Tuesday, September 19, 2017


ISSUE NUMBER 197 August 2017

Carl Writes

Back in 1993, I was working on a two-year contact in the new post of Community Historian at the University of Birmingham, a job which was also funded by Birmingham Libraries. As part of my work for the Libraries I was involved in giving talks at community libraries across the City and in working to help to set up local history societies.
 I vividly recall one session at Bloomsbury Library when lots of people turned up to talk about their memories of Nechells, Duddeston, Ashted and Vauxhall and to discuss the idea of forming a society to carry out research into those areas and to draw people together for social meetings and to listen to speakers.
 My Nan, Lil Perry nee Wood, came with me a she had grown up just down the road in Whitehouse Street, Aston, where she also lived after her marriage until she was moved out of her back-to-back in the early 1960s and into a new maisonette at 17, Garsdale Terrace, Malvern House, Nechells.
 We all sat around in a very large circle and people were sparking off each other with their reminiscences. Many of the people agreed to meet again and from those discussions the Heartlands Local History Society was formed in May 1993. It soon became one of the most active groups of its kind, not only by having meetings with speakers but also by collecting old photographs, gathering memories, organising reunions and parties and bringing out a cracking newsletter called the ‘Old End News’.
 For ten years the editor of that excellent publication was John Kirby, who sadly died recently. John believed passionately that, as he proclaimed, ‘history only tells you about the big events and the small everyday bits of local history, your heritage, that never gets told and needs saving’. And he cajoled his readers to tell those small bits of everyday history by declaring that ‘if yo’re one them that’s never written anything about your time livin’ or workin’ down the Old End ain’t it about time yo did summat about it!’   
 I was privileged to know both John and his wife, Sheila, and I have valued their kindnesses to me and their support for my work. This month’s Brummagem includes some of John’s memories from the ‘Old End News’ in tribute to him. I am grateful to the Heartlands Local History Society and Sheila for allowing me to include them.
 As ever there is much more in this issue – from memories of Balsall Heath to those of a Brummie inventor, and from an account of Birmingham’s biggest football match to date in 1886 to Honouring the Fallen.

Have a bostin read.
Tara bit

Carl

 

 

 

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