Hagley Societies and Organisations: A look at their history
Hagley Community Association
Newcomers to Hagley will see that there are many societies and organisations that support a sense of community when they read their first copy of the monthly publication “Hagley Village News”. This is published by the Hagley Community Association (HCA) to circulate details of the activities of its affiliated organisations. The Village News is created and distributed by volunteers and is free-of-charge. Its cost of printing is covered by revenue received from the advertising content. This article brings out some of the salient points in the development of community life in Hagley through the HCA, its affiliated member organisations, and other groups that function within Hagley.
The HCA was formed for the purpose of raising sufficient funds to build a Community Centre which would be for the benefit of the growing population in Hagley. Initially the members of the HCA were individuals whose membership and fund raising efforts helped to swell the building fund. Later the HCA constitution was changed so that its affiliated members were to be societies and organisations. These affiliates have the privilege of hiring the community centre at advantageous rates and having their monthly reports published in the Village News.
Details of the formation and growth of the HCA are made visible through press cuttings and through documents that were circulated to Hagley residents by the HCA.
Societies and Organisations
The start of the third millennium A.D. was celebrated internationally as an event called “The Millennium” on January 1st 2000 and the Village News edition for that month carried special reports from many of the societies which gave some details of their own history.
Those reports are reproduced here so that readers now have on-line access to the background of what many regard as an essential part of the infrastructure of Hagley.
This was the first document written especially for publication on-line by the Hagley Historical and Field Society (HHFS) and so would not be made available in hard copy as was the Society’s previous practice. It was written in 2011, the same year in which the HHFS first opened its website.
This article was written by Ray Porter and published on-line by Hagley Historical and Field Society 2012
Hagley Community Association in the year 2000
A small group of residents saw that Hagley was growing and as yet had no central organisation which would focus residents’ interests in wanting to feel part of Hagley. They then dedicated themselves to the task of providing Hagley with the facilities that could make it grow into a community.
The formation and activities of Hagley Community Association(HCA) during the period 1961 to 2011 can be viewed by clicking on the HCA logo to the left.
Many organisations and societies are affiliated to the HCA and in the Millenium edition of the Hagley Village News each was asked to contribute a short article summarising its history and activities up to the current year 2000. To read these contributions click in the logos below.
Hagley Community Association after the year 2000
There were a few affiliated organisations which didn’t publish their history in the Millenium edition of the Hagley Village News but submitted later articles. To read these contributions click in the logos below.
Hagley Art Club
In October 1988 the Village News carried the headline, “Calling all artists and non-artists.” “Can you paint and sketch? Would you like to be able to draw and create interesting pictures? Do you consider your skills in art limited? Providing there is sufficient interest, Hagley is a large enough community to be able to have its own Art Club.” This invitation generated enough interest to form a Club with a planned programme of activities. And the rest is history.
Alan Pritchard began the Club and has nurtured it over the years. There have been five chairmen with lively supporting committee members that have helped the Club to grow. 1989 saw the first exhibition in the Free Church Hall and membership grew until in 1998 when the committee had to restrict the number of pictures being submitted for exhibition because of the space available. In the tenth year the Club moved the exhibition to the Community Centre, where there is more space and the opportunity to open Saturday and Sunday, a pattern that will be followed in this Millennium year, in early November. The membership grew in 1999 to eighty six and from the interest shown from the last exhibition, this will probably reach one hundred at this year’s AGM on the 11th February in St. Saviour’s Church Hall.
Each year the committee endeavours to organise events to cover all aspects of pictorial art, whilst also trying to bring art appreciation into the programme. There is always a meeting on the second Friday of the month at 7.30 pm at St.Saviour’s Church Hall. This month’s meeting on January 14th will be a talk with slides about “Railway Art” given by John Austin. Every Tuesday afternoon there is painting circle from 2 until 4 pm at Churchill Village Hall. Since 1997 the Club has held a Spring Exhibition, just before Easter, and changes the venue annually, taking the Club’s talent out into the Stourbridge area. Each year there are visits to galleries and places of interest. In 1999, being the tenth year, the Club went to Paris to look at Monet’s work in the Musee d’Orsay and then to visit his garden at Giverny and Rouen Cathedral.
There are opportunities to attend day workshops, paint outdoors and to enjoy friendly meetings and social events. The Club has its own lending library of books and videos and also makes an annual award to students at Haybridge High School. Such a variety of events, with new innovations from dedicated committees has seen Hagley Art Club go from strength to strength. “Calling all artists and non-artists”, come to our next meeting in January, you will be made most welcome.
Hagley Free Church
In January 1905 five men from Baptist, Congregational and Methodist backgrounds, all interested in nonconformity, decided that steps should be taken to consider forming a “union church” in Lower Hagley. A public meeting was convened and subsequently the land on which the church now stands was bought and a contract placed for the erection of a building on the site. The church, the second “union church” in the country, was opened on 16th September 1905 by Mr. Ambrose. Those assembled entered the building to the Hallelujah Chorus played by Mr. G.F. Davies on an American organ, which had been half paid for by Mr. Andrew Carnegie. A sermon was preached by Rev. E.D. Braimbridge on the text “The Unity of the Spirit.”
A Sunday School was started in 1907 but it declined in numbers and subsequently it was reopened in 1920 under the leadership of Mr. Jabez Round and a new Sunday School hall was built in 1925. Until after the second world war the only significant addition to the premises was the dedication of a new organ in April 1922.
The church has no formal connections with any other non-conformist church, although it has traditionally given financial support to the Baptist, Methodist and URC (formerly Congregational) Churches as these reflect the origins of the Free Church. It has never had its own minister or pastor. Sunday Services are conducted by visiting preachers who come from various christian denominations, some will be ordained ministers others will be recognised by lay preachers or readers.
The responsibility for the running of the Church, in line with its constitution rests with Committee, elected annually by a meeting of the members.
