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West Midlands Gazetteer


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West Midlands Gazetteer

Aston Hall

Aston Hall

The origins of Aston can be traced back to before the Domesday Book (1086-7) which shows the manor named as "Estone". Before the Norman invasion Earl Eadwin held the manor, then by 1086 it was controlled by William FitzAnsculf. This eventually passed into the hands of John atte Holte through marriage in 1367. The Holtes remained at Aston for the following two centuries. Read More »

Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre

Officially opened by HRH Prince Andrew on 28th June 1996, the new and renamed Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre on the City Hospital site, replaced the old Birmingham & Midland Eye Hospital, which had been on Church Street since 1884. Read More »

Bournebrook UFO (1901)

In 1901a report was made of a 'hut' landing in a field near Bournebrook in the West Midlands. The 'hut' - as it is described - was occupied by small men wearing tin helmets. This 'hut' then took off into the sky.

City Hospital, Birmingham

The City Hospital originally opened in 1889 as an extension to the Western Road workhouse and has been known by several names including Birmingham Union Infirmary, Dudley Road Infirmary and Dudley Road Hospital. Read More »

An Experience in Northfield, Birmingham

The following is an account of a strange experience (sent via e-mail) that happened to Roy Brown in the Northfield area of Birmingham during the early 1960s. We would be interested in hearing from anyone who knows anything about 'Mrs Kelly'. Read More »

Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Socialism in the Midlands

Frank Podmore

In 1881 Frank Podmore met Edward Pease, a young stockbroker, at a Spiritualist meeting in London. They discovered a mutual interest in socialism, and joined the Progressive Association, founded in November 1882. They took a keen interest in the utopian philosophy of Thomas Davidson, and with a few others formed a society, the Fellowship of the New Life. Read More »

Roads To The Otherworld: Contemporary Haunted Roads And A Sacred Landscape

Oldnall Road, a seemingly unremarkable two-mile rural stretch of B-road between the towns of Halesowen and Stourbridge in the West Midlands, hit the international headlines a few months ago (1) following reports of a series of sightings of an apparition. Reports of 'road ghosts' are nothing unusual, they form an important part of 'ghost lore' throughout the world (2). Read More »

Scareships or Motherships : The British phantom airship scare 1909 – 1918

Scareship

At the turn of the 20th century, visionaries began to dream that the new science of aeronautics would bring universal peace on the Earth by love or fear. Love because as people travelled more they would get to know each other as human beings and no longer as sinister foreigners; fear, because the destructive power of aerial bombardment would render war unthinkable. Read More »

Sedgley’s Beacon Tower

Sedgeley Beacon Tower

Sedgley Beacon lies some 237 metres (777 feet) above sea level in the heart of the West Midlands. It is said that the top of Beacon Hill is the highest point between Sedgley and the Ural Mountains in Russia. Commanding views were once enjoyed right across the industrial Black Country and beyond to the Clee and Malvern hills and the mountains of Wales. Read More »

Shorth Heath

Roy Palmer in his 'The Folklore Of Warwickshire (1976)' refers to the following haunting case in he West Midlands, though I have not been able to discover any further details. 'People living in a house at Short Heath, Birmingham, have heard a noisy ghost, thought to be female, banging about and leaving the smell of perfume behind her.'

Small Heath Scareship, Birmingham

According to David Taylor's excellent article 'Scareships or Motherships : The British phantom airship scare 1909 – 1918', in May 1909, multiple witnesses saw a cigar shaped airship, without lights, passing overhead on several consecutive nights.

Spring Heeled Jack – The Terror of the Black Country

Out of the dark, supernatural depths of Victorian England one name stands out. Jack.

Not Jack the Ripper, but a more supernatural fiend - Spring Heeled Jack! Read More »

The Badgers Sett

Roughly thirty years ago Detective Constable Roger Ryder had an experience as he passed the Badgers Sett, then known as the Gypsies’ Tent on the A456. An interview with the now retired detective appeared in the Black Country Bugle in 2007. Read More »

The Bull's Head, Earlswood

Recently (April 2013) re-opened the The Bull’s Head on Limekiln Lane in Earlswood has been a public house since 1832, though the building dates back to 1740 when it was used by navies working on the Stratford Upon Avon canal. Their website states that it is rumored to be haunted by a ghost of a lime kiln worker.

The Court Oak, Harborne

The Court Oak built in 1932 has a reputation of being haunted. The following Mirror article entitled 'Wine snob ghost 'haunting Birmingham pub smashes house wine bottles' dates from 30 October 2011. Read More »

The Priest & The Prophetess: Joanna Southcott in the West Midlands

Joanna Southcott

Joanna Southcott was born in April 1750 in Taleford, and raised in the village of Gittisham in Devon, England. Read More »

Whitmore Park Black Dog

According to ‘The Folklore of Warwickshire’ (1976) by Roy Palmer, a Black Dog ‘with a matted, shaggy coat and green eyes roams Whitmore Park at night. People avoid the area, since to see the dog means a death in the family’ It is thought that in 1949 this creature standing about six foot tall was seen on Watery Lane. Read More »

Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?

Wych Elm

On 18th April 1943 four Stourbridge teenagers, Fred Payne, Tommy Willetts, Robert Hart and Bob Farmer discovered the remains of a woman inside a hollow Wych Elm (also known as Scots (Scotch) Elm or Ulmus glabra) in Hagley Wood. It has been suggested that ritualistic magic or even wartime espionage may have been behind this murder mystery that after sixty years is still a focus of interest. Read More »



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