Explore The History of The Gornals With Sedgley Local History Society

ned williams the gornals sedgley

Ned Williams and photographer Graham Beckley celebrate the publication of The Gornals.

The inaugural Andrew Barnett & Trevor Genge Memorial Lecture takes place on Thursday 8th October at 7:30 pm in St. Andrew’s Church, Bilston Street, Sedgley.

The speaker is Ned Williams the well-respected Black Country historian and author.

Ned explores the Gornals (the subject of his fiftieth book) and shares his warm affection for the villagers and their traditions. This illustrated presentation reflects a flavour of Black Country life still around, but fast disappearing.

For past and present Gornal folk, it is an evening not to be missed.

As usual, visitors are invited to come along – admission £1. Annual membership of the Society costs £5 and gives free access to the programme of talks.

Schoolteachers, Andrew Barnett and Trevor Genge, were co-founders of the Society in 1984. Andrew launched the Sedgley Local History Museum (closed 2004) and Trevor published five books on the Sedgley Manor villages. Both were avid researchers and staunch supporters of conservation projects.

Visit Sedgley Local History Society for more information.

Sedgley Real Ale Beer Festival Rolls out Again for 2015

sedgleyscene-sedgley-beer-festival-2This year’s Sedgley Real Ale Festival promises to be even bigger

You could say last year’s Sedgley Real Ale Beer Festival was a success. In fact, it was so popular that thirsty visitors managed to down 2,000 pints in just 17 hours!

So, as organisers prepare for this September’s event at Sedgley Jubilee Scout Hall, more beers are most definitely the ‘order of the day’.

The festival, which combines real ale and live music, is fast becoming a regular autumn fixture for beer lovers across the Black Country.

Chairman, Ian Foster says:

We are very excited with the amount of interest in the beer festival. It is really satisfying tasting beers for good causes, and with so many local people turning up, everyone seems certain to meet old friends.”

Sedgley Real Ale Beer Festival Helping Charities

The money raised from the beer festival will be used to benefit the Scout Group, Children in Need, and Cystic Fibrosis.  The Scouts used their share of the proceeds to complete work on a fantastic logged cabin and new toilets.

The landlord of the Horse and Jockey at Woodcross will also be on hand to offer expert advice and recommendations.

Beer managers, Ron and Paul Reynolds, say: “In our first year, we got through almost 4,000 drinks in 17 hours! Last year it was 5,000, so this year we are ready to take it close to 6,000 glasses of ale, cider and wines.”

Drinkers will be entertained on Friday night with live music from locals Ben & Alun Davies, who will be serving up a range of 60’s, blues, folk, and classic rock numbers.

Joining the line-up on Saturday afternoon will be Sedgley Ukulele Strummers, and 1st Sedgley Morris Men.


The Four Rossis will be keeping crowds rocking on Saturday night

Star billing on Saturday night will be ‘The Quo’ also known as ‘The Four Rossis’, who will reel out ‘Good Time Boogie’ and a wealth of other favourites to re-create the ‘full-on, driving rock’n’roll that is Status Quo’.

This year’s festival will take place at Jubilee Hall, (rear of Sedgley Co-op), Friday evening 25th 5pm to 11pm and Saturday 26th of September from noon to 11pm.

The entrance fee of £10 includes drinks, a souvenir festival glass and three live bands.

For more details, contact David Baugh, tel: 07795370712 or
email: davidbaugh@blueyonder.co.uk

Black Country History Goes Digital in Sedgley Local History Society Talk

black-country-industry-sedgleyKeen photographers in Sedgley can get a fascinating insight into the history of the Black Country when the new season of talks from Sedgley Local History Society begins this Thursday, September 10th.

This week’s talk will feature society member Eddy Hickey –  a keen photographer and member of the Compton G. Camera Club, Wolverhampton.

His illustrated talk will appeal to everyone who treasures old photographs. Eddy has digitised around 100 images found on glass plates dating from the early years of last century. It is thought that many of the scenes were used on postcards.

Eddy will begin his presentation at 7:30 pm in St. Andrew’s Church, Bilston Street, Sedgley.

As usual, visitors are invited to come along. Individual talks cost £1. Annual membership of the Society costs £5 and gives free access to the programme of talks.

Full programme & Summer Teaser – www.sedgleylocalhistory.org.uk

The Rise and Fall of the Whitehouses of Turls Hill


Sedgley residents can uncover the fascinating story behind the rise and fall of one of Woodsetton’s most influential families at the Sedgley Local History Society meeting this Thursday, 14th May.

Lorna Stevens has spent more than 10 years researching the Whitehouse family, whose money was made and lost in coal mining and running blast furnaces during the Victorian era.

And, in the course of her research, Lorna has discovered some intriguing stories, papers and diaries which shed light on this famous local family’s dramatic fall from grace.

The Whitehouses, whose grand home was Turls Hill House (pictured above), had strong links to All Saints Church, Sedgley and St Mary’s, Hurst Hill.

The meeting, which starts with a very short Annual General Meeting before Lorna starts her presentation, begins at 7:30 pm at St. Andrew’s Church, Bilston Street, Sedgley.

As usual visitors are invited to come along.  Individual talks cost £1.




Black Country Accountancy Firm Finds New Home in Sedgley


The team at Bytheway & Co Accountants, Sedgley, l-r: Hannah Duerdin, Dan Bytheway, Alison Murray, Reg Bytheway, Helen Kershaw,
Dave Bytheway and Amy Massey

One of the Black Country’s leading family-owned accountancy firms is celebrating its 35th birthday in style with a move to prestigious new offices in Sedgley.

