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Wildlife Photographs webpage has great photographs from Seumas Kelly of
the Park and Valley


We hold an event in the 'Fort', funded by the National Lottery,
to celebrate our 10th Anniversary

On Tuesday 9 October the Friends' Committee organised a Flower Arranging Demonstration given by Pauline from Posies Florist, Hill Top, West Bromwich, together with Afternoon Tea, to thank our members for their loyal support over the ten years since the Friends of Dartmouth Park was formed. Pauline did some amazing arrangements, as you can see from the photograph below, and she gave them to us to hold a raffle. A very big thank you to Pauline for a very interesting and enjoyable afternoon.


Race for Life participants enter into the spirit of the event in Sandwell Valley
Friends of Dartmouth Park enjoy their annual outing - this year on the Manchester Ship Canal to Salford Quays

On a sunny 25 September the Friends of Dartmouth Park set off by coach to Castlefield, Manchester, for a trip on a boat taking us on the Manchester Ship Canal to Salford Quays. The staff of City Centre Cruises couldn't have been more helpful as we had been caught up in long tail-backs on the motorway due to an accident. We were late arriving but given a warm welcome by the staff and the three course lunch was delicious. A very interesting commentary pointed out places of interest and the history of the canal was given whilst we enjoyed our food. Because of our late arrival we didn't have much time in Salford Quays, but it didn't spoil everyone's enjoyment of the day. To reach the Manchester Ship Canal we had to decend into a deep narrow lock which was exciting and needed an expert navigator to negotiate.

The photographs below were taken by Olive Timmins who has done a wonderful job in capturing some of the sites.

 

 

Mike and Selwyn
Celebrate their 80th Birthdays

Dartmouth Central Bowling Club was the Venue on Friday 21st September when Friends of Dartmouth Park volunteers, Mike and Selwyn, were treated to a joint 80th Birthday Party by their families.

With music and pleasant conversation, plus, of course, a splendid buffet, everyone had a great time and Mike and Selwyn enjoyed their special celebration.

When it came to blowing out the candles on the cake, Mike had his turn and then the candles were lit again for Selwyn to take a turn.

 

Local Historian, Terry Price, unveils a Blue Plaque on Wood Lane Community Centre to recognise where West Bromwich's largest brewers, Darby's, started brewing in the 1870s and were the last to close in 1952
This event was part of a project funded by the Heritage Lottery

On Saturday 25 August a group from the Friends of Dartmouth Park climbed aboard the No. 28 Circular bus that first saw service back in 1952. It was driven by Graham Harper, who, with a group of colleagues, has restored the bus over a period of years. We were going on a brief tour of some of Darby’s pubs that are still trading under new ownership. The Stone Cross was our first brief stop, followed by the Millfields, and then on to Hill Top and Great Bridge, to the site in Greets Green where Dunkirk Inn and Darby’s Brewery once stood. Houses now stand on the land. We then made our way to Wood Lane Community Centre (formerly The Bush and later Darby’s Fish Restaurant) where Terry Price, BEM, author of many books featuring the local area, the proceeds of which go to local charities, was to unveil a Blue Plaque to remember Darby’s connection with the site.

We were met by Ms Fajli Bibi, Chair of the Centre, and staff and volunteers, who gave us a tour. They made us very welcome and we were so impressed by the many activities that the centre has on offer for the local
community.

Terry gave us some of his memories of Darby’s pubs, and this was followed by Robin Pearson presenting a water colour of the original Bush Inn. Robin is the author of several books on Black Country pubs and was Chief Librarian at the Central Library in West Bromwich for many years.

A photographer from the local press arrived to take photographs of the unveiling and we all stepped outside for the ceremony. Terry’s unveiling went very smoothly and he said: “Congratulations to the Friends of Dartmouth Park for commemorating the important contribution the Darby family made to the social life of West Bromwich and the Black Country communities during the 19th and 20th centuries”. Following the unveiling we went back into the Centre and raised our glasses to toast a job well done.

