Diligence and the Local Historial Society.

English: Salem Church Methodist church erected...

English: Salem Church Methodist church erected 1855 and enlarged in 1899. The population of Cheslyn Hay expanded rapidly in the mid 19th century with the development of the South Staffordshire Coalfield. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cheslyn Hay has a tireless and frankly very efficient Local History Society. They have an “open-door/drop in session” every Tuesday morning at the Salem Chapel – and are really jolly friendly when you get in there. 


I know because in my quest to find something out about our allotment site I dropped in; took a seat and an offered cup of tea and learned that, once upon a time a whole lot more of Cheslyn Hay was actually turned over to allotment sites. Places where there are now houses and pubs and estates and … they have photos to prove it, but sadly, so far, none of our particular site.


But our site (On Pinfold Lane) remains: along with the few very active plots behind the Working Men’s Club the only allotments now in the village (or indeed for some miles around).


The item below was found by members of Cheslyn Hay Local Historical Society (http://www.chdlhs.co.uk ) during a diligent search of newspaper archives. I can honestly say that I was stunned to silence (A rare feat indeed!) when reading it.

If you have ever tried to research your own allotment site you may well have noticed that historical documentation is not easy to come across.

This brought so much of the history alive for me and I then scurried about on Google (other search engines are available) looking for Barn Flat and …)

It certainly sets the land in a context and wow! What an appeal the day must have had with visitors from fairly far afield and – I am guessing – fairly reasonable returns (in old money), making me wonder how much, and indeed how, people were charged.

Take  a moment to read it please:


“2nd August 1913  When the Local Government Act of 1894 was passed, which provided for Parish Councils the good folk of Cheslyn Hay were the first to demand allotments, and soon twelve acres of land was obtained and cultivated by allottees.  It followed that the success should be celebrated and there was a pleasant gathering at which it was proposed that a Horticultural Society should be formed for the Parish.  The idea was heartily endorsed by the public and about 15 years ago the first gathering was held in that favourite trysting place of Cheslyn Hay folk, the Barn Flat.  As usual the public of the place rose to the occasion on the day of the show, which has since been an annual one, about £27 was taken in admission.  This, probably, has not been exceeded, although in this year of grace it is hoped the sum will nearly reach that amount.  It was a beautiful day was that of Monday, but had the weather been unpropitious so determined were the public that this year’s show should be a success that it would have been so.  “It goes without saying” as the old adage has it.

But it was a beautiful day; moreover the display of fruit and vegetables was of such a character that those who lived at Cheslyn Hay a quarter of a century ago would have “rubbed their eyes” and doubted if such was grown in their midst.  It was probably the best exhibition of the series; it was the best arranged affair; it was probably, taking the sale of tickets into consideration, the best attended.  Thus the committee are to be congratulated, for it shows what can be done when the public are taken into the confidence of the promoters.

At this time the attendance was large and the returns were evidently satisfactory.  From five to seven o’clock the attendance greatly increased.  The takings at the gate were £21 0s 4d.  It is stated that there were many tickets sold also.  The committee had arranged a good programme of sports which was satisfactorily carried out. A special word of praise is due to Mrs Allan and her girls for the performances with the Maypole which were very interesting and greatly appreciated by the audience.  There were six prizes in the Horse Leaping Competition.  The results were: – First Prize £5, Mr A Saunders, Tettenhall, with ‘Prince’; Second Prize, £2, Mr R Chadwick, Rugeley, with ‘Nomination’; Third Prize, £1, Mr & Mrs. A Foster, Derby, with ‘Mustard’.

The Bowling Competition which was well organised by Messrs S Parbrook, W Follows, W Hemingsley and H Baker was a great success and there were no less than 73 entries, but only the first round was decided.  The competition is to be continued during the week.

Ham Slicing Competition, winner T Horton.

Kicking the Football through a Hoop, 1st A Wollaston and H Adams (Shareshill); 2nd W Eccleston ; 3rd C Morgan.

Obstacle Race, 1st A Eccleston £1; 2nd Stokes 10s; 3rd S Newell 5s.

Tug of War, organised by Mr F J Altree.  This was a capital contest, but the Great Wyrley Colliery team were winners of the first prize of 15s, and Harrisons Working Men’s Club second prize of 7s 6d.

The Cheslyn Hay Victoria Brass Band was in attendance and played choice selections of music under the conductorship of Mr I Greenfield.  The band played also for the dancing in the evening until 9 o’clock when the National Anthem was played and the proceedings which were very successful were brought to a close.

Mr J Perry as Secretary worked most energetically and this had much to do with the success of the gathering.”



Unfortunately I do not know which newspaper the article is taken from, but my thanks to members of the Historical Society for their amazing work.


Oh and if anyone can enlighten me as to “horse leaping” and ham slicing, please get in touch …


3 responses to this post.

  1. At a guess bacon slicers had not been invented! Sue


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