Welcome to CITYLIFE in Rugeley & Cannock Chase, a
monthly magazine bringing you our pick of the area’s news,
events and stories. Each month CITYLIFE in Rugeley &
Cannock Chase is delivered to 11,000 businesses and
homes in Rugeley, Cannock Chase, Heath Hayes,
Ravenhill, Etchinghill, Slitting Mill, Armitage,
Handsacre, Colton, Hamstall Ridware, completely
free of charge; bringing you the best that the area has
Each issue features heritage stories exploring the rich
history of our area, plus competitions, interviews and the
latest in fashion and style.
Got a story or charity event you want to share with our
readership? Think you’ve snapped an image that captures
the spirit of the region? We want to hear from you!
Editor - Kristen Lackajis 07885 380632
Features - Jono Oates 07785 757201 firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Brown 07740 166497 email@example.com
Rebecca Hill 07970 513144 firstname.lastname@example.org
6 Local News
What's happening in and around the area
14 Shooting Mayhem
Harry Thornton recounts a past incident
20 Old Views of Abbots Bromley
A look at the historical village in postcards
22 Tastes of the Season
Simon Smith brings you a new recipe
30 A Window on the Past
From the Market Place to Crossley Stone
Production - Helen Smith 07967 154187
Citylife In Lichfield Ltd
PO Box 7126 LICHFIELD WS14 4JS
CITYLIFE in Lichfield and CITYLIFE in Rugeley magazines
are not connected to any other publication or publisher, and are
wholly owned by CITYLIFE in Lichfield Ltd.
Citylife In Lichfield
Citylife in Lichfield Ltd does not endorse any business or organisation
appearing in these pages, and the publication of any advertisement,
editorial, event listing or advertising editorial does not constitute an
endorsement by Citylife in Lichfield Ltd.
Your Local Magazine
Front cover courtesy of Jono Oates
Sell Your Home with Sellers
Founded in 2020, Sellers Rock Ltd is a consulting
agency that helps property sellers, such as yourself, to
maximise the value of your property.
As a result of witnessing many homeowners struggle to
get the best value for their property, Victoria Smith
decided to combine her passion for real estate with her
sales experience in the industry and create a truly
bespoke service tailored to support sellers.
The agency’s expert guidance will enable you to select
selling options with confidence, overcome potential
obstacles before they arise and increase the value of your
Sellers Rock works by delivering a clear roadmap to
help you secure a buyer, whilst maximising your assets
and minimising impediments to ensure you achieve the
best price possible for your property, within your
First of all, Sellers Rock will work with you to get the
highest possible valuation for your property from estate
agents. Including helping you maximise your home's
saleability potential by making minor changes so it appeals
to the widest possible audience. Secondly, help you decide
on the perfect selling method for you and your home, be
it online, local estate agent, or even going it alone and
selling privately. Finally, provide support throughout the
Victoria and her team are dedicated to helping you sell
your home, for the best possible price, with the minimum
amount of fuss and disruption. Find out more at
www.sellersrock.co.uk or call Victoria on 01543 307806.
Otters Return to
Cannock Chase Countryside Service staff have
found evidence of otters using a water course
Staff will continue to monitor their progress on
this tributary and are currently discussing
projects which could contribute to their
further dispersal through the town and into the
local nature reserves.
Cannock Chase Council Countryside Service
manages 19 sites covering over 260 hectares
(640 acres) of land that caters for in excess of
one million visitors a year. The majority of these
sites are of high nature conservation value, with
many of the sites being recognised for their
national importance for wildlife.
For more information, find Cannock Chase
Council Countryside Service on Facebook.
TV Appearance for
Andy de Comyn, Mike Mellor and
Len Price being interviewed
The National Miners’ Memorial project was the
subject of a piece on BBC Midlands Today
recently when members of Chase Arts for
Public Spaces (CHAPS) went along to the
National Memorial Arboretum to be
interviewed about the project and how they are
giving the fundraising a boost.
The memorial will have 22 bronze panels
depicting the history of coal mining. Artist Andy
de Comyn has given his permission for each
panel to be offered for sponsorship and each
sponsor will be recognised in a book to be
produced giving details of the memorial as well
as receiving a plaster cast of their panel.
The opportunity to be part of this long overdue
tribute to the work of all who laboured in the
industry, including those who fought in both
World Wars, is being offered at a cost of £2,500
per panel. Anyone interested or wanting more
details can telephone 07583 655199 or message
through the Facebook page
where donations can also be given through
Eat Out to Help Out
Until the 31st August, local restaurants, pubs
and eateries are offering a 50% discount on
food and non-alcoholic drinks up to the value
of £10 per person, in order to help boost the
food and beverage industry following the
The Government scheme operates on a
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and
participants do not need a voucher in order to
claim a discount as it will be automatically
applied to the bill.
A list of participating establishments in the
area can be found on the Gov.uk website at
This is Ceridwen,
favourably known as
Ceri. On September
1st of this year Ceri
will be celebrating
her 106th birthday
and Horse Fair Care
Home needs your
help! The staff wish
to try and get 106
birthday cards sent
to Ceri for her
birthday (one for every year of her life). If the
number of cards goes beyond this - even better!
Ceri doesn't think that the challenge can be
completed but with your help her birthday
could be the best one yet!
Ceri was born in South Wales and worked as a
primary school teacher for many years. She has
a wonderful sense of humour and loves music
and singing in Welsh. Ceri is very proud of her
family and given the strange times we are all
facing it would mean the world to all if her
birthday could be made extra special.
If you would like to send Ceri a birthday card
you can either post it to: Horse Fair Care
Home, Horse Fair, Rugeley, Staffs, WS15 2EL. Or
there is a 'postbox' outside the main entrance
of the care home if you wish to drop it off.
Cllr Victoria Wilson and Joanna Terry
from the County's archive services
People are being invited to share their stories
and donate items to help create a lasting record
of the Covid-19 pandemic in a new project.
‘Lockdown Memories’ hopes to collect and
document materials to help retell the story of
Coronavirus and how it affected the lives of
people in the county.
Staffordshire Archives & Heritage Service is
particularly interested in letters, photographs,
drawings, paintings or objects relating to
people’s experiences. The materials will be used
in future publications, research projects,
exhibitions or websites.
People interested in the project are being asked
to complete a short survey at
High Sheriff Cycles
In the first week of
August Charlie Bagot
Jewitt, the High Sheriff
embarked on a 300-
mile cycle ride around
his ‘bailiwick’ (the
Staffordshire) in aid of
to raise funds and support the Foundation in
their mission to strengthen communities across
The trip also helped highlight the wonders of
Staffordshire as a staycation destination and, as
part of his ride, the High Sheriff stopped off at
several well-known jewels in the county’s
crown, including Lichfield Cathedral, where he
was met by the Dean of Lichfield, the Very Rev’d
Adrian Dorber and the Mayor of Lichfield, Cllr
The cycle tour also passed through Chillington,
Kinver Edge, Mucklestone, Basford Hall,
Hartington and Uttoxeter, before the finish-line
at Blithfield Hall.