Significant additions were made to the premises in 1964 with the building of an entrance porch and major extensions in 1970 and 1974 linked the Church and Sunday School Hall. Land at the rear of the site was bought to provide a car park and the youth of the Church raised money for the provision of a tennis court. Inside the Church are six beautiful memorial windows, four being designed and installed by the world-renowned Thomas William Camm. These recognise the contribution made to the Church by founder members and others who have served the Church with distinction.
The Church looks forward to celebrating its centenary in 2005.
The midweek meetings include Bible Study, Prayer and House Groups. There is a weekly Fellowship during the Winter months and the local community is served through the Hand of Friendship Centre, the Friday Coffee Morning and Senior Citizens’ Club and the Mothers’ and Toddlers’ Group.
The premises are used by other organisations including Badminton, Chess and Bridge Clubs, Keep Fit, Hagley Orchestra and Clent Hills Singers not forgetting the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides. The Church is happy to share its premises for the good of the community in Hagley.
The Church for many years has published a Quarterly Newsletter which goes to every house in Hagley. See what is going on and join us. You will be assured of a warm welcome.
Look backwards with thanksgiving
Look upwards with confidence
Look forwards with hope
Hagley Parish Churches
The Diocese of Worcester was founded in 680, based on the kingdom of the Hwicce. Thus the Parish of Hagley would have been formed in Saxon times. After the Norman Conquest the manor of Hageleia makes its appearance in the Domesday Survey of 1086, when a priest is listed amongst its inhabitants.
There may have been a wooden church building, on a site occupied since by successive Parish Churches dedicated to St. John, Baptist: probably Norman, certainly Medieval and Victorian. The present church, a re-building of the 1850’s, contains remnants from the 12th and 13th centuries. 16th century descriptions exist of ancient stained glass and of the removal of an altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The small Medieval nave was enlarged in the 18th century by the first Lord Lyttelton, builder of the present Hagley Hall. A north aisle was added in 1827. Testimonial subscriptions by the people of Worcester to the fourth Lord Lyttelton enabled him to pay for the further enlarged Victorian re-building, designed by G.E. Street in 13th century Gothic style.
The Parish became smaller in 1888 when Blakedown left to be joined with Churchill Parish, but the gradual growth of Lower Hagley following the arrival of the railway in 1852, created a need there for a Mission Room in 1882, then a new Church, St. Saviour’s in 1908. The Mission Room/Church Hall closed in 1972 and a Hall was added to St. Saviour’s.
With growing populations in the 20th century both churches have continued to flourish, in spite of a threat of redundancy to St. John’s when substantial repairs were necessary in the early 1980’s. Each church has a distinct identity and ambience. St. Saviour’s in West Hagley, has the advantage of ease of access whilst St. John’s has an incomparable site near Hagley Hall.
The ecclesiastical Parish of Hagley has endured for well over a thousand years through Conquest and Reformation. Here’s to the next 1000 years!
The idea of having a helpline service in Hagley originated from a suggestion Mrs. Margaret Oliver made to Hagley Parish Council. Following this, a small group of volunteers formed a Steering Committee to look into the possibilities and needs of such a service, and in 1991 Hagley Helpline was officially established. It became a Registered Charity and is run entirely by Hagley volunteers. The aim of Helpline is to respond positively to any request for help from Hagley residents.
Over the years requests for help have been many and varied. Routinely the main requests received are for accompanying people to appointments such as hospitals, doctors, dentists, opticians, chiropodists; arrangements to enable people to attend any of the village functions; assistance with shopping; collecting prescriptions etc; and more recently Helpline has responded to a request to put the Village News on tape for residents with impaired vision.
From the beginning Helpline’s base has been in the Church Office, at St. Saviour’s Church Hall. The office ss open each weekday from 10 am to 12 noon, and arrangements can be made to provide help at most times throughout the day. seven days a week. To contact Helpline, call in or telephone Hagley 886696. Whenever possible Helpline does like to have a few days notice of the help required, but will always do everything possible to respond to urgent calls.
Hagley Helpline looks forward to continuing this service of help into the New Millennium.
Hagley Gardeners’ Club
Hagley Gardeners’ Club is celebrating its 25th birthday and it has become an integral part of village life and interest, but where did it all begin? Written records are sketchy, many founder members have died but it seems to have had its origins with a group of fervent allotment holders leaning over their spades on a Sunday morning and complaining about the cost of all their gardening needs. One had joined Wollaston Gardeners’ Club because they had a shared purchasing scheme. Why not Hagley?
In February 1974 the first meeting of the Allotment Holders was held at the Community Centre and to the delight of all, 26 turned up and appointed a Committee. They all agreed to pitch in cash to buy the first stores (this was refunded after 3-4 years). The local council purchased the first shed and great was the excitement when the first order was delivered.
Meetings began at the Free Church during the Winter of 1975 and the club became affiliated to the National Society of Leisure Gardens Association. Originally for allotment holders only, the club was opened to local gardeners and speakers were invited to speak on practical gardening techniques. In November 1979 the A.G.M. was asked to consider Club outings. These materialised along with charity concerts, celebrity speakers, stalls at village fetes, participation in TV panel games and harvest suppers.
At Easter 1979 Hagley Gardeners’ Club created its Jubilee Garden in Worcester Road and happily this has been revived and is diligently maintained by Bill Simpson.
Regular articles were submitted to the Village News from 1978-85 and the club continued to grow, moving from the Free Church to St.Saviour’s Hall.
Writing in September 1974 the then Secretary considered there might be a Horticultural and Flower Show one day and the W.I. and the Gardeners’Club staged their first show in 1983 (now an established annual event). The club continues to expand with regular meetings, professional speakers and interesting outings.
We shall be proud to celebrate 25 years in January 2000, at Hagley Country Club 7.15 for 7.45 pm. Tickets are £10. Further information from 882875.
Hagley Roman Catholic School
When Hagley RC High opened on a snowy day, 9th January 1959, there was a real sense of achievement on the part of the local Catholic community; collections for a school fund had begun seventeen years earlier in 1942. In those early years the pupils arrived by train from Kldderminster but now the catchment area extends to Halesowen, Stourbrldge, Stourport, Brierley Hill and Birmingham.
