Yes, it’s that time of year again! Bloxwich’s biggest and best public event of the year, our annual Carnival, is almost here, and is all set to land in King George V Memorial Playing Fields on Saturday 5th August 2017. Apart from the traditional Pat Collins Fun Fair, there’ll be a host of stalls, attractions and arena events on offer – with FREE ADMISSION! And as always, it will be a feast of fun for all the family!
Bloxwich Carnival will be open from 12 noon to 5pm, with arena events spread throughout the afternoon. Times may be viewed below – scroll down to view. Main admission is as usual on foot, via the Bell Lane/Bealey’s Lane entrance. There may also be limited parking via the Stafford Road entrance.
Apart from all the fun of the fair, and various other smaller independent rides and attractions, special attractions this year include:
Saturday saw the launch of a brand, spanking new flag for Bloxwich, in the presence of the new Mayor of Walsall Cllr Marco Longhi, while local Bloxwich West councillors Louise Harrison, Matt Follows and Brad Allen, the recently-elected MP for Walsall North Mr Eddie Hughes and others looked on.
The flag, as far as we know the first of its kind for Bloxwich and district, has came about as a result of a competition for local people and schools, at the instigation of a Bloxwich Flag Committee formed by the heritage-minded organisers of the Bloxwich Old & New Facebook group Martin Morris and Tony Kulik plus local councillors and others. The editor of The Bloxwich Telegraph, Stuart Williams, acted as historical advisor to the committee. Continue reading Bloxwich Flag launched in heart of the town→
I was reminded this past week of the centenary of the passing of a man who I usually think of in November, the month of remembrance, poppies, services and parades. A man who is probably not as well known as he should be, but of whom I have written several times in the past. Harold Parry, Bloxwich’s own War Poet, who like so many others, made the ultimate sacrifice for king and country in the Great War of 1914-18. And that centenary is this Saturday, 6 May 2017.
Harold Parry (‘Hal’ to his friends), son of Alderman, mine engineer, colliery proprietor and landowner David Ebenezer Parry and Sarah Parry, of ‘Croxdene’, Bloxwich, was born on 13 December, 1896, one of twins.
After studying at a junior school in Bloxwich (probably the National School, High Street), Hal won a scholarship to Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall, where he became an outstanding pupil, head of his House and captain of the school’s football and cricket teams, as well as a cadet officer. While studying there, he won the Queen’s Prize for History and in 1915 won an Open History Scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford.
Hal volunteered for army service in January 1916, being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and after training at Rugeley he transferred to the 17th Battalion, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps, on the front line in France.
Before the war, Parry had been a prolific writer of poetry. The bitter experiences of the trenches, at the Somme and in Belgium, soon made him turn again, this time for relief, to poetry, both reading and writing, and letters home to family and friends. He could express himself clearly in both prose and verse, and his writings are important in that they reveal what the young men who died in “the war to end all wars” thought about their experiences in that terrible conflict.
One of his shortest poems, ‘Tommy’s Dwelling’, written in the field, tells of the ever-present water and mud which was the curse of the trenches:
I come from trenches deep in slime,
Soft slime so sweet and yellow,
And rumble down the steps in time
To souse “some shivering fellow”.
I trickle in and trickle out
Of every nook and corner,
And, rushing like some waterspout,
Make many a rat a mourner.
I gather in from near and far
A thousand brooklets swelling,
And laugh aloud a great “Ha, ha!”
To flood poor Tommy’s dwelling.
Just two days after a battle, on 14 October 1916 Hal wrote to his sister’s friend Isabel “The average Fritz is as sick at heart over all this destruction as we are. We are preached a doctrine of frightfulness, and yet is it not sufficiently sad to think when you come across an unburied dead German, perhaps this day his wife and children mourn for him, and in the future can know neither peace nor comfort? I must confess it distresses me beyond measure, for I am not a soldier at heart.”
