idea how my mother managed to dry the washing on the line in our garden - by the time the clothes and sheets and been hung out in the sun, they were probably covered in bits of soot, dust, and iron particles. With all the metal filings blown from the factories into the road, after it rained the tarmac of Oak Street and Newtown Street would have a red tinge when the metal particles were coated with rust. There was little in the way of fresh air in this part of Old Hill.
Well, one cannot accuse Harry Stevens of making his money in Oak Street whilst living in a leafy place elsewhere. Born around 1860, he lived in the Reddal Hill locality throughout his life. He was the son of a chainmaker, married a chainmaker, made chain for his entire career, and died nearby in Claremont Street. Growing up on Reddal Hill Road, Harry Stevens started work at the age of 10, receiving 2s. 6d. a week for working 14 hours a day as a chainmaker's blower. He married Ellen Danks in November 1880. She was from a chainmaking family at Mushroom Green. When they were both 71 years of age, and living in Claremont Street, the couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Around the time of their marriage Harry Stevens started up his own enterprise in Oak Street. When he died in February 1940, the firm was run by his son, Mark. He lived at No.79 Lawrence Lane, a house still standing near Tittlebally Gullet. An indication of the type of customers buying the products coming out of the Oak Street works is shown in the 1939 register in which Mark Stevens was recorded as an agricultural chain manufacturer. The firm seems to have ceased trading following the death of Mark Stevens in May 1956.
This photograph was taken from the top of the curiously-titled Spinners End and is looking towards Reddal Hill Road. Consequently, the photographer is stood in the locale where Cradley Heath and Old Hill meet. Reddal Hill was once a self-sufficient community that was almost completely flattened for a road-widening scheme that never happened. However, many of the properties on this side of the road have survived. Plant Street once led up to the mound of Bearmore Colliery and home to a school erected in the mid-19th century by the British Iron Company and enlarged in the late Victorian period. I cannot remember anything other than a slot-coin launderette occupying the corner premises. Here, however, the shop was operated by the house decorator, Joseph Cockin. The shop, featuring wallpaper samples and paint, was probably run by his wife Annie. In later years the shop would be occupied by their son, also named Joseph, who was a noted photographer. The premises faced the the Bridge Inn, on the corner of Newtown Lane. But, although the photographer was stood in Cradley Heath, these buildings were in Old Hill.
Many more photographs of Old Hill to follow. I have an extensive collection of images for this town.
"Samuel Willets, alias "Lawyer," a well-known attendant at the Petty Sessions, was charged with being drunk in the
highway. Police-Constable Sylvester said that on the 29th ult. he found defendant in Halesowen Street, Old Hill, drunk, and causing a great disturbance. Defendant
[addressing Mr. Hingley] : I wasn't drunk. They 'ont fill me no drink in Old Hill; and them as I lives with, they 'a none in the house.
I've joined the pledge. Mr. Hingley : "You have been here before eighteen times." Defendant : Well, I'm sure I've never had a spot of drink.
They allus shown me in the lock-up if I has any drink." Inspector Price said he believed defendant had signed the pledge. Mr. Hingley asked defendant if he
would keep it, and on his replying that he would, he fined him 1s. and costs only; payment not to be enforced for a month. Thomas Bryan was also charged with being
drunk at Old Hill, on the 3rd inst. Police-Constable Sylvester proved the offence, and a fine of 5s. and costs was inflicted."
County Advertiser & Herald for Staffordshire and Worcestershire : December 9th 1876 Page 3
"The adjourned inquest on the body Samuel Bowater , watchman, in the employ of the New British Iron and Coal Company,
who was murdered at their Black Wagon Colliery, Old Hill, on the 7th or 8th instant, was held at the Beech Tree Inn, Gorsty Hill, Blackheath, yesterday, before
Mr. Edwin Hooper district coroner. Mr. Homfray, Brierley Hill, appeared to watch the enquiry behalf of the company; Superintendent Woollaston [of Brierley
Hill], Superintendent Kemp [Halesowen], and Inspector Price [of Old Hill] watched the enquiry on behalf of the police. The Coroner said the inquest
was adjourned from the 10th instant to that day in order that further evidence might be obtained. Since then the jury had had an opportunity of seeing the premises
where the unfortunate man was found. The only evidence personally taken was that of James Walters, son-in-law of the deceased, who identified the body.
