All posts by bloxwichtelegraph

Bloxwich Telegraph links up with Rediscover Bloxwich

Local rock legend Noddy Holder meets the project group at Walsall Academy, Bloxwich (Pic Stuart Williams)
Local rock legend Noddy Holder meets the project group at Walsall Academy, Bloxwich (Pic Stuart Williams)

In 2016, young people and staff from the Walsall Academy in Lichfield Road, Bloxwich (site of the former T.P. Riley Comprehensive School) joined forces with Walsall Council’s Creative Development Team, video producers and digital media specialists Catcher Media, local writer and Bloxwich Telegraph editor Stuart Williams, Walsall Local History Centre, Walsall Council Regeneration and other local people on a very special Heritage Lottery-funded project to literally focus on the history and heritage of Bloxwich through the eyes, ears and voices of the school’s students, local people and other contributors and through the camera eye of Catcher Media.

What’s it all about?

The basic idea of the project, known as Rediscover Bloxwich, was:

What if each Bloxwich building or street has a story to tell? And what if some of these stories are fascinating? Or scary? Or funny? And what if they make you think about Bloxwich in a new way? Re-discover it.

So Walsall Academy students set out to find out about Bloxwich’s heritage, and to tell that story back to Bloxwich residents. They talked to celebrities, their own families, older people and historians.

The Rediscover website and the film they made pools all of the information, photos, interviews and stories that came to light throughout the project.

The project is also being followed up by the production and installation of a range of related public heritage art pieces set to be installed in Bloxwich centre later this year.

Rediscover Bloxwich logo

What’s on the site?

Apart from information about the project and the main video content itself, there are also a number of pages which offer links to more resources, several video clips of extra interviews of local people and Bloxwich rock legend Noddy Holder of Slade fame, and several pages themed on local Bloxwich heritage topics, with historical information, covering everything from Bloxwich pubs and local myths to industry, churches, fairs – and the Bloxwich lion! Information is also provided about the planned heritage artworks, and credits and acknowledgements.

Linking up for Bloxwich

The Bloxwich Telegraph, whose editor Stuart Williams was commissioned to act as Historical Advisor to the project, is proud to announce its formal – and now digital – links with the project, the film and the resulting website.

From time to time we will highlight aspects of the project from this site and and on our social media. To this end we have now installed a permanent direct link to Rediscover Bloxwich on our main site menu, and via clicking on the Rediscover logo in the right-hand column of every page.

We hope you enjoy finding out about Bloxwich’s past, through Rediscover Bloxwich and via the pages of The Bloxwich Telegraph.

For further information, please click on the following link or any of the others highlighted in this news item.

Rediscover Bloxwich

Bloxwich Library saved amid drastic Council cuts

Walsall Council House (pic: Stuart Williams)
Walsall Council House (pic: Stuart Williams)

Walsall Council has announced that Bloxwich Library is one of six libraries to have been saved from possible closure in a dramatic press briefing reported on by local news media today.

But the news is by no means all good, as hundreds of jobs are still set to be axed and nine libraries (at Beechdale, Blakenall, New Invention, Pelsall, Pleck, Pheasey, Rushall, South Walsall and Walsall Wood) will shut under budget proposals announced by the local authority.

Council tax will also rise by 4.99%, as the local Labour-Lib Dem coalition is pressured by massive budget cuts enforced by national government.

The New Art Gallery at Walsall, which was potentially under the threat of eventual closure, also seems set to be secured as the council looks to develop a new business model for it, and according to various reports Wolverhampton University has shown an interest in partnership working.

According to the BBC, a £3.5m funding bid to Arts Council England and other stakeholders has been submitted to develop a new business model for the New Art Gallery. The council has apparently mooted selling off naming rights to the gallery, but Council leader Sean Coughlan has insisted it would not be “the McDonald’s Art Gallery”.