So far, more than £500 has been raised and
donations can still be made at
Local Schoogirl Raises
Money for Hospice
A nine-year-old schoolgirl
who really made her
lockdown count by
raising £1,310 for St Giles
Hospice is calling on kids
across the region to take
part in its new Mini Miles
4 St Giles challenge.
Determined Evie Deeley,
from Armitage, signed up
for Miles 4 St Giles this
spring and walked, ran,
skipped and did
cartwheels over 64.8
miles in one month to
raise money for the
hospice, which cares for
patients and their families
living with a terminal illness.
celebrates the end
of her Miles 4 St
Now St Giles has launched a children’s summer
holiday version of the virtual event, offering kids
a challenge that will keep them active and give
them the chance to make a real difference to
local people by raising money for the hospice at
the same time.
Evie’s mum Liz Whalley said that when the
Croft Primary School pupil set her sights on the
Miles 4 St Giles 30-mile target in April she
quickly decided she wanted to double it – and
even refused to ride her bike as that would
make clocking up the miles too easy.
Evie’s great grandma, Margaret Whalley,
received respite care at St Giles 18 years ago
and her step-mum works at the hospice, so Evie
already knew of the good work done there and
jumped at the chance to take part.
For more information about Mini Miles 4 St
Giles, visit www.stgileshospice.com/minimiles.
Register to Vote
Local residents are being reminded to make
sure their electoral registration details are up
to date in the annual canvass.
With District; County Council; and Police, Fire
& Crime Commissioner elections taking place
in Cannock Chase in May 2021, this is an
important opportunity for residents to make
sure they can take part.
The annual canvass ensures that the Council
can keep the electoral register up to date,
identifying any residents who are not registered
so that they can be encouraged to do so.
People who have moved recently are
particularly encouraged to look out for the
Council’s voter registration communications
and check the details. Research by the Electoral
Commission indicates that recent home
movers are far less likely to be registered than
those who have lived at the same address for a
long time. Across Great Britain, 92% of people
who have been at their property for more than
sixteen years will be registered, compared to
36% of people who have lived at an address for
less than one year.
There’s lots of helpful information about
registering to vote on the website
Any residents who have any questions can
contact their local registration team by email at
email@example.com or by
calling 01543 464457.
Cannock Chase councillors have responded to
new legislation from Government for a
pavement licensing scheme, by voting
unanimously to support it at a recent council
meeting. The scheme allows businesses selling
food and drink to place tables and chairs and
associated furniture outside of their premises.
Furthermore, councillors agreed to make the
`pavement licences` free of charge to successful
applicants. Other local authorities have decided
to charge businesses £100 for a licence, the
maximum amount allowed by Government.
The scheme is part of the Business and Planning
Act 2020. It authorises councils and delegated
officers to introduce the scheme in their
localities and administer all applications made
including setting up appropriate policies and
The pavement licences will be a temporary
measure which will see all issued licences
expiring on 30th September 2021.
Get Creative with Your
People of all
ages are invited
to take part in a
s u m m e r
c r e a t i v e
a c t i v i t i e s
are designed to get people interested in the
arts, help them learn new skills and connect
with others in library spaces, online or at home.
There are two programmes, ‘Creative
Explorers’ for children and young people and
‘Createspace’ for adults.
‘Creative Explorers’ is led by professional
artists and will encourage children to
experiment with a range of creative arts. Each
session links in with a library theme which kicks
off with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge
‘Silly Squad’. Different activities are posted
every Monday morning on the Libraries
Facebook page with children invited to share
their creations in an online gallery.
‘Createspace’ is an online resource with
activities to help encourage adults to be
creative in their everyday life and to improve
mental wellbeing. New activities are posted
every Friday on
Space and the group has over 80 members.
Find out more at
Rugeley to get
At a meeting of Rugeley Town Council on 4th August 2020, it was
agreed to support and promote the introduction of a ShopAppy
scheme for Rugeley retailers and services. ShopAppy is a new
way for local retailers to sell their products and services online.
ShopAppy provides an online shop window where customers can
browse, buy and collect or arrange home delivery and is now
available in over 100 areas in the UK. It is offering 12 months
free subscription for all retailers and services in Rugeley
and is being run in conjunction with VISA.
The cost of the subscriptions for the first 12 months is
being met by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local
Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).
With £1 in every £3 being spent online in the UK since
lockdown, ShopAppy believes it is important there are
alternatives that encourage local spending and support local
Dr Jackie Mulligan, Founder of ShopAppy.com said: “We are
delighted to be working in Rugeley and to be partnering with
the Council, local businesses and the Greater Birmingham and
Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership on this launch of the
ShopAppy.com platform in the area.
“With our recently announced partnership with VISA
helping us to provide support to more small businesses across
the UK, we are certain that this will provide a real and tangible benefit
to Rugeley businesses and communities - helping them to support each
other for a faster local economic and community recovery.”
Local retailers will benefit from:
• Their own online website profile with images, opening times,
information and contact details.
• The ability to list unlimited products or services for sale, to order or
• Ecommerce capability with click or collect or delivery options.
• Full ShopAppy training videos and support.
• Local marketing campaigns.
• FREE service and support for 12 months.
Look out for the flyer coming through your doors for how to get
more involved. Alternatively contact the Town Clerk via email at
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This bottle of The Macallan 25th anniversary
fetched £2,700 with Richard Winterton
Auctioneers last year.
By Robert French, Richard Winterton Auctioneers
There’s nothing quite like a dram – and as this most surreal of
years draws towards autumn, whisky will once again affirm its
place as the ultimate winter warmer for grown-ups.
But what about that rarer tipple where one might wisely be advised to
look rather than taste?
If you believe some of the reports in the press, up to a quarter of us
are drinking more alcohol during lockdown, while alcohol sales in general
have risen by nearly a third.
Yet with the value of whisky increasing year-on-year – rare whisky
prices have risen by over 400 per cent in the last decade – should we be
drinking it or investing in it?
The answer is, of course, that it depends on the bottle in question. The
most expensive bottle ever sold was The Macallan 1926, a 60-year-old
cask 263 and one of only 40 bottles ever produced.
It sold at auction last year for £1.5m – meaning that one shot will cost
you the same as a 2020 Porsche!
Small wonder that wealth reports show whisky tops the Luxury
So, could you have a whisky windfall hiding away unopened in the back
of the drinks cupboard?
Whisky to watch out for includes Scottish single malts such as The
Macallan, Clynelish, Ardbeg, Glenlugie, Brora, Bowmore and Ben Wyvis –
a bottle of The Macallan 25th anniversary fetched £2,700 with Richard
Winterton Auctioneers last year and we sold a bottle of Bowmore
Bicentenary 1779-1979 Islay single malt for £2,600 in our online-only
Fine Arts auction in April.
Also highly collectable is unusual whisky such as Loch Dhu aka ‘The
Black Whisky’. Very different to the golden tones classically associated
with Scotch, this very distinctive single malt gets its signature colour
from maturing in double-charred casks. It regularly sells at auction for
Other ones to collect include whisky from distilleries no longer
producing – so-called ‘silent’ or ‘lost’ distilleries such as Glen Mhor, St
A bottle of Bowmore Bicentenary single malt
sold for £2,600 in April.
