24th SEPTEMBER 2017

It is with great regret that we report the passing of Mr Willi Schaefer, a long standing member of the Society, on September 8th 2017. He worked at Elliot & Lucas for many years  including as a Director.
His funeral will be at Bushbury Crematorium, West Chapel  at 3,00pm on 27th September 2017.

11th AUGUST 2017


A little more information about the late Reverend Smart. His wife Rosemary was a Bridgtown girl and her maiden name was Cleeton. We hope to get in touch with the family for more information.

1st AUGUST 2017

It is with great sorrow that we have to announce the passing of 2 of our members during July.

Mrs Iris Lomas – One of Bethel’s stalwarts passed away at the Stafford County Hospital on the 16th July. The Funeral will be held at the Bethel on Thursday August 4th 2017 at 12.30pm followed by Committal at Bushbury Crematorium at 13.45pm.

The reverend John Smart, a former local vicar, has passed away at his home in Okehampton aged 80 years.
He has been a staunch member of the Society since its inception. He was, for 15 years, vicar of St. Michaels Church at Brereton between 1970 and 1985.

Rev. John Smart

Rev. John Smart

He leaves behind wife Rosemary, two sons and two daughters.


30th May 2017
AMENDED TALK VENUE (during June & July)

Updating the events as below the talk on WEDNESDAY 21st JUNE 2017 – PASSCHENDAELE- THE LOCAL ANGLE  by BOB BREVITT  will commence at 10.00am at BRIDGTOWN SOCIAL CLUB, WALSALL ROAD (which is where we hold the Annual Exhibition).
We have also booked the Social Club for the talk on Wednesday 19th JULY 2017 – THE CANALS UP TO CHURCHBRIDGE by DEREK DAVIES O.B.E.


26th May 2017

Please be aware that the Bethel Church will be undergoing structural repairs and will be closed from Monday 5th June 2017 for up to 8 weeks. This will disrupt our monthly talks. We are currently negotiating to move the talk and will inform everyone ASAP of the new venue for the Passchendaele Talk. The talks  in August and September could also be disrupted and the team is aware and making plans. For those who see this, could you please inform those who do not have computer access, we are contacting people by phone and email.

24th May 2107

17th May saw an interesting talk given by our own Kath Page and took the story of Bridgtown back to it roots in the bronze age to its modern layout in the 1860′s. Its interesting to note that although the Romans were walking about on the Watling Street in the 40′s a.d. It is believed that the ancient briton tribe known as the Cornovii had built trackways previous to the Romans.

1 - Roman Legionary groma4 - Toll House & Gate Painting

Kath scratch built a Roman surveying Tool called a Groma(above) to illustrate how the Romans built their roads so straight and indicated its use.
The toll gate system was explained and where they were in and around Bridgtown during the 17th to 19th centuries.
All in all , a very enjoyable talk.

The HERITAGE TRAIL Page is now up and our first two boards are highlighted.

April saw  the unveiling of our second Heritage Trail Board to go with the Churchbridge one. The board gives a history of the Cornelius Whitehouse “Hedgehog” works. and is situated on Walsall Road on the corner of the new housing estate built by Galliford Try Ltd.011 at Walsall Rd
We met up at the Bethel Church along with dignitaries from Cannock Council and Bridgtown Parish 015 at Walsall RdCouncil along with invited guests and Society members. It was standing room only in the Church as Chairman, John Devey, gave a talk on the accomplishments of the Society and thanks for help from the Councils, Galliford Try.
The gathering then went to the site where the unveiling took place.
For those who couldn’t go to the unveiling Kath Page gave a short talk on the Post Offices in Bridgtown down the years and a slide show of the Edge Tool Industry was shown and repeated on the return of the Unveilers.031 Back at Bethel
Speeches by Derrick Middleton on the future installations and from the Chairwoman of Cannock Council were given and the important part started – the Buffet.
It was a well attended event and did a lot to advertise the Societies many projects and community worth.

Photographs were provided by Mr. Tony Bullock of the BDLHS

4th MAY 2017

The Annual General Meeting on 3rd May attendance from members was poor with only 1 member apart from the team in attendance. I reiterate :  ALL WERE WELCOME. IF YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS AS TO THE FUTURE PROJECTS OF THE SOCIETY OR HOW IT IS RUN PLEASE COME AND LET US KNOW !
We on the team are getting older and staler and new blood and ideas is urgently needed. Although these last few years have been very productive as far as projects go – The Heritage Trail, Books and Annual Events along with various money raising raffles and sales, it is getting ever more difficult to stage these events. We therefore need an injection of younger blood, especially those with  IT and computing skills to bring our projects up to date.
So if you or someone you know has time to spare and likes to delve into Social & Local History then please get in touch with one of our team or come to our Meetings, held on the first wednesday of the month, at the Bethel Church in Union Street, Bridgtown starting at 10.00am. All will be welcome.