“The real evil in this conflict is not of the individual so much as of the powers that be. If these dignitaries could only be sat in the trenches for a wee short space, and made to carry heavy coils of wire for long distances up long communication trenches – blasted by the incessant force of the guns, I could guarantee that their war would not last longer than the time to fix up provisional peace terms. Let Dot read this letter, but not my mother or father, it would make them grieve and I don’t want that.”
Sadly, like so many soldiers Hal was fated to die young, killed in action on 6 May, 1917 by a German shell at Ypres, in Flanders, while moving from his billet to safer quarters in the cellars nearby. He was just twenty years old. Writing to Hal’s father, his commanding officer said “He was a splendid youngster, and a most capable and keen officer, much loved by all. Had he been spared I am sure he would have made a great name for himself as a soldier.”
Instead of making his name as a soldier, in the decades following his death Harold Parry instead become known to posterity as a war poet. A posthumous volume of letters and poems compiled by G.P. Dennis ‘In Memoriam: Harold Parry’ was published, showing he was exceptionally gifted for such a young man. The letters show above all his extreme cheerfulness and loyalty, even in the face of danger and death. Some of his poems are also published in ‘Songs from the Heart of England’, an anthology of Walsall poetry edited by Alfred Moss with a foreword by Jerome K. Jerome.
G.P. Dennis wrote of him “Harold Parry was no saint, he had with the rest of us his faults and failings and annoyingnesses; but that the evil in him was less than most, and that he fought it harder, that the good in him was greater, and that he used it better – of these things his friends are certain. He always tried to do what he believed was right: what more can a good man do?”
Such is the measure of the man. His good name and his words live after him, and he is not forgotten.
Harold Parry is buried at Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery, West Flanders, Belgium. His headstone bears the inscription “Death is the Gate To the High Road of Life And Love is the Way (Harold Parry).”
Its twin, rather more careworn after a century, honours his name in Field Road Cemetery, Bloxwich.
I usually go there to ponder on the life of a Bloxwich man and the folly of war in cold November. This time around, in the sunlit spring, I have visited that small, forgotten shrine of remembrance and placed flowers for the centenary of his passing. I placed them today. Perhaps others may do the same tomorrow, and think on the apt words of another poet, Mary Elizabeth Frye.
Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die.
Ironically, although Harold Parry has a monument at Bloxwich, and there are a number of similar stones there, he is not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s list for Bloxwich Cemetery, he is listed at Vlamertinghe. But there are also many men who are listed as buried here, via this link, and they are all worthy of remembrance.
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.
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
TheBloxwich 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.
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!
Walsall Council’s Creative Development Team and Regeneration and Development Service are currently working on a heritage project in Bloxwich to design, fabricate and install 4 new public art pieces in different locations, to promote and celebrate the history and heritage of Bloxwich. This has been made possible from Council and Section106 funding.
The newly-formed Bloxwich branch of the Royal British Legion has organised an evening of entertainment next month to raise funds.
Local vocalist Keir Edwards will be singing cabaret songs from the musicals and he will be joined by comedy duo Sean and Roger, aka ‘The Boz’s’, at the Bloxwich Memorial Club in Harrison Street, Bloxwich on Friday 12th August 2016.
Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start.
If anyone would like to buy tickets, which cost £10 each, for this Royal British Legion fundraising concert, or would like further information, they should contact Ann Barnes on 01922 495214 or 07870487504.
This Saturday 21st May sees the seventh annual exhibition of the popular Bloxwich (St. Johns) Model Railway Club, which is based at St John’s Methodist Church in Victoria Avenue, Bloxwich, WS3 3HS.
The exhibition offers fun and fascination for young and old alike, showcasing a variety of layouts by invited guests with demonstrations and trade support, and most of the exhibits are appearing at Bloxwich (St John’s) for the first time.
The exhibition is always well attended by exhibitors and modelling fans alike, and is a popular event on the Bloxwich calendar for all ages.
The exhibition, which is taking over the church and hall for the day, opens 10.00am – 4.30pm and admission costs £4 for adults, with concessions £3.50 and children just £1.50.