Loch Dhu gets its signature
colour from maturing in
Magdalene and Ladyburn.
Two such lost distilleries, Brora and Port Ellen, were due to reopen
this year; Port Ellen has already confirmed this has now been put back
Nevertheless, whenever they do come back, we expect demand for
their new products to be very high indeed.
We’ve found ourselves firmly footed north of the border today talking
Scottish whisky but there is of course a whole world of whiskey out
there, ranging from Irish to American bourbon, which is made from corn
mash whilst Scotch is made from malted barley.
Bourbon, incidentally, is booming – despite a 25 per cent tariff on
imports, it’s estimated that one in 12 bottles of whisky sold in the UK is
American whiskey with Jack Daniels still being number one. Other
popular brands include Stagg, Old Forester, Benheim and Woodford
I must also mention Japanese whisky, which has its own proud heritage
and traditions offering innovative and complex flavours garnering huge
respect and credibility in the whisky world from distilleries such as
Yamazaki, Hibiki and Nikka.
Of course, much of this article focusses on aged whisky but it’s worth
noting that whisky only matures in the cask – once it is bottled it will
taste exactly the same, provided it has been stored correctly, even after
many, many years.
This is a point highlighted by recent news that a bottle of Scotch
recovered from the wreck of the SS Politician – which sunk in 1941 and
inspired Compton Mackenzie’s novel Whisky Galore and subsequent
films – was set to fetch £15,000 at auction.
The cargo ship which ran aground off the coast of Eriskay was filled
with over 20,000 cases of whisky, much of which was ‘rescued’ by
islanders, who clearly felt more kinship with whisky than marine salvage
This bottle in question, however, is one of five legally recovered by
divers in 1987. Talk about wetting one’s whistle – oh to try a dram of
Robert French offers free valuations of wine, whisky, port or other spirits –
email rob@richardwinterton with photos for a virtual estimate or call 01543
251081 to book a Covid-secure valuation appointment.
The Lichfield Auction Centre’s specialist sale on Monday, September 28
includes a Wine & Whisky section. For details, visit
Keeren's Kardz and Gifts from the H❤rt are now
bigger and better than ever in Brewery Street
Shopping Centre, Rugeley, following expansion.
Established for more than six years, there's now even
more greetings cards to choose from, such as comical
cards from Cherry Orchard Publishing, or words of
sentiment from Words-N-Wishes, plus everything in
The range of gifts available include beautiful
ornamental items from Nobile Glass, and candles and
burners from Wax Lyrical, as well as lots of other
suppliers to ensure that you get that special something
for that special someone!
Nothing is too much trouble and if Keeren’s Kardz or
Gifts from the H❤rt haven't got something in stock that
you require, they will endeavour to get it for you.
A Hub for
As ‘Midlanders’, we are
very lucky to have a
variety of food
producers right here on our
doorstep, including farmers,
cheesemakers, butchers and
more, all using local ingredients
to create fresh, homemade
Ruth Redgate with Theo Pathitis
products. But getting to all
these small businesses can be
In 2018, artisan baker Ruth Redgate launched the Mercia
Food Hub. Her aim was to make it easier for the
community to find small producers by bringing all goods
together at one weekly collection point. From humble
beginnings, the Hub has grown to nearly 30 producers with
more than 100 products available weekly.
When lockdown forced many businesses to close and
supermarkets saw huge queues and empty shelves, the Hub
saw a 900% increase in customers in just one week.
Working tirelessly, Ruth and her team continued to deliver
orders direct to customers – an invaluable service when
many vulnerable people had no other option to find basics
such as fresh vegetables, milk and eggs.
Tend to German
Young people from across Staffordshire have been tending to the war
graves at the German Military Cemetery on Cannock Chase.
Ben Tapper, Cllr Mark Sutton, Emmie Tapper, Kath Perry,
Charlie Evans, Millie Could & Megan Crutchley.
The exchange marks a 58-year partnership between the German War
Graves Commission in Bremen and Staffordshire County Council.
The young people would normally be joined by teenagers from
Germany, however because of Coronavirus travel restrictions it hasn’t
been possible this year.
Organised by Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services
(SCVYS), the six young people spent Wednesday 29th July cleaning and
tidying the graves at the cemetery before joining the Chairman of
Staffordshire County Council for a small service of remembrance.
The group also took part in video calls with young people in Germany
who have been tending to graves in Bremen.
Over the years, the exchange has given young people the chance to
build new friendships, learn more about the history of the World Wars,
and be involved in projects that concentrate on the theme of peace and
Charlie Evans, aged 18 from Hednesford took part in the activities.
She said: “This is a fantastic project that gives us a chance to remember
the fallen and come together in unification and reconciliation.
“The project allows beautiful friendships and connections to form, to
ensure the past will not be created again. I am so thankful to SCVYS for
the opportunity that they provide on this camp every year and it shows
the resilience of the project that we are still able to come together
despite the barriers faced by the pandemic.”
Mark Sutton, cabinet member for Children and Young People at
Staffordshire County council said: “Young people have been visiting
Staffordshire from Germany as part of this amazing friendship for almost
sixty years now.
“It’s really sad that this year, because of Coronavirus, the young people
were not able to meet up and get together in person. But they were still
determined to mark the event and through the wonders of modern
technology they were able to join up virtually.”
Phil Pusey, Chief Executive of SCVYS said: "I am delighted that working
with our German friends we have been able to use a mixture of digital
technology and small scale gatherings to bring young people from both
countries together to achieve many of the camp objectives in a safe way.
“Marking this annual event has been important in sustaining our
longstanding international youth partnership.”
The German Military Cemetery on Cannock Chase is the only
German cemetery in the country and lies next to the Commonwealth
graves on Cannock Chase.
Here at Just Granite Ltd, we pride ourselves on being the experts for any worktop needs you may have.
Be it a beautiful bespoke and unique kitchen worktop, a bar, bathroom or even a barbecue area, we have
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There really is no reason to go anywhere else!
Win a Stone Number for Your House
Just Granite takes great pride in offering its customers full
support, from the initial quotation right through to installation,
with all products being covered under a guarantee and offering
additional maintenance packages where suitable.
With the largest variety of natural stones in the Midlands, the
solid slabs are kept on-site and are available for viewing from
9am-5pm on Monday to Friday, and 9am-12.30pm on Saturday.
