Covid 2020, a year we’ll never forget

The year started off so normal, weather mild, no sign of winter as yet, then we were to meet only twice in 2020. Who would have thought we were to go through such a year. The rumours that came out of China of a possible outbreak of flu like symptoms, a funny name I thought at the time, CORONAVIRUS. January went into February and some European countries were starting to get nervous of what was going on, Italy was the first to consider this to be a bad one, Woohan in China had locked down and so the pandemic spread across Europe and into the UK.

It’s silly to repeat, who did what and who didn’t, we just got on with it. The Society opened up the Centre in August, on the fourth Thursday for members. Unfortunately within the next fortnight the Government issued more restrictions and reduced the amount to six people that could congregate. It was a shame that only a few could come to the open morning, but it was nice to see them. We did all the right things and used PPE but to no avail.

I know it has been scary, and still is, as we now entry into yet another sprike, and the depth toll over 75k since the pandemic started. I think the majority of us have lived by the rules and continue to do so. At the end of the year we was informed of the death of Phil Evans, he was one of the early members and a good friend to the Society. We shall miss him very much.

I was hoping we could resume our meetings, now we are in the New Year, but unfortunately with the new strain of Covid-19 virus unveiled over Christmas, within two weeks, we have gone from tier 3 to tier 4 and now into a National Lockdown, for the third time. There is hope though, with the new oxford vaccine being approved for use in the UK from today (05/01/2021). There may still be abit of a wait, until we can have the injection, but if we all work together and stay at home for abit longer, then maybe this will be the light at the end of the tunnel.

Chairman and Editor – Gary Smith

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Some time ago we were asked a question by Andrew Collins by email on one particular family, the name was Hartwell, they ran a grocery shop at 179 Walsall Road and Hartwell Lane ran alongside the shop, although the writer says the shop was renamed and the Hartwell Lane was moved a hundred yards away. More information was given to the shop which ran from 1900 to around 1940’s, we have more info at the centre of this particular family.

On another matter we have been asked about Harrisons pit and how many fatalities had there been there during the time of the pits existence, we have looked at all the books on Harrison’s but fail to find an answer.

Any information from above please let us know, thank you


By Gary Smith

As I wrote in the spring edition to the magazine that we were going to unveil the memorial to the names on the gates that were misspelt all those years ago, well we finally achieved it on Saturday the 15th August, as we know it was VJ Day, so it brought together two poignant occasions. We invited members of the Parish Council, together the District and County to say the least there for the first time in Wyrley we had three chairpersons together, Kath Perry from Staffordshire County, Cath Williams from the district and Tony Newell from the Parish, naturally there was the Royal British Legion, FROG better known as Friends of the Garden and of course ourselves, though not least was our own historian to the Society and the village, Paul Ford, as once said he was instrumental in all of this happening, He gave a speech after unveiling the stone, we tried to keep the numbers down in accordance with government policy but I’m afraid we had seven more than the permitted number, but we all took the size of the gardens and spread out, we held two minutes silence with the Royal British Legion as they honoured the fallen at their site of the
V J memorial.

Here is the speech which Paul gave to the assembled audience; “Memorial Day, thoughts. We are here today to reflect on our community past, and celebrate our community present and future. “In the wake of the Great War communities such as ours sought to make sense of that war by reflecting on its human cost. Thanks to William Harrison, the Parish Council and our then wider community, this space was dedicated in perpetuity to that reflection while the fields behind, as a recreation area, cradled the idea of life.

“As the centenary of the war approached, the Local History Society sought to understand the effect of the war on our then community and to rediscover those men that did not return; and this poignant stone stands as part-testament to the journey taken by the community of today to respect that of yesterday. That journey highlighted, of course, that these men were never just soldiers; they lived, loved and were loved. And, thanks to the Friends of the Gardens, Parish Council, British Legion (not forgetting the sponsorship of the HLF and Tesco) and, as ever, the support of the local community-who have simply followed the ideals of those after the war-this garden, while remaining a place for reflection, is also now a place of life, colour and fragrance. This stone remembers their passing, the garden their life.

“So, if you truly want to experience community, look around you”.

Fortunately the weather was okay, though not as hot as during the week, at least part of the project has been completed, it is now up to Paul to finish the book which is greatly anticipated.