The following evidence was then adduced : Ann Walters, wife of Thomas Walters, and daughter of the deceased, said she did not know the age of deceased, who
lived with her in the Tump Road. She last saw her father alive on the 7th inst., her father leaving home about half-past five o'clock that afternoon to go to
work at the Black Wagon Colliery, where he was the watchman. She did not have any conversation with the deceased before he left. When he left he took his supper and
his dog, which was usual, with him. She did not know whether he had any money with him, but he used to carry it in a bag. He had a watch upon him; and she should
know it again if she saw it. She wound it for him about a quarter-past four that afternoon, but the deceased always carried the key with him, attached to a short
chain. There were some silver coins also attached to the chain. He had had the watch for some years, having bought it at Rowley. The watchmaker where he bought it
cleaned it a little before Christmas. The deceased was on good terms with everyone when he left home that afternoon. The next morning her brother went to the door,
and said her father was "welly killed." She got up, but deceased was not brought home until about seven o'clock that morning. He was brought by many
people. Her father had been watchman there for some years, and about a fortnight ago he said someone had threatened him - her father saying someone had
threatened to "put his time in." She did not know what they meant, unless they meant to kill him. He did not say who had threatened him. The bag produced
was the one that belonged to her father, and was the one in which he usually carried his money. The keys and knives produced also belonged to the deceased. George
Welling, doggy at the colliery, said the deceased was employed at the colliery as a night watchman. He last saw him alive on the 5th instant. The duty of the
deceased was to watch the coal, and to go backwards and forwards to the pit. It would be contrary to the rules to have anyone with him in the hovel at night, and
when engaged, he was cautioned about that. He was a sober man; and, as far as witness knew, was on good terms with everyone. He heard the deceased say a few
mornings previous to his death that some men wished to go and sleep in the hovel, but he would not let them; they were parties he did not know. When he drove
them out they said they were a good mind to kill the old bastard. Witness told him not to have them, and deceased said, "I will not; I drove them off."
He asked deceased if knew them, but he said he did not. He had mentioned more than twice that men wished to sleep there. The first he heard of the murder was when
the engine-man, George Harris, went and called him. Witness did not live more than 400 or 500 yards from the colliery. The engine-man asked for
something to drink for the deceased, as he was hurt very bad, but did not know how. Witness sent some whisky, and then ordered the man to send the horse and cart
to get him home. He got up and went there, when he saw deceased taken to the big hovel on a door by some of the men. At that time the deceased was alive, but
insensible. Witness then deceased's son to fetch a doctor. There was blood on deceased's face, and blood was flowing from his temple. Deceased was then
taken home in the cart, but he could not say whether life was extinct when he left the colliery or not. It was about a quarter-past six when he was taken from
the hovel. Deceased was a very quiet, harmless old man, he never heard anyone use strong words against him. By the jury : "There is engineman there as
well." George Harris, fireman at the Black Wagon Colliery, said Moses Round was the engineer. On the 7th inst. he was called about half-past
four o'clock in the morning. He was called by the engineer. He did not live far from the colliery. When the engineer called he said, "Will you get up, for
the watchman has got badly hurt somehow?" When witness came out the engineer said, "We had better take some fire with us." He gave witness the lamp
he had and went and fetched some fire, and both them went to the hovel together. When they got to the hovel, which without a door, he saw the back of the deceased's
head. Deceased was lying on his left side, his back thus being to the doorway. There was a bad cut in the back of deceased's head, and there was quantity of
blood under his head. It appeared as though the blood had come from him an hour or more. Witness lit the fire, and got a flannel to put on him to keep him warm.
