Category Archives: Schools

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 children star in summer panto this weekend!

Mice

And they sing too! Oh, yes they do!

It may be British summertime, but it’s never to early to take to the stage – and it’s panto-time for local primary schoolchildren.

Youngsters from Elmore Green Primary and St Peter’s RC Primary schools in Bloxwich have magically grown ears and tails to take part in the summer panto run by the Cart Before the Horse community theatre group.

The musical panto ‘Soup from a Sausage Skewer’, based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, aims to be educational and fun, with lots of references to classical works of literature and music. But it’s all carried out with a cast of ‘mice’…

Sausage Skewer Poster

The first two performances, with children from  Elmore Green Primary, are this Sunday, 21 June, at 2pm and 5pm, at Bookmark Theatre, Elmore Row.

The second, on Sunday June 28 at 2pm and 5pm, will include children from St Peter’s RC Church.

Tickets are available from the library on 01922 655900 at £7 adults, £5 concessions, or £15 for a family ticket (max 5 people).

Christmas kick-off at Bloxwich’s Stan Ball Centre this week

Stan Ball Centre Main Building

The festive season kicks off at Bloxwich’s Stan Ball Centre on Friday 7th December from 1pm until 3pm with the Centre’s annual CHRISTMAS CAROL CONCERT.

Reverend Monica Arnold from All Saints Church, Bloxwich and Reverend Paul Myers from Christ Church, Blakenall Heath will be in attendance at the Centre in Abbotts Street, along with the Green Rock Primary School Choir for what will surely be an enjoyable yuletide afternoon service.

CHRISTMAS FAYRE

The Stan Ball Centre’s Christmas Fayre takes place on  Saturday 8th December 10am until 1pm.

A few tables may still be available at a cost of £8 each or £5 for registered charities – contact Karen on 01922 403351 to book.

The Centre’s Bistro will be open throughout serving hot and cold drinks and snacks, and Santa will be paying a visit this year!.  Pop along for a festive morning out and find that last-minute Christmas gift! – free admission and free parking as usual.

CHRISTMAS DINNERS

Christmas Dinners will be available every day week commencing  Monday 10th December to Friday 14th December.  Purchase your Dinner ticket in advance from Stan Ball Reception for the day of your choice at a cost of £5.50 for two courses.

CHRISTMAS PARTY

The Stan Ball Christmas Party will be held on  Wednesday 12th December 1pm until 3pm with the “Val Rivers Show”.  This popular entertainment duo return for another festive musical treat for the party season.  Why not pop along for your Christmas Lunch beforehand and make a day of it?

Show tickets are on sale now from Stan Ball Reception costing just £3 per person.  A Christmas Hamper Raffle will be drawn during the afternoon – raffle tickets will be on sale from Monday 3rd December £1 per strip.

For further information, or to book any of these events, please contact Karen or Pete on 01922 403351 or come into the Centre during office hours Monday to Friday.

The Stan Ball Centre is part of Bloxwich Community Partnership (T.P.Riley Community Association).

School service honours war dead

Headteacher Jane Humphreys and Revd Phil Hoar lead the service.

Friday saw the continuation of an honourable tradition at one of Bloxwich’s most historic schools, Elmore Green Primary.

The service of Remembrance, attended both by school pupils and by members of the public (pictured above), echoed last year’s poignant return to the school of the Elmore Green School war memorial on Armistice Day.

The memorial commemorates the sacrifice made by former pupils of Elmore Green School in the Great War of 1914-18, listing sixty-seven ‘old boys’ of what was then Elmore Green Central School, later High School, who gave their young lives in “the war to end all wars”, some not passing away until 1919.  It had been moved from the school in 1958 when the secondary functions of Elmore Green High School were transferred to the new T.P. Riley Comprehensive, not far away in Lichfield Road.

Historians and authors Barry Crutchley (left) and Ken Wayman ponder the men on the memorial.
Historians and authors Barry Crutchley (left) and Ken Wayman ponder the men on the memorial.

The memorial quietly became part of the life of the new school until, in 2001, T.P. Riley was demolished and replaced by the present Walsall Academy, which opened in 2003.  It was around this time that the finely carved marble sculpture by Bloxwich-born Frederick T. Perry “disappeared” from the public eye.  In fact, it had gone into storage, but had been forgotten.