Located at The Stone Works, Pillaton Hall Farm, Penkridge,
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To enter, just send your name, contact
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By Harry Thornton, a member of
The Landor (local history) Society
After moving from Brewood to the Springs Farm at Brereton in
1900, Mr George Plant and his grown-up son soon acquired an
unhappy relationship with the local police which came to a head
in January 1901 outside the Black Horse Inn in Upper Brook Street at
Rugeley where Mr Plant Snr. was asked by a nearby policeman why he
was carrying a shotgun. He said he had been shooting birds but then
began complaining about the police ordering him out of a pub at
Brereton the previous evening. By then local police Inspector
Whitehurst was approaching on the other side of the road and his
appearance caused Plant to become extremely agitated and, after an
exchange of words, he levelled the gun at the Inspector, who by then had
reached Pascoe’s shop, opposite the Black Horse, and shot the Inspector
causing serious injuries to his head and chest. The horrified constable
attempted to seize the gun but in the ensuing excitement Plant made a
Still carrying the gun, Mr Plant ran along Rugeley’s Horse Fair where
he met his son who had a horse which his father grabbed and rode off
towards Brereton where he fired his gun at the front door of the village
policeman. He then rode over the Chase, by which time police
throughout the locality had been alerted and a policeman at Hazel Slade
discovered Mr Plant had abandoned his horse and was on his way to the
Cross Keys Inn at Hednesford but on arriving with other constables it
was found he had left only minutes earlier.
A further search traced Mr Plant to the Old Cannock Road at
Hednesford where, as the pursuing police got closer, Plant turned round
and threatened the nearest constable with the gun saying he would
shoot if he went another yard nearer. Undeterred, the police continued
to follow Plant who shouted “stand back or I’ll shoot you” but
immediately afterwards put the gun to his own head and pulled the
trigger, inflicting terrible injuries from which he died.
Meanwhile Inspector Whitehurst was found to be bleeding profusely
from the shoulder and head and, with no ambulance available, a shutter
from Mr Pascoe’s shop was used on top of a truck to convey the injured
Inspector to Rugeley Hospital where eventually he made a recovery. At
the inquest on Mr Plant, held at the Globe Inn at Hednesford, a verdict
of suicide was recorded. He was buried in Lapley churchyard, near
Brewood, but without any church service.
The Black Horse and Pacoe's shop as seen from Brook Square
By Peter Fielding
Following the slight easing of restrictions, members of the club
recently joined the Rugeley Litter Pickers one Sunday morning in
July to tidy up parts of the town. A pleasant morning was had
although unfortunately we were denied the tea and cakes afterwards!
PC Fewtrell House at Brereton where George Plant shot at the door
It is a shame that
we still have to
litter pick as some
to fail to take their
with them or use
Just a quick
reminder that we
are still looking for
volunteers to join
Rugeley & District
(left-right) Lions John Morgan, President Deb Coburn,
Peter Fielding and Jane Stevenson
Lions Club and Rugeley Rotary Club on our Christmas Float starting
on 7th December. To register your interest please contact us via
Facebook (Lions Club or Rotary Club). Alternatively send a message to
our email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Trish Mellor
Cannock Soroptimists joined their friendship link club in
Melbourne, Australia this week… by Zoom!
Soroptimist International Cannock and Melbourne
branches usually keep in touch with each other by email,
sending messages and sharing newsletters, but his week they
all attended the same meeting via Zoom. It was 9.30am here
in the UK and 6.30pm in Australia - and how marvellous it was to put
faces to some of the names!
Nine Cannock members joined the meeting and listened to speaker,
Josephine Beer, who works for the department of Health and Human
Services in Victoria. She described how, at the start of the worldwide
pandemic, she had been given the task to lead the work of handling the
situation regarding all those returning to Victoria from overseas. The
'returners' had to be taken from either the airport or seaport to a hotel
where they were quarantined for 14 days. Josephine set up a team of
120 people who contacted everyone in the hotels on day three of their
quarantine and again on day nine, working to a specially prepared
agenda. All of the team were all trained to question appropriately, to
employ empathy, and to be able to recognise any mental health issues. In
the early days (March and April) they were making 1,000 phone calls
every day and making follow up referrals from 20% of those calls.
This August Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is celebrating art and
nature with a special digital WildArt Exhibition on the 26th
The artwork will be displayed on its Wildchild Festival blog and will
be taking over the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust family activities Facebook
page for the day with exciting insights into the artwork.
All of the work exhibited has been created through collaborations
with artists and young people in Staffordshire.
-Giant sculptures by Rob Turner, inspired by drawings that children
have sent in from the call out on Facebook.
-Festival flags by Gwenllian Spink, designed with a Beaver group in
Newscastle-under-Lyme -‘Once upon a time…’ a story walk created by
Members of SI Cannock attend SI Melbourne meeting on Zoom
Sally Cole, also a Soroptimist, then told of the arduous journey she
and her husband had to get home to Australia when they found
themselves stranded in Lima, Peru, as borders closed suddenly and the
pandemic spread around the world. They were forced to quarantine as
their travel arrangements were constantly cancelled and guidance
changed. Finally, after five and a half weeks in enforced lockdown, they
arrived home via a series of circuitous and very expensive flights, with
little food and water, to reach Melbourne on a military aircraft. To say
they were glad to get home is an understatement!
This meeting brought the message home very clearly that the
situation we are all going through is the same the world over.
Find out more at www.sigbi.org/cannock-and-district, or on
Facebook at www.facebook.com/SICannock.
Louise Bland with
soundbites sent in by
created by a group of
young artists and
have been meeting
lockdown with artist
This exhibition has
been made possible
with funding from the
Arts Council England.
Katie Shipley, People Engagement Manager said: “The Arts Council
England funding is for our next Wildchild Festival that was due to be
held on the 26th August 2020 and now sadly cannot go ahead.
“We hope that families can still enjoy the artwork they have helped
us to create during this alternative exhibition.
“The festival has been postponed until next year where all of the
artwork will be on display in real life!”
Take a trip to the family activities Facebook page at
www.facebook.com/swtactivities or the Wildchild Festival Blog at
www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/WildChildFestivalblog on the 26th
August to see the artwork.
A Bathroom Dream Come True!
Just Bathrooms & Panels in Rugeley has
moved to a new showroom, upgrading
from a small space to a large 3,500
square foot unit on the popular Trent
Valley Trading Estate.
With more than 15 years’ worth of
experience in the industry under his belt,
founder Tony and the dedicated team have
taken their business one step further –
from supplying trade-only to opening to the
public, and are able to help and advise on a
wide range of custom-made supplies to
ensure that your bathroom stands out from
The firm’s primary product is the supply
of bathroom panels, which have gained
widespread popularity and become a
growing trend over the last few years.
Rather than having tiled bathroom walls, the
specially designed purpose-built acrylic
panels are not only low maintenance and
easy to keep clean, but they come in such a
varied array of colours, patterns and styles,
that your bathroom is sure to become a
Unique, colourful and quirky, the panels
feature designs such as palm tree fronds,
flamingos, or even a serene beach scene so
you can lie in a hot bath whilst gazing at the
But that’s not all that Just Bathrooms &
Panels provides. Tony and the team can offer
a full bathroom renovation package,
including flooring, ceiling and wall coverings,
shower and wet room enclosures, and even
the bathroom suite itself. Plus, working with
a range of local fitters, Just Bathrooms &
Panels can recommend the best tradesmen
in the area to help create your dream
bathroom. With top-quality brand names
within the industry, such as Tavistock, K Vit
Bathroom Products, Lakes Showers,
MultiPanel, Showerwall, Nuance Bushboard
Panels and Worktops and Wetwall Panels.
