Easter Eggstravaganza

Cracking Easter Eggstravaganza for Bloxwich!

Easter Eggstravaganza

Bloxwich Business Partnership is hosting their first annual event of the year – the ‘Bloxwich Eggstravaganza Easter Event’ – on Saturday 7 April 2012.

This is a non-profit event providing Easter fun for the community to participate in during the Easter break.

Now in its third year, the 2012 Easter Eggstravaganza is all set to be bigger and better than before.

It will be a traditional event with support from groups, businesses and charity organisations.

This year there are also two competitions; an Easter Bonnets Parade at 2:30pm in Bloxwich Market Place and an Easter Egg Trail Competition 2pm in the Market Place, for the children to participate in.

There will also be various walkabout acts strolling around Bloxwich town centre, including a White Easter Bunny and Easter Chick who will be handing each child a chocolate egg.

The Mad Hatter will also be walking around the village, and there will also be Easter Donkeys, The Reach Up Tower, Face Painting, and two workshops – an Easter bonnet workshop (based in Bloxwich Library, Elmore Row) and a bunting workshop (based in the market) for families to participate in and be entertained by.

This event will create awareness of Bloxwich as a whole and what the village has available including the retail offer, leisure facilities and the historical values of the village.

You can download full details of the day’s events in a pdf flyer via this link: Bloxwich Easter Eggstravaganza 2012.

R.M.S. Embarking on Fatal Maiden Voyage 10 April 1912.

Titanic anniversary event in Bloxwich – with cake too!

R.M.S.  Embarking on Fatal Maiden Voyage 10 April 1912.

The Stan Ball Centre will be commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the legendary ocean liner RMS Titanic with a special exhibition day which will be open to the public, families and any groups who might like to come along.

The event takes place at the centre in Abbotts Street, Bloxwich, on Friday 13th April from 10am until 4pm.

Local artists Christine Bunn, Ian Edwards, Ann Hackett and Jason and Brenda Jenkins who all exhibit and sell  their work at The Stan Ball Centre are preparing special pieces of Titanic related work, as are the centre’s sugarcraft and art students.

Artist Ian Edwards, who inspired the idea for the day, will also be showing some vintage 1911 cinema reel film of Titanic.

Young people from the Elmore Row Centre, Bloxwich-based Electric Palace Foundation Learning Group, will be contributing with Titanic based  song and drama.

Deb Brownlee, Young at Heart Project Co-ordinator, said:

“We are appealing for the loan for the day of Titanic memorabilia, souvenirs, pictures, models and photographs and we already have some fantastic items coming into centre on that day. However we still have some tables free so we are appealing for local people to search lofts and cupboards and bring their Titanic items to The Stan Ball Centre and let other people see them just for the day. It would be great if they could also come and stand with their items and tell people the story behind them. Everything that comes into the centre will be returned on the same day.”

Also available on the day are a limited number of free art lessons between 1 and 3pm with one of the featured artists, Brenda Jenkins. The sessions will be issued on a first come first served basis.

Admission to the event is free and the Stan Ball Centre Cafe will be serving Titanic themed lunches and cakes.

Anyone able to set up a display table should arrive from 8.30am or ring Karen Smith on 01922 403351 to pre-book the space.

Pat Collins' Memorial Clock, Promenade Gardens, Bloxwich.

In the British Summer Time… Back at 1am tomorrow!

Pat Collins' Memorial Clock, Promenade Gardens, Bloxwich.

Yes, that time has come round again – tomorrow, Sunday 25 March 2012, at 1am, we have to put our clocks forward by 1 hour, turning 1am into 2am, as we leave Greenwich Mean Time behind to enter British Summer Time.

That means we’ll all be getting out of bed an hour early, so what better excuse for a longer than usual lie-in?

Actually, after the hot, sunny spring weather today (Saturday) it feels like summer is here already, so maybe British Summer Time is here on time after all.

Don’t forget to re-set your clocks, watches, mobile phones and car clocks – unless they’re radio or internet controlled, in which case they should do the job for you!