I am launching a new page to our web site : The Heritage Trail  which will give progress reports of the Heritage Boards we are erecting around the village to let people know of Bridgtown’s Industrial and commercial past.

22nd APRIL 2017



The new edition of the Bridgtonian has now been published and we are in the process of distributing it to our members. Due to some computing glitches we were unable to produce the winter 2017 version.

We are now renewing memberships. Still at £7.00 per household – it is great value for money. Please contact the membership secretary, Bob Brevitt or pay through one of the committee members or at a talk and we will get your membership up to date.

Our  March Talk was by Derrick Middleton, who gave us his usual informative history of the streets of Bridgtown. Another locally based talk to go down well with a sizeable audience.


21st FEBRUARY 2017

Once again, I must apologise for not updating the website. Since the last Update Christmas has come and gone winter has changed to spring, back to winter and now its spring again (I think).The Society has carried on and nothing momentous has occurred, but there will be an upsurge of news as the new year progresses.



Since the last upgrade the latest book has been published. David Williams & John Devey have worked hard to produce a different type book. It still contains a good number of photographs but it focuses on the recollections of a number of former residents to illustrate how the village has changed over the years. I believe it is a good read and well worth its £6.00 price tag.

We are planning to produce a definitive history of Bridgtown and all of the team are involved in various aspects of the history.
A plan of action has been formulated and funding is being sourced. Hopefully, it will be ready for publishing around 2019.

Many of you will already have seen the first of the Heritage boards outside Costa Coffee House on the ringroad. (if not! Why not?) and the second is about to be unveiled at the new housing development on Walsall Road where the Cornelius Whitehouse “Hedghog Works” was situated. Funding was kindly supplied by the site developers. Another 3 should be erected  and news about those will be forthcoming.

This will be a huge undertaking and we are preparing the Albums so that a comprehensive and searchable database can be developed to make research much easier. More to come with this.

March’s talk will be “More streets of Bridgtown” with our own Derrick Middleton.
Due to problems with illness etc. further talks will be added as they become confirmed.


22nd SEPTEMBER 2016

Many Apologies for the lack of updates but, due to illness, I have been unable to attend the meetings. However, I am on the road to recovery and will keep you all updated as best as I can.
There is no news I can give at present ,  I missed the last Talk by Derrick Middleton who always strives to educate us (and in my case: succeeds) in the history of the village.

Next item on the agenda is our : 

Annual Event on Sunday 16th October at the Bridgtown Sports & Social Club, Walsall Road from 10.30am til 3.30pm.

Please try and be there to support us and see what ‘s new in our archive.

3rd MAY 2016


On Sunday 1st May 2016 the Society, along with other Local History Groups was invited to the Staffordshire Day Exhibition at The Museum of Cannock Chase. David Battersby, Catherine Page & John Devey prepared a series of photographs and Tools from our archive denoting the Edge Tool works in Bridgtown and Bob Brevitt added an Around & About Bridgtown display. The display was completed by a selection of our Books and computer access to the Bridgtown Website. The Museum opened to the public noon til 4pm and there was a steady trickle of interest in our display. Also with us were groups from Norton Canes, Hazel Slade  and Chadsmoor and we were entertained by two medieval songsters.






Cath & David discuss the event with attendees from Hazel Slade and Great Wyrley

The weather played its part as the “Cloggers” and the Brass Band had to curtail their outdoor displays and go indoors. Even so there was a steady flow of people even though the event was not well advertised.

24th APRIL 2016

Dedication of Leighton & B.R.A.G.  Garden in North Street

Despite the inclement weather many people turned up to witness the Dedication of the garden now known as the Leighton Garden – commemorating Dora & Jim Leighton who both did much for the village and also remembering the Bridgtown Residents Action Group who helped stop the village being demolished and turned into a massive Industrial Park.
The Vicar of Bethel Church, the reverend Edwin Myers, led the dedication and there was a speech by Parish Council Chairman, Mr Eddie Smith.
Among those present was County Councillor for Bridgtown, Alison Spicer, Parish Councillors Eddie Smith & wife Sue, Maureen Freeman and John Kraujolis,  Mr Bob Leighton his wife Becky and Jim Leighton’s son representing the Leighton family and Mrs Jeanette Cartwright, representing the BRAG contingent. There was a welcome visit from  former Society Chairman and now life member Mr Tony Pearson and wife Anne. There was also a good turnout from the Society, many of whom were also present as members of the Church, former BRAG members and other groups.

