Camp Hill had a lotta bottle

milkman2The picture shows an old milk float drawn by a horse standing on the Holyhead Road at the junction of Russell Street and Camp Hill Lane taken in 1953.

Most of the buildings, pictured were replaced by a tower block.  Camp Hill Lane itself (in 1988 at least), then lead to the Union Centre. Which is now also gone.

This picture was Mr. L. A. Davies all those years ago. In a newspaper published 1988 he said:

“The picture was part of a ‘project’ by the Wednesbury Photographic Society.  The Society was taking photographs in the same places as Doctor Dingley had in 1885 through to 1910”. 

(The Doctors most famous photograph was of ‘Pit Shaft Wenches’)

Mr. Davies’ pictures were originally on glass plates and slides, all of which are now obsolete.  He could not afford to have them all transferred and hadn’t got room to keep them so he kindly donated them to Wednesbury Library. He said that the building behind the milk float was originally used as Ministry of Fuel Office but the rest had remained although unchanged since Dr. Dingleys photograph.

The milk flout is said to be a Midland Dairy float which later becam Unigate.

The depot was on the Wolverhampton Road in Walsall and there were around six floats in use that year before being phased out during 1953/54 to be replaced by electric ones. Two other areas served by horse drawn floats at the time were the Myvod Road/Park Lane area and the Hawthorn Road area.

One person mentioned his/her fondest memory of Russell Street. In 1932/37 when attending the old St. John’s school. Opposite was the Clancy Pawnbrokers. Every Monday the women could be seen queueing to pawn clothing for enough money to last until Friday.  It was redeemed Saturday and pawned again the following Monday.

“On the corner stood Robert’s Newsagents and sweet shop.  For 1/2d (about a quarter of the present 1p) we bought a bag of sweets.  Only the rich kids every had 1/2d on a week day”


Did you know that Holyhead Road was built in 1826 and at one point there used to be a stream running down Camp Hill Lane to the river Tame at The Blocks?

The stream came from Campfield Well which was on the corner of Camp Street and Campfield Lane (which is now Camp Hill Lane).  Campfield stretched away to join Wednesbury Old Field.


There a game was played called Campball or Savage Camp.  This was a “modified” game of football with the goals just 10/12 yards apart.


The water supplied the tannery in the 18th century and superstition has it that the area was haunted by a water-carrier who was unhappy as he was denied eternal rest. This was because he sold water on a Sunday when he was alive!

The ghost was seldom seen but the rattlings of pails and yoke chaining was heard, particularly in a thunder storm during the midnight hours.

“Happy hunting”.


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