But what IS British Summer Time or BST?

British Summer Time

BST was first established by the Summer Time Act of 1916, after a campaign by builder William Willett. His original proposal was to move the clocks forward by 80 minutes, in 20-minute weekly steps on Sunday in April and by the reverse procedure in September.  At this time BST began on 21 May and ended on 1 October.

The outbreak of the Great War made the issue more important primarily because of the need to save coal. Germany had already introduced the scheme when the bill was finally passed in Britain on 17 May 1916 and the clocks were advanced by an hour on the following Sunday, 21 May, enacted as a wartime production-boosting device under the Defence of the Realm Act. It was subsequently adopted in many other countries.

This was not the first time that the idea of adapting to daylight hours had been mooted, however. It was common practice in the ancient world, and Benjamin Franklin resurrected the idea in a light-hearted 1784 satire. Although Franklin’s facetious suggestion was simply that people should get up earlier in summer, he is often erroneously attributed as the inventor of DST while Willett is often ignored. Modern DST was first proposed by New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson, although many publications incorrectly credit Willett.

The current arrangement is now defined by the Summer Time Order 2002 which laid down that henceforth British Summer Time would be:

“…the period beginning at one o’clock, Greenwich mean time, in the morning of the last Sunday in March and ending at one o’clock, Greenwich mean time, in the morning of the last Sunday in October.”

—The Summer Time Order 2002

British Double Summer Time

In 1940, during the Second World War, the clocks in Britain were not put back by an hour at the end of summertime, and clocks continued to be advanced by one hour each summer until July 1945. During these summers therefore, Britain was 2 hours ahead of GMT and operating on British Double Summer Time (BDST). The clocks were brought back in line with GMT at the end of summer in 1945. In 1947, due to severe fuel shortages, clocks were advanced by one hour on two occasions during the spring, and put back by one hour on two occasions during the autumn, meaning that Britain was back on BDST during that summer.

Other variations

An inquiry during the winter of 1959–60, in which 180 national organisations were consulted, revealed a slight preference for a change to all-year GMT+1, but the length of summer time was extended as a trial rather than the domestic use of Greenwich Mean Time abolished. A further inquiry during 1966–67 led the Labour government of Harold Wilson to introduce the British Standard Time experiment, with Britain remaining on GMT+1 throughout the year. This took place between 27 October 1968 and 31 October 1971, when there was a reversion to the previous arrangement.

Accidents affected?

Analysis of accident data for the first two years of the experiment indicated that while there had been an increase in casualties in the morning, there had been a substantially greater decrease in casualties in the evening, with a total of around 2,700 fewer people killed and seriously injured during the first two winters of the experiment, at a time when about 1,000 people a day were killed or seriously injured on the roads. However the period coincided with the introduction of Drink-Driving legislation, and the estimates were later modified downwards in 1989.

The trial was the subject of a House of Commons debate on 2 December 1970 when on a free vote, the House of Commons voted to end the experiment by 366 to 81 votes.

Should BST continue?

In part because of Britain’s latitudinal length, debate emerges most years over the applicability of BST, and is the subject of parliamentary debate. In 2004, English MP Nigel Beard tabled a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons proposing that England and Wales should be able to determine their own time independently of Scotland and Northern Ireland. If it had been passed into law, this bill could have given the UK two different timezones for the first time since the abolition of Dublin Mean Time (25 minutes behind Greenwich) on 23 August 1916.

In 2005, Lord Tanlaw introduced the Lighter Evenings (Experiment) Bill[17] into the House of Lords, which would advance winter and summer time by one hour for a three-year trial period at the discretion of “devolved bodies”, allowing Scotland and Northern Ireland the option not to take part. The proposal was rejected by the government. The bill received its second reading on 24 March 2006; however, it did not pass into law.  The Local Government Association has also called for such a trial.

Information courtesy Wikipedia, for more detail follow this link.

Simon Griffiths and Nick Drury of Upward Developments at the Revival Street site.