There were fewer buildings on the site than there are today and it was a few years before the field in front of the school was levelled. Early Sports Days took place in the park, across the railway line, in the village.
The first headmaster was Mr. Durkin (1959-1974). He oversaw the production of Gilbert and Sullivan operas. A school magazine, “The Hagley Chronicle” was published. There were trips to Belgium and Bristol. In 1967 the school choir appeared on “Songs of Praise” and made a record. The following year the school grounds were commended for tidiness.
In 1976 the school took a massive step forward when it became fully comprehensive. The headmaster was Mr. Bonnoud (1974-1979). A new sixth form block was built and ‘A’ levels were introduced. As the school’s academic success grew, so did it become a force in local sport, particularly in football. In the 1980s and 90s the school produced a number of professional footballers, most notably, Lee Sharpe who played for Manchester United and England. Another highly successful Hagley pupil is Dominic Thompson, a leading neuro-surgeon in London. We are also justifiably proud of Umberto Giannini, Hairdresser of the Year for the United Kingdom.
The current headmaster, Mr. Hill, was appointed in 1979. Under his guidance Hagley RC High School has continued to flourish. It has grown in size from a few hundred pupils forty years ago to over one thousand. The school is well regarded in the Archdiocese of Birmingham as it is known for its faith in action, good behaviour of pupils and high academic standards.
Hagley First School
The school was opened on December 4th 1939 under unusual circumstances. It had been expected that there would be around 65 pupils of 5 to 11 years old. However, with the outbreak of war, the school in fact opened with an additional 71 pupils who had been evacuated from Boulton Road Junior School in Birmingham along with their teachers. By the end of the first month the school had over 140 pupils and 7 teachers. It then suffered, along with the rest of the Midlands, from a severe winter and was closed for several days due to a lack of children to teach!
Indeed the school celebrated the 60th anniversary recently and our children performed a repertoire of songs from the wartime era to an audience from the local community, including the local MP, Julie Kirkbride. As was the case in 1939, the school assembly included the singing of patriotic songs and the reading of a prayer
by the Headmaster.
The school always enjoyed an excellent reputation and early inspection reports indicate a high standard of work by the pupils and a good record of attendance generally. This is, of course, true today. A major reorganisation came in the early 1970s with the change to a three tier education system and the school in Park Road became a first school for pupils of 5-9 years old. Since then there has been a rapid increase in size and popularity with the current school taking in over 400 pupils between 4 and 9, including a school owned Kindergarden. This in turn led to additional building work and the site now has 17 classrooms and 3 specialist teaching and resource areas.
Given such a successful pedigree the school is proud to continue the high standards of education for the children of Hagley and the surrounding areas.
Our Millennium garden is nearly complete and we plan to bury our time capsule somewhere on site for future generations to discover!
Hagley Middle School
A school log book reveals that Hagley Junior and Infants School came into being on December 4th 1939. The Headmaster, William Baker, recorded the event thus’;
“lt was opened at 9 a.m. in the presence of many parents and friends. The children present were 65 with their teachers. Evacuated children from Boulton Road Junior School = 71 with their teachers. The children sang the National Anthem and prayers were read by the Headmaster.”
Thirty five years later Worcestershire schools were ‘reorganised,’ Hagley Junior and Infants School ‘became’ Hagley First and Hagley Middle School. On September 4th 1974 Headteacher, Frank Divall, wrote:
“This school re-opened as an 8-12 Middle School. The new extension had not been completed and we were short of furniture. All members of staff were present.”
The school thrived, the extension was completed and in 1980 P.E. changing rooms were added. 1990 witnessed the opening of our Music Suite, subsequently our orchestra has flourished – winning the Worcester Festival Junior Orchestra Cup nine years in succession!
In 1998 Julie Kirkbridge MP opened an Information Technology Suite, sponsored by Halesowen College. Pupils have made excellent use of the facilities and published our first school newspaper in December 1999.
Hagley Middle School is today a highly popular school which owes its success to past and present pupils, parents, governors, staff and headteachers: Frank Divall, Marky Davis, Alan Gilmour and Colin Millett.
As a new millennium approaches we would like to reiterate the hope expressed by William Baker on retiring in 1949 that: “Hagley School may always be a home of happiness, high endeavour and much success.”
Haybridge High School
Haybridge first opened its doors in 1976 with one Year 9 group of about 110 students and 7 teachers; today we have 750 students and over 80 staff.
There have been many curriculum changes, GCSEs replaced ‘0’ levels and CSE courses, vocational courses, (called GNVQs) have been introduced but the new millennium holds even more developments with completely new post-16 courses coming on-line this summer, more information communication technology innovations and a new National Curriculum. Subject choices have also been broadened so that the more traditional subjects are now offered alongside new courses such as P.E., Sociology and Psychology.
The buildings themselves are a very visual representation of our successful history. Most recently there’s been the Sports Hall but there have also been the new Mathematics and Modern Foreign Languages blocks and major extensions to both Science and Technology. And in the future? We hope that maybe we will be able to create new accommodation for Humanities, Music and Performing Arts.
A school must move with the times and embrace the changes that our society daily throws at us, so what are our dreams for the new millennium? An ever more exciting and challenging curriculum which suits the needs of all students and emphasises the key skills of literacy, numeracy and ICT. A range of extra-curricular
activities which broaden and develop students talents out of the classroom. An environment and buildings which stimulate and inspire. A true 21st Century school!
And the uniform? You never know, so watch this space!
Rebecca Lee, Sarah Barnard
Clent First School
Clent School celebrated its 25th anniversary in its present building on November 29th 1999. The children had a terrific party and thought what a huge amount of time that was. In fact, of course, the School’s history goes back nearly three hundred years – to 1705 when John Amphlett opened a purpose built school and house for the schoolmaster, very near to the Church. This was built on the site of two cottages and the first teacher, a Mr. Humphrey Pretty, the vicar’s brother-in-law, would have had six ‘Objects of Charity’ and a further twenty or so pupils chosen by the Trustees in his charge.