List of Traders Attending :
List of Layouts Attending :
Keith’s Model Railways
J & J Sales
12 Volts DC
Minimum Gauge Models
Shirley Harper Crafts
Deesle Park (00)
Birchills (New) Junction (00)
Heath Green (00)
Wansbeck Road (N)
Nearleigh Works (0-16.5)
Motley Sub Shed (0)
Bettws Road (N)
Journeys End (009)
Fowlers Lane (0n30)
Vigo Junction (00)
Board Street Sidings (00)
Franwood TMG (00)
List of Demonstrations :
List of Other Displays :
Bloxwich (ST John’s)m.R.C. Club Stand
009 Society (Midlands)
For further information, contact the organisers on 07970 390258.
Pictures of past exhibitions shown here were taken by Stuart Williams of The Bloxwich Telegraph
After a busy day and night for candidates and Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council staff, the results are now in for this year’s round of local government elections.
With a low voter turnout overall, and despite being the party with the largest number of elected Councillors, Labour have still not managed to achieve a majority across the Borough. However, Walsall’s Labour Leader Cllr Sean Coughlan has reportedly stated that the party will be meeting the two Liberal Democrat councillors this morning to discuss joining forces to run the council. We are awaiting an official announcement on this.
Whoever takes control will still have to implement massive cuts forced on them by the Conservative governments ‘austerity’ policies, although it is expected that Labour will have a differerent take on what public services and other areas will be cut, where and how.
Victims of changes
There was dramatic change in Blakenall Ward this time around, with ‘independent’ incumbent Pete Smith being knocked out by Labour’s Matt Ward with a majority of 257. Meanwhile in Bloxwich West, the Conservatives gained a surprise seat, with Brad Allen defeating Labour’s Patti Lane by just 109 votes.
Over in Birchills-Leamore and Bloxwich East, the song remained with same with Tina Jukes and Julie Fitzpatrick holding fast for the Labour Party with 1736 and 1168 votes respectively, the Tory candidates being beaten soundly by Labour majorities of 1229 and 690.
The detailed results for the Bloxwich and district wards are as follows:
The Conservative Party Candidate
Jukes Tina Joan
H or G: Hold or Gain
The Conservative Party Candidate
Labour Party Candidate
H or G: Hold or Gain
Statham Mark Andrew
The Conservative Party Candidate
UK Independence Party (UKIP)
H or G: Hold or Gain
The Conservative Party Candidate
H or G: Hold or Gain
Election results for the whole of Walsall Metropolitan Borough can be found via the following link:
Next month will see a very special event in the Bloxwich calendar take place – the annual selection of the Bloxwich Carnival ‘royalty’.
The 2016 Bloxwich Carnival takes place on Saturday 6th August at King George V Playing Fields, from 12 noon.
This year’s Bloxwich Carnival Queen, Princess and Rosebud will be chosen live on stage on Thursday 14th April 2016 at Bloxwich Library Theatre, Elmore Row, Bloxwich, Walsall, WS3 2HR. The successful entrants on the night will be formally crowned at Bloxwich Carnival itself.
Application forms to enter are available via the Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix website – www.bloxwichphoenix.net and also in jpeg format by clicking on the images below.
Entrance categories are:
ROSEBUD AGE 7-10 (must be 7 by selection day) PRINCESS AGE 11-15 (must be 11 by selection day) QUEEN AGE 16-24 (must be 16 by selection day)
Please note that there is a dress code – see the poster above and form below, and see the entry form for all other conditions of entry and attendance.
A copy of the application form is shown below – click to enlarge each image.
Forms can be returned to Jeneve Bridal Wear, High Street, Bloxwich or to Bloxwich Library, Elmore Row.
Candidates should arrive on selection night at 6pm, ready to start selection at 6.30pm and must be available to attend Bloxwich Carnival day, Saturday 6th August 2016.
For more information contact Debbie Jones on 07809 605280.
News & heritage for Bloxwich, Walsall & Willenhall. Formerly The Bloxidge Tallygraph. Est. 2006, inspired by a Victorian news-sheet. Edditid by a Bloxidge Mon.