A FEELING OF TRANQUILITY
A further look at Steen & Blackets Map of 1871 – recalling No.5 Jennings undertakers, No 6 St James Vicarage, No.7, St James’s Church, No.8 , The Shakespeare Inn and No.9 Horseley Fields Tavern.
THEN & NOW
Today’s picture of the scene in question – Horseley Fields join’s the ring road 2014.
The cars have just passed the hoarding at the side of Minerva Lane,and are now alongside what was once the site of Hollingsworth, pork butchers factory, and (No. 9) on the map “Horseley Fields Tavern” then Shakespeare Street.
They will shortly pass the large building that was purposely built in the 1950’s to house Brown Brothers Electrical goods wholesalers who removed from Fryer Street.
On the corner of the ring-road entrance The renamed Mary Ann Street are the Funeral Directors F. Jennings.
“The Shakespeare Inn” seen here an M&B house in the 1960’s with the large Brown Brothers Building peeping out above it on the right.
It was just fifty yards or so, apart from its ancient companion the “Horseley Fields Tavern” which is listed in the Post Office Directory of 1847. The licensee a that time being “Paren Earp”.
But both inns, had been serving beer for well over a century before their demise.
The following is a page from William Butlers Magazine date 1950 regarding this old hostelry, which perhaps shows a little about the character of the people that lived and worked in Horseley Fields between the wars.
One hundred yards further up from Shakespeare Street was St James’s Street.
Today this site between Shakespeare Street and St James’s Street, with the grave appearance, of the late Brown Brothers building on the left certainly lives up to its location today as a place for the deceased.
But once upon a time St James Street, held an aura of peace and tranquility of another kind.
On it east side adjoining Horseley Fields, and taking up the full 200 yards of ground until the intersection of Ward Street, stood The parish Church of St James (consecrated in 1843), and its School buildings.
Built of stone in the perpendicular style, and consisted of a chancel, nave, aisles and a low and massive embattled western tower with one bell.
The last service there was held on Armistice day 1955, and the church was demolished in 1956. The vacant ground has been occupied since 1956 by the former Brown’s Electrical building, now disused and boarded up today.
This fine engraving of St James Church showing an amazing full frontal view of the church and schools in St James’s street, with Horseley Fields on the left, used to hang in the living room, of my grandmothers house in Colliery Road, when she died it later past on to my mother, who eventually gave it to me.
The gentleman in the blazer glances at the Vicarage in St James’s Street as he walks towards town, up Horseley Fields in the early 1950’s.
It was built for the incumbent of the church opposite in 1843, it was a distinctive building with its Flemish style gables and mock Tudor windows. Its hard to believe now we could have let both Church and Vicarage go, all in the name of progress.
St James’s House home of Jennings Undertakers. The company celebrated its centenary in 1948. the above picture shows this site in 1963 shortly before the demolition of the adjacent church vicarage the site of which became part of their new showroom with 14 chapels of rest.. built in 1965.
ALL THOSE YEARS AGO
The Brattons lived at 32 Smestow Street, of the Cannock Road, the funeral I believe was for their youngest son Freddie, later when the father Thomas Bratton died the family had to move to a smaller house in Bank Street, and some of the children were farmed out to a relative.
Frederick Jennings sits beside the driver of the hearse, outside the premises at no’s 15 -16 St James Street.
It is not a proven fact, but I would like to believe the funeral cortege had just returned from the burial of Freddie Bratton in Holy Trinity Church, Heath Town.
But it is a known fact my Grandfathers younger brother Joseph Howe was living at no. 22 St James Street with his family, just after the 1st World War.
Finally the shop just beyond Jennings with the overhanging street light was on the corner of Ward Street.
Post twelve – memories of Horseley fields continue…recalling the Last Picture Show.