In 1847, the Durant-Thatcher family opened a new Infant School opposite the church for the younger children, who had previously been taught in the Billiard Room of Clent Hall – their family residence. By this time the two schools could each boast a Headteacher plus one other member of staff, with the Junior School benefitting from the services of ‘pupil teachers’ – older children who assisted the teacher, earning a very low wage for doing so.
Upon the retirement of the Infant School Head in 1962, the two sites became one school and functioned in this way until the move to the new premises in 1974. It was at this time that pupils began to transfer at the age of nine to the newly created Hagley Middle School, instead of moving on at age eleven. Since this time, the present building has been extended and further improved as we look forward to many more years of history making!
Many thanks to Mr. John Partington, former Headteacher, for his invaluable help in writing this article.
Hagley Historical and Field Society
The Society was founded in the Autumn of 1963 when the Rev. G. Cooke (Curate at Hagley), J. E. Hyde-Linaker (first Chairman), Miss Bate (first Secretary & Treasurer) and Mr. Martin Lister called a meeting and formed a committee. Lord Cobham agreed to the request to be President in 1965.
The Idea was, that in addition to regular talks on historical subjects and relevant rambles in the locality, we should promote the study of history by undertaking projects and producing books and pamphlets of local interest.
Members have always undertaken visits to places of historical interest and enjoyed getting to know each other better at social events. Profit making is not our aim. We pay for the binding together of the library copies of the Village News and also buy history books for the use of local residents. They are kept in the library.
In the Autumn of 1990 Mr.Tom Pagett, with the encouragement of the Council for British Archaeology and the Worcestershire Archaeological Service, set up a “Team” of those members willing to take on a more active role. In addition to research leading to the book on Water Mill sites in North Worcestershire and producing “Local Walks” leaflets, we have undertaken research of our own and projects for our County Archaeological Service. The latest project is to meet and interview those who have lived longest in the village and to record their memories.
To celebrate the millennium, each month a speaker will talk on some aspect of each century in turn, starting in January with a talk on “The Last Conquest” by Mr. E. Greenwood. All with an interest in history are welcome to attend meetings of our friendly society.
Hagley Theatre Group
The Hagley Theatre Group was started in 1946 when Jo Adams was asked to produce a play for the Hagley Girls’ Training Corps. The GTC was a wartime organisation to give girls training in such things as first aid, map reading and aircraft recognition before they entered the forces. Their syllabus included music and drama and so this first play, “Ladies in Waiting,” was done with an all girls cast. It was decided to do further plays with mixed casts and the Let’s Do A Play Club was formed. The early productions were put on at the Free Church School and then in the old Church Hall which stood on the corner of Church Street. The plays are now put on in the Hagley Community Centre. The early plays were all produced by Jo Adams – he picked the plays and the cast, acted as set designer, builder and director.
The Club went from strength to strength under Jo’s guidance until his death in 1977. New members and directors have come along and in 1985 the Club changed its name to the Hagley Theatre Group in order to up-date its image and show its wider range of activities. It is now run by a committee under the chairmanship of Stephen Jones. In order to strengthen the Theatre Group, a Youth Section was added in 1987 and this has now become very active in its own right, putting on one production each year. Over the last 12 years it has entered several Drama Festivals achieving many successes.
Having celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1996 with the very successful production of “The School for Scandal”, Hagley Theatre Group looks forward to many future successful productions in the new millennium.
Hagley Parish Council
The first Parish Council meeting was held on December 15th 1894. The meeting was chaired by Lord Cobham and there were 9 parish councillors. The meeting was held in Lower Hagley Mission Hall and the Rector was paid one shilling (5 pence) in rent.
The population census for Lower Hagley in 1901 showed 381 people lived there in 98 houses. The following census in 1911 showed that the population had increased to 232 females and 180 males.
Amongst items discussed during the first year were street gas lighting from the Lyttelton Arms to Station Road ,the unsatisfactory sanitary condition of Hagley/Blakedown which was listed as having only three earth closets, three hand-flushed closets and 59 ashpits!
During 1895 the clerk wrote to the local police asking for extra police for Hagley during the pea picking season and a letter is recorded from the Rector complaining about the smell of pig styes in the area. Complaints were also made about the lack of Great Western Railway trains which were failing to stop at Hagley. Other items on the agendas were the dangerous state of the footpaths in Middlefield Lane and Lower Hagley. Some thlngs never change!
Recent chairman of the Parish Council include Geoff Bache (whose wife is still a Parish Councillor) and Geoff Pardoe. The present council has 15 councillors and is chaired by Jim Austin. Some councillors have lived in Hagley all their lives and some have recently moved here and are keen to be involved in their new community.
The present Parish Council is responsible for 40 allotments, 1100 graves in Park Road Cemetery. 8.5 acres of playing fields, the village car park and 138 street lighting columns. Improvements that have been made in recent years include planting 3000 daffodils in the grass verges, providing Christmas lighting and a Christmas tree for the village, making donations to the recently formed Youth Club and the Colts Football Club. As we move into the new century improvements that have recently taken place include a new noticeboard area on the car park and a large contribution towards improving the Community Centre. A firework display and Millennium Book have also been organised.
Plans in hand for the year 2000 include improvements to the lighting on the car park and playing fields and extra street lighting. Further improvements will be made to the play area. It is hoped the new Medical Centre will finally be started and provide a much needed larger surgery for a village which is expanding rapidly.
Clerk to the Council
Womens Institute in Hagley – Evening W.I.
In 1964 about 25 young mums gathered one evening in the Old Church Hall that was situated on the corner of Church Street and formed a Coffee Club while we left husbands to baby sit. After several meetings it was decided that we would like something more interesting than just a chat, so Pat Nicholls approached the Women’s Institute at Worcester to send a representative to give us the information we required.
July 1st 1964 was the formation meeting of the Hagley Evening Women’s Institute and the very first meeting was on the 18th July 1964 (3rd Wednesday in the month as it still is today).
