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Where have all the schools gone?

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 11, 2014

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WE'VE had many a mention of Brierley Hill and Sedgley and District Schools Football Association over the years, and quite a glut in recent months.

Which prompted Wall Heath author and historian Terry Church to take a look at an item from that association, dating back over sixty years. On looking at the names in the league table, Terry was struck by how much things have changed, but he also had some warm – and some painful – memories reawakened.

"I have been looking at the Souvenir Handbook 1951-52 that covered the achievements in the previous season when the Senior side (Under 15s) reached the final of the English Schools Shield." Terry writes.

"In examining the league tables for the Senior League the games played by each school varied because of so much area activity, with the championship being decided by a challenge match between Ocker Hill and Quarry Bank. Eventually Ocker Hill gained the Richard Thomas and Baldwin's trophy for the League Winners.

"Sadly of the nine schools who were members of the League I think that only Dormston (Sedgley) still exists as a Senior School.

"The others have been demolished or in some cases used for a different age range. I am sad to say that the school that I was to commence attending a couple of years hence, Technical, finished at the foot of the table, acquiring one measly point, and scoring only eleven goals whilst conceding exactly one hundred. Technical was later to become Brierley Hill Grammar School

"The composition of the Junior League has fared much better as regards continuity, and of the schools shown I think that only Brook Street and Brockmoor are no longer standing. Quarry Bank and Wall Heath have been demolished and new schools erected on the same sites.

"On the field my own school, Wall Heath, at least fared a little better than my soon to be Senior School, but not a lot! Sadly my on-field exploits when I progressed to the teams did very little to make much difference to their results. 1951-52 would see my first season in the Wall Heath team and I have kept a record of our results; what sad reading they make!

"Mill Street had been added to the previous season's teams, making nine schools in total. Of sixteen matches played we won two games, one each versus Pensnett C of E and Brook Street, although we did manage to draw three of our other fixtures.

"We suffered some resounding defeats losing thirteen nil, away against Mount Pleasant, although we did improve a little in the return fixture, only conceding eleven goals but again failing to score ourselves.

"In addition we were thumped ten – nil at Pensnett Bromley but showed a great improvement in our home game by only losing by four goals to nil.

"From memory we did improve in the following season (although I would say that, wouldn't I?) but I have no records to prove it.

"Three advertisers supported the Handbook; The Sports Argus, The Sporting Star and the coach company W.A. Noakes Ltd, and sadly they have all disappeared, as has the printer W Burrows.

"A sign of the times, I am afraid."

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