Jeanette & Barry Cartwright

Members of the Parish & County Council and Mr Bob Leighton on right

Members of the Parish & County Council and Mr Bob Leighton on right

The Plaque

The Plaque

The unveiling took place and then all went to the Bethel Church where there were short speeches by Mr. Eddie Smith who read out a prepared speech from Mr. Barry Cartwright ( first Council Chairman of the Parish), Mr. John Devey for the Society and a poigniant  speech from  Mrs Peggy Greenway.
There was a grand buffet laid on and the vicar gave Grace.

23rd April 2016

As some of you may know 1st July 1916 was the start of one of the hardest fought and bloodiest battles of World War 1 – “The Battle of the Somme”. In conjunction with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, there will be events and projects undertaken throughout the 141 days (the length of the battle) remembering those dark days.
Here is a video by the actor, Hugh Dennis, outlining the CWGC’s propositions:

We will keep updating this worthwhile project as things progress

April 2016

The talk at the Bethel this morning was an enlightning and amusing one given by member Mr Peter Bates who was aided and abetted by some of other well known Longfordites and a few memory jogging photographs.

A change of Telephone numbers for the Member Secretary (Bob Brevitt) has caused a few problems with the team as Bob (Me) didn’t give any notice so all thought I’d gone into the spy business. My new number for those predisposed to calling me is 01922 411942. The Contacts list has been updated.

The Bridgtonian for Spring 2016 is now out and being distributed. As membership lapsed at the end of March, we will be ceasing to send to those not renewing after this issue. So get your membership renewed ASAP as the Bridgtonian for non-members costs £1.75 .

Military History

The War Memorial page on this site has now been updated and only a few names have no history. Anyone who could help us update those and indeed, if somebody spots any mistakes in those already updated please get in touch with  Bob Brevitt – Contact details on the Contacts page. I feel all those on the Memorial should not remain unrecognised.
Anyone with family members who were involved in Military operations – we are trying to get enough material to provide a display in the future and are in need of more photographs.

12 April 2016

Not a great deal to note this month. Mr David Battersby has been in the wars after a fall but has bounced back and now is as good as ever – ish. The Diary for this coming year is filling up and the next 2 events are close by.
The Heritage Service at the Bethel is on sunday 17th April 2016 led by our own Sheila Jackson & John Devey and that is followed on Wednesday 20th April 2016 – 10.00am til noon at the Bethel by another local speaker, Mr Peter Bates, who will talk about his childhood stomping ground of Longford Road.

As you know we now have a base office, kindly provided by Mr Fred Pritchard, in Virage Tower and most of our photographs now have a home there where we can continue to database them. Anyone with computer skills who would like top help out with that job, we would like to hear from you. Please call one of the team (please see the contact us page ) and they will take your details and we can arrange a plan of action.

The Bridgtown Showband have once again agreed to help us out with our fundraising and a Concert billed as a “Tribute to Dora” will be held in June at the Bridgtown Sports & Social Club, Walsall Rd and we hope that many of you will support us and have a great nights entertainment to boot. The date and time will be advertised when fixed but may be Monday 13th or 20th of June 2016.

12TH MARCH 2016


8th March 2016


Last months talk by Bob Meek about New Street was well attended and appreciated . Bob gave a great account of life in New Street but by the end of the talk he had only got down one side of the road so we are bringing him back later in the year……………. To finish what he started !

The BRIDGTOWN SHOW BAND have accepted an invite as last year to play a concert at the Bridgtown Social Club. It will be on Monday 13th June and the theme for part of the night will be “A tribute to Dora Richards Leighton” who sadly passed away just before her 100th year and will be missed by all who knew her from her Dance School Days.
Further information to come when finalised.

Cheslyn Hay Local History Society are going to ” Blenheim Palace” on Thursday 14th July 2016. Tickets are £23.00 to include Travel and All Entrance fees including the Sir Winston  Churchill Exhibition. The Coaches leave from the Salem Church, High Street, Cheslyn Hay at 08.30 am prompt and will return to the Salem about 6.00pm. If you wish to book please ring Roger Moore on 01543 372856.


