I came across this story in the Express & Star, dated way back on May 5th 2010, and now I’m intrigued to know the update, (If indeed there is one) on this story.
Anyway, read this and let me know if you know something I don’t please.
Bill wants home for treasured memories.
Bill Archer has been mayor, seen seven Prime Ministers come to power and witnessed the creation of the Sandwell borough.
With a career spanning 36 years he has seen good and bad times and recorded it by saving thousands of Express & Star cuttings.
His scrap books filled with cuttings go back to 1974 and before he retired, he was looking for a home for his collection.
The long-serving councillor also has letters from every Prime Minster since Harold Wilson took over the job in 1974.
Bill, aged 82, of Churchfield Road, Wednesbury, grew up in the town’s Portway Road and was in the marines from 1945 for three years.
He went on to be a long distance lorry driver for Rubery Owen and then ran a clothes shop in Wednesbury’s Union Street for 17 years.
He became councillor, for what was Market Ward and later became Wednesbury North, in 1974.
Bill said: “When I was first elected I wanted to get make sure people knew who I was and one of the best ways to do that was through the local Press — the Express & Star. Being in opposition meant you could say what you wanted to say, within reason, and get away with it.
“I love looking back through the years to 1974 and seeing the changes that have taken place. “There have been a lot of ups and downs. However, I’m getting very close to retirement now and I’ve run out of space to store all my Express & Star cuttings.
I want them to go to a good home and then someone can see what it has been like being a councillor from the start of Sandwell.”
In 1996 the number of Tory councillors in the borough was cut from 22 down to two.
“It was councillor Ray Partridge and myself and the other members used to tease us that we would soon be able to have our meetings in a phone box,” he said.
“The proof of this is in the Express & Star with a photo of me, Ray and the bright red phone box.”
He says there was a time when councillors said there would never be a Conservative mayor in Sandwell. “Bill Thomas was the leader of the council at the time and he got the other members to change their minds, as I had been the longest serving councillor at that time,” said Bill. “It was a delightful year and one I will never forget.
“I also won’t forget the night we had the proms at the West Bromwich Town Hall and I sang Land of Hope and Glory on the stage – people couldn’t believe the mayor was actually singing.”
Bill says he owes a lot to his wife Freda who has been very supportive. “Freda has been long-suffering and what she has had to put up with has been unbelievable – but she has stood by me throughout my career,” he said.
“The hardest part was nine years ago when we sadly lost our eldest daughter Linda to cancer.
“It was a dreadful time and until you lose a child you will never know the heartbreak it can cause.
Now our son John, 62, has the start of Parkinson’s, which is another evil illness.”
Bill says it is his passion for his country and for the Black Country which has kept him going through the tough times.
“I’ve always been very forthright and recently I had the chance to meet David Cameron so I wore my cloth cap,” he said.
“I wanted him to meet a real down-to-earth cloth-capped Conservative and tell him a few facts of life.
I’m sure if he listens to us real working class people then he will win the election.”
Bill, who had four children, says he told the Conservative leader that he was passionate about marriage and family life.
“I believe people are better off working than being idle and also that crime should be properly punishable,” he said.
“My end of term comes when I’m 85 and because of age and health it will be then that I have to call it a day. I think it is unique for someone to take the time and trouble to file away all these cuttings. “There are more than 30 years of memories in those clippings and I can tell you it has been a wonderful career.”
VETERAN Councillor Bill Archer met more than 100 people keen to get copies of a booklet he’s penned about his life in the Black Country.
And 80-year-old Bill, of Wednesbury, also raised more than £250 for charity from donations for the local history snapshot.
Bill, who has lived in Wednesbury all his life and has represented part of the town for the Conservatives for decades, has spent three years putting the book together.
He said he had written a full account of life in the area from his earliest memories in the dark days of the 30s to his year as Mayor of Sandwell.
Bill added: “I published a booklet of about 20 pages from the main book. I was surprised and pleased so many people came along and wanted me to sign copies for them.”
Bill was at Wednesbury Library on Saturday. He’s selling the book to raise cash for the national Parkinson’s Disease charity since his son John Archer, aged 60, was diagnosed with the illness.
Bill said he wanted to publish the full version of his book but could not afford it.
(I’m trying to get an update about this book, was it ever published do you know?
I then came across this:
BILL ARCHER, who he is and what he does … Yo shud all understand this:
Times wuz ‘ard in the nineteen twenties wi’ poverty un the scourge uv TB fer many.
Tryin ter please the public these days is difficult, it’s a job un arf! Speshly if yo’me a counsler mek no misterk, yoh get moans left rite un centre. The next Mayor uv Sandwell Metropolitan Borough is Bill Archer, soo let’s tell yer about ‘im.
Folks all around Wednesbury know ‘im well, ‘e torks ter anybody at ground level that’s the kay!
‘E wuz born on April 29th 1927 at Portway Road, Wednesbury, un went ter the Catholic skewl theer fust.
Bill went on ter Kings Ill skewl, then Holyhead Road Junior un Senior skewls.
The Supreme Laundry wuz ‘is fust job werkin fer sixteen bob un ten pence a wik. ‘E then werked at Hadley’s Brickwerks fer tew pound un arf a crown a wik.
The Prothero wuz wheer ‘e wuz next employed by Government order, un it wuz a pound a wik drap in werges!
Any road up, ‘e went drivin fer Arnott Young’s un then wuz called up in the Royal Marines wen ‘e wuz eighteen.
‘E married ‘is wife Freda (a twin uv sister Marjorie) at Hydes Road registry office in 1948.
Bill wuz a corporal then un the strict discipline un Army trainin’ ‘as stood ‘im in gud sted since.
Fer a time ‘e wuz drivin fer Watkin’s, West Brom un then the Corporershun buses.
On ‘e went ter Rubery-Owen’s, Darlaston drivin un wuz transport shap steward uv the Union ten ‘ears.
This determined mon ‘as bin a Conservative counsler thirty ‘ears now.
Well wuth a menshun, Bill is a gud bass singer un e’ze dun stacks uv charity jobs.
“‘If I can help somebody as I pass along’ is a faverit song, un it’s also my philosphy in life” ‘e reflected.
“My dorter counsler Elaine Costigan is to be the Mayoress”, ‘e went on.
She ‘as bin a counsler fer Wednesbury North fer tew ‘ears.
Bill un Freda ‘ad a shap in Union Street, Wednesbury sixteen ‘ears. ‘E cud offen be ‘erd singin wi’ Toni Ameroso, the well known barber next doore.
E’ze a proper Black Country mon un ‘e concluded, “My dad Fred Archer un mom Maggie wud ‘ave bin really proud ter see me elected uz Mayor.
From the ‘arsh poverty days wen respect fer people un the ode golden rewl wuz applied it’s moulded the genuine folks in our region today”.
“Politics doh cum intew it if people just get back ter the live un let let live ode peaceful days we all want ter see agen. Un people con feel sairf gooin about their daily lives”.
I cor add ter that….
Nice one Bill!