Deceased was alive, but was senseless. He did not speak to deceased. He sent Round to fetch the horse fettler, and when they came back there was consultation as to
what should be done, and eventually he went to call Mr. Welling. There was a poker there that he had not seen there before, and the engineer had used it to stir the
fire in the hovel. He had worked there some years, and so had the engineer. All were on good terms with the deceased. By the Jury : I noticed the deceased was
breathing when I went into the hovel, but I did not speak to him. The dog was by the engine with the engineer. It was very savage at strangers. I do not think he
would bite, but he would bark and make great noise. The dog would bark at me, but would leave off if I spoke. By the Coroner : "No one would be there, besides
the watchman and the engineer" Thomas Parkes, collier, was at the colliery the night of the 7th inst. He worked the colliery to "brake down," and
was in deceased's hovel that night about twenty minutes past six. Deceased was there, and asked witness to make a fire, which he did. About a quarter of an hour
afterwards he left. Deceased used to carry his watch with him, and did not hang it up the hovel. He did not fetch any tobacco for deceased that night, but he did a
few nights before. Whilst in the hovel deceased pulled his tobacco box out of his pocket and pulled a shilling out and asked if it was a shilling, when witness told
him it was. After that deceased put the shilling in a bag which he had in outside pocket. He did not hear any other money in the bag, and deceased did not say anything
about any money. Had not told the police he heard money. He did not see the watch, but did the chain. [Here the witness burst out crying]. By tbe Jury :
The dog knew me well and would not bark at me. I have been there at night and it did not bark. Welling recalled : I did not hear any person ask deceased how it
happened, because he was unconscious. By the Jury : I did not speak to him nor shake him to see if there was much life in him. Samuel Bowater, residing in
Powke Lane, son of the deceased, said he worked as a collier under the British Coal and Iron Company. He was going to work on the 8th inst. His attention was called to
the murder by Mr. Welling, who asked him into the hut to his father. He did so, and saw deceased on the bench. After that he went for the doctor. He did not speak to
his father at all, but his impression was that he had been killed. He did not go to the police to give information, but the police came to him. By the Jury : My
father did not open his eyes when I saw him. I did not ask him who did it, as I was in such a way I did not know anything. Inspector Price, stationed at Old Hill,
said he received information of the murder soon after eight o'clock on the morning of the 8th instant. He went to the Black Wagon Colliery, and there saw Mr.
Welling, the manager. He went to the hovel, and there found a poker, dresser, shovel, and walking-stick, which he produced. The dresser and shovel were under the
bench, covered with blood. Mr. Thomas Standish, surgeon, Cradley Heath, said that on the 11th inst. he made post-mortem examination of the body of
deceased. The external appearances were those of a strong, well-nourished man. There were no external marks of violence, except upon the head, where there were
six lacerated wounds. On removing the scalp, he found a number of fractures, corresponding with the outside wounds. Either of the fractures was sufficient to have
caused death. By the Coroner : I have seen the instruments produced by the police, and either of them would have caused the injuries. I could not say how long a
man might live after receiving those injuries. I have carefully looked at the articles produced, and my impression is that the injuries were given with the poker.
Burgess, surveyor, produced plans of the Black Wagon Colliery, showing the two hovels, which he explained to the jury. At this stage of the proceedings, the Coroner
said the police, as they were aware, had only had one week in the matter and had no very important evidence to offer. His own impression was that the ends of justice
would be better answered by having a further adjournment. It was within the province of the jury to return a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons
unknown, because that there had been a murder there could be no doubt. He certainly thought it would be better to have a further adjournment, and he hoped when they
met again there would be some further evidence. Before that, however, he must read the depositions and get them signed. The depositions were then read over, after
which Police Sergeant Cooper was called, and stated that he searched the clothes of the deceased on the 8th inst. He found in the pockets a bag containing two
half-crowns, two shillings, and in the waistcoat pocket two penny pieces. In the trousers there were two knives and a bunch of keys. Pipes and whitening were
found in the jacket. The waistcoat and jacket were saturated with blood. He produced the clothes deceased wore at the time. The enquiry was then further
"The Brutal Murder at Old Hill"
Birmingham Daily Post : January 16th 1878 Page 6
"On Wednesday night a woman, named Emma Weston, twenty-seven, wife of Thomas Weston, pawnbroker and grocer, of 42,
Wagon Street, Old Hill, committed suicide by cutting her throat. About half-past eight o'clock the husband of the deceased left her in the house to go his
club. She was then in her usual state of health, and there was nothing remarkable in her manner. She has, however, been ill at intervals during the last fourteen
weeks. The husband returned home about half-past eleven, but could not find his wife. A neighbour was called in, and the house was searched. Deceased was then
found lying in pool of blood under a cot in her bedroom, with her throat cut in a most frightful manner. Dr. Kerr was at once called in, but
the unfortunate woman
died about one o'clock on Thursday morning. The fatal wound was inflicted with a large shop knife. Deceased has been in desponding state for some time."
