High Street in 1959, demonstrating the kind of traffic problems
complained of by American visitors.
It was the year the Midlands-built mini first hit the roads but
the traffic problems in one of our towns led to early calls from
two transatlantic visitors for pedestrianisation schemes.
Congestion in Stourbridge High Street so angered the couple from
New York that they wrote to the Express & Star suggesting a
number of solutions on American lines.
Mr and Mrs Paul Emerson spoke of their "futile efforts" to park
the car and shop in comfort during a recent visit to the area.
Not only should the High Street be closed to traffic but seats
should also be provided at convenient intervals for weary shoppers,
"Several cities and towns in the States, alert to the better administration
of their communities, are experimenting by barring vehicles from
entering selected sections of their main shoppping streets," they
"By doing this it is hoped that shopping can be done with a minimum
of effort by the maximum number of people.
"Some of the roadways are converted into gardens and pleasant
walks and where the street is narrow each end is closed with trees
Despite their frustrations Mr and Mrs Emerson were more than willing
to give Stourbridge another chance.
They looked forward to their next visit, they said.
But on that occasion they hoped to "enjoy the charm and intimacy
of your delightful main street minus its monstrous array of props,
poles and parked autos."
of the former Stewart and
Lloyds Steelworks in Bilston, 1959
Boiler blast rocks market hall - but misses baby:
An explosion likened to a wartime V2 bomb rocked Wolverhampton's
recently re-roofed market hall. The explosion was heard all over
town, broken glass was strewn across the pavements in Peel Street
and the red-hot end of an exploding gas cylinder landed just feet
away from a nine-month-old baby girl Julie Berry in her playpen.
The cause was a bitumen boiler overflowing and coming into contact
with a gas cylinder.
Commuters forsake trains: Commuters in Cannock started to
signal the death knell for their local rail service to Walsall by
forsaking the new-fangled diesels which had recently replaced steam
trains on the line.
A significant switch to bus travel was reported although it had
nothing to do with a preference for steam trains.
Quite simply the new "diesel cars" as they were called frequently
ran late or not at all although in those days they worked out cheaper
than the buses.
One man said he was frequently 40 minutes late getting into Walsall
while a woman said she had been moved to write to British Railways
about the poor timekeeping.
Bad weather was blamed although the phrase "leaves on the line"
had not yet entered the public consciousness.
The service between Cannock and Walsall was axed just a few years
later and did not make a return journey until 1989.
Golden boys: A golden era for the men in old gold continued
as Wolves won the league title for the second year running to equal
the previous post-war feat of Portsmouth and Manchester United.
The championship seemed a long way off earlier on in the season
when they slipped down the ninth in the table, lost four of the
their first six games and were given a 6-2 drubbing at the hands
of Chelsea. Sluggish in the run-up to Christmas they went up several
gears after the festive season and lost only two of their last 21
Magic moments of the second half of the campaign included a 7-0
victory over Portsmouth, 5-0 over Blackburn and 6-2 over Leeds United.
Fair play to you! Sir, May I, through your columns, thank one
or other of my countrymen who re-shaped the front of my car outside
the Longmynd Hotel, Church Stretton, on New Year's Eve then modestly
I particularly appreciated the removal of all fragments of the
lamp glass in case I or anyone else was accidentally cut or injured
in effecting repairs. The removal of the bulb in case it was stolen
by a common thief was also a masterpiece of foresight.
Having spent the last eight years among hostile minded Egyptians,
Cypriots and Arabs, it is very refreshing to welcome in the new
year with the thought that at last one is back among his people
where British standards of courtesy, decency and fair play are observed.
I hope that the publication of my name and address will make it
possible for the modest artist to come and be personally thanked
in more detail.
Weston Lodge, Belle Vue,