There also a range of waterproof Flooring
including Malmo, Krono and Faus, and SPC
Flooring, so you are bound to find exactly
what you’re looking for to add a little
colour and individuality to your interior.
Plus, the acrylic panels also make great
splashbacks for kitchen sinks, so you can
add some colour and contrast throughout
your entire home!
Visit Tony and the team at Just
Bathrooms & Panels, Unit 16 Trent
Valley Trading Estate, Rugeley, WS15
2HQ or visit www.justpanels.co.uk.
Old Views of Abbots Bromley
The setting of the Horn Dance is in the quaint village
of Abbots Bromley, which can trace its history back
to the Norman Conquest of 1066.
These vintage postcards show the Horn Dancers at
Blithfield Hall, the ancestral home of the Bagot family.
The original hall was built in the 14th century and is
home to a famous breed of goat, the Bagot Goat!
The aerial photograph portrays the layout of the
village taken from the tower of St Nicholas’ Church in
the 1930s and shows that the village has not changed
dramatically in the last 100 hundred years.
The postcard of the Market Cross, or more accurately
the Butter Cross, has the Goat’s Head Inn in the
background. The inn was built in the 17th century and is
named after the Bagot breed of goat.
The Church of St Nicholas’ was originally built in the
14th century and is the resting home of the reindeer
horns of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.
Aerial view of Abbots Bromley from St Nicholas’ Church,
Abbots Bromley Market Cross c1930s Abbots Bromley Horn Dancers, 1919
Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, date unknown
St Nicholas’ Church, Church Lane
*Postcards courtesy of Jono’s Tourism.
A Curious Custom
On Monday 7th September 2020 one of the country’s most curious, and
traditional, folk dances would have taken place in Staffordshire – the
Abbots Bromley Horn Dance. Due to the Covid-19 situation this very
traditional event has, unfortunately, been cancelled for this year. Our feature
writer, Jono Oates, looks at the near 800-year history of the ‘dance of the
Each year, on the first Monday after the first Sunday after 4th September,
a rather bizarrely-dressed ensemble of people, some carrying ancient deer
antlers, parade around the picturesque village of Abbots Bromley while
performing a flamboyant folk dance. This is the historic Abbots Bromley
Horn Dance, reputed to be the oldest folk dance in Britain and a
quintessential slice of English heritage and custom.
It isn’t exactly clear when the dance was first performed but it’s thought
that it was at the Barthelmy Fair, held to celebrate St Bartholomew’s Day in
1226. It’s believed that the original dances were held during the time of the
winter solstice and possibly even on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day but
the current ceremony has been performed on Wakes Monday for several
hundred years. During the First World War the Horn Dance was suspended,
as many local traditional dances and customs were, but other than that, it is
believed that the dance has been carried out, in its current format, for more
than 400 years –that is, until 2020, when it has been cancelled for only the
second time in its history.
The group of dancers consists of 12 people, six of whom carry the heavy
antlers, and the others who are made up of Maid Marian (in true panto-style,
played by a man), a boy carrying a bow and arrow, a jester or fool, a hobbyhorse,
a boy carrying a triangle and a musician playing an accordion. The 12
dancers have traditionally been played by men and boys but, in more recent
times, the roles of the triangle player and bowman have also been played by
girls. For many years the dancers were mainly made up of members of two
Abbots Bromley families, Adey and Bentley, however the dancers today
come from the local area, although spectators have sometimes been given
the opportunity to take part!
The antlers, three pairs painted black and three pairs painted white, are
reindeer horns. One of these horns was carbon-dated in the 1970s whilst
being repaired and was found to date back to the 11th century. Reindeers
are thought to have died out in Britain by the 11th century so the antlers
may well have been imported from Scandinavia.
The ceremony starts at 8am at St Nicholas Church in the village
which is where the antlers are kept. The dancers then perform on
the village green before travelling around the local area, including a
visit at midday to Blithfield Hall, the Grade I ancestral home of the
Bagot family. Here, the dancers perform in the Hall’s gardens while
visitors watch from the vantage point of a ‘ha-ha.’ After calling in at
several local pubs during the afternoon the troupe returns to the
village green at 8pm where the antlers are returned to the safety of
In 2019 a series of Royal Mail postage stamps, with the collective
title of ‘Curious Customs’, was issued and the Abbots Bromley Horn
Dance was selected as one of eight traditional, and unusual, customs.
It may have been cancelled for only the second time in its 800-
year-old history but hopefully the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance will
return to the village in 2021 when visitors and locals alike will, once
again, be able to enjoy the ancient tradition of the ‘dance of the
For more information on the tradition please visit the
Horn Dance website at
Sources: The British Newspaper Archive;
Tastes of the Season
September is upon us and with that all the
fruits you have grown over the previous
months whilst being incarcerated.
The apples and pears will be falling in many
gardens and I know many people give them
away to friends and neighbours as we always
seem to have too many to eat ourselves. You
can, of course, peel chop and freeze them or
cook, purée and then freeze them for later
Baked apple is a dish favoured by some.
Generally these are done with cooking apples
but work just as well with eating apples if they
are cooked for longer at a lower temperature.
It’s important to remove the core and get rid
of all the pips as these can put people off. To
fill the centre I use sultanas, muscovado sugar,
cinnamon and some butter. I then put some
cider in the bottom of the baking dish and
cover with tin foil to stop the sultanas burning.
By Simon Smith
An apple compote made with peeled diced
apples, sugar cinnamon and orange zest gently
cooked will enhance any breakfast table and
can also be made with pears. This also makes a
great filling for pancakes and to jazz it up for a
dinner party pudding add a dash of Grand
Marnier. You can also turn it into apple sauce
by whizzing it in a food processor and adding
some finely diced sage. Keep in a jar in the
fridge to extend shelf life and it’s perfect with
Cabbage, Potato and Brie Pie
1 x savoy cabbage
4ozs cooked Jersey Royal potatoes cut into
1 x sheet puff pastry
1/2pt Béchamel sauce (or cheese sauce)
Take the outer green leaves from the cabbage
and blanche in boiling water for 30 seconds,
drop into iced water to stop them cooking.
Finely slice the rest of the cabbage and repeat
Drain all the cabbage leaves so there is no
water left as this will make the pie soggy.
Mix the sliced cabbage and potatoes with just
enough béchamel to bind it, season with
nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Roll out the sheet of pastry and lay the largest
green cabbage leaves on it to protect the
pastry from going soggy. Put the sliced brie on
first and then place the rest of the cabbage
mix down the middle and roll together like a
beef wellington using the egg wash to stick the
Brush the top with egg wash for a nice shine.
Baked in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for
This dish is lovely served hot but also makes a
nice buffet centrepiece. You can also mix some
smoked bacon lardons in for extra flavour.
