Newsletter – January 2008

January 3rd, 2008 by JCope

Chairman Joan Ryder opened the Society’s meeting on 1st January by wishing all members a Happy New Year before welcoming the evening’s speaker, Nick Baker.

Nick had set himself an interesting challenge: his subject no longer existed, nor was there any archaeology and even the ground that it had occupied was no more!  All this was even more incredible once we realised that Amblecote Hall, the subject of Nick’s presentation, had only been demolished 56 years ago.

Using a series of maps, the earliest dating from 1688, Nick explained the development of the Manor of Amblecote Hall, which was owned by the Enville Estate.  We learned how the early working of clay pits and collieries would ultimately lead to the Hall’s demise.

Photographs had been difficult to obtain, but we saw fascinating views of the farmlands and the 16th/17th Century style Hall.  Ominously present in some views were the brickworks and associated colliery that ultimately resulted in subsidence, condemnation by Amblecote UDC and finally demolition in 1952.

To complete the obliteration of the Hall, the opening of a huge opencast clay and coal pit in 1969 removed even the ground on which it had stood.  Nick concluded his fascinating talk by comparing ‘then and now’ photographs and maps of the area.

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