As a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic and the lockdowns, current projects have tended to be home-centred and “laptop-centred”. A few talks have been able to proceed thanks to the wonders of “Zoom”, and that is something that may be developed in 2021, and there are new talks in the pipeline for those who really want to look ahead.
During 2020 it has been possible to look at some of the photo and slide collections that have been passed on to me and some time has been spent of processing them or finding them new homes. I have looked at visual material inherited from John Handley (mainly local railways) and slides taken by Fred Richardson and Bob Webster (mainly fairground subjects). We have returned to the material left by Eric Hamilton and Michael Hale including many images of the local railway scene. I hope much of this can find a home in local archives and have already passed on other material to local archives.
As explained on the Home Page, the writing that has gone on during 2020 has focussed on a number of biographies. This will continue is 2021.
The last publication produced by Uralia Press is still available - at a bargain price.
“Four Swallows & Two Elephants” was published at the end of 2018. It is a 180 page 2/3 A4 paperback book with colour cover and some colour material inside. The book tells the life stories of seven local people whose lives criss-crossed the Black Country. They all worked in the world of entertainment (fairground, early cinema, circus and theatre).
1. Ben Kennedy: the man who built the Dudley Hippodrome
2. Irving Bosco: the man who opened the first cinema in the Black Country
2. Joe Bate of Tipton: the World’s Fair correspondent who covered the Black Country and filled his reports with
memories going back to the 1890s.
4. Eliza Bennett: Dudley’s great actress and travelling theatre proprietor who settled down in her own theatre
5. Broncho Bill: Wolverhampton’s great equestrian artiste and circus proprietor, owner of Wolverhampton’s
elephants: Salt and Saucy.
6. Southdown - the writer from Cannock with a curious pen-name who dreamed of opening his own marionette show.
7. Brenda Jones: the girl from Wolverhampton who became a great American circus star.
This book, profusely illustrated, is now available at the price of £3 plus £2 postage. (Free delivery for local customers!)