Walsall Leather Museum is also expected to remain where it is, but Walsall Local History Centre will be moved from Essex Street into the Walsall Central Library building, requiring external document storage elsewhere. Detailed plans have not yet been announced.

Bloxwich Library and Theatre (aka Bookmark Bloxwich) Pic Stuart WIlliams
Bloxwich Library and Theatre (aka Bookmark Bloxwich) Pic Stuart WIlliams

Aldridge, Bloxwich, Brownhills, Darlaston and Willenhall libraries have all been saved, while Streetly library will be community run.

Walsall Council, which late last year engaged in a public consultation about the drastic “savings’ it had identified must be made, has said it must save £86m by 2020.

281 jobs are set to go, either through voluntary or compulsory redundancy, another 139 vacant posts will be not be filled. Meanwhile, remaining Walsall Council staff will face another year-long pay freeze.

Cllr Coughlan is reported by the BBC website to have said that libraries faced “one of the most profound and stark cuts”.

“Every political side knew we had to do something about libraries and that’s what we have had to do,” he said.

“We have faced the biggest cuts this council’s ever had before.”

Council tax for Band D properties will rise to £1,744.04, including precepts – subject to confirmation of final precepts – up from £1663.29. Originally the rise was to be 3.99 per cent but now central government, which had massively cut the grant to Walsall Council in the first place,  has allowed the council to raise their tax by an extra one per cent provided it is ring fenced for social care.

According to the Express & Star, the Forest Arts Centre will not be cut in 2017/18 and the council will also to continue to maintain cricket pitches and bowling greens in the borough – something it originally proposed to scrap.  Plans to stop cleaning markets after they have closed has also been scrapped, while seven front line posts connected to street cleaning are being reinstated.

All these proposals and many more will have to be approved at a full council meeting in February.

READ MORE from the Express & Star via this link and also on the BBC website here.

Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries project tour launches

This stunning main Bloxwich tapestry is just one of those relating to the Bloxwich area.
This stunning main Bloxwich tapestry is just one of those relating to the Bloxwich area.

Walsall Council’s Creative Development Team is celebrating 25 years of bringing community arts to Walsall. To mark this occasion the team is launching a tour of the Silver Thread Tapestries – eleven unique tapestries representing the six towns and other areas in Walsall Borough, created by an army of local volunteers.

The tapestries will be on display in the New Art Gallery Walsall from 21 – 29 January 2017 and will then move to various locations around the borough (see list of dates at the end of this feature) before being displayed at the NEC Sewing for Pleasure Show 17 – 19 March 2017. Commemorative postcards depicting each of the tapestries will be available to buy. Continue reading Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries project tour launches

Bloxwich Christmas lights saved thanks to donors!

Bloxwich Christmas tree and lights, Promenade Gardens, reflected in the National School
Bloxwich Christmas tree and lights, Promenade Gardens, reflected in the National School

A desperate appeal to members of the public in Bloxwich and district for financial assistance in supporting this year’s Bloxwich Christmas lights has succeeded, almost at the eleventh hour!

Thanks to a number of generous local donors – including one remarkable anonymous benefactor who stumped up £5,000 within a few days of the appeal ending – the brilliant cascades of tree lights which have been enjoyed at either end of High Street in recent years are now set to return before Christmas. Continue reading Bloxwich Christmas lights saved thanks to donors!

Have your say on possible closure of Bloxwich Library and Theatre

Walsall Council is seriously considering, amongst other options, closing all of the Borough’s branch libraries, including Bloxwich Library and Theatre (aka Bookmark Bloxwich) in Elmore Row.   This is due to the swingeing and cruel national government budget cuts being inflicted on the borough.

Amongst the many other possible ‘culture cuts’ (including massive reductions in funding to the New Art Gallery and major cutbacks involving the potential downsizing and moving of Walsall Leather Museum and Walsall Local History Centre in with the Central Library in Lichfield Street), such a closure would be a huge blow to Bloxwich and district both in cultural and educational terms. Continue reading Have your say on possible closure of Bloxwich Library and Theatre

Walsall writers hit 50 and still going strong!