Council kick starts Bloxwich housing – developers deadline looms

Simon Griffiths and Nick Drury of Upward Developments at the Revival Street site.
Simon Griffiths and Nick Drury of Upward Developments at the Revival Street site.

A £1.8 million Walsall Council scheme to kick start the housing market is having an impact in Bloxwich.

Grants have been made to help developers re-start stalled housing schemes across Walsall.  In the first phase, five schemes were helped with work starting to take shape with more money now on offer.

New housing in Revival Street.
New housing in Revival Street.

In Bloxwich, 18 new homes are set to take shape off Field Road and Revival Street as well as 11 in Reeves Street, Bloxwich after Midland Properties received a £245,000 grant.

Councillor Adrian Andrew, Walsall Council cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Walsall is leading the UK in this field, I’m proud to say and it’s excellent to be able to stand here and see real progress and new homes take shape.

“In Bloxwich, the Field Road site was a former industrial estate while the Reeves Street site was a former factory. This sees the land pressed back into constructive use and it’s great to see.

“We believe that helping create and safeguard new jobs is a vitally important thing for Walsall Council to do and this deal is good news for Walsall and good news for Bloxwich.

“This is another example of us investing in Bloxwich.”

Simon Griffiths, of Upward Developments who are working with Midlands Properties on the Bloxwich scheme, welcomed the help the Walsall Council New Homes Bonus grant had given.

He said: “It’s enabled us to access finance … to re-start the scheme.”

Across Walsall, the first phase of New Homes Bonus grants has seen more than £770,000 awarded to help build more than 200 homes worth £20 million.

A second round has now been opened with a further £1 million on offer making almost £1.8 million earmarked for the project.  Money comes from Government and it is up to local government to decide how the money is allocated.

In the second phase, housing developers have been urged to approach Walsall Council to help secure funding before a deadline at noon on March 30.  Successful bidders will need to demonstrate that their scheme will be kick started with a share of the money.

Winning projects need to be value for money and must have planning permission in place.

Applications will be invited for loans, grants will only be available in exceptional circumstances.

To be eligible, applicants need to have full planning consent for more than 10 homes secured, freehold interest or a minimum 99 year lease, confirmed the bid is State aid compliant and demonstrated that their scheme has stalled due to financial viability.

Application forms and further details on Walsall’s new homes bonus are available from http://bit.ly/wOmhbQ.

For more information contact Neil on 01922 655411 or hollyheadn@walsall.gov.uk.

Tintern Crescent.

New lamps for old in Bloxwich

Tintern Crescent.

A £250,000 scheme to help light up streets with energy saving technology is set to take shape.

LED (light emitting diode) street lights, which will cut the council’s energy bill on streets where they are fitted by up to 60 per cent,  are set to be installed in Bloxwich to replace tired old models such as those in Tintern Crescent. Mossley (see picture above).

More than 500 street lights are to be replaced by partners Walsall Public Lighting Ltd – a consortium made up of Amey and John Laing – as part of the project.

The LED technology  inside the lights are more environmentally friendly, and  will reduce costs and improve safety. As well as the savings in energy bills, the new lights cut carbon emissions by up to 60 per cent.

The lamps, which reduce light pollution into people’s homes, are clearer, allow a wider spectrum of colours to be seen and facial features to be distinguished. As a result, in other areas where these lights have been installed, such as neighbouring Birmingham, people have reported feeling safer. This is not achievable with traditional lighting, which can create an orange glow and makes colours indistinguishable.

Operators will also have the ability to remotely control the brightness of the lamps, according to local conditions. This could include making an area brighter after a road traffic collision to assist emergency services.

Councillor Tom Ansell, Walsall Council cabinet member for transport, said: “This is an excellent scheme.

“Electricity prices are soaring and will continue to soar.

“Special LED lights are far more efficient and are clearer than the old lights we currently have on these streets.

“Some of the lighting in Bloxwich that we are replacing is a quarter of a century old which isn’t ideal and could do with being be replaced.”