24th January 2016

Wednesday 20th January – Talk by Peter Hart : There was a full house for the talk by the Reverend Peter Hart, Vicar of Cannock about his two lives as professional footballer and Vicar. It was well received by all and the Rev. Hart enjoyed our company.
We also were able to distribute our latest “winter” edition of the Bridgtonian. Although late due to unforeseen circumstances the next “Spring edition will appear as normal in March.
20th January 2016
Apologies for the lack of update information over the past 6 months. We are now about to start a new weekly update so watch this space!
January’s talk is a rearranged event  with Peter Hart. The Winter Bridgtonian will be available at this event at the Bethel Chapel from 10.00am til Noon.
3rd June 2015
The Band concert on monday night went very well with all who attended commenting favourably on the professionalism of the Bridgtown Show Band. There were fewer people there due to weather and a lack of advertising. The team meeting agreed to taking the concert forward and managing the publicity better.
The next Bridgtonian should be available for the next talk ( David Gethin) on the 17th June 2015 but we need more stories and articles about the village . So if you have a story to tell, amusing, educational or emotional – David Williams would be happy to recieve them via email if possible through the Society e-mail address.
The next event we are holding is a Coffee Afternoon at the Bethel on Thursday 11th June 2015 and there will be the usual fare of film/Slide shows Refreshments and a craft stall and you can chat to friends. It is from 2pm til 4pm ish. It has become a good old fashioned “Chin Wag”.
24th May 2015
Our events of the last month went down well although with a reduced audience. Thank you to all who helped out with the coffee afternoon and those who attended had a good time.
The talk on the 20th May at the Bridgtown School Hall  by Mr Arthur Aston, on the story of the life  of James Watt, the steam engineer kept all rapt as his life story was unravelled. Many thanks to Arthur for a most informative talk.
Please don’t forget our annual Band Concert at the Bridgtown Social Club, Walsall Rd on Monday June 1st starting at 7.30pm and the Bridgtown Show Band will be strutting its stuff again with a variation of music to suit all tastes. Tickets are available from David Battersby or any of the Team at £5.00 each.
Next month will be David Gethin’s  talk about the Stain Glass Windows of Cannock, St. Lukes Church. It should be an interesting topic for all as the Church is celebrating nonocentenery(900 years) of its own.
Cheslyn Hay & District Local History Society is presenting an evening with David Bartley, Black Country comedy poet, at the Salem school room, High Street, Cheslyn Hay on thursday 28th May at 7.30pm. Entrance is £1.00 and refreshments are provided.
18th April 2015
Our next event will be a return of the Coffee Afternoon on Wednesday 29th April at the Bethel Church between 2 and 4pm.
It will follow the usual format, an informal meeting where you can meet and chat to old and new friends. Help us out with mystery photographs – putting names to faces and places. Enjoy refreshments. and there will be a mini Craft Stall and maybe the odd film show?.
Another boring reminder that the Annual Subscriptions have become due. We thank all who have already paid and would request that the subs due should be paid as soon as possible. It is still priced at £7.00 per household.
This months talk was a return to village life with the people of North Street by Derrick Middleton with  back up from Paul Bedford. It was part two of Derrick’s history of North street and was well received by the members. Many memories were stirred and the discussion around the topic was lively and informative.Derrick stated that there was much more to reveal about Bridgtown’s main street and that a return to the subject was inevitable but he was concentrating now on the rest of the village.
DOUG WILLIAMS 1924 – 2015Douglas Williams, who had been writing his memoirs, was a former regional president, lifetime vice-president and founder member of the Cannock Chase branch of the Royal Air Forces Association.
He gave up the comparative security of a reserved occupation in 1942 to join the RAF as a leading aircraftsman flight mechanic – but not without a fight.
As a 16-year-old sergeant in the local Air Training Corps squadron he was inspired by the spirit of pilots fighting the Battle of Britain and determined to join the RAF as soon as he was old enough.
He became an aircraft worker following an apprenticeship at Boulton Paul, Wolverhampton, as a way of improving his RAF prospects, believing that working as a riveter on Defiant aircraft at Wolverhampton and repairing the wings of Hurricane aeroplanes at the shadow factory in Wallows Lane, Walsall, would guarantee acceptance when it came to enlisting.
But he miscalculated the value of his job to the war effort and it was only after a battle lasting several months and the intervention of his boss that the authorities relented and allowed him to enlist.
His memoirs show he was known as ‘Duke Sahib’ during his three-year service in India.
After the war Mr Williams attended the inaugural meeting of the RAFA branch in Cannock in August 1946.
For many years he masterminded the local Wings Week appeal, with the whole of his family involved collecting, opening tins and counting donations.
Paying tribute, fellow branch member Laurence McGowan said: “Doug was driven by having observed first-hand the need for a welfare organisation supporting former comrades and their families on return to civilian life.
“His active concern for the lads continued into his late 80s when he was responsible for sending almost 100 parcels of goodies to squadrons in Afghanistan.”
Mr Williams’ granddaughter Rebecca Cartwright said: “Granddad was very proud of his time in the RAF and the people he served with.
“He was looking forward to the ceremonies that will mark the 75th anniversaries of the battle of Britain later this year.”
The widower, who lived in Gorsey Lane, Cannock, is survived by a daughter, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The branch standard will be carried in front of his flag-draped coffin which will be escorted by an honour guard of fellow veterans at his funeral at St Saviour’s church
Courtesy Express and Star
31st March 2015
The last day of March brings a new start to our membership year and its time for subscription renewals. The last talk morning gave us a great start with members renewing in “droves”. The new subs are still priced at £7.00 for a household membership which is still value for money with a quarterly Bridgtonian and 12 talks over the year. Subs can be paid to the membership secretary, Bob Brevitt either in person at any event or by post (cheques made out to Bridgtown & District Local History Society) to 4 Windsor Rd, Cheslyn Hay, Walsall, Staffs, WS6 7EN.
The Bridgtown Showband concert on  Monday 1st June 2015 at the Social Club on Walsall Rd is with us again and tickets are already on sale. This was well attended last year and we are once again indebted to the Showband for providing a top class event which we hope has become a regular annual event.
Our next event is on April 15th at the Bethel, 10am til noon and our own Derrick Middleton will focus upon the people of North Street.
The 28th April will see the resumption of the Coffee Afternoon at the Bethel from 2 til 4 pm where you can meet and have a coffee & biscuit  and the usual film show (to be confirmed).
22nd March 2015
It is with sadness that I report the resignation of our Chairman, Tony Pearson. Tony has given such a lot of his time and his expertise to  Bridgtown & District Local History Society. We shall greatly miss his input and presence. Indeed it was  Tony who was the motivating force behind the formation of our Society in 2009. This resignation ia a very recent event and, at this stage, no decisions have been made about how the Society will function without his leadership. Howver, I am keen to reassure everyone that that our Society will continue to function and continue to do all the things that we have regularly done over the past six years. We shall Miss Tony’s input but I know that he wants tour Society to continue to go from strength to strength.
Publications Editor, David Williams

