Having undergone what was for me the most traumatic dental surgery imaginable, it did after all take the dentist a whole hour to remove one solitary wisdom tooth and still feeling the after effects along with the abscess that necessitated the surgery continuing in full on action meaning yet more antibiotics, I decided a ride out on such a glorious day might just lift my spirits. After tootling along the canal to Rushall and then up through Pelsall and Brownhills returning along the canal to Dumblederry Lane in Aldridge I decided to pay a visit to Linley Woods and also to the site of Redhouse School.
Brownhills Bob posted recently about the sale of Linley Woods prompting many memories from childhood to resurface. The woods have always held a fascination for the children of Aldridge and in particular those that lived on the Redhouse. They were forbidden to me but that didn't stop me from going down there when I could; the thrill of the forbidden and perhaps someone reporting my presence there to my parents always made such visits delicious.
Access proved a little difficult due to the what even at this time of the year was dense growth.
However as can be seen from the following photograph it seems that the woods are still well used.
The dips appear just as terrifying as when I was a child and I was tempted to give them a bash on my bike. Maybe another day when I have someone with me to call 999 should an ambulance be required!
I then took the short ride down to where Redhouse School, subject of a recent blog, once stood.
The forbidding gates say it all really but you can still glimpse the school sign just behind them along with a Walsall Council sign warning me of the dire consequences of trespassing. This I ignored as there was a sizeable gap just by the gates that I could squeeze through and I did. I was there not to cause damage or any distress to local residents but to take a few photographs of what is left. There is very little left apart from rubble but it is amazing to see how nature is reclaiming the site at present although I wondered how long for because surely such a prime piece of land will inevitably and despite the protestations of local residents, eventually be redeveloped for housing stock.
Do you remember 'Plant a Tree in 73'? I do because apart from being an avid Blue Peter viewer back then, we planted four at Redhouse. There were four houses, Barnardo, Scott, Elgar and the best house of all because I was a member, Nightingale. Each house had its own tree and I was devastated to be ill on planting day because I had been given the honour of doing a little spade work for Nightingale and so I missed my opportunity of immortality! These are the four trees today, standing testament to a more hopeful future than the one that the school actually encountered. The silver birch was the tree that belonged to Nightingale.
Somewhere underneath those trees is a time capsule or at least there was. Perhaps someone read the school log book before it was closed and discovered this treasure for the future and perhaps it was disinterred. Perhaps not. If the capsule is still there it would be nice if some of us that were there back in 1973 be allowed to rediscover our past.
My final picture was taken roughly from where the old Class 1 stood and looks over what would have been the school hall, classes 3,4,5 and 6 towards the school field. I hadn't realised until today quite how much of the old school field had been sold to the developers for housing when the old Infants School was demolished. It was a massive chunk, virtually all of the space where the football pitch, scene of many famous victories over Leighswood, Cooper and Jordan, St Mary's and all those really far away schools from foreign parts such as Walsall Wood and Brownhills, stood.
I didn't see any ghosts today but I did experience an immense sense of sadness due to the silence. This site was once such a vibrant and noisy scene, filled with children learning and playing and fighting and just being children. Now it is eerily quiet during the middle of the day.