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Wildlife Photographs

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

Funtime Theatre's Production of Cinderella a great success
in the Community Room in the 'Fort'
February Half Term and courtesy of the Friends group local children were entertained with a great performance of Cinderella by Funtime Theatre. Look out for children’s entertainment and fun activities every Wednesday during school holidays.

Last year we had Creative Academies providing indoor and outdoor activities. They were so successful we have asked them back this year and they will be on hand every Wednesday in the Easter Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday and, of course, during the Summer holidays. Venue for all these activities is the Community Room in the 'Fort'.

Sue Slater, our Chair, celebrated her birthday with a cake sporting fireworks.
We held a quiz night at Dartmouth Central Bowling Club for her birthday get together, and Sue's team won the quiz. It was an appropriate end to a very successful evening.


Our Annual Christmas Event at The Hawthorns is a great success
Good company, good food and great entertainment made for a very successful evening in The Millichip Suite at The Hawthorns on Tuesday 11 December. A big thank you to the very talented Mike Surman who entertained us following the meal. Also thank you to the staff at The Hawthorns for looking after us so well.
Mike Surman in full flow on the left, Jenny calling the raffle in the centre, and on the right a rare photograph of Seumas, who very kindly takes the photographs for our newsletter and this website.


Two choirs entertain us on Saturday 8 December at
Dartmouth Central Bowling Club

A great time was had at our Carol Concert with the Voices of Hope Cancer Choir and The Gap Children's Choir.

We joined in with all the traditional Carols and Christmas songs. Peter the conductor and compere kept us laughing between the singing with his humorous asides.

Then we had refreshments to finish the event, which of course included mince pies.

A big thank you to the Voices of Hope Cancer Choir, for entertaining us at a very busy time of the year for them. Also it was a delight to have The Gap choir entertaining us this year, especially with their very complicated Twelve Days of Christmas.

Remembrance Sunday on the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day draws a huge crowd at the War Memorial in Dartmouth Park to pay their respects
The following photographs tell the story of this very moving event and we must thank Cllr Steve Melia and all those involved in making this a very special remembrance of the fallen in both World Wars and in more recent conflicts. The photographs were taken by Seumas Kelly.

The Beginning of November and it's a glorious day for gardening in
Dartmouth Park

It's November and the sun is shining which is very pleasant for the volunteer garderners, as they haven't been so lucky with the weather lately.

They're working on the beds the Friends of Dartmouth Park planted on the slope below the Sensory Garden.

The gardeners have also been working on the beds in Lloyd Street, the Sensory Garden, of course, and the beds around the Bandstand, where the yellow roses have been particularly eye-catching.

The Park still needs attention in the winter months and we are looking for more volunteers. Some of the gardners are in the Park on Tuesday mornings and all the gardeners are there every Friday morning.

Come in the Park and have a chat with them on either day, or ring Annette on 07963 101750, who will be pleased to tell you all about the group.



Visit to the Black Country Living Museum
in conjunction with the Saving of the Darby's Ale Sign
which is supported by the Heritage Lottery

On the 23 October thirty members of the Friends' group went to the Black Country Living Museum and had a very interesting and enjoyable visit. We started with an Introductory Talk about the history of brewing in the Black Country and then we went to the School Room to experience what schooling used to be like in Edwardian times. Some of our members were made to stand in front of the class and were reprimanded for wearing nail polish. We then had free time and visited the houses, shops, church, and, of course, the pub.

Some of us went down the mine and, although a few of them came back with sore heads where they had hit the roof, they still found it most informative.

The few photographs below give a flavour of the visit.

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.

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.

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

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.


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.



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


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