Since our Winter 2014 magazine was published we have enjoyed four first class monthly meetings.  In December we enjoyed our Christmas Festivities with special music from the excellent Bel Canto Choir. In January we learned so much more about “Old Cannock” from Mike Hewitt, in February Chris Gooch regaled us abiut life in Shugborough Hall and. in March, although our stated speaker Peter Hart was laid low with illness, our own Dave Battersby stepped into the breach with an interesting slideshow of Cannock.

We have a full lineup of speakers for the forthcoming year and our now regular concert, courtesy of the Bridgtown Showband on Monday 1st June 2015 at the Bridgtown WMC tickets are available now and our Coffee afternoons will resume.


Merry Xmas & Happy New Year to you all from all of

the Team.

11th December 2014

A lot has happened over the last 3 months:  The Annual Event has come & gone ( very well recieved by all acounts), We have moved from the School evening venue for the monthly talks to the Bethel Church morning talks and we have just had our Xmas celebration which was centred on a concert/sing along with the “Bel Canto” Choir and , of course, the mince pies. A grand time was had by all.

On an upbeat note, courtesy of our Honorary President – Mr Fred Pritchard, we now have a headquarters at the Virage Tower , which we will use as a base and storage facility for our archive. Although not big enough for our talks etc. it will be ideal for research and access.  Definiteley a step in the right direction. A further meeting is in the pipeline with the Parish & District Councils about a Community Centre so watch this space.

Sadly, we have heard of the death of member Mr Alan Green who was a regular at our events  and he will be missed.

August 5th 2014
Apologies for the lateness of the latest “Bridgtonian” but it should be available for the talk on August 20th.

The next evening talk takes place on 20th August 2014 at the Bridgtown School Hall beginning at 7.30pm til about 9pm. This will be a very interesting talk by our own Mr John Devey about the History of what he calls Bridgtown’s Older Brother — Churchbridge. This will be a lead up to the new book of the same name which will be out  on the 19th October 2014 at the Annual Exhibition.The usual refreshments will be available.

