History and stories
The original site started as low level alternative to the high level salt trail or road to Droitwich, where vast deposits of salt were mined by the Romans and onward, plus transported.
The old salt trail is still there about half way up Beacon Hill, where it goes left onto the golf course or right over a stile behind Hazel Road, and continues past fields with horses, exiting opposite where the old Plough pub once stood, by the Midland Red bus stop.
Anne Boleyn, Henry Eighths second wife, stayed for some time at the Manor, behind Gannow School on the Waseleys, it is now long since gone.
There was a major quarry down by the flyover, where now is just to be seen as gorse covered hill adjacent to where the old hospital once stood. The Lane behind used to be locally called Bedlam Lane, but was renamed to a more mellow sounding one. The Quarry was very deep.
The quarry used to have a railway station behind it, and talk is that it will be reopened in the not too distant future, though the original structure is also long gone.
There used to be a fishing hole called the Marlhole near to the quarry, but it was filled in as being too dangerous, in fact now I believe at least one person was drowned.
Near the bypass flyover there is a geological fault behind the shops in the car park, now difficult to see for sure, but once very evident, geological students used to come and view it.
Sixty two Bus brings back a few memories.
My Grandfather lived at Lydiatte Ash, where the nursing home now is. It was once his one side and Hazlewoods the farmers on the other one. There were horses and pigs hens etc, a proper smallholding. My grandfather was a pro boxer, and my Grandmother was an Opera singer, quite a combination, especially back in those days. My father worked his way up from his scholarship Apprentice to running the budget for British Leyland Uk as it was then, and took me down underground to see the even larger factory that is there and stretches all the way under Cofton park, from the old flying ground right under the Lickey hills. The tunnels and the factory are still there, three tunnels about 12 to 14 feet wide and huge factory, also under I think n gate there was a five story deep command centre, now apparently filled in with concrete. All this was built in the war, when spitfires and tank turrets and guns were made.
There is a pump house opposite the main buildings on Lickey road, which I have never visited, and should. The old man told me that in the war a bombing run was sounded, and man he knew sprinted accross Cofton park to be with his pregnant wife, when a stray bomb killed him. He was the only casualty that night. The furrows on the golf course were dug in the war to break up enemy gliders if they attempted landing. Thats why perfectly straight drives end up in the bunkers.
Top of the Lickeys.
There used to be cottages where the Costcutters now stands, and the church opposite was a black stucco and white timbered thing. Les Allbuts pet shop used to be Masons, and that is why the tiling was on the front wall. There was a toy shop called Delaneys, Sally Chatham ran a sweet shop, there was a woollens shop called Chadwich House where the flower shop is down the bottom. At that time, Belmont road and Beacon View did not exist, and the gulley in Meadowfield Road took you past some geese on first farm to a pig farm on the corner of where is now Beacon View. The cottage still there had Sweets written on the roof and really was a sweet shop cum cafe, and gulley ran past it right up to the lickey hills, the start of which can still be seen, but owners pinched it eventually to extend their gardens backwards.
The top of the area had the Plough pub, which originally still had bell presses to summon service. It was opposite Harry Holmes lorry and haulage business, big green lorries as I now remember it. Holmes was a local name, and the old man told me Cartwright and Hartle were too. Our family on my Dads side were from Wales originally, and moved to the Black Country for work. My Great grandfather was a collossal man who lost an eye to molten metal whilst iron puddling, his son being my grandfather, who fought on the same bill as Dempsey. He was a very hard man, who was run down and killed by the Evertons, Coach people, Father and son, on the top crossing. He landed up past the doctors, and died six months later, aged 73. Originally there were five witnesses, until it came to court and there were none. The police benevelent fund received a donation from Evertons apparantly.
He was a hard drinker too, and used the Rose and Crown mainly. He would not recognise the area now, what with all of Frankly and the by pass and flyover. I remember the main road being so busy it was hard to cross it, one lane each way, as it was the main A38 then, long before they truncated it and built the by pass.
Here are some photos of the surrounding countryside, I will add to the general knowledge as and when I get the time.
Robin on the Lickeys.
Did you know that.
Cardinal Newmans grave is in a burial plot at the Oratory Retreat in Leach Heath Lane.
The son of the Congregational Minister became Lord Simon, the Lord Chancellor 1940 45
Buffalo Bill together with four red indians once stayed at the new Rose and Crown.