Simon Smith runs a catering business from
his production kitchen in Lichfield, providing
bespoke private dinners plus wedding,
corporate and event catering. Simon also
undertakes cookery demonstrations around
the country and with local businesses such as
Arthur Price and Tippers. During the summer
months Simon works for private clients both
on superyachts and in villas in St Tropez and
Europe. If you are looking for catering or a
day of cookery skills go to www.simonsmithchef.com
*Please take extra care when preparing and
handling hot foodstuffs. Go to
www.food.gov.uk for further details.
Durrant Funeral Services, based in Rugeley, was
established by Neil and Tracy Durrant in 2019,
following Neil’s decision to set up his own
funeral service after a long career working for a large
regional funeral director. Aided by his wife Tracy, the
couple understand that personal service is more
important and caring for families at a time of loss
means supporting them like they were part of their
Neil started his career in 1981, working for a small
family funeral director as a trainee and was
encouraged to gain qualifications in funeral directing
and embalming, which he had by the age of 20.
Following the takeover of this business, Neil
progressed to become a funeral director and senior
funeral director, working throughout the Midlands.
Tracy came into the funeral profession in 2015,
following a career as a teaching assistant and has
carried over her transferable skills to her new
profession by caring for the loved ones of the grieving
families, offering advice and support to them when
Aware of ‘funeral poverty’ as highlighted in the
news, Durrant can provide funeral packages to suit all
budgets, from direct cremation through to horse
Durrant Funeral Services provides a service where
you see the same people all the way through the
funeral arrangements. From the initial call, right till
they leave your side after the funeral service.
However, Neil and Tracy don’t want the relationship
to end there and are always able to provide support
and guidance following the funeral. Clients are
welcome to call in, chat over a cup of tea and put the
world to rights, should they need to.
J HOWELL &
FUNERAL DIRECTORS LICHFIELD
LICHFIELD’S LONGEST ESTABLISHED INDEPENDENT,
FAMILY RUN FUNERAL DIRECTORS.
SECOND GENERATION BUSINESS HERE TO ASSIST YOU
AND YOUR FAMILY.
24 hours a day
We are proud to be Lichfield's longest established family run funeral directors offering a wide range of
choices to suit all requirements. Horse drawn hearse, non religious ceremonies, floral tributes and
memorials are but a few of the services we offer.
Pre-paid funeral plans are also available.
For a truly personal service please call
Private Chapel of Rest 116 Netherstowe,
Lichfield, Staffs. WS13 6TS
My Month in
By Amanda Milling MP
On Sunday 9th August, Happy Pooch
Walking Brigade took to Marquis
Drive Visitor Centre on Cannock
Chase for a dog walk in order to raise money
for Rugeley Welfare for Dogs.
There were several regular walkers, as well
as a few new members to the group, and
overall a total of £60 was raised.
Rugeley Welfare for Dogs was set up by
Ruth and Pauline and is dedicated to
rehoming dogs in the area, as well as helping
those in less fortunate positions with funding
for their pooches.
To find out more about Happy Pooch
Walking Brigade visit Facebook at
For further information about Rugeley
Welfare for Dogs visit
www.rugeleywelfarefordogs.co.uk or contact
Ruth on 07900 090993.
With Parliament being
in recess it means I
can spend more time
here in Cannock Chase. With
lockdown measures gradually
being eased it is great that I can
now get out and about again,
supporting our local high
streets, visiting businesses and meeting with
community groups. Like many people, I was relieved
to have my first post lockdown haircut (muchneeded),
drink in a pub and meal in a restaurant!
While I have been out and about, it has been
amazing to see all the measures that local businesses
have put in place to enable them to open back up,
whilst protecting staff and customers.
Like everyone, I have had to adapt to a different
way of working and over the last few months I have
held many online surgeries, a format that has proved
very popular. Over recent weeks the casework I
have been dealing with has moved away from Covid-
19 and towards matters I would have typically seen
before the pandemic. While many feel the world is
returning to normal, we do have to remain alert –
regularly washing our hands, using face coverings
and keeping our distance.
During lockdown I was in constant contact with
local authorities and the police to ensure that
residents remain safe. In recent weeks, Staffordshire
Police have been very busy, with arrests being made
in relation to illegal raves and officers appealing for
witnesses after Rugeley’s Green Lane play area was
My constituency office is back open to visitors but
on an appointment-only basis, so please ensure you
make an appointment if you are planning on visiting.
If you have any issues you need my help with, please
email me on email@example.com, call
01543 877142 or visit
www.amandamilling.com/contact and I can arrange
an appointment. I hope that I may see you when I’m
out and about in the coming weeks.
Stay safe and stay alert.
By Allen Brown
An ever popular service we offer here at Allen Brown
Jewellery is our remodelling service, where we can
transform your older pieces of jewellery into
something you can wear and enjoy, remodelled to a new
design to suit your taste.
Over the last few years this has been a growing part of
our business, helping people carry forward all the sentiment
of inherited jewellery into new stylish pieces that can be
worn, but knowing it is made from old jewellery that was
We are helping many customers take existing family
heirloom pieces and aid in carrying the sentiment forward
to the next generation. By carefully separating existing
pieces, we transform their metals and stones into new
individually designed pieces. It is a good way of recycling
material and reusing whilst keeping all the sentiment of the
Often it’s hard to visualise what we can do with old
pieces of jewellery. We have lots of before and after
examples to show what we are able to do and we will guide
you along the process whilst showing you what is possible.
In addition, our upstairs viewing gallery, also gives our
customers the chance to view first hand, pieces of jewellery
being created in our onsite workshop by our talented team.
We are always happy to advise people who bring in their
jewellery and we can help to explore the possibilities of
what can be created.
A customer will visit our jewellery gallery with inherited
jewellery and we can discuss with them the possibilities and
the type of jewellery they would like from the remodelling
For the entire process, from the customer walking in the
door of our jewellery gallery to collection of final item, it
typically takes between 6-8 weeks, 2/3 for the drawing
creation and around 6 for the making depending on the
work involved in the remodelling process.
You can rely on our talented jewellery designers to
create unusual and unique jewellery items to your
requirements with attention to detail and high quality
individualised and a truly personal service.
If you have some jewellery that you would like
remodelling please feel free to visit our jewellery gallery
located at Heart of the Country, Swinfen, Lichfield, WS14
We are open Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 5pm.
Alternatively please call us to discuss further on 01543 481
948 or visit www.allenbrownjewellery.co.uk/remodelling
where you can find a video which shows Allen explaining
the whole process of our remodelling service.
By Jill Gooch
As group meetings in person are still off the cards, our last
monthly meeting was again on Zoom with our guest, Glynis
Myles, leading us in ‘signing’ a song using sign language. Glynis
demonstrated and explained the sign movements, then played the song
“You Raise Me Up.” With us all muted on Zoom, we were able to sing
loudly (and maybe out of tune!) without anyone else hearing and signed
our movements to the words. As it was a fairly slow song we did rather
well! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and agreed it was an excellent
activity for our virtual meeting.
