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Wildlife Photographs

graphic of tree and park bench
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Wildlife Photographs webpage has great photographs from Seumas Kelly of
summer in the Park and Valley


Local Historian, Terry Price, unveils a Blue Plaque on Wood Lane Community Centre to recognise were West Bromwich's largest brewers, Darby's, started brewing in the 1870s and were the last to close in 1952

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

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.

School's Out for Summer and the children are enjoying themselves in the Park

The photographs at the top of the page show Creative Academies Network providing activities in the Park for children. They will be in the Park every Wednesday throughout the summer holidays. The Friends of Dartmouth Park have been able to fund these sessions with a grant from the National Lottery's 'Awards for All'. The photograph top right has captured a budding Serena Williams.

Above, I can't believe it, there's a rowing boat on the Boating Pool. We've had the Swans for a couple of years, but this is the first time I have seen a very welcome rowing boat.

On the right we see David Roberts and Derrek Bell enjoying an ice cream in the Park in 1955. David's father was one of the Park's gardeners.


The rose bed we planted in memory of members of the Armed Forces who have lost their lives in recent conflicts is looking particularly good at the moment

The volunteer gardeners made an early start on a very hot day. Janet was dead heading the roses and tidying up generally and Val doing likewise with the lilies.
Dave, who with Nigel, is leading on the Angling Club, has been working hard making islands to go in the pool. These refuges form part of the work being done at the pool to provide protection for the fish population.
Don't forget to put Saturday 18 August on your calendar for our Summer Fete celebrating 10 years of the
Friends of Dartmouth Park.

Photographs of Armed Forces Day on 30 June taken by Seumas Kelly

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.


Andrew Brent, CEO of The Gap Centre, attends the Friends' Committee Meeting to tell us about his project to bring local communities together

Andrew, fourth from the left, gave a very interesting presentation on his project to bring community groups working together for the benefit of all. He pointed out that the old community spirit that existed in his youth, when neighbours looked out for each other, has been lost. There is a need for groups to share their resources, with other organizations and to reach out to the community. One of the issues Andrew raised was that we shouldn't ignore our elderly residents, but should bring them into the community. The Gap Centre is already engaging with Lydon Lodge to the enjoyment of the residents. They also engage with local schools and he believes we should bring old and young together for the benefit of both groups.

The Friends agreed to support this initiative and said that they already worked with some organizations in the local area. One of the Park's initiatives in particular will be when the newly formed Angling Club is up and running, it will be a great community resource.

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:
Tel 0121 525 5524 / e-mail:


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