"Dave Ogden" <d.ogden@cableinet.co.uk>

   Date:        Wed, 18 Oct 2000 12:24:09 +0100

 Subject:        [B.C.] The Black Country Reunion (a roundup)

     To:        ENG-BLACK-COUNTRY-L@rootsweb.com


Well it's over! (or so I thought, there are another five new faces this



The first day (last Mon, 9th Oct) started with a typical BC dawn. It was raining cats and dogs. 22 people met up at Bilston Town Hall for a tour of the Northern end of the BC, we got absolutely soaked!  Ray Humpage was there but he was directed to the wrong end of the Town Hall so missed it 8-(  Many

places were looked at examined and photographed and we ended up at Cannock War Graves Cemy (on the Chase). Both Cemy's were visited, the CWG's (many  from NZ and Oz are there, all so young ) and the German (all German war dead who died in the UK are interred at Cannock for those who aren't aware of the place). We didn't make it as far as the Polish monument.


In the afternoon it was even worse, the rain was coming down like stair rods. Joe Nightingale (fantastic man) and myself were in Wednesbury at the Wesley centre.


Monday night was the first Bottel night amongst the others who came were Bob (an extremely knowlegeable man) Jan and Alex (a pair of the nicest people one could wish to meet, Jan is Listowner of the Workhouse List) Phil (who has the patience of a saint). We all had a good natter, later, Jan Alex and

myself tootled off down to the Cottage Pub ( a real old BC place, actually an old farmhouse) for a last pint, Black Country pub being the operative word when they switched off the lights!


Tuesday was spent on the Western side of the BC. I was with Ray Humpage from NZ. This was a very sad day for the BC as Royal Brierley Crystal went into receivership! Sam from Melbourne Oz was the very last person to be shown around the factory (we're still not sure how she managed it!). We saw the Crooked House (twice) Himley, Kinver, Greensforge, all the Gornals, Ruiton (and saw the Mill) Kingswinford Wordsley, Stourbridge, Brierley Hill, The Stewpony (due for demolition). Plus many more places. The sun came out at Greensforge and we spent some time watching the narrowboats traversing the locks outside the Navigation pub.


Wednesday was Walsall day (raining again!) with the Leather museum, Jerome K Jerome house and Birchills canal museum, a good time was had by all.


Thursday was an eye opener for me! Jane Yorkie Jo and myself went to Soho House Handsworth, the home of Matt Boulton. The weather was sunny and the house is brilliant, just next to St.Mary's Church Handsworth  (for an extremely small charge!). The afternoon was spent at Aston Hall (free entry!) home of, amongst others, the Holte family and later James Watt. Nice touches in Aston Hall inc holes made by cannon balls during our civil war! (they might have tried to patch them up! it was a few centuries ago after

all!) Thursday night was the second trip to the Bottel with amongst others Joe, Bob, Wendy, Carol (the Hatter) Cassie (pernod Cassie from now on!) Jean, Jane, Yorkie,and Phil. I hold my hands up and admit that I was *slightly slurred* by the end of the evening. It really was a raucous evening.


Friday was Smethwick day with a guided walk along the Brindley and Telford cuts to Galton Bridge in the morning and a tour of Tipton during the  afternoon (taking in the Fountain pub).


The evening was one of the highlights of the BCR with the grand dinner at the Britannia. Jane really did pull out all the stops on this one with favours awaiting every guest (we did get trick or treated by a pair of small girls during the meal!). A smokers corner was duly initiated (led by Jan and Alex, closely followed by Cedric and Sam, the last one's to hold out were myself and Jean, so in effect we had two reunions going on at the same time! It was great to see so many new faces during that evening at the Brit. Nigel, Polly, Pat, Steve etc.,


Saturday was Hockley Jewellery 1/4 plus the discovery centre (another great place that shows how a factory was laid out and worked from the late 19th C) The BC cannection is that it's virtually the same as most of the Lock factories around the Willenhall area. Then it was on to Birmingham with St.Phils and St.Chads followed by the Central.  Late afternoon was spent on a narrowboat cruise along the Birmingham Old and New main canals and the start of the Worcester with diversions along the Icknield Loop and Sherborn  wharfe. The commentary was extremely good.


The evening was spent at *the pub with no name* <VBG>. In true BC fashion (we like to confuse visitors) the name had been removed from the outer wall of the Port and Ale. Clive Jackie and Phil arranged a great evening with food at the pub.


Sunday saw the visit to the Black Country Living Museum, we staggered around  for @ 6 hours and still didn't see it all! We were all too shattered to do anything else that day!


Monday was the visit to Sandwell Crem, I know that it may sound strange, but, the burial registers for East Sandwell are kept there (originals, not film or fiche!) and All Saint's church, the Oak House plus a whizz around Willenhall.


The evening was the last visit to the Bottel on this reunion. More new faces arrived such as Keith. We had a chance to meet Michael Mann who was one of the last miners at Hamstead Colliery (he wrote the story of *The Tree* that was posted on the list last year, plus Derek who runs the Bottel and Jackie Nash who is part of the EARP family and has the key to the city of Tombstone AZ. The final act was that of Sharron (now renamed as Shiela, as I honestly keep forgetting her correct name) getting a pile of BC beermats and glasses from Derek! Even we regulars don't get that <VBG>.It all ended with Jean and myself managing to

make it to closing time to finish off Reunion 2000.


There was actually a lot more that we did, but my fingers are dropping off so I'll leave it to you lot to fill in the gaps.

Dave  8-))


ps Here's to Reunion 2001 next May