John Laing Senior Investment Manager, David Bradbury, said: “This is an important scheme for the communities living in Bloxwich and for the Council; LED lamps are far more efficient and will help to reduce the cost of energy and the ‘carbon foot print’ of the project whist continuing to provide the required level of illumination.

Kevin Grigg, Amey operations manager in Walsall, said: “The energy savings, carbon reduction and virtual elimination of light pollution which LED lights deliver are great news for people living in Bloxwich and we are delighted to be working with Walsall Council and John Laing to deliver this scheme.”

Work is set to start at the end of March and take until the end of April to be completed.

Streets where lamps will be replaced include Aldeburgh Close, Alnwick Road, Astbury Close, Belfry Close and Birkdale Road.

Also to be replaced is street lighting in Booth Street, Burslem Close, Churston Close, Cleeve Road, Cleeve Way, Colliery Drive and Coxmoor Close.

Elgin Road, Enville Close, Ferndown Close, Formby Way, Foster Street, Ganton Road and Glastonbury Crescent are also on the list.

Replacement lights are set to take shape in Glastonbury Way, Gleneagles Road, Grantown Grove, Haverhill Close, Hollinwell Close, Ingestre Close, Kedleston Close, Lindrick Close, Lytham Grove, Margham Crescent, Margham Terrace, Maxstoke Close, Minewood Close, Moor Park and Muirfield Close.

Also listed for LED lights are Muxloe Close, Nairn Road, Neath Road, Neath Way, Netley Road, Netley Way, Ragley Close, Ralston Close, Redbourn Rd, Roche Road, Roche Way, Saddleworth Road, Sand Banks Flats, Saunton Road, Selsdon Rd, Smith House and Thomas House, Sunningdale Way, on the Sunningdale Way to Formby Way and Saunton Road foot paths, The Berkshire

Tintern Cresecent car park, Tintern Crescent, Turnberry Lane to Carnoustie Close footpath, Turton Close, Vernon Way, Vernon Way to Glastonbury Cresecnt footpath, Walton Heath, Wentworth Road, Werneth Grove, Wetherby Road, Woodbridge Close and Yelverton Close are all listed for replacement street lighting.

Easter egg hunt.

Parks promise Easter treat for youngsters

Easter egg hunt.

Sweet-toothed youngsters are being invited on a tasty treasure hunt throughout the borough’s parks this Easter – searching for tasty treats.

Popular Easter egg hunts, free of charge, are being staged again in 2012 by Walsall Council’s parks development team. And the egg-stravagant activity comes to Bloxwich’s famous King George V Playing Fields on Saturday 7 April!

Others in the series of events are on Friday 6 April at Willenhall Memorial Park and in Holland Park in Brownhills on Easter Sunday 8 April.

Palfrey Park will also host a hunt on Monday 9 April and the events come to a close on Tuesday 10 April at Pleck Park.

Teams of under 10s and teams of under 14s are being invited to take part in the fun events. Each team can have a maximum of three members. Registration for all hunts is at 10.30am and they will get under way at 10.45am.

At Willenhall, Bloxwich and Brownhills, youngsters should meet at the play areas. In Palfrey they should go to the mess room and meet at the pavilion in Pleck.

John Millard, Walsall Council senior park ranger, said: “The Easter bunny has already been busy, hiding some chocolate treats ready for the treasure hunts next month.

“The events are free, so won’t break the bank for families this Easter, and as well as being in with a chance of winning, youngsters can enjoy fresh air and exercise in some of the borough’s lovely parks.”

For more information contact the parks development team on 01922 65893/4/5/6 or 07736 388409.

John Petty about 1956

Forgotten Birchills author remembered

John Petty about 1956

A Birchills author little-known in his own home but appreciated nationally has now been remembered once again in death.