Mrs. Pat Nicholls was our first elected President and with the help of a Committee of 10 they ran a very efficient W.I., which we all enjoyed very much. It gave us an interest out of the home away from the children and housework, which was quite unheard of really in those days. How times have changed!
We have gone from strength to strength and have seen quite a few members come and go. There is still a nucleus of the original members in the Institute now and it is still very much enjoyed.
Our first meeting in the new year will be on January 19th, when Davina Sird will talk about “Colour Confidence.”
Pauline Harris, President
Womens Institute in Hagley – Afternoon W.I.
A letter from Miss Grazebrook, President in the 1920s and 30s states that “A good W.I. is a most valuable asset to Parish life.” She goes on to speak of the way that it brought members together in friendship and encouraged and developed hidden talents. All this at a time when it wasn’t “politically correct!”. What is more, it continues to offer such opportunities at local, county and national levels.
In 1942 our W.I. celebrated its 21st Birthday. Each committee member was asked to donate, from rations, hoarded stores or possibly from the black market, ingredients for a cake. No fewer than 70 of the members attended a garden party in June and consumed a sliver of that cake.
Hagley W.I. has always wished to serve the community. During the war its efforts produced funds as well as practical help. In 1940 for example the food preservation ground, at Hall Barn, produced 544lbs of Jam and 153lbs of Pickles in response to the appeal made by the Ministry of Food. In the 1960s it turned its attention to help in raising the funds to build the Community Centre and held its first meeting in the new building in January 1968. Such efforts continue and today we are working on, and funding, a Millennium Hanging, to display in the Communtity Centre.
County functions have enabled us to hear speakers such as Kate Adie, Sir Roy Strong and Norman Willis and to participate in County craft and cooking competitions. We have the opportunity to take up a variety of sports, skittles, bowling, gliding etc., and to take part in music, art and drama at many levels. This and much, much more is available to members. The description of the W.I. as “Jam and Jerusalem” is as outdated as the people who say it.
The Rotary Club of Hagley sends Millennium greetings to all readers. In addition, some of our members will have a second Millennium to celebrate. They will have attended 1000 meetings of our club since it was formed nearly 21 years ago.
Rotarians come from a wide range of professions and employment. They have many and varied family and educational backgrounds. Some things we all have in common, such as the wish to combine fellowship and leisure activities with the opportunity to carry out some form of community service in Hagley and overseas.
In our village we have helped with reading, career advice, and drug education in our schools. We sponsor holidays and days out for under privileged and handicapped children. We hold competitions for young inventors and young public speakers.
Rotary promotes holidays for senior citizens. For example we have vacancies for our “Holiday in Blackpool.” This will be from 22nd to 29th June next summer. The cost is £107 each and if you wish to find out more about this ring James lsaac on 01562 884757, or Walton and Hipkiss in Hagley village.
Overseas we have provided medicine to alleviate Polio, we have paid for operations for people with cataracts, supplied spectacles and artlficial limbs.
We provide help to build and furnish schools in Africa and bring water to country villages. We helped young people from Hagley, who travelled to places all over the world, for education and experience.
For all of those things we have raised funds (more than £70,000) mainly in Hagley and for that we thank all who have helped us. We wish you a successful millennium year.
Hagley Medical Practice
The Medical Practice in Hagley was originally founded by Dr. J. Millar Smith in 1926.
Prior to this, medical cover was given by Dr. Dudley of Stourbridge or Dr. C. Hicks of Clent. They both held surgeries on two or three days per week.
I believe Dr. Millar Smith started his practice in Station Road and then moved to the “The Ferns”, 92 Worcester Road. The doctor’s house was where Kings store is now and the surgery was where the shoe repairer’s premises are. He had an assistant for a short time, a Dr. A. K. Hill, who qualified at Glasgow University. He lived in Station Road.
Dr. Gosling purchased the practice from Dr. Millar Smith in 1948 just prior to the start of the National Health Service. In 1954, he took in an assistant Dr. James who was the son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. Allen of the Old Rectory. When he left, Dr. Gosling was joined by Dr. B. Hansell in 1956. He was a graduate of Birmingham
University qualifying in 1955.
Dr. Gosling decided to quit the National Health Service in 1960 and emigrated to Australia where he continued to practice, at one time in Canberra and eventually in a remote village in the “bush” in Victoria.
Dr. Hansell then inherited the practice in 1960 and had two assistants for short periods, Dr. Mike Howard in 1960 and Dr. Tony Wood in 1961.
I joined Dr. Hansell in the Autumn of 1963 following my service in the RAMC mainly in the Far East. We left the old surgery at 92 Worcester Road in December 1963 to move into the new purpose built surgery at 74A Worcester Road. At this time, the building was ahead of its time and visited by the Worcester Executive Council. Mr. Packwood the Dentist occupied the top floor. Mrs. Myers, the Practice Nurse, moved with us from 92 and was joined by a part-time receptionist for the first time.
The following year we amalgamated with Dr. Hicks who was nearing retirement age. In 1969 Dr. Hicks took in Dr. B. Coope as a partner. Dr. Hicks retired in 1973 and Dr. Coope decided she did not want to attend the Hagley surgery and she moved her practice to Belbroughton.
As it was clear that the two practices would not become fully integrated, Dr. Yorke Williams joined us at Hagley as an assistant in 1980. This followed his retirement from his practice in Stourbridge.
In 1986/7, the two practices separated completely, although continued an “out of hours” arrangement. At this time Dr. J. N. Hyde joined us as a partner and Dr. Williams retired completely.
The next move was the retirement of Dr. B. Hansell in September 1991. The Practice took in a new partner in November 1991 – Dr. D. Richards.
In September 1994, I decided to take partial retirement and became a part-time partner. This enabled the practice to add a further partner Dr. L. Evans. This was necessary to give the practice a more balanced outlook employing a female doctor.
During the next transitional period the practice became fund holding. This resulted in a vast increase in staff numbers. Manager, Secretary, fund holding staff to “manage” the business side of a modern general practice.