Over the following years, various people including Bloxwich local historians Edna Marshall, Barry Crutchley and ex-T.P. Riley history teacher Ken Wayman, had tried to find and raise the profile of the missing memorial and eventually, following convoluted enquiries via the Academy and within Walsall Council departments, in late 2010 it was tracked down to the premises of monumental masons A. Walker & Sons of Cannock, who had been storing it safely since the demolition of T.P. Riley years ago.

Following work done by Walsall Council officers Mike Gaffney and the late Elaine Box, funding was found from the Council to have the memorial returned to its original home in March of this year, when it was mounted on the wall of the school hall by the masons who had preserved it.

Youngsters read 'letters' composed by them in Great War style.
Youngsters read ‘letters’ composed by them in Great War style.

This year’s service, which referenced the 2011 event, was led by headteacher Jane Humphreys and Revd Phil Hoar of St Johns’ Methodist Church, including not only readings and prayers on war and peace linked to the original service of dedication when the memorial was first erected in the school after the Great War, but also Year 6 pupils reading out letters they had written in the style of a mother writing to her son ‘Tommy’ away at the war at harvest time, and his replies revealing the true horrors of that terrible conflict.

Pupils read the Elmore Green Roll of Honour.
Pupils read the Elmore Green Roll of Honour.

The youngsters also sang songs including ‘For all the Saints’ and ‘Keep the home fires burning’, followed by a poignant reading of all the names on the school memorial, now at its heart once more.  The piano was played by Mr Derek Willets, himself a World War II veteran of the landing craft which brought the British invasion forces to Italy and France.

In conclusion, The Last Post was played, followed by a minute’s silence in honour of the fallen, and the National Anthem was sung by both pupils, staff and members of the public.

Olympians race to Bloxwich for Black Country UTC event

Left to right: Steve Bagley, head of collections at Coventry Transport Museum, Chris Hilton, principal at Black Country UTC, Lesley Principal, assistant principal at Black Country UTC.

Team GB Olympic cycling stars Geraint Thomas MBE and Lizzie Armitstead are among the star attractions coming soon to Bloxwich when the local Black Country University Technical College hosts the first of its ‘Live Series’ events later this month.

The top sporting cyclists, who became household names at the London 2012 Olympics during the summer, will be visiting the UTC, formerly Sneyd Comprehensive School, which is based on Vernon Way adjacent to Mossley Estate.

The specialist technical and engineering college for 14- 19 year olds will bring ‘Accelerate Live’ to the Black Country on Saturday 24th November, when prospective year 10 and year 12 students will be able to see the magic of engineering brought to life by a series of exhibitions and showcases.

Amongst them will be the award-winning Pedals to Medals interactive experience, a journey through the engineering history of cycles right through from the Penny Farthing to the high-tech bikes that saw our Olympians grab London 2012 glory.

This unique opportunity to get up close with some of the most famous bikes in history will be supplemented by the chance to hear first-hand about how important engineering is to the riders themselves, with Geraint and Lizzie talking through their experiences in London and what they expect to change before Rio.

The pair will also be offering young engineering enthusiasts in the area the chance to get autographs and pictures, along with posing their own questions to the duo.

Along with the cycling theme Accelerate Live will also showcase dynamic engineering and science demonstrations including robotics displays, Green Power vehicles and much more.  There will also be a chance to win a state-of-the-art bike!

Black Country UTC Principal Chris Hilton believes the event is a great way to demonstrate how the organisation differs from standard schooling.

He said: “The educational experience here really brings engineering and science to life, and we believe that anyone’s visit to our college should do exactly the same.

“The Olympics is a hugely interesting subject at the moment owing to our success and a big part of that has been engineering – it is fascinating seeing the exhibits in Pedals to Medals and how the advancements have been made.

“We are honoured to have two Olympic cyclists here on the day, especially two who had such notable achievements as Geraint and Lizzie.

“Lizzie was Team GB’s first medalist of the games and really started the ball rolling and Geraint was part of a team that shattered a world record on the way to winning a gold medal – it will be amazing to hear from them first hand.”

Organisers are strongly encouraging year 9 or 11 students, especially those who are into science and engineering, to attend Accelerate Live.  Students, parents, community groups and UTC employer partners are all invited to register. There are two Accelerate Live sessions 9:00 – 12:30 or 13:00 – 16:00.

Visit www.utcliveseries.co.uk to register for tickets.

Picture courtesy Black Country UTC.
Left to right: Steve Bagley, head of collections at Coventry Transport Museum, Chris Hilton, principal at Black Country UTC, Lesley Principal, assistant principal at Black Country UTC.