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THE BLACK COUNTRY MEMORIES CLUB

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Memories of our meeting on 

Wednesday 22nd May 2002

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Our usual reporter, Frank Sharman, was not there.  (His excuse was that he was at a public inquiry, trying to make sure that Sainsbury's and Tesco's did not ruin our history when they built new supermarkets).  So many thanks to Reg Aston for taking photos and providing information.

Our meeting was again held in the church hall of Holy Trinity Church, Oxford Street, Bilston.  Our thanks go Father Geoff Hargreaves and everyone else at the church for their renewed hospitality. 

We had our usual exhibitors and the main theme was the Bilston Carnival.  Jim Speakman had done a lot of work, and got a lot of publicity, to find as many of the past Carnival Queens, and other members of the court, as possible.  And a very remarkable result he got to.  This all started when Jean Hasketh gave us her amazing collection of carnival memorabilia and has also traced the crown and shield, which she has very kindly handed over to the club.  This meeting sparked a further search which produced responses from as far away as Kent, Cornwall and Spain!  And one of them, Sylvia Horton, has agreed to join our committee and to act as liaison officer between the carnival queens.  We were delighted to see so many of them at this meeting, where Gerald Hanrahan photographed them.  We hope to have his photos, and Jean's and other people's material, on this web site in due course - but it's a big task. 

So this event was well reported in the local papers with photographs printed.

But we were glad to see many members and visitors at the meeting too - maybe less glamorous now but just as valuable.

Another remarkable display by John Hughes - seen in a quiet moment when everyone had dashed off to the club room to watch the carnival queens being photographed. display by John Hughes Several people - not identifiable from this interesting angle - inspecting the display of carnival material which Reg Aston has set up. Inspecting a Carnival Display
Arthur Weston, Derek Barratt, Bill Poole and Bill Barratt A front view this time - of our members Arthur Weston, Derek Barratt, Bill Poole and Bill Barratt (Derek's brother). Four welcome afternoon visitors:  Four welcome afternoon visitors:  Mr and Mrs W Jones from Wombourne (on the left) and Mr and Mrs W Dyke of Woodcross, Coseley (on the right).
Margaret Weston is a former teacher at St Edward's School, Wolverhampton Street, Bislton.  Her mother was Mrs. Chance, who was a teacher at Loxdale Schools, Bilston.

George Philpott is a wonderful source of information about Bradleys (Beldray) having worked there for many years as a toolmaker.  His story of Beldray appears elsewhere on this web site.

Margaret Weston and George Philpott Carnival queens, attendants and members of the club committee. left to right: Kath Kiely, Margaret Harrison (Queen, 1956), Alma Darby, Mary Cox (Queen, 1952), Leanne Dawn Deeming (Queen, 1997/8), Alan Bickley, Julie Smith (Maid of Honour, 1987), Jim Speakman, Christine Marsh (nee Mills) (Queen, 1957), Sylvia Horton (nee Timms) (Lady in Waiting), Derek Barratt.  Carnival queens, attendants and members of the club committee.
Alan Bickley and Leanne Dawn Leeming The chairman, Alan Bickley, felt it his duty to make sure the ladies were looked after.  Here he is with Leanne Dawn Leeming, the last of the carnival queens in 1997/8. Leanne Dawn Leeming Leanne managed to break away for long enough to pose for this picture in front of Reg Aston's collection of photos of the carnival.
And here she is again with, on the left, Margaret Harriman (1956-7) and, on the right, Christine Mills (1957-58). Leanne Dawn Leeming + Margaret Harriman +  Christine Mills Leanne bought along this photo of the entrants for the carnival queen competition in 1997-98, held at the Springvale Club, Millfields.  The reigning queen is in the centre and the winner was none other than number 1, two from the right, Leanne. photo of the entrants for the carnival queen competition in 1997-98
  So we conclude this report with a publicity photo taken of Leanne after she had been declared the new queen. Leanne after she had been declared the new queen.  

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