The practice rapidly outgrew the present building in spite of now occupying both floors. A search was now on for a new purpose built surgery to accommodate ancillary staff, physiotherapist etc. A possible site has been agreed following protracted negotiations with the local Parish Council.
There are rapid changes in general practice with the new government and I decided to retire completely as from the end of June 1999.
A new young doctor has stepped in to continue this caring tradition, Dr. T. Heywood.
I wish them all the best of luck for the New Millennium.
V. Ross Taylor
Library facilities in Hagley have existed in a number of places. Firstly, in a shop on Worcester Road and then for the next 25 years, the library service operated in part of the Mission Hall (which was on Church Street corner) where the bookshelves had had to be shuttered after each lending session. Following along with the growth of the Hagley community the County Library service was installed in a new purpose built building. The report of the official opening event for this is included with permission of the Birmingham Post.
The new building which has open-access shelving for 5,500 books, has been built on the corner of the playing fields.
Mr. Higgs said that the parish council had made the land available and it was hoped that it would be the start of a twin scheme to provide a new parish hall nearby.
The chairman of the County Library Sub-committee, Ald. E. Gittus said that there were more than 1,000 borrowers.
From Birmingham Post cutting 1st November 1962
Hagley Cricket Club
Hagley Cricket Club was formed in 1834 when the club started using the ground at Hagley Hall, adjacent to StJohn’s church. Although it is understood that cricket was played there prior to this by members of the Lyttelton family and their friends.
The cricket square is on the site of the former half-timbered hall that was replaced by the present Hall in 1754. No local records exist for the early period but at that time the side would have been made up by members of the Lyttelton family, members of the household and staff along with other local dignitaries.
Click on the logo to see more details of the history of Hagley Cricket Club
The Friends of St John the Baptist
The Friends resulted from discussions by the Rev. Maurice Beaver, Rosemary Miller and Eric Smith. These discussions led to the formation of the League of Friends for St John’s, which was set up at a P.C.C. meeting on the 15th November 1978.
The present society was officially formed on the 5th April 1979.
The objects are:
A) To preserve, maintain, repair and enrich the fabric, furniture and fittings of the Church.
B) To preserve and enhance the beauty and of fitness of the site and setting of the Church.
C) To maintain and develop the music and other aspects (cultural, dramatic and otherwise) of the worship and life of the Church.
These objects have been the guidelines for all the activities down the years and govern the Charity status.
Object “A” was the prime target in 1981 resulting from the quinquennial survey. It was found that dry rot had attacked the roof timbers. Many other areas of the building were restored at this time by a team from the Manpower Services Commission, which had been set up to train the unemployed people in a variety of skills. As a Parish we were fortunate to have the workforce to carry out this work at little cost.
Some events have been solely for fun but the majority have an element of fund raising as well.
Whether the events be Spring or Christmas Fayres, Donkey Derbys, Race Nights, coffee mornings and many, many others they have all been stressful, hard work, satisfying, enjoyable and many other feelings in turn.
Since 1981 the work on the fabric has been continuous and the Friends have supported the P.C.C. financially and members have helped in a multitude of ways in addition to direct fundraising.
People are an essential part of any organisation but leadership that is active brings the best from the members. For many years that leadership was given by the late Don Richardson, whose energy and drive ensured that things happened to the best of everyone’s ability.
The Friends have been around for over thirty years helping to keep the church fabric sound and ensuring that objects set out above will be met for the foreseeable future.
Womens Institute in Hagley – Afternoon W.I.
This report on the 90 year history of the Hagley Afternoon Women’s Institute is taken from the December 2011 edition of the Village News.
The W.I. in Hagley was founded in 1921 under the presidency of the then Lady Cobham. Meetings were mostly held at the Hall Barn, which served as a venue for many activities at the time.
In 1927 the W.I. held a Flower and Vegetable Show and it was suggested that a section for cottage gardens should be added, the precursor to our own Village Show.
In spite of the fact that it was wartime, it was decided that it was good for morale to celebrate our 21st birthday in 1942. Out of meagre rations the Committee decided that they must make a cake. The list of donations was as follows:
Mrs. Broad… 1 egg, 1/2lb sugar
Miss Harrison… brandy
Mrs. Jones… flour, eggs
Mrs. Walker … mixed fruit
Mrs. Dunne… cherries, eggs
Mrs. Boyles… 1/4lb sultanas, icing sugar
Mrs. Gidden… 2 eggs, 1/2lb sultanas
Mrs. Fisher… 1 egg, candied peel
Mrs. Barden… 2 eggs, 1/4lb currants, cherries
Mrs. England… raisins, 1/2lb sultanas, 1/2lb margarine,1/2lb currants.
The two absentees from the meeting, Miss Mellor and Mrs Green no doubt made their contributions too.
I feel great sympathy for the responsibility undertaken by the cook, Mrs. Jones, especially as I know of a lady who was entrusted by members at a church social with their tea and coffee (precious rations), who, in a moment of aberration, put both into the urn. Quick thinking came to the rescue; she poured the same drink from two separate pots as tea and coffee and no-one expressed any doubts about the beverages served! At the celebration garden party, Mrs. Jones was thanked for the beautiful cake, but the 70 members present cannot have had more than a sliver each.
Over many years W.I. has made many contributions to the community. In WWII they produced 544lbs of jam and 153lbs of pickles in response to an appeal the Ministry of Food and contributed £642 in 1940 to the war effort. They supported money-raising efforts to build our Community Centre and played the leading role in the making of the village Millennium wall hanging, unveiled by Lord Cobham in 2000 and still displayed in the Community Centre. This year, to mark our anniversary, Hagley Afternoon W.I. is donating a seat to be placed near the Library and Community Centre, where a lack of provision has been noted.
As Miss Glazebrook, President in the 1920s and 30s wrote, a good W.I. is a most valuable asset in the community. She mentioned the way that it brought members together in friendship and encouraged and developed hidden talents. Our members are proud of their past record and have much to live up to in the future.
