It’s been a little quiet here on the blog recently, but with good reason! I’ve been busy with the new group I’m involved in – Lichfield Discovered. As well as putting on a series of talks and workshops, we’re also really keen to get out and about exploring this fine city of ours together.
So, on Sunday, around twenty people (plus dogs!) met at Martin Heath hall to explore some of the lanes and greens of Leomansley. Over the years I’ve lived here, I’ve tried to piece together some of the history of this lovely, but I think relatively unknown, part of Lichfield. As well as sharing this information, I was also hoping that others on the walk would contribute their own memories and information. I wasn’t disappointed! I’ve added the notes that I prepared for the walk here – Leomansley Discovered Walk Notes (disclaimer: they are a bit rough but hopefully of interest!) – but along the way we also heard:
- how in the final years before demolition, Beacon Place was owned by the council and used to store items for the Lichfield Bower!
- that children in the area would sometimes bypass the swimming baths on the Walsall Rd altogether, choosing instead to swim in the pools at Leomansley House and in Leomansley Brook, once they’d dammed it to make it deep enough!
- that a mysterious stone with a perfectly carved letter ‘L’ had been dug up in a Leomansley backgarden
- that one of the terraced houses on the Walsall Rd facing the old Conduit Lands Pumping station and the public baths may once have been a shop
- there were actual baths at the swimming baths
- how someone’s aunt lived in a house that was once part of the original Christ Church school building (after the school had been condemned and moved to its current position over the road)
- that there was an air raid shelter behind Christ Church school
- that the foundry on Beacon St (where Morrisons is now) once had an agreement that they could deposit some of their industrial waste on Pipe Green (some of which is still evident!)
- that my Mum lives in the house where the jockey Greville Starkey once lived!
Unfortunately, despite accosting the owner of the old Vicarage on Christchurch Lane we still didn’t manage to get a definitive answer on the subject of the mystery bell outside one of the windows, but we did enjoy coming up with our own theories! We were also tantalising close to seeing what the Carpenter’s Arms looked like, as someone who had lived next door was kind enough to bring along an old photograph of their house, but sadly the now demolished pub was just out of shot!
As well as members of the Lichfield Discovered Group, it was great to have people from the Beacon Street Area Residents’ Association, the Pipe Green Trust, Friends of Lichfield Parks, friends and Leomansley residents, past and present, come along and I’d like to say a big thank you to all who joined in. I think sharing and working together is vital to understanding our local history – we can all learn something from each other (I think the posh word is synergy).
I may do the walk again in Spring when the bluebells are out (and hopefully my Mum is in to make us all a nice cup of tea on the way round). There is also talk of a ‘Beacon Place’ walk, to discover the story of this lost estate, and the traces that remain in Beacon Park. In the meantime however, the next meeting of Lichfield Discovered is on Tuesday 12th November 2013, starting 7pm at the Lichfield Garrick studio, where we will be discussing and sharing memories of WW1 and WW2. For more information, please take a look at the Lichfield Discovered website here. You can also follow us on twitter @lichdiscovered and we’re on Facebook too https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lichfield-Discovered/488746161217038