"Shocking Suicide At Old Hill"
Country Express : May 1st 1880 Page 5
"On Wednesday, at Old Hill Police Court, G. Smith, a police constable stationed at Old Hill, was summoned for assaulting William
Forrest, a miner, of Wagon Street, Old Hill, on the 11th inst. A cross-summons was issued against Forrest for assaulting the officer on the same date. Mr.
T. B. Eastley [from the office of Mr. Philip Baker] represented Forrest, and Mr. J. W. Clulow appeared on behalf of Smith. Mr, Eastley said that on Sunday,
the 10th inst., some gambling took place in Garratt's Lane. The police officer was under the impression that Forrest was one of the men who took part in the
gambling, and in consequence accosted him on the following day with a request for his name and address. Complainant asked Smith what he required it for, when the
latter dealt him a couple of violent blows under the chin and also on the mouth. The constable shouted to Forrest to "cock his fists up," and further
assaulted him. Evidence in support of this statement was given by Forrest and two others. Mr. Clulow, for the defence, contended that the evidence given by
Forrest and his witnesses was altogether untrue. The officer was very unpopular in that particular district in consequence of the many raids made upon Sunday
gamblers. On the date named Smith recognised Forrest as one of the men he saw gambling on the previous day, but, as soon as he asked him for his name, Forrest
struck the officer several violent blows. He behaved almost like a madman, and dealt the constable as many as two dozen blows. Smith, who was slightly dazed by
the brutal treatment meted out to him, was also bleeding badly from wounds upon the eye, ear, and chin, and his chest was badly bruised. Smith and a young man
named George Drinkwater bore out this statement. The Bench dismissed the charge against the constable, but fined Forrest £5. and costs, amounting in all to
£7. 5s. For gambling on the 10th inst. Forrest was also fined 10s., including costs."
"Alleged Assault By A Constable"
Birmingham Weekly Post & Herald : August 23rd 1902 Page 21
"At Old Hill Police Court, today, Edwin Barnsley , miner, of Wagon Street, Old Hill, was charged with cruelty to his
two children by neglecting them. Mr. W. Waldron, who prosecuted on behalf of the N.S.P.C.C., explained that the case had been under the supervision of the society
since 1903. On the 31st May Inspector Grinter found the wife and children in a house at Wagon Street, which contained no furniture with the exception of a single
chair. The wife had apparently done her best for the children, who were well nourished but in rags. The woman was in a penniless condition, and there was no food
in the house. Prisoner was lazy and addicted to drink, and in two months had given his wife 16s. Evidence was given in support of this statement by Inspectors
Grinter and Gibbs and prisoner's wife, and prisoner was committed to gaol for three months with hard labour."
"Cruelty To Children At Old Hill";
Birmingham Mail : July 11th 1906 Page 5
"Mr. Thomas Morris, of Wagon Street, Old Hill, has far exceeded his three score years and ten before departing from the cares and
trials of this world. On Sunday morning Mr. Morris died at the exceedingly advanced age of 100 years. It is said that the deceased celebrated his hundredth birthday
on March 1st last, although some of his relatives hold the opinion that he was 102 years of age. The former story is probably the correct one, especially in view of
the fact that 100 is the age specified on the deceased's coffin. Death took place at the residence of the deceased's youngest son, Mr. Henry Morris.