Bytheway & Co, which was set up in a small home garage by current director Reg Bytheway, has invested substantially into transforming a derelict building in Sedgley into its new home.

A string of new contracts with local businesses has paved the way for the expansion, with its Bilston Street premises now having additional meeting rooms, the latest technology and dedicated parking.

Backed by a £19,500 grant from the Green Shoots Fund, the company has already taken on two new employees and expects turnover to grow by 10% this year.

“We’ve come a long way from when I first started in 1979 and I’m delighted that we have grown the business by keeping it in the Black Country and in the family,” explained Reg, who is joined at the helm by his two sons David and Dan.

“The new office provides us with a modern image that reflects our new branding, not to mention giving us more space to grow and take on additional clients. We’re also about to launch a new website as part of the marketing push.”

He continued: “There is no doubt the Green Shoots Fund has brought forward our plans by 12 months and hopefully we are starting to pay some of that back by employing more people and bringing an important building back to life.”

Accountancy Services for Black Country Businesses

Bytheway & Co, which has the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants accreditation, offers a comprehensive range of accountancy and business advisory services to starts-ups, sole-traders, partnerships and Limited companies across the West Midlands and the UK.

Its family-orientated approach has seen it build strong relationships with a client base that spans construction, entertainment, manufacturing, professional services and retail.

“Most of the firms we work for have been with us for more than 15 years, some even from the start…back in 1979,” continued Reg.

“We try to do things differently, offering a pro-active and personal approach to their requirements, whether it is around payroll, personal/business taxation, tax planning or corporate transactions.

“One example is the free initial consultation we provide for small business, an offer that companies have already taken advantage of in 2015.”

He concluded: “There definitely appears to be a growing demand from clients to seek support from independent accountancy practices that offer both excellent advice and importantly value for money.”

For further information, please visit www.bythewayaccountants.co.uk or contact 01902 675243

Creative Black Country Brings Arts to Sedgley


Artists and performers in Sedgley can showcase their talents as part of an exciting new project launching soon.

Creative Black Country is a new Arts Council England funded project bringing the best in high quality performance and visual arts from around the world to the region showcasing the finest the region has to offer.

The Queens Square shopping centre West Bromwich will come to life on the 22nd January with the official launch of the new project, which features performances from ACE Dance & Music, Crashmat Collective Contemporary Circus, an innovative Holographics display by a local artist, some rather unusual characters, and much more. The event is free and open to everyone.

Black Country Creativity

Programme Director, Sajida Carr says: “The Black Country has always been and still is a hot bed of creativity and innovation. Through this project we will celebrate the artistic excellence and creativity that is the backbone of a region that has given the world Led Zeppelin, Noddy Holder, Goldie, Frank Skinner, Julie Walters, Beverly Knight and still has so much to offer artistically and

Her thoughts are echoed by Mark Davis, Chair of the Creative Black Country partnership, who says: “This event is a great opportunity to enjoy and experience something fantastic, fun and
different right on our doorstep. We hope as many people as possible will come and be part of this Creative Black Country launch event, to get a taste of some of the exciting things to come.”

Creative People and Places projects are taking place in parts of the country where people’s involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average, with the aim of increasing the likelihood of participation. The project will support local groups and communities to create their own arts activities as well as commission arts activity across Wolverhampton, Walsall and Sandwell.

Join the Creative Black Country Facebook page here  or follow the project on Twitter here



History of Black Country Zeppelin Raid in Sedgley


The air raids of the First World War left a trail of destruction across the UK. Photo by Toni Frissell.

During the First World War, about 50 Zeppelin raids were made on Britain, killing more than 500 civilians and injuring more than 1,300. And, at the next meeting of Sedgley Local History Society, local residents can hear all about the deadly raid on the Black Country in January 1916.

Derek Nicholls, a local historian from Tipton, has spent 18 months researching the deadly raid on Tipton, Bradley, Wednesbury and Walsall inflicted by a Zeppelin that had lost its way. In around half an hour, the L21 had destroyed homes and buildings, killing about thirty five and injuring twenty.

With stalemate on the Western Front Zeppelin raids started in January 1915 with bombs dropped on King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth. Three unsuccessful attempts to bomb central Birmingham resulted in only minor damage on the outskirts. The city was saved by applying a stringent blackout policy.

The next meeting of the Society takes place on Thursday, 13th November, at 7:30 pm in St. Andrew’s Church, Bilston Street, Sedgley.

As usual, visitors are invited to come along – admission £1. Annual membership of the Society costs £5 and gives free access to the programme of talks.

All About The Gornals With Ned Williams

‘The Gornals’ is the latest book by hugely popular local historian, Ned Williams.

This is Ned’s 50th book and, for many members of Sedgley Local History Society, he couldn’t have chosen a better subject. He covers Upper & Lower Gornal, Ruiton, Gornal Wood and The Straits in 200 pages of text and photographs.

The book will be launched on Friday, 14th November, at 2.30 pm at Zoar Methodist Church and later the same day at 7.30 pm at Upper Gornal Methodist Church. A Grand Book Launch with special guests and a presentation of ‘Gornal on Film’.

At both events, the paperback edition costs £10 and a limited hardback edition costs £15. (Later in bookshops the prices will be £13.50 & £18 respectively.)