Although I walk around Aldridge on one mission or another every day, it is not often I choose to walk Aldridge purely as a leisure pursuit. Sunday unusually, was dry and reasonably sunny for some of the time and so I decided to amble where ever my feet and thoughts decided to go. When walking Aldridge for no other reason than I want to, my thoughts tend to lead to those who have walked before me, Grandparents, Great Grandparents and even Great Great Grandparents. My mind tries to picture the streets, roads and lanes as they were 100 years ago and even further back than that. On a reasonably quiet Sunday morning with the bells of the parish church ringing, it is not a difficult leap to make although I do think that most of my ancestors would be astounded by the changes that have taken place, not just in the buildings around the village or even the growth of housing but in the lack of industry compared with back then. No collieries now. No belching chimneys or even gently smoking chimneys from the homes. No blacksmiths forges. If one thing has improved in Aldridge whilst I have been alive, its the air quality!
This is the walk I took, taking photographs of anything that interested me along the way.
Grandfather who died there. It is also the house in which my father and his sister were born.
Next to the cottage is the mile post marker. This must have been erected around the time the cottage was built as it appears for the first time on an OS map for which the survey was carried out in 1901. The post was manufactured by Charles Lathe & Co of Tipton who were established c.1887 and their mile markers can still be found all over Staffordshire. For many years the marker's reference to Watford Gap puzzled me as the only Watford Gap I had ever heard of was on the M1 and that is a great deal further than four miles! A request to the wonderful Brownhills Bob and his inestimable readership soon solved the mystery!
web site states its location as Pool Green, Walsall, which is a nod to its true location (Pool Green was in effect a hamlet outside of Aldridge village until Aldridge started to grow outwards but controversially, may be the place that Aldridge was first settled and so is more Aldridge than Aldridge!) and one in the eye for rather a lot of people who have commented on the pub being in Aldridge and not Walsall on a particular Facebook group! It may be in Aldridge now but it may not have always been considered to be so.
After the fire - last week fire swept through this farm on Bosty Lane. I'm not sure how old some of these buildings are. They are not listed but they are old. They appear on OS Maps prior to 1881. The farm I am led to understand, is owned by Walsall Council and is currently unoccupied.
The Top Hangars history is partly explained by a poster on the door, left over from the Black Country Echoes Festival held during the latter part of 2014. Helliwells, producer of the Swallow Doretti is part of that history as was the war time manufacture of aircraft components by the same company, along with aircraft modification and repair at their factory which once stood on the other side of the airport field, fronting the Walsall Road.
Further along towards the west, the flats of the Chuckery in Walsall dominate hiding the more genteel view of St Matthew's in Walsall. At the bottom of the field the local model airplane club still brings in the numbers on a Sunday morning.
Taken from Whetstone Lane. You can see the Sutton Coldfield transmitter and Sutton Park. As I said earlier, Aldridge is blessed with good views from many vantage points.
This nearly derelict house on Erdington Road, more or less opposite the junction with Whetstone Lane is causing a little controversy at the present time. The last house on that side until nearly at the junction with Little Hardwick Road it has a large garden, is right on the edge of the green belt and offers most pleasant views over fields towards Sutton Park.
The Shrubbery on Erdington Road. Grade II listed having being built in the mid to late 18th century. Used as offices now but apparently has some interesting period detail within.
Just before the junction of Erdington Road with Portland Road are these buildings. I have no idea how old they are, probably no more than a century however, the brickwork speaks of days gone by as does the size of the windows. Per OS maps they were built prior to 1912.
Portland Road. At least 100 years old.
Peeping through the gate to get a glimpse of The Cottage built in the 17th century. It has sat there on the edge of The Croft for so long, I think many people forget it is there. Despite it now being such a busy road, I always think The Cottage remains in glorious isolation and seclusion. It looks so inviting. I would love a tour!
The Croft. Our village green. How long will this remain unspoiled despite it being protected by common land status and also being in a conservation area?
The war memorial or cenotaph as some call it. Originally erected in the church yard just a few yards away and re-sited in the 1950s. My Great Uncle, William Plant is remembered on this. My Great Grandmother, his mother, kept a photograph of its original dedication in 1919 with her until she died.
The lychgate at the parish church.
The Bonner Memorial looking beautiful after all the loving attention of the Aldridge Volunteer Gardeners. We owe them so much for keeping Aldridge looking lovely. Thank you
OK so I took this photograph but I do like it! The Bonner Memorial Garden and The Parish Church all in one shot...and no cars!
The main entrance to the cemetery. Beautiful doors and well maintained.
The new Church Rooms. I have to admit that I didn't much care for this building originally but it has grown on me. I love the reflections of colours in and off the main window
Taken from the side of the new Church Rooms looking towards the new development that was built on the site of the 1970s rectory. The land on which the rectory stood was sold for the proceeds to be used towards the cost of the new Church Rooms. I don't think the houses of the new development will ever grow on me. Considering how much they cost when built, the look to me, like cheap impersonations of old farm houses but without the purpose......
.....and from the back they look like a row of terraced houses. They certainly packed them in!
Finally, the Old Rectory. Built in the 1820s and now accommodation for the elderly. A lovely spot right next to the church.
I ambled back towards The Croft to return home reflecting upon the fact that Aldridge is still not a bad place to live. My ancestors, two branches of my family came here for different reasons. My father's paternal side came here for work at the mines. His maternal side, two different generations, well one came to retire but did anything but and the other generation came to work on the farms. I left for nearly 20 years but returned because my parents were still here and I had young children that needed decent schools.
I hope you've enjoyed perambulating with me.