Into August and we are preparing for the Annual Exhibition as we speak. A database of photographs is under upgrade and should be a welcome addition to our research as it will be fully searchable. Our thanks to our own Derek Middleton and Darren Butler from our sister Society at Cheslyn Hay, along with Tony Bibb who mounts the photographs in preparation for display.
After a few months away due to illness we welcome Catherine Page back to the Team, much better now.

There is no further news about our “Nomadic” existence at the moment, however, a meeting at the Bethel with County Planning Officer, Angela Grove, who gave us an update on the progress of various plans for Bridgtown, was completed with a plea from the team to keep us in mind. WATCH THIS SPACE……

July has come and gone and the talk at the school hall by Jan Burns on the 16th, was extremely informative and went down well with the reduced audience.

The “Sound of Bridgtown” concert at Bridgtown Social Club 16 th June was a great success and our thanks go to the Bridgtown Show Band and its Musical |Director, Barry Middleton and also to Elton and the bar staff at the club for their efforts and support

There is a Coffee Afternoon at the Bethel on Thursday 5th June between 2 – 4pm. All are welcome to meet friends and chat about the old times and maybe give us some aid with the naming of people on photographs.
We would like to see you at our “Sound of Bridgtown” Musical Event , in collaboration with the Bridgtown Show Band, on Monday 16th June at Bridgtown Social Club, Walsall Rd. Tickets are £5.00 each (From any team member) and there are not many left. So if you enjoy good music, and maybe a sing song from the 1940′s on then …. “Come On Down “

28th May 2014
The monthly talk was the first from a new venue to us -  Bridgtown Primary School Hall. Our thanks go the School for allowing us to use it and special thanks to the caretaker Brian who provided access.
The talk, given by Mr Patrick Corfield, Society member and former Councillor, about his life as a policeman. The talk was very interesting and witty and had the audience rapt.

Then Mr Smallman, another member from South Africa, gave a few anecdotes about his early life in Bridgtown.
Many thanks to both.

The next 3 evening talks are tentatively booked for the School Hall.

7th May 2014
We are still short of people renewing their memberships a month into the new year. You can renew by cheque/post to the membership secretary with cheques made out to Bridgtown & District Local History Society or handed to any of the Team with your details and cash which is now £7.00 per household per annum.
The team will be at the Bethel today to carry on with the task of cataloguing the photographs we have into a database on computer which will be fully searchable and will make research much quicker. Any who wish to help are welcome. 

1st MAY 2014
The AGM, on the 30th April was a mixture of  ”Good News – Bad News”. Whilst our Accounts were pretty static over the last year and our Team performance was good, we did suffer from the loss of the Community Centre and ill health among the Team. The Chairman’s Report is laid out below and more will be said when the minutes are available.

A.G.M. 30th APRIL 2014                                                                              CHAIRMAN’S REPORT.
Two distinct aspects highlighted what otherwise proved to be a progressive and successful year. With membership remaining static around 120 we enjoyed well attended events throughout the summer months and the introduction of monthly Coffee Sessions provided a warm and light-hearted opportunity to introduce  outside members to our activities. The Exhibition in October reflected a lower than normal attendance, but the occasion provided the opportunity of joining with long distance members and the resultant nostalgia and good feelings. Within a few weeks however, a body blow was placed upon us. From the inception of our Society in January 2009 we were able to enjoy the excellent facilities within The Ramada Hotel complex. This, through the good offices of the Parish Council and the positive influence of Fred Pritchard.  However, in the weeks just prior to Christmas we were made aware that a financial takeover was imminent. The outcome was such that the Parish Council and subsequently our Society were placed in an impossible financial situation, resulting in virtually immediate notice to acquire alternative premises. Such are our associations with Bethel Church and Bridgtown Primary School we were able to adjust arrangements to our programme and commence the quest to ensure more permanent facilities.
In parallel with the inevitable disruption caused, we have experienced significant indisposition of Team Members due to illness. With over 90% of our members in the “retired” capacity we are alert to the need to have adequate cover to ensure smooth administration. However, truth is we have been severely stretched and found it necessary to restructure our Team responsibilities.
So where are we now? I am confident that  with dedication the new Team formation will ensure positive continuity. Nevertheless reality demands improved finances, and to this end you will be made progressively aware of efforts in this direction. Our first venture will be an Arts and Crafts Exhibition at Bethel Church on Saturday 24th May followed by a concert with Bridgtown Concert Band at Bridgtown Social Club on Monday 16th June entitled “The Sound of Bridgtown”. Both of these events will give us an opportunity to join together towards strengthening the Society.