Our hosts at the Centre then joined the Friends of Dartmouth Park on the bus and we travelled back through West Bromwich to Dartmouth Central Bowling Club, situated next the Park, where a very tasty buffet lunch awaited us.
The next phase in this project will be the unveiling of the sympathetically restored Darby’s Ale ghost sign, saved when Lombard Street West was demolished, which is to be mounted on the outside wall of Dartmouth Park close to the main gates. The final phase will be a book about Darby’s, together with stories from staff and customers. A big thank you to those who play the Big Lottery for making this project possible.

 

Summer Fete to celebrate our 10th Anniversary is a great success thanks to
National Lottery Funding
Photographs taken by Seumas Kelly

We were blessed with dry weather for our Summer Fete to celebrate 10 years since our formation to support Sandwell MBC in their bid for Heritage Lottery Funding to restore Dartmouth Park. The Friends group have over 200 supportive members and many of them came along to enjoy the day.

Visitors were entertained with free music on the bandstand provided by The Persuaders. The children were well catered for with a Punch & Judy, Bouncy Castle, and also sport which was provided by Creative Academies Network, who have been entertaining children visiting the Park every Wednesday during the summer holidays. This was also funded by a grant we have received from the Heritage Lottery's Awards for All.

The stalls offered a variety of goods and the bargains were snapped up by the visitors. Some had to make two journeys to their car to deposit their purchases.





Our Darby's Ale Ghost Sign project has received Heritage Lottery Funding

We are delighted to report that the Heritage Lottery have funded our project to sympathetically restore and resite the Darby's Ale Ghost Sign painted on a wall in Lombard Street which was demolished when the Gas Showrooms were demolished. The sign is going to be installed on the perimeter wall of the Park close to the main entrance.

The restoration of the sign has already started, and there is going to be an interpretation board next to the sign, a Blue Plaque on the building where Darby's started their brewing, and a book about Brewing and other lost industries in West Bromwich.

Darby's Brewery which was situated in Greets Green was demolished many years ago, but we have a very poor photograph of the Brewery and local artist, Chris Holloway, who went to Greets Green School, has produced a wonderful painting of Darby's Brewery from the photograph and his memories of the brewery from his school days. The most vivid memory for many ex-pupils of Greets Green School was the stong smell of beer that emanated from the Brewery.


Veolia Environmental Trust funding making a great difference
to the Area around the Bandstand and the Sensory Garden

A big thank you to Veolia Environmental Trust for funding the apron in front of the Bandstand, the planting of two attractive beds to enhance the area, together with benches and litter bins. The Veolia funding has also provided lots of new plants for the herbaceous border at the main entrance to the Park.

National Lottery 'Awards for All' give us funding to celebrate our 10th Anniversary, which we are using to benefit the whole community



In those 10 years we have worked alongside the Park Manager to bring the Park back to its former glory and we are delighted that our beautiful park has once again become part of the social life of West Bromwich. We now have a Bandstand, for which we campaigned, and intend to use it regularly for entertainment. The award will allow us to provide free events in Dartmouth Park for the community throughout this celebratory year.

 


We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant from Heart of England Community Foundation towards our 10th Anniversary Celebrations in August.






Contact Address: Carol Hartill
Secretary of the Friends of Dartmouth Park
c/o 2 Sandwell Road North, West Bromwich, B71 4JB
Tel: 0121 588 4747 / e-mail: carolh.fodp@btinternet.com
Tel 0121 525 5524 / e-mail: annette_welch@sky.com

Committee

Sue Slater
Chairman
Jenny Francis
Vice Chairman
Annette Welch
Treasurer
Carol Hartill
Secretary
Mandy Timms
Membership Secretary
Mark Barrett
Social Historian
Chris Blakesley
Minute Secretary
Chris Burgess
Maggie Turner
Roger Stopford
Yvonne Hayward
Margaret Geddes