Hagley Flower Arrangement Society
The founder president of the Flower Arrangement Society was Pat Baylis; it was her enthusiasm which led to the formation of a committee. An inaugural meeting was held in Hagley Catholic High School on Friday 23rd May 1969 to start the Society.
Monthly meetings were initially held in Hagley Catholic High School and then, from September 1971, in the Hagley Community Centre. The focus of these meetings was demonstrations and the occasional workshop – which ranged from making hessian figures to arranging a basket of plant material.
The support and hard work of the committee throughout the years enabled the membership to enjoy a variety of demonstrations and outings. Members have taken part in local church flower festivals and on a larger scale have contributed to festivals in Brecon and Worcester cathedrals. Pat Baylis was invited to be part of the floral art team for the papal visit to Coventry on 30th May 1982.
Hagley library was provided with weekly flower arrangements by members from 23rd June 1971; this changed to fortnightly in 1981. This practice had to cease when computers were installed for library users as space for flower displays was no longer available.
Starting in spring 1978, for about 10 years, the Society held classes during spring and autumn. These were firstly at Hagley Community Centre but later moved to Hagley Free Church Hall and subsequently to Churchill Village Hall.
The Society’s 21st anniversary was celebrated at a lunch at Stone Manor Hotel in June 1990 with special guest Julia Clements O.B.E. Julia Clements (1906-2010) also held the Royal Horticultural Society’s Victoria Medal of Honour.
A diminishing membership and increases in running costs meant that the Society became unviable and so after 43 years the Flower Arrangement Society held their final meeting on 26th November 2012. I now look back with gratitude to those founder members who contributed so much to start the Flower Club (as members would often refer to it) which has given enormous pleasure to so many.
Hagley Young Wives and Women’s Fellowship (YW&WF) now known as The Tuesday Group
The Hagley Young Wives’ Group was started as a church organisation with links to the Mothers Union in about 1955 by Hilda Mayfield, assisted by Margaret Hancocks and Margaret Stephen. Between 30 and 40 women met in the old Church Hall, on the corner of Church Street. Meetings were originally held in the evenings on the second Tuesday in the month to accommodate “young wives” who had children or other commitments during the day. The Hagley Village News of November 1963 lists the annual subscription as 2/- (directly equivalent to 10p.).
At some point, the group broke away from the Mothers Union because of certain restrictions of membership. It retained its contact with the church and it became an open group for all women no matter what age, marital status or religion. The Parish Magazine for October 1965 reported that Young Wives were now known as Young Wives and Women’s Fellowship, “to make it plain that any woman, irrespective of age or marriage will be welcome”.
Hagley itself was rapidly expanding in the 1960s and the group grew from strength to strength. At one time there were over 200 members. For women at home with young children it was a lifeline and a link into a network of support and friendship.
The link with the church continued. The YW&WF Leader was officially appointed by The Rector. The start of the years programme in September began with an Opening service in St Saviours and a carol service was held in the church in December followed by a shared supper. Once a month the Thursday morning Communion was specifically focused on the YW&WF group with members reading the Epistle and Gospel. Members also cleaned the church on a rota basis and arranged flowers on their own window for Church festivals.
Meetings with a speaker were held twice a month on the second and fourth Tuesday evenings and the programme aimed to give a balance of serious and light-hearted subjects. Once a month a Friday coffee morning was held with a nearly new stall for children’s clothes. This was always very popular.
This was strengthened by the group system. Every member was put into a small group of about 12-15 members with an appointed group leader. The group leader arranged meetings, usually at their own house, with coffee and biscuits, and kept an eye on their members especially anyone in trouble or difficulty. They tried to ascertain if anyone needed any help. It became a tradition that the Group Leader took flowers and a card (on behalf of the main group) to any member of their group who had a baby or was unwell. Each year the groups changed so that over a period of time all the members got to know one another.
There were no rules or regulations but traditions developed and were handed on from leader to leader. It became the custom to have one meeting a year where members entertained themselves (Our Own Evening). Over the years this has taken many forms but the memorable ones were the concerts with each group doing a turn. Members made costumes, learnt words and songs and had some hilarious evenings.
Throughout the years the YW&WF choir has continued to meet and rehearse and to participate in the church services as well as singing for the Senior Citizens and other groups.
In the 1960s there was a YW&WF Music Group meeting once a month, this continued until approximately 1990.
A monthly Rambling group was formed during the 1990s, also a Drama Group was established, performing plays and Pantomimes to entertain members and their families.
Members have enjoyed taking part in the Hagley Carnivals, decorating floats, helping on stalls and in recent years have provided teas and cakes for the Village Fetes.
The group now has around 60 to 70 members and still meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. A few of the women have been members for 30 to 40 years and there are even some who were part of the original group which met in the old church hall. Due to the more mature, rather than young, age of the majority of its members, from summer 2014 the group is known as the Hagley Tuesday Group to reflect the changing nature of its members. We still in private refer to it as the ‘Young Wives’.
Long may it continue.
Andrea Price 2014
Hagley Playgroup was started after Gill White saw that the village had a need for a “Nursery School” and advertised in the July 1965 edition of Hagley Village News for help on two mornings per week. Irene Jackson became the supervisor and the playgroup opened for 3 to 5 year olds as “Jack and Jill” on 27th September 1965. The fee was 6s. 6d. (approximately 33p) per morning for a 3 hour session which started at 9 o’clock. In order to function as a nursery school a teacher would have been required but none were available so a playgroup was formed.
Initially there were 12 children attending on two days a week in the old church hall which was on the corner of Church Street and Worcester Road. This later increased to 5 days a week. Some of those who helped Irene with the running of the playgroup were Madeline Wood, Lily Howell and Sylvia Stuckey.
The name of the playgroup changed several times. The Village News lists it as Jack and Jill until November 1966 and then as Les Enfants in December 1966. This continued until October 1968. In November 1968 it became Happy Times.