15th APRIL 2014

No news as yet on our new premises but costs will be a major factor.
Our Fund Raising effort with the kind help of the Bridgtown Showband has now been firmed up. June 16th 2014 has been chosen at the Bridgtown Sports & Social Club, Walsall Rd, Bridgtown to begin at 7.30pm. The theme “The Music Of Bridgtown” has yet to be confirmed with the band but should include music from the two Wars and inter war years so we can all enjoy a bit of a “Yawp”. Tickets should be available from the AGM.

 14th MARCH 2014

The biggest news currently is the fact that Bridgtown Community Centre has had to close its doors permanently.  This was a sudden decision that had to be taken by the Centre Trustees.  The new owners required a commercial rent for the use of the property whereas previously it had been subsidised by Fred Pritchard.  This has meant that the society has had to change the venue for all of our monthly meetings.  The next two morning meetings are at Bethel Church and the next two evening meetings are to be held in the School Hall.  (See programme opposite).  Soon we shall be able to announce plans and venues for the rest of 2014.

Negotiations are going on with the Parish Council and a third party about acquiring a different property that would meet all the needs of our Society.  It is necessary to keep the details of this secret at the moment due to confidentiality issues.  Once we have something definite to announce we will inform members accordingly.

At our February meeting our chairman Tony Pearson explained to members why it is so important that the society needs to raise money in order to fulfil its continued development.  This is even more important now that we have lost the use of the Community Centre.

It is necessary to remind members that subscriptions for the forthcoming year become due on 1st April.  The family subscription price for 2014/2015 is £7.00.  Each subscription brings with it the 4 editions of this magazine for free.  Each magazine retails for £1.50 to non-members.

World War 1 memorabilia is needed for a display we are planning to mount at some relevant point in time.  Please search your homes to see if you have anything that you can lend to us commemorate the Great War.


We still have lots of copies of Bygone Bridgtown and Bridgtown Born & Bred and Bridgtown and Beyond for sale.  Every time we sell one of these books it is another £5.00 towards our fund raising.  Do you know somebody who would like copies of any of them?


Plans are well underway for the publication of this year’s new book which will concentrate on the Churchbridge area.  Do you have any relevant photographs that you could lend us to copy?


13th March 2014
Now is the time to collect the Annual Subscription Fees (running 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015). This year, for the first time, due to rising costs, we have had to put up the fees to £7.00 per address. Please forward your cheques ( Bridgtown & District Local History Society) to the membership secretary at the address on the Bridgtonian quarterly or in person at the events or to any of the team members and you new cards will be issued.

12th March 2014
The reason for the upheaval to our events calender is due to the new owners of the Ramada complex where the Community Centre was, required a commercial rent which the Trustees decided was well beyond their means. Previous to the sale it was subsidised in part by Mr Fred Pritchard.

For that reason we have had to find temporary venues for the foreseeable future. The Community Centre Trustees along with ourselves and the Parish Council are actively seeking a new venue in the shape of  a Heritage Centre where we can all be accomodated but until then we hope you will bear with us in these awkward times.

The next two events will be at the Bethel Church. Parking will be a problem and the room is smaller then the Community Centre. The following two will be at the Bridgtown School Hall where the parking and  hall are much roomier.

Other negotiations are taking place for the future so we will keep you informed as things develop.

27th February 2014

Due to circumstances beyond our control we have to announce that the next two events (Talks by Kay Mathews on Wednesday March 19th and Patricia Boyd on Wednesday 16th April ) will now be held at the Bethel Church in Union Street and not at the Community Centre. I will post further notices as we go on.

15th February 2014

We are up to date with the “Bridgtonian” page and have the editions of the  magazine on line up to and including the Autumn edition of 2013. The current 2013 Winter edition will be introduced when the Spring 2014 edition is produced. To access the magazines, click on the blue writing as required. They are all PDF files and will open in a new window.

11th February 2014

Another month gone by. Valentines day is coming around again. Our next event at the Community Centre is on the 19thFebruary 2014  We welcome the return of Mr Michael Taylor , and “A Slip of the Pen”, come and share in stories of children’s written errors, collected over many years. Now the bad news! . Due due a rise in printing costs for the Bridgtonian and postage ( and the team’s medications) we are having to put up the membership fee to £7.00. We are also looking for temporary premises where we can hold our Archives as they are spread among the team and difficult to carry out research. I will update you more in the near future.

