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Memories of Christmas Eve at Wednesbury pub

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 28, 2014

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THE article about the lost Black Country pubs and in particular the White Horse Hotel in Wednesbury in The Bugle (February 27 edition) brought back many memories for me of my childhood.

My parents, Maud and Sid Smith, lived in Pooles Lane, Willenhall, after their marriage in September 1939.

Mom had lived at 18 Hill Street, Hill Top, West Bromwich, with her parents, Sarah and Jim Langford, previously with sisters Mary and Rita.

As was the custom in those days my mother returned to the family home in Hill Street for my birth. During the years I was growing up we always went to Gran and Granddad's on Christmas Eve for the festive season until after Boxing Day. This brings me to the reason I remember the White Horse Hotel.

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Every Christmas Eve night my father and granddad Jim would go to the White Horse for a traditional Christmas Eve drink.

In those days the public houses shut at 10pm, by which time I was tucked up in bed, waiting for the arrival of Father Christmas, but finding it hard to sleep.

When dad returned from the pub he would put his head round the bedroom door and say: "Father Christmas is just coming up Holloway Bank, you better get to sleep."

This was repeated every year of my childhood, and it must have worked, because I was always sleeping by the time he came!

I spent all my school holidays with my grandparent in Hill Street. Two doors away from No.18 was the Vine Public House. I remember grandma Sarah always went to the public house every Friday evening to pay the death and dividend club money, which was a good excuse for her to bring back a jug of beer.

There was the Brockhouse Foundry quite close to Hill Street and it always took me a few nights to get used to the noise from the stamping before I could get to sleep.

It went on all night and so different to Pooles Lane which was so quiet.

When I got used to it, it was time to return home, and I had to get used to it being quiet, again.

Valerie Summerfield, (nee Smith),

57 Greenwood Road, Aldridge, Walsall.


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