Our Century

Scouts rally for the chief

Lord Baden PowellThe Chief Scout (right), accompanied by Assistant County Commissioner JT Homer, reviews a display by the Patshull Troop.

In June, The Chief Scout, Lord Baden Powell, was the special guest at Wolverhampton's Molineux ground where more than 1,500 scouts from across Staffordshire gathered for a special rally organised by the County Scout Association.

Patsull troop display
The Chief scout, accompanied by JT Homer, Assistant County Commissioner , reviews a display by the Patsull troop

Scouters from Wolverhampton, Walsall, North Stafford, Tipton, Wordsley, Hednesford, Lichfield and Dudley, were among those there to catch a glimpse of the Chief Scout who was accompanied by Lady Baden Powell, Chief of the Girl Guides. Lord Baden Powell took a keen interest in the activities and said he was impressed by the turn-out of all those at the rally.

Two killed and many injured at Wolverhampton: April 24. St George's Billiard Hall, Garrick-street, Wolverhampton, on Friday night completely collapsed with startling suddenness, burying billiard players and spectators beneath the ruins.

At first it was believed that the deal-roll was heavy, for an account given by a survivor was to the effect that there were 129 men and youths on the premises at the time of the collapse. A later and probably more accurate estimate, however, gave the number as about 40. Had the collapse occurred at a later hour, the probability is that more serious loss of life would have resulted as the hall was a very popular resort.

Two bodies were recovered and later identified at the mortuary and of fifteen or sixteen men treated at the General Hospital five were detained, seriously injured.

The catastrophe came with awful suddenness. It is easy to imagine the scene. St George's Hall in Garrick-street is one of the best-known buildings in Wolverhampton, and one of the oldest. Many important political gatherings have there been held.

Walls and roof came tumbling in with tragic suddenness, trapping instantly and completely, burying unfortunate players and spectators alike.

I was on the scene shortly after the collapse and met several young fellows coming away from the wrecked building. They were dazed and covered from head to foot with dust. As far as one could tell they had escaped injury, but were obviously nerve-shattered as a result of the experience. They were fortunate to escape at all. With one of these young men, I chatted for a few minutes.

"One piece tumbled in first," Smith said. "without the least warning and while the billiard games were going on. Then another part fell with a crash, and before long it all came in. I believe a number are still in the ruins."

Express & Star memorialExpress & Star remembers dead: By 1920, war memorials were being erected up and down the country to pay tribute to those who fought and, in so many cases, died during the Great War of 1914-18.

The Express & Star was no exception. In March of this year, a Roll of Honour was erected just inside the newspaper's entrance in Queen Street, Wolverhampton, as a permanent memorial to members of staff who had served their country.

Six had lost their lives, including Eric Graham, elder son of J. Douglas Graham, the then co-owner of the newspaper.

Eric, a second lieutenant of the Scottish Rifles, was killed at Voyennes on the Western Front. He had previously been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry and devotion to duty while braving machine-gun fire during a patrol in October 1917.

Double triumph at the TT: There was a double celebration for Wolverhampton in June as two local riders, Cyril Williams on an AJS, and T C De la Hay on a Sunbeam, won their class at the TT Races on the Isle of Man.

The news of De la Hay winning the "blue riband" of motor racing at Sunbeamland in Wolverhampton, where Sunbeam cycles were made, created great excitement at the factory as mechanics gave ringing cheers.

Hooters were sounded and the Union Jack raised over the premises. The mechanics also abandoned work for the rest of the afternoon.

It was felt to be a great credit to Wolverhampton that the Junior and Senior TT Races that year had been won by machines made in the town. the two riders were also engaged in business in the area.

Cyril Williams was said to have displayed "pluck and endurance" in his Junior Trophy race on the AJS, pushing his bike for much of the last three-and-a- half-miles of the race. De la Hay won the senior trophy race in 4hrs 22min 23sec. At the time he had been eight years as head tester at the Molineux garage of Sunbeamland. He lived at Penn.

Tom Lamden
The offices of a newspaper sympathetic to the president burned merrily