John Petty, who was born in Walsall in 1919 and lived in Kent Street for many years, wrote the influential 1950s novel ‘Five Fags A Day: The Last Year of a Scrap Picker,’ but received no recognition in Walsall during his life, which he resented so much that on the dust cover of his autobiography ‘The Face’ he claimed that he came from The Potteries.

Walsall Council has however now joined forces with Walsall Housing Group to set that right by mounting a commemorative blue plaque on the wall of 40 Kent Street, where he lived.

A previous plaque went missing for more than a decade, but a new plaque was created after noted local historian Jack Haddock and others raised the issue and campaigned for its return.  They have now been praised for their role.

John Petty's plaque restored.
John Petty’s plaque restored.

Councillor Anthony Harris, Walsall Council cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “John’s is quite a sad story. He was a talented writer who was encouraged by a teacher but had a very tough life. He joined the Army, deserted and spent time in prison and made a living for a while picking over scrap heaps.

“A blue plaque to commemorate him was put on his old Kent Street home but taken down in the 1990s for building work. Our Local History Centre became interested in seeing the plaque put back up and WHG have played their part in this as they own the property.”

Petty left Walsall in 1967 after receiving an Arts Council bursary which allowed him to purchase a cottage in Ironbridge, but even then he was out of luck as his new home was condemned within months of his arrival, though the local council eventually provided him with a little cottage in Dawley.

He became a well-known personality and wrote a number of books and newspaper articles before his death, aged 54, in 1973, including ‘The Face’ as well as ‘A Flame In My Heart’ and ‘The Last Refuge.’

John Petty's Books at Walsall Local History Centre.
John Petty’s Books at Walsall Local History Centre.

John Petty is best known for ‘Five Fags A day’ which paints a bleak picture of the Black Country in the late 1940s and received critical acclaim when it was published in 1956.  Many of his books are available for reference in nearby Walsall Local History Centre’s local studies library in Essex Street.

It is to be hoped that now his plaque has been replaced John Petty will at last  assume his rightful place as one of Walsall’s most influential authors.

Fun in the sun at Bloxwich Carnival!

Right Royal theme for Bloxwich Carnival

Fun in the sun at Bloxwich Carnival!

Bloxwich Carnival promises visitors a right Royal welcome in 2012 as it moves to a June slot to tie in with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year celebrations.

This year’s theme embraces the landmark anniversary by inviting Bloxwich Carnival Queens from years gone by to enjoy the event which is being held on Saturday 16 June.

And the competition to find a new Carnival Queen, Princess and Rosebud will get underway on Saturday 21 April at St John’s Methodist Church hall in Victoria Avenue, Bloxwich, from 11am.

Budding Bloxwich ambassadors will be invited to step into the shoes of teenager Abigail Nicholls who has relished her role as 2011 Carnival Queen.
Carnival Princess Lucy Kirk and Carnival Rosebud Phoebe Willetts will also be stepping down.

Contestants must live in the Walsall/Bloxwich area and need to be aged 16-24 for the Carnival Queen role, 11-15 for Carnival Princess and aged seven to 10 to be considered as a Rosebud.

The annual event is organised by Bloxwich Carnival Committee and supported by Walsall Council.

John Millard, Walsall Council park ranger, said: “Abigail did Bloxwich proud last year and we’re looking for a worthy successor to take her place in 2012.

“The event has been moved from its usual August date to June 16 to tie in with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and we are urging past Carnival Queens to get in touch to join us on the big day.”

Bloxwich Carnival traditionally draws thousands of visitors from the immediate community and beyond and organisers claim it is the Midlands’ biggest.

Application forms can be downloaded via the links below or collected from Bloxwich Co-op Travel in High Street or Bloxwich Library in Elmore Row.

Former Carnival Queens who would like to attend this year’s event can contact John Millard on 07736 388409.

DOWNLOADS:

Bloxwich Carnival Queen Selection Poster 2012 (pdf)

Bloxwich Carnival Royalty Contest Entry Form 2012 (Word)

Bloxwich Carnival Royalty Contest Entry Form 2012 (pdf)

If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader for pdf installed, you can download it via this link.