The oldest pub is the Cock Inn.
Original St Chads Church was modelled on a 15th century wooden gothic church.
The Farm, black and white timbered building, now demolished to make way for houses in Cock Hill Lane, dated back to 1600 and for some years was used as vicarage.
There is a two foot seam of coal which comes near to the surface at various places. A field in the grounds of the Hill Hospital was called Coal Pit Meadow, and the name Colmers Farm suggests an association with coal.
Beacon Hill, 978 fett above sea level, is the highest feature of the Lickey hills, the next highest Eastwards is the Urals in Russia. It gets the name from the fact that beacons were lit in times of National danger in times past, part of a network which could send warnings quite quickly from one end of the country to another.
The Lickey Hills get their name from La Lechaye 1255 which indicates a forest enclosure.
Lydiatte Ash Bluebell woods.
Back of Beacon farm.
Lydiatte Ash again.
View over back of Beacon farm.
Back of Old Road.
Again the Bluebell woods.
More of the bluebell woods.
Waseleys on a brooding day.
Beacon farm trail.
Bluebell woods for a change.
Malcolm Pugh October 2003.
Cadbury land behind Beacon Farm.
Lickey Hills golf course, first municipal course ever in 1920s.
Land was donated by the Cadbury family.
Word has it the first two houses on Rose Hill opposite the Old Rose and Crown were owned by Herbert Austin, and he lived in one and his mistress lived next door. There was a huge flood in the late twenties and the old man remembers there being very big carp washed away from the main pond which split asunder and poured out over the pond below.
Woods behind the Lickey Visitor Centre.
Sunset taken by Beacon Farm.
My Grandads old house at Lydiate Ash, converted now into a nursing home.
Reminiscences in snatched email of
Norman Hewston, being an old local name.
Hello there. I have just finished reading your history, which I found very interesting. We have not lived there for almost 40 years now but my family lived there for 2 generations before me and my father told me many interesting things about the area. If you would like to get in touch with me I could probably tell you more information for your site.
I was wondering where your grandfather was killed. Actually, I was born on New Road, just down from the Plough, in a line of houses that were demolished to make way for the new flyover. Before I was born there was an accident out the front, quite close to the doctors and I think the injured person was brought to the house. My mother was expecting at the time and went into an early labour and lost her baby subsequently. This would have been in 1949. Is your Pugh ancestry from Wales. Only I have Pugh in my family also. They were from Bromsgrove. My great grandfather, John Bridgewater, who features in the Bromsgrove history book by Alan and Sheila Richards, also lost an eye to a hot nail when he was a 17 year old lad. He pulled it out with his fingers. After that he lived a long life to about 90. My dad remembers at least one local lad being dragged out of the Marlhole. But wasnt this the swampy land that is now the playingfields between Gannow an Waseley Hills Schools. Dad also remembers the airfield being attacked up by Rednal during the war. His eldest brother was one of the management up at the Austins for many years until his retirement. He had another brother who was in the fire service from 1925 1950. He was active during the blitz. Dad and most of his brothers joined the forces and there were seven brothers altogether and they were all local lads. I am 50 this year and attended both Gannow school and Waseley Hills, the latter until we emigrated as family to Australia during 1967. I escaped and returned to England seven years later. My grandparents both met and worked as attendants to the old Hill Hospital when it was first built. My grandfather joined the RAMC and remained stationed there when it became first war hospital. He had a brother who worked there and at Barnsley Hall. He likewise met and married my grandmothers sister in service. They used to go as foursome on a little pony and trap across the hills courting in those tranquil days before the Great War. My Dad went to Waseley Hills school too and also earlier to St Chads. Dads name is one of those on the white bricks inserted into the side of the church wall on Whetty Lane. You know the Congregational Church down on Whetty Lane. To the left of it is a newer building which I believe serves as church hall. On the far left of this building, close to big windows, is the brickwork. All normal brickwork is interspaced with white bricks to form a sort of zig zag diamond pattern. On each of these white bricks there is always the name of a congregation member. Dad told me that each Sunday School child donated so much to the building of the church hall which I think was burned down eventually with the old church in either the very late 50sor early 60s. The bricks were apparently salvaged and re used when the new hall was built. It is interesting just to go and view these names as many surnames I recognized from my school days and some were the parents of kids I went to school with.
malcolm pugh 2005