Brian David Williams
All the days of my life
Because spammers were flooding guestbooks with junk advertisements, UK Online sadly had to withdraw the facility for readers to add new messages. But scroll down to see the guestbook messages received between 2002 and May 2006 (purged of spam). Please do contact me by post, phone or email (see home page for details), and I can manually add your comments here.
I lived from 1941 to 1960 in Oakhurst Rd (the other side of Fox Hollies Park to you. I attended Yardley Grammar School and was also a member of the Boy`s Brigade next to the Methodist church in Botteville. The walks that you mention and also the radio and television programmes of long ago bring back many happy memories. I met my wife at the Olton cinema and we have now been married for 46 years.
We have recently returned to live in Solihull and so have returned almost to our roots.
It was fascinating reading the part of your diary I've so far managed.
I was at KES from 1944 to 1950, and remember a lot of the masters you mention. I started at the end of headmaster England's sojourn. He used to stand straight-faced in his black gown facing us while we jubilantly sang "Where the iron heart of England throbs beneath its sombre robe ...".
i was a billesley lad who took the billesley school to sparkhill commercial route interlinking with those magic blues days and the schoolboy bottle cricket matches at the County Ground. The bombs, the luftwaffe drones, the shrapnel, eric hollies, ambrose mulraney, gil merrick, huge crowds for the matches, the struggles through the snow to get to school or find the milk or coalman, the British Restaurants (never got the spelling right!), Yardley Wood Road, the 24 bus, School Road Moseley, playing Hartfield Road School .... past days providing current nostalgia...
Also, it obvious we lived Birmingham City F.C: your memories are my memories to the last goal, including Gil's save from the Dougie Reid penalty at snow bound St Andrews and those Neil Dougal crossbar wallops.
But the paralels in those blakc and white days do not stop there: the reason i was trawling the web that night was to do a little geneological explorations which the same day had taken me to the house occupied by a relation c1890.... in Baldwins Lane (No 67)! You were bombed out at a time i was staying in Charles Road, Small Heath, on the night you must have been hit, the night they dropped a super landmine in Whitehall Road and I think the B.S.A. "got it."
Thank you, Brian, for your jottings between comic swapping no doubt. john.
Best wishes for a happy future.
Thank you very much for the wonderful story!
I understand you lived in Circular Road from 1941 onwards. I lived at 16 Central Grove from about 1934 until I married in 1953. I had friends that lived in Circular Road and in particular Ken Martin who also attended King Edwards Camp Hill grammar school from 1941 to 1946. I went to Yardley Grammar school in Tyseley during that same period.
I have taken a quick tour through your diary and will study it more thoroughly when I get more time. Regards, Arthur Page
I enjoyed your stories about the "Blues" (I'm a 'Villa fan!), your preaching and the ministry. I applaud you for these memoirs and the discipline it takes to maintain them...wish I'd done the same because we all have a book inside us? God bless. Tom Luton, Bettendorf,Iowa
John and Gillian at 20:27:12 Saturday August 14 2004
Nice to meet you on holiday.Hope it wasn`t too hot. Cheers John
Bill Paskin in New Oscott, Birmingham, at 19:04:37 Thursday January 29 2004
A friend of mine as a collection of very old photographs which she was going to throw away, i have asked her to keep them and wondered if Alton Douglas or Carl Chinn would like them. they are of mixed content, but all in the Birmingham area.
Alton Douglas in Birmingham at 16:47:31 Sunday January 11 2004
I can only echo the remarks from Dr Carl Chinn. I am arranging for a link to be put on my site at http://www.altondouglas.co.uk. Good luck with the continued updates of the site, and thanks for keeping the West Midlands in the "spotlight."
Dr Carl Chinn in Birmingham at 10:52:55 on Tuesday August 13 2002
This is cracking social history. Have you contacted Patrick Baird, Head of Local Studies and History at Birmingham Central Library? I think he should know about the site. I now bring out a monthly magazine called Carl Chinn's Brummagem. Would you fancy doing a write-up about your website with its address etc? Be glad to receive it and include it in a future edition.
Alf Manders in Alcester at 11:45:26 on Monday July 8 2002
It was great to meet you and other old friends on Sunday. The girls and boys did a great concert in the evening, with excerpts from their shows.
Neil, John and I went round the school and were locked in! We got out eventually, having walked down all the forbidden corridors!
We met others later -- one, name not given, mentioned a book by Jonathan Coe, which uses School life under the name of King Williams -- I have look in Amazon and think it must be 'The Rotters' Club' -- have you read it?
Have looked at your dairy -- what a mammoth effort -- I can only admire your self-discipline.
All the best to Freda and yourself. Alf
Max Beran in Didcot at 23:21:16 Tuesday June 11 2002
I have just been reading the diary of that earnest young lad that was your former self. It was another world and all but had me in tears.
I wasn't a contemporary of yours as my years at KES would have been 1951-58 (I think). But I too was in UMD (which I think was for the more "remedial" types who weren't going to make it to Oxbridge) and Mr Parry was my form teacher then too. I recall he got a lot of kudos from having some sort of Welsh Rugby experience and seemed to take a firm though fatherly line with some of the rougher elements that had gravitated to UMD. Of the names you mention I think I remember Mendelssohn as he was the 6th former in charge of the Jewish boys who didn't attend prayers in Big School.
I too was from your neck of the woods in Birmingham and used to catch the Special Bus that started at Acocks Green on those occasions when the weather was too bad to cycle. I attended York House School prior to KES which was near the corner of School Road and Fox Hollies Rd. I picked it up from Springfield Road and do recall the Springfield cinema which I think became a car showroom later on (I was an ABC minor at the Robin Hood which was also on Stratford Road, near the end of Fox Hollies Rd).
I didn't realise the school was doing anything special for 450 years -- I've still got the Quadringentos iam per annos .... book somewhere that marked 400.
All the best and I look forward to future instalments.
From Annie Murray in Reading on 26 May 2002
What a prolific writer you are! I admire anyone who has the discipline to keep diaries as they get older. I used to do it a lot as a child but find it difficult to keep up now. From a quick brows (so far) your diaries seem very rich in just the sort of detail which so easily gets lost and would also be of great value to me. In fact the next book I am currently preparing to write will probably be set from about 1946-50 or so. So thank you very much for that.
How many books? Well -- the Birmingham ones, there are now seven. The last of these, [Chocolate Girls], which is set round Cadburys in Bournville is due out next March. The others are probably listed in the books you have, but just in case: Birmingham Rose, Birmingham Friends (also titled Kate and Olivia), Birmingham Blitz, Orphan of Angel Street, Poppy Day and The Narrowboat Girl.
With all good wishes.
Bob Plowman near Fareham at 11:28:39 on Saturday April 13 2002
We have found you on the Net and will have great fun reading your escapades in due course. Bob's a bit worried about the reference to Phyllis Dixey!
Regards to you both. Angela & Bob