Through our local links, a gift of
lace bobbins and a craft cushion
were offered to any interested
members. Norma, a relative of
Colton WI member Polly has had
to give up her lifelong hobby of
lacemaking due to ill health, and
very kindly instructed Polly to find
a new home for the bobbins. Step
in ‘the network’: and our member
Clare. Clare is an ardent crafter
who had taught herself crotchet
last year, and after watching the
Nonnas’ lacemaking at their
doorsteps, whilst she was living in
Italy, decided she had the
Clare with bobbins
inclination to give it a go. We wait
expectantly to see her first
A Review of
By Nicola Lynes
In the August issue of Citylife I
explained how I was taking part in
Plastic-Free July on behalf of
Transforming the Trent Valley Landscape
Partnership Scheme (we are funded by
the National Lottery Heritage Fund). I
made daily posts on the TTTV social media pages with tips to reduce
plastic living; talking about food, toilet rolls, toothbrushes, coffee, refill
stores, growing food and much more (you can find them all on the TTTV
So now that July is over, what did I learn from 31 days of plastic-free living?
Firstly, it is impossible to go completely ‘plastic-free’. Plastic has
changed the world and is embedded into everything – the laptop I’m
typing on, the frame of the office chair I’m sitting on, the pen I use to
Jill delivering ear savers to Cannock Hospital
Following our request on Facebook for ‘ear savers’ (for mask wearers)
we are still receiving kind donations from local people and further afield,
such as Burntwood, Bishop’s Wood and Burton upon Trent. These were
delivered to NHS Cannock Hospital to delighted frontline workers.
National Federation have given us the title of Community Champions
with our star member Meena being featured in WI Life Magazine. We are
so proud to be able to help in our community in whatever way we can!
The committee are having discussions about having our monthly
meeting being in person at our Community Hall: if we feel it is too soon
or impractical, then we will stick to Zoom. This month’s competition is
“My Claim to Fame”, so we are expecting tales of a brush with celebrity,
Royalty, or even appearing on television!
Our WI meetings are on the second Thursday of the month 10.30am
at St Luke’s Church Centre, Cannock. Visitors are always welcome to
come and join us for refreshments and a chat- but not for a while – wait
for the all clear! Follow us on Facebook for updates at
name a few things. However, the focus of
Plastic-Free July was to specifically highlight
“single use” plastics, and how they can be
After completing a plastic audit for one
week, I noticed that my main offenders were
food packaging – meat trays, cheese wrappers,
fruit and vegetables. I think some of this is due
to the response to COVID-19, I noticed less
loose fruit and vegetables in the supermarket
while we all got used to a ‘new normal’. Part of
our household waste is also down to
maintaining a harmonious relationship with my
partner, I have imposed some plastic-free
swaps upon him but life is all about compromise and he does not want
to give up bacon!
I was encouraged with how much people engaged with the daily posts,
there is a huge enthusiasm among residents in the Trent Valley to reduce
their plastic use and to support each other to do so. TTTV will be
continuing to tackle single use plastic in the landscape, through litter
picks and campaigns with local community groups. We hope to see you
Find out more about TTTV and Nicola’s work at
Cannock Market Square 1917
The Clock Tower
By Jono Oates
The Clock Tower of Cannock takes up a central point in the
Market Square and has stood in its imposing position for 85
years, but the provision of the clock for the people of
Cannock was due entirely to the generosity of a local shopkeeper –
In May 1935 a meeting of the Cannock Urban Council took place,
presided over by Mr Arthur Hampton. At the meeting the committee
recommended a proposal for the erection of a new clock tower on the
Market Square at an estimated cost of £622 and that the executors of the
estate of the late Mr Henry Benton had approved the expenditure.
Henry Benton had been born in Offley Hay, Eccleshall, in 1864 to his
parents William, a cordwainer, and Eliza. By 1888 he was a butcher and
living in premises on the Market Place, High Green, in Cannock. In 1897
Benton was advertising ‘The Roast Beef of Old England’ on sale at his
shop, as well as selling mutton, pork, pork pies and sausages. He continued
in the shop until January 1923 when he passed away, aged just 59. The
obituary in the Cannock Chase Courier said that Henry had been of a
‘retiring disposition’ and that he was a quiet and generous worker. The
funeral took place at the Wesleyan Church and his body was interred at
After he passed away, as part of his will, Henry left a sum of £1,000 to
provide a clock tower and a drinking water fountain in the Market Place
at Cannock as well as providing the money to install public toilets in
Cannock Park. Henry also left £600 to the Union Methodist Church
whom he had supported during his time in the area.
The provision of Henry Benton’s will stated that the installation of the
clock tower and drinking fountain could not commence until after his
wife, Elizabeth, had passed away, so the monies remained in a charitable
trust, administrated by the Urban Council and the executors, for nearly
12 years. When Elizabeth’s health started to fail at the beginning of 1935
the Urban Council spoke to the executors of Henry’s will and they all
agreed that the funds should be released so that work could start on the
tower with a view that Elizabeth would be able to see the fruits of her
husband’s legacy before she passed away. Elizabeth died on 15th April
1935, aged 77, and twelve years after her husband had died. During the
First World War she had volunteered to help the Cannock Soldiers’ Club
and had regularly visited the Military Camps on Cannock Chase, two to
Cannock Market Square 1930s
Cannock Town Centre c1970’s
three times a week, to provide the soldiers with additional clothing and
The clock tower was not completed until October 1935 so,
unfortunately, Elizabeth did not get to see the monument that her
husband had funded in all its glory. The tower was placed in the centre of
a large roundabout, as vehicular traffic had not been prohibited in the
town centre at that time, and stood 21½ feet tall. It was constructed of
grey granite and the clock had four faces so that it could be seen from all
angles of the square, plus it was powered by electricity. The official
ceremony took place on 24th October, when Mr AJW Bate (who had
been nominated by Henry Benton as a codicil in his will) carried out the
unveiling of the tower.
Councillor Arthur Hampton, chairman of the Urban Council, accepted
the gift on behalf of the people of Cannock from Mr H Arch and Mr I
Berrisford, the trustees of the donated funds. They also presented him
with a cheque for £1,000 (the agreed amount that Benton had specified
in his will) to cover the cost of the tower, the drinking fountain, and the
pubic toilets. In his speech Arthur Hampton praised the kindness of Mr
and Mr Benton, for their long association and dedication to the town and
he expressed the wish that others would follow in their footsteps to
provide amenities for the people of Cannock.
Today the Clock Tower still stands as a beacon looking out over the
market square and, 85 years after it was installed, it still provides the time
of day to the people of Cannock – and that legacy is all down to the
community spirit of Henry Benton.
Source: The British Newspaper Archive; www.cannockchasedc.gov.uk
A Window on the Past
From the Market Place
to Crossley Stone
Bow Street, running from Market Square to Sheep Fair, was
probably so named as it is the shape of a drawn bowstring.
The shape became less obvious when the road was bisected
by the construction of the Elmore Lane extension prior to
the pedestrianisation of the town centre in the 1980s. At
one time the Tithe Barn stood where Bow Street bears left.