Walsall Writers' Circle 50th Anniversary Celebration
Walsall Writers’ Circle 50th Anniversary Celebration

Walsall’s oldest group for writers across the borough is celebrating its fiftieth birthday this year, and after a special Circle meeting to mark the occasion earlier this month (pictured), they are now joining forces with Walsall’s only independent bookshop, Southcart Books of Lower Hall Lane, to carry on the festivities and launch their latest book!

The Circle was formed by local writers in 1966, initially as part of an initiative by Walsall Central Library, where the group met for some years before moving on to Park Hall School and now the Broadway North Recovery College, where they meet every second Thursday of the month at 7.30pm. Continue reading Walsall writers hit 50 and still going strong!

Bloxwich Councillors bid to save Bloxwich Library and Theatre

Cllrs Allen, Harrison and Follows take a stand outside Bloxwich Library (pic Bloxwich West Intouch)
Cllrs Allen, Harrison and Follows take a stand outside Bloxwich Library (pic Bloxwich West Intouch)

Many Bloxwich people should be well aware by now that, due to the swingeing national government budget cuts being inflicted on many local authorities in England, Walsall Council is seriously considering closing all of the Borough’s branch libraries, including Bloxwich Library and Theatre (aka Bookmark Bloxwich) in Elmore Row.

Amongst the many other possible ‘culture cuts’ (including massive reductions in funding to the New Art Gallery and major cutbacks involving the potential downsizing and moving of Walsall Leather Museum and Walsall Local History Centre in with the Central Library in Lichfield Street), such a closure would be a huge blow to Bloxwich and district both in cultural and educational terms. Continue reading Bloxwich Councillors bid to save Bloxwich Library and Theatre

Appeal to public to support Bloxwich Christmas lights

Bloxwich Christmas tree and lights, Promenade Gardens, reflected in the National School
Bloxwich Christmas tree and lights, Promenade Gardens, reflected in the National School

An appeal has gone out to members of the public in Bloxwich and district for desperately-needed financial assistance in supporting this year’s Bloxwich Christmas lights.

Contrary to popular belief, the sparkling annual decorations along the High Street and in trees adjacent to the War Memorial and All Saints churchyard, Bloxwich Park and the Promenade Gardens have not been funded by Walsall Council since the last round of government budget cuts in 2012, following which the local authority decided not to deliver Christmas lighting in the town. Continue reading Appeal to public to support Bloxwich Christmas lights

Fly the flag for Bloxwich and win £150!

A Flag for Bloxwich

Do you love Bloxwich? Would you like to see a brand new flag flying over the town?  Or even over your home? Well, now’s your chance to have your say on the matter, and even contribute to design ideas for our very own Flag for Bloxwich. You can even win a prize of £150!

A recently-launched competition from the Flag for Bloxwich Committee, in partnership with the Bloxwich Old & New Facebook page and several local councillors, is offering Bloxwich residents and ex-pats the chance to put YOUR ideas forward, and the Committee has asked the Bloxwich Telegraph to put the word out. Continue reading Fly the flag for Bloxwich and win £150!

Bloxwich Telegraph/BNN News Service Poll

Online Poll

We’re looking to tailor The Bloxwich Telegraph and the BNN social media more to meet the needs of our readers and followers, so we’d be grateful for some feedback about what you’d like to see (or not) on the website and via Twitter or Facebook. This first poll is to find out how you like to receive your local news.

Please be honest with your answers – it’s particularly important to us to find out whether you need this service from us or not – after all, there are many local news services and there’s no point in us duplicating these unless you actually use ours.  Please tick only those options you really prefer to use, then click on Vote.

The amount of feedback we get will also prove a useful indicator of the actual level of interest in these facilities. Can you please fill in this first LOCAL NEWS poll accordingly, and many thanks for your help!

Stuart Williams