Born at Gadd's Green, Rowley. the deceased lived there for many years with his parents, but the greater part of his life was spent at Darby End, Netherton. He
stayed at the latter place up to thirteen years ago, when he went to live at Old Hill. He was a widower, and had been married twice, his second partner, Sophia
Turner, having died about thirteen years ago. He was the father of twenty-one children - four by his first wife and seventeen by the second - and
there are at present forty-nine grandchildren and over fifty great-grandchildren living. Although a man of temperate habits he liked an occasional drink
and alcoholic beverages, and up to as late as Saturday afternoon last he smoked his pipe systematically. Indeed his pipe had for a long time been his closest
companion. He seldom spoke to anyone in the house, being very reserved in manner, even towards members of his own household. At the last general election he was
conveyed to the polling booth to record his vote, and had been in receipt of an old-age pension. He started work in the nailshop at the age of ten years, and
apart, from a short time during which he worked as a miner, he followed his work as a wrought-iron nail-maker until he was 81 years of age. This fact alone
is conclusive proof of the strength of Morris's constitution, and when it is said that up to a few days before his death he was able to go about the house with
the energy of a man thirty years younger, it will be seen that he belonged to an altogether exceptional type. He was employed for a great number of years at the
works of Messrs. Tinsley and Co., Reddal Hill. He suffered from an attack of influenza six months ago, and although he afterwards went about the house actively, he
never really recovered. On Friday night he went to bed, where he remained until his death at 12.40 a.m. on Sunday morning. Up to recently he had occasionally gone
out into the village, and it is interesting to note that he was shaved free of charge by a local barber, who, in accordance with a promise, carried out this custom
as long as the deceased lived. Of late the deceased had spent a good deal of time besides the fire, he having persistently complained of the weather being cold,
despite the fact that he ate heartily. He was able to tell many interesting stories of olden times, and for a man of his years had vivid recollections of the
hardships created by the strike in the nail trade which occurred in his younger days."
"Lived A Hundred Years"
Dudley Chronicle : July 16th 1910 Page 5
"Pte. White. of Halesowen, is reported as having been killed in action, and Pte. W. Hay, of Wagon Street, Old Hill, is reported to have
died from wounds received in battle. He leaves a widow and family. Pte. G. Price, Waterfall Lane, Old Hill, one of the Coldstream Guards, who was wounded at the Battle
of the Aisne, states that he was struck by a shrapnel bullet. The bullet struck him in the shoulder, and coming out at the top passed through his mouth, knocking eight
of his teeth out. In placing an order for 1,000 packets of tobacco for gifts for the soldiers. Mr. Felix Fellows jokingly suggested to the tobacco firms that as Iron
Crosses seemed to be so plentiful, they might enclose one in each packet. In reply, the firm equally humorously stated "We think you will agree that very shortly
Iron Crosses will be of as little value as the German Emperor."
Dudley Chronicle : November 14th 1914 Page 5
"Sergeant George Grove, whose home is at Wagon Street, Old Hill, has been killed whilst upholding the glory of the grand old flag
in France. He went on active service as a Private in the 7th Worcesters, and so impressed were his superior officers with his devotion and attention to duty, that he
was rapidly promoted. A striking tribute was paid by his commanding officer, Lieut. Colonel Tompkinson, in a letter to the N.C.O.'s mother. He writes:
"Your son was killed last time we were in the trenches .... He was one of the finest fellows I have known, and behaved with greet gallantry on the night before
his death and on the night of his death. I have sent in his name as recommended for gallantry in the field.' Mrs. Grove has also received letters of condolence
from Lieut. T. E. Dixon, one signed by fifteen comrades, Captain H. W. Adshead, Pte. G. Wallace, and another officer. As will be judged from the letters, Sergeant
Grove was exceedingly popular with officers and men, and his loss came as a great shock to his comrades in arms. Much sympathy is felt with the fallen hero's
bereaved family, who are well known and much respected locally."
"Old Hill Hero Falls"
Dudley Chronicle : June 24th 1916 Page 7
"Pleading guilty at Old Hill on Wednesday to damaging two of the dials of the clock at Old Hill Parish Church, by shooting at them with
a catapult, Arthur Horton and George Basterfield, youths living in Wagon Street, Old Hill, were each fined £2 with 1s. special costs and directed
to pay between them the £10 damage caused. The Vicar, the Rev. A. L. Chapman, said that 16 sections of the clock face had been broken. The boys had already
paid him £5 towards the damage."
Midland Counties Tribune : May 19th 1933 Page 5