1. Where Market Square becomes Bow Street c. 1985.
2. Although this postcard is entitled "Bow Street" it actually
shows Market Square c. 1937, when Paris House (extreme left)
was Cox and Gosling's drapery. Next door is Devall's house
furnishing shop, which supplied almost anything for the home
from pianos to deck chairs. Opposite, behind the blinds, is
3. A close-up of Wigham's Stores c. 1924. This grocer and
provision merchant moved to Market Square from Horse Fair.
Later the premises were occupied by Marriots grocery and
more recently by Wolseley Carpets.
4. No 7 Market Place has been, at various dates from the late
19th century, a milliners, a rick-cloth maker and seedsman, and
the British and Colonial Meat Co. This photo shows a float in a
Hospital Saturday Carnival Parade c. 1930, when no 7 was
Brassington's butchers shop. Later the Co-op ran their fish and
greengrocery departments from the premises and by the mid-
1980s it was the Co-op Travel Bureau.
5. When the Star Inn was demolished its licence was
transferred to The Comet on Springfield Estate.
6. Looking along Bow Street towards Crossley Stone in the
mid-1980s from near Taylors Lane. The sign on the yellowish
building on the right reads "Squires". This was formerly The
White Horse Inn and afterwards became Olly's Bar.
7. The Crossley Stone end of Bow Street in the early 20th
century. The houses on the left have been demolished. On the
right is the part of Crossley Stone House that became the
8. The Royal British Legion Club and headquarters of the
Rugeley Branch at the Sheep Fair end of Bow Street, built on
the site of the pound for stray animals.
The Landor (local history) Society is a focus for those who wish to learn more
about the history of Rugeley and its surrounding parishes. It was founded in 1953
and was named in honour of Walter Noble Landor, local and county historian,
who became the Society’s first President. More information is available at
Step by Step
By Jo Howell
In the wonderful musical Barnum,
there is a very rousing song called
‘One Brick at a Time’ which has the
The brawn, the brain, the courage and the
The strength to bend the strongest bar,
The will to reach the farthest star,
It's just a case of learning how to start.
And as the song progresses, you start tapping your foot
to the very addictive beat and realise that the key
message in the song is about just getting started. It’s about
taking that first important step and, in this case, watching
something grow. But for me, you can adapt the same
principal to our current après lockdown situation.
As each week passes and more of the life we once
recognised starts to return, I have started challenging
myself to add a ‘new normal’ to try and get back to well,
normal. Last month I wrote about F.O.G.O (fear of going
out) but now, just four weeks later, I am less fearful of
going out and more fascinated to test the water.
Last weekend I ventured to Stafford with the intention
of heading to the one shop I needed to exchange
something in. And then I was coming straight home. But
the sun was shining, I wasn’t in a rush and on impulse I
decided to have a meander and a mooch in M&S,
Waterstones and Boots. Mask on, credit card itching in
my purse and a sudden sense of freedom, I was off and
doing a pretty normal Saturday afternoon activity.
And just a few days later, I met with a colleague (so nice
to see them in person and not on the screen!) for a
socially distanced curry. Oh boy, it was totally worth the
five month wait! I sanitised my hands on the way in,
followed the waiter to the table from a safe distance and
thoroughly enjoyed a meal cooked by someone else.
Restaurants have got it all very well organised, they want
our business and I am certainly happy to give it them.
Whist I have enjoyed participating in many different
activities at home, I am also keen to get back to my
favourite class at the local gym. Well, I say keen – it’s more
of a ‘must do’ rather than a ‘want to’. But from what I’ve
read, like restaurants, it seems organised, clean and ready
for us to realise that all those biscuits at the start of
lockdown really weren’t the best idea after all. So, this
week’s ‘normal’ challenge is a morning spinning class and
a swimming lane booked for one evening.
And if you’re thinking about stepping back to your old
routine, just take it one day at a time. Ease yourself back
into your favourite activities, try something old/new this
week and before you know it, lockdown will just be
something written about in history books. All you need to
do is take a brick and place it on the ground…
Read more of Jo Howell’s work on her blog
Digging for Gold in
By Adrian Rathbone, Associate Director of
It has recently been reported in the world press that gold prices have
hit a record high.
It is a well-known fact that in uncertain economic times, investors put
their money into tangible assets, and in particular gold, (as well as silver
and other precious metals). With continued fears over spikes in Covid-
19 cases and the resulting economic damage, gold prices surged by 30%
this year and experts predict this trend to continue into September and
beyond. It is seen as a ‘safe bet’ against falling currency. This is very good
news for those looking to sell – the time is now to strike whilst prices
are at a record high.
It was therefore fitting to see a solid gold cigarette case discovered at
a recent valuation day at Hansons Bishton Hall. Kate Bliss, a familiar face
on TV antiques programmes, discovered the case and comments on the
“The vendor had inherited it and had kept it in a drawer for many
years. Dating from the reign of George VI and hallmarked for Chester
1938, the Art Deco case weighs an impressive 101 grams. It would
certainly have been owned in its day by a very fashionable person.
Although smoking is obviously no
longer in vogue, there is a wealth of
collectors for related accessories. It
will more than likely be bought for its
The case carries a pre-sale estimate
of £1,600-1,800 and is being offered in
Hansons Country House Fine Art
Auction at Bishton Hall on 8th
October. Further entries of gold, silver,
jewellery, antiques and collectables are
being invited for inclusion in this
Wondering about the value of your
jewellery, gold or silver? In this ever-changing market it is more
important than ever to keep up to date.
Valuation Days with Kate Bliss:
For clients considering selling, Kate Bliss holds free valuation days at
Bishton Hall once a month on a Thursday. The events are free, safe and
with social distancing measures in place. Forth coming dates with Kate
- Thursday 20th August, 17th September & 15th October and 19th
November from 10 am to 3 pm
General valuations for all manner of antiques and collectables are held
every Wednesday 5 pm to 7 pm and Thursdays 10 am to 4 pm. Free
home visits can be arranged for large/multiple items or estate clearance
For further information, please contact Adrian Rathbone
at Hansons Auctioneers on 01889 882397 or email
to Open in Spring
Construction is continuing on the new West Midlands Designer
Outlet, situated in Cannock, with a new launch date confirmed.
The £160 million McArthur Glen development was originally
scheduled to open this autumn however the Covid-19 pandemic saw
work halted for several months and the opening of the site pushed back
to spring 2021. With more than 1,000 jobs expected to be created in the
local area, the site is hoping to bring fresh new footfall to Cannock and
Elevating the designer outlet experience and shaping the concept of
destination shopping, McArthurGlen is Europe's leading owner,
developer and manager of designer outlets. Home to the most soughtafter
luxury, designer and high street brands, we offer our visitors yearround
savings of up to 60% in the UK.
The pioneer of designer outlet shopping in Europe, McArthurGlen
opened its first centre near Manchester in 1995 and our portfolio now
comprises 25 centres in 10 countries across Europe and Canada.
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands will become the
Group's seventh centre in the UK.
This exciting development is a joint venture between McArthurGlen,
Aviva Investors on behalf of Aviva Life and Pensions, The Richardson
Family and U+I Group Plc.
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