Coach Trip to Bletchley Park
A trip is being made by Cheslyn Hay & District Local History Society to  Historic Bletchley Park on Thursday 10th July 2014, where the German Codes were decrypted in World War 2. A most interesting place. There will be 2 coaches leaving from the Salem Church. High Street, Cheslyn Hay at 7.30am and the cost is £23.00 (includes coach and entrance fees) There will be a 3-4 hr guided tour then lunch (not inclusive) and a stop in Banbury for a couple of hours before returning to the Salem about 7.00pm.  Over half the places are already taken so please let me know (Bob Brevitt on 01922 414863) as soon as possible.

As the centenary of the 1914-18 war nears we are working to find whereabouts of the fallen soldiers on the War Memorial and any history of them. We have no details at all on just 6 now. They are : R.BEADLE, E.HAYNES.H.JONES, J.JONES, T LOCKET, J.MORRIS. If any of recognise or know anything of them or any of our village heroes from the WW1 Memorial  please get in touch.(Bobbrevitt @aol.com).

5th January 2014

Another year gone and another to consign to the archives. This coming year will be as busy for us as 2013. We have the centenary of the start of the Great War when so many of our menfolk went to fight for King & Country. Not a celebration, but  a remembrance of the sacrifices made by all in the face of evil. We are joining with our sister organisations locally to compile as much information about those who appear on our memorials over the next 4 to 5 years and would be glad to hear from any of you who have information or stories/anecdotes from your ancestors who were involved either at the war front or the homefront. There will be more about this through the year.

We are also continuing with our archiving of our photographic collection which is growing week by week. We are going to be concentrating on more recent pictures. A lot of us think that colour fotos are of no use to recording of history, but when you think that the boom in photos started after world war 2 and colour came in the 1960′s , its now “THE PAST” and is definatley important especially to this village where the bulk of its changes have occurred in the last 70 years or so. So if you have any photos you think may be relevant in some way, no matter how insignificant they may seem please get them to us and we will copy and return them as you wish.

The Society are producing 2 books, one for publication this year and another which will be a definitive history of the village which will take a few years to complete. The Bridgtonian and this site will keep you informed on the progress of these.

Last ,but not least, we will be striving to put on our annual exhibition and although the photographs will still be the principal items on display, we are looking to provide more diversity. If anyone has any ideas , please get in touch.


and please try and get to our monthly events as shown in the section of this site or on the latest “Bridgtonian”.

6th October 2013

Apologies for the lack of news in the last 6 months but due to unforeseen circumstances I have not been able to update this site.
I hope to rectify this as of now and will try to update as soon as possible when news occurs.

Over the spring/Summer period we have been working hard on various projects. The indexing of our archives is an ongoing task not made easier by illness and a shortage of volunteers with computer experience. Preparations for the upcoming exhibition and our annual book and Bridgtonian quarterly all have taken its toll on the team. It is hoped that the Bridgtonian will be ready for the Exhibition, but unfortunately the book will not be ready until our November Event, the Slide/music display of the 1977 flower festival presented by our friend Ron Darby. This will start at 10am to midday on Wednesday 20th November at the Community Centre .

9th May 2013

Please note there is a change in the events calendar. Due to illness the North Street Talk by Dave & Dec has had to be postponed. However, Cheslyn Hay History Society have stepped in and Peter |Cadman will give a talk on the History of Cheslyn Hay over the last 2,000 years. It is hoped that the North Street Talk will be given by Dave & Dec in July.

4th April 2013

Could you please note a change to our AGM date , it is now being held on wednesday 24th April at the Bethel Church starting at 10.00 am and all members are welcome.

28th March 2013

This is the time year we need to renew our membership. The fees are the same as before at £5.00 per annum. If you cannot get to our events or see any of the team you can post a cheque made out to “Bridgtown & District Local History Society”  to  : Bob Brevitt, 4 Windsor Rd, Cheslyn Hay, Walsall, WS6 7EN .

27th March 2013

We lost a founder member of the Society this last week and a staunch Bridgtonian in Mr Hilton Baugh. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

20th March 2013

I hope some of you have noticed the new Notice board on the corner of North Street and Union Street. This is a joint venture between the Parish Council and this Society. We have half the space and the Council, the other half. This was generously provided with monies from the Conduit Trust, the Parish Council Fund, The Pritchard Group. We are in the process of inviting all parties to join us to “commission” the Board.