October 8th - I noted today as I passed that the Wheel Inn is still derelict, and slowly rotting away. I had thought the former pub - or at least, the land it stands on - may be in for a renaissance a year or so ago, when the new gates went up beside it, and some attempt was made to clear the yard. Sadly, this has not been the case, and the building remains forlorn, unloved and an eyesore.
I wish whoever owns this once fine boozer would take responsibility and either demolish or renovate it. It stands on Lindon Road, a grim welcome to Brownhills for any arriving traveller. I wish the owners could be forced to clean it up.
December 21st - Further down the village, the Old Swan always looks busy and welcoming in Main Street, Stonnall. Tonight, the village was quiet, apart from the inevitable queue from the chippy, but the pub looked busy. It always does.
For the benefit of @thestymaster, those christmas lights are green, OK? I checked.
December 19th - I wasn’t out long. It was just too unpleasant. But one place that does look nicer and nicer - particularly on a chilly, dark night - is The Swan, on the Pelsall Road. Saved from almost certain loss, the pub survives - and thrives, by all accounts - as a traditional, no-nonsense family and community boozer. No frills, just good beer and good company.
And that’s all you need, really…
December 5th - It was cold today, and I felt it. Winter has me in it’s grip now, and the mornings are bright, icy and clear; the evenings dark, damp and very, very chilly. Today, as I came home through Walsall Wood, I passed the Drunken Duck pub, one of the oldest in the village. Various renamed The Hawthorn and Tipplers, this house has been a stable fixture of Walsall Wood Life for over a century, and still seems popular. With the warm-looking lights on this cold winter night, it’s hard to resist parking up the bike and popping in…
October 8th - I don’t like to see the gradual erosion of our pubs. But since so many are being lost, it’s nice to see when they’re saved - if repurposed. I’m thinking here particularly of The Muckley Corner, which is now dwellings, or The Brown Lion, in Pleck, which is a refuge. Like the Knave of Hearts in Bloxwich, the Spring Cottage in Shelfield has been converted into a bustling Co-op store. Whilst the loss of the pub is sad, at least the building was saved, and not altered too much. If only more closed pubs could be saved like this…
September 14th - I hauled myself up from Lichfield slowly, fully loaded with shopping, against a horrid wind and with little energy. I was feeling grim, and Muckley Corner at rush hour is no place for old men. Having traversed it, I pulled over on the far side of the junction and took a look at the old Muckley Corner Pub/Cornerhouse Hotel. It’s been beautifully converted into dwellings - it’s clear now that there will be no form of commercial afterlife for this pub. In a way, it’s all gone full circle, as originally, the building was a corner pub and associated terraced houses.
A number of folk have pointed out the attention to detail in the reuse of the decorative coping tiles, ridge pieces and finials. They look wonderful. Shame about the chimneys, though…
June 27th - I was please to note as I spun past this evening, the formerly closed and shuttered pub The Hatherton Arms, just on the Mellish Road Island in The Butts, Walsall, is showing signs of life. The boards have been removed, the To Let sign has gone, and the place looks occupied. It doesn’t seem open as a pub, though, so we’ll have to see if that’s its destiny. It’s just nice to see it inhabited again.
January 24th - Sadly, there’s another derelict building in Kings Hill, Darlaston that I’ve as yet not recorded. The Scott Arms has been empty and boarded up for a long tome now, and like the other lost pubs in the locality, I doubt it will see life as an inn again. I don’t know what it was like as a pub, this isn’t my patch, but it’s clear to see that the decline of local industry and a change in social habits have sealed the fate of many a backstreet, blue collar boozer like this. A tragedy.
January 20th - Spinning out a bit further, I headed towards Ogley Junction for the hell of it. I’m feeling better now and I wanted to hammer my legs. Coming along the canal near Lindon Road, this vista on the Anchor pub and bridge opened up. I love the colours in the reflections.
January 12th - I noted back before Christmas that following another of Walsall’s infectious arson attacks, the Miners Arms pub in Rushall was being demolished. Well, operations appear to have ground to a halt and work stalled. The formed pub sits truncated to the first floor, debris littered around it and on the lawn of the health centre next door. The people demolishing this building seem to have got bored and wandered off. Hardly professional.
What an eyesore.
November 17th - I had hoped to break the chain of night photos today, but it wasn’t to be. The daytime was grey and distinctly unphotogenic, and coming back from Rugeley in the dark at 6pm, passing through Chorley, near Burntwood, I took this. The Nelson isn’t a pub I’ve frequented much, but in winter, or when returning from a long ride at night, the lights of this welcoming, handsome inn tell me that I’m nearly home.
Octyober 31st - I tried to get a shot tonight of the spectacularly beautiful Four Oaks Church, which is stunningly lit at night, but my photos were horrid. The Four Oaks Pub itself, however, fared better. Night photography is a very black art and I still haven’t got to the bottom of it. Use of flat surfaces and self timer is a must, although a Gorillapod is handy. This shot was taken with the Gorillapod wrapped round the bike crossbar whilst leaning against a tree.
August 26th - Lunch in Pelsall, followed by a run up cycle route NCN 5 through Goscote, Walsall and Delves to the Sandwell Valley, then back on the canal. Although it was mostly raining, it was a nice ride and a good opportunity to clear my head. Passing The Railway pub in Pelsall, I noticed a banner hanging on the gable end wall imploring me to ‘Come and try our new salad cart’ - whilst I support the enterprising nature of the invitation, can’t help but think it’s missing the target market. I can honestly say I’ve never felt the urge to try any salad cart, anywhere…