These photographs come to us from Mr R Peckover, of Great Barr, and they show the day in 1968 when his mother, Alderman Lilian Peckover, was officially installed as mayor of West Bromwich (incidentally, in the same month that West Bromwich Albion last lifted the F.A. Cup)! The mayor-making ceremony was held at the famous 1875 town hall, followed by a special service at the Church of the Good Shepherd with St John in Lyttleton Street.
Lilian Peckover served on West Bromwich council from 1954 to 1956 and from 1957 to 1974, representing the Great Barr ward, which later changed names to Newtown, first as a councillor and later as an alderman; she was mayor from 1968 to 1969.
The mayor-making took place on 26th May, 1968, and our first picture shows the official party lined up outside the church, which was consecrated the same year that Lilian Peckover became mayor.
Mr Peckover has tried to name as many people as possible. At the far left is the chief inspector of police, name unknown; nor do we have the name of the lady in the white hat standing next to him. Next to her is Rev Frank Powell of Good Shepherd with St John, and next to him is Councillor Eric Clarke, the mayor’s consort. Next to him, in the full wig, is the borough recorder (name unknown), and next is Wilfred Peckover, the mayor’s husband. Next to him is Lilian Peckover in her mayoral regalia and next to her, with the goatee beard, is the deputy mayor, Councillor G. Cope.
Next is the town clerk, Mr J.M. Day, and beside him is Sam Copson, the mayor’s sergeant, bearing the borough mace. Next to him is the mayor’s chaplain, Rev Pumfrey. The lady second from right is Mrs Cope, the deputy mayoress.
Our next picture, taken inside the church, shows many of the same people. On the front row are Mayor Peckover, the recorder, the recorder’s wife, Councillor Clarke, the town clerk and his wife, and councillor Cope. Between the town clerk and his wife you can see Janice Seabourne, the mayor’s daughter, and between the clerk’s wife and the deputy mayor you can see Wilfred Peckover.
Our other pictures illustrate various aspects of this important day in the civic calendar. We have Lilian sitting in the mayor’s chair in West Bromwich Town Hall; Sam Copson leading the official party into Good Shepherd with St John church; Lilian stood upon a pedestal outside the town hall, ready to take the salute of the marchers; Royal British Legion members in the parade down the High Street; and West Bromwich Girl Guides marching by Mayor Peckover in the civic parade.
Lilian Peckover was not the first female mayor of West Bromwich; that was Grace Emma Cottrell, who served two terms from 1926 to 1928.
Mrs Peckover served on West Bromwich council during a period of considerable change. West Bromwich was incorporated into a county borough by an act of parliament in 1882 but its boundaries were significantly widened in 1966 when it absorbed much of Wednesbury and Tipton as well as parts of Darlaston and Coseley. This new larger borough only lasted eight years as it ceased to exist on 1st April, 1974, when West Bromwich and Warley merged to form the new metropolitan borough of Sandwell.