In the March 1971 edition of Hagley Village News the playgroup was advertised as being in Hagley Community Centre and catering for children with age range 2 ½ to 5 years. The group comprised 24 children with 4 staff in attendance.
Karen Price became leader for a time after Irene Jackson retired. Doris Gould had joined as an assistant in 1974 and then became leader in 1981. The February 1982 edition of Hagley Village News lists Doris Gould as the new contact for the playgroup. An annual event was when a fire engine was brought for the children to sit in. Visits by a dentist to talk about the care of teeth continue to the present day.
In 2001 Doris Gould retired and in September 2001 Sharon Gould became Manager having been part of the team for several years. At July 2015 the number of children registered is 38 and the number of staff is 6. The governing and inspection is done by Ofsted which checks that the playgroup works within the parameters of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Hagley Hand Of Friendship
In 1975 Jean English and Barbara Douglas , members of Hagley Free Church, were discussing one day the number of elderly, lonely people they knew in Hagley and they decided to seek permission from the elders in the church to start a lunch club there. From humble beginnings with just 20 – 24 members they created the Hand of Friendship.
The Hand of Friendship lunch club provided tea or coffee and biscuit on arrival followed later by a two course lunch for £1.
After 11 years Carol Milbanke became the new organiser in 1986; the charge at this time was £1.50. Carol retired in 2011.
In 2011 Jean Deacy and Marjorie Fernihough became the new organisers. The charge was now £2.50.
Membership in 2015 exceeds 50, and at least one outing is held per year. That event takes place at no additional charge.
Entertainment is sometimes provided in the form of concerts supplied by the Hagley Primary and Haybridge High Schools. There is a Christmas lunch when over 80 people are catered for and that is followed by light entertainment.
Special lunches are held to celebrate special occasions e.g. Royal Weddings, Jubilees and latterly the 40th Anniversary of the Hand of Friendship.
All these activities are made possible by a loyal and dedicated band of helpers. Gentlemen prepare the hall by setting the tables and the ladies who prepare the meal and then wash up.
It has been found more and more difficult to find volunteers for giving the less able people lifts to the church for the lunch. In May 2015 the Parish Council supplied the ‘Dial a Ride ‘ bus to help with this. Each week 14 members use the service to and fro which costs £2 with their bus pass.
Hagley Tuesday Tea Club
The club was started on Tuesday September 15th 1953 as the “Over 60 Club”. This was following a discussion in the Church Hall which was located at the junction of Church Street and Worcester Road. The committee formed consisted of Reverend Jackson Hodgins, the rector (1950-64) of St. Saviour’s church, as chairman and a committee which comprised Mrs. H. Ferguson, Mrs. G. Groom, Mrs. W. Perrins and Mrs. B.S. Parkes who was Treasurer and Secretary. It was decided that there will be tea, games, competitions and entertainments and that the meetings shall be held on alternate Tuesdays. The charges were set as 1d (1d = one old penny which was approximately 0.4p) admission and 3d (approximately 1.2p) for tea. Additionally the local community supported the club with donations of money and goods.
During the early years a table cloth was embroidered with members’ names. The date of its completion is unknown but as Jackson Hodgins’ name is positioned centrally on the cloth it is likely that it was before the end of his time at Hagley. This would date it to having been embroidered within the first 10 years of the club’s existence.
Members were invited each year to attend the carol service at what was called Park Road School in Hagley, a tradition which lasted right up to the closure of Hagley Middle School on August 31st 2004.
The club continued in the same format and in 1990 Sue Billington and Maureen Lambert took on the role of being chief helpers. Later Maureen continued with the help of others.
In 1996 the club became affiliated to Hagley Free Church, although helpers including members of Hagley Young Wives and Women’s Fellowship have continued to provide cakes and serve tea, for which the members are very grateful.
Some of the past activities of the club have been reported in the Hagley Parish Magazine as below:
1957. In April the Parish Magazine reported that a cheque for £26 8s. 11d. (£26.44) from the former Home Guard Comforts Fund, West Hagley Section, has been presented to the club.
On April 23rd the members, instead of their usual meeting, were taken by coach to Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge where they saw Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip pass by.
On June 4th the members had an outing to Church Stretton which cost 5s 9d (29p) per member.
On September 10th the members held a Whist Drive; the cost was 1/- (5p) including tea.
1958. On Saturday December 20th the club held its annual Christmas party in the Church Hall at 3 p.m.
1959. On Sunday October 9th at 6.30 p.m. the members attended the evening service at the Parish Church.
1960. On Tuesday October 31st at 3 p.m. a Bring and Buy sale was held in the Church Hall.
1962. The annual service was held in the Parish Church on Sunday October 14th at 6.30 p.m. The members attended Evensong in St. Saviour’s Church on Sunday October 20th at 6.30 p.m.
1963. A Bring and Buy sale was held in the Church Hall on Tuesday October 29th at 2.30 p.m. and tea was available.
1969. The August edition of the Hagley Parish Magazine used the name Senior Citizens instead of Over 60 Club for the first time.
1970. October 6th at 2.45 p.m. in the Church Hall.
1972 January. This is a small, very informal and friendly club, which was started 18 years ago for the benefit of our older residents. Our aim is to provide a happy social afternoon where problems can be shared. Tuesday August 8th in the Free Church at 2.30 p.m. Tuesday 5th September A.G.M at 14.30.
1974. Tuesday 3rd. Carol service at the Middle School at 2.15 p.m. Cakes and tea afterwards. Tuesday December 10th Christmas party. Carol singing, tea and members’ parcels.
1981. March 24th. Young Wives’ and Women’s’ Fellowship (YWWF) choir and then tea in St. Saviour’s hall.
1985. March 19th YWWF choir then tea in St. Saviour’s hall.
1992 Tuesday 3rd March. YWWF choir then tea in Free Church hall.
2013. The January edition of the Hagley Parish Magazine used the name Tuesday Tea Club instead of Senior Citizens for the first time.
As of writing this in October 2015 the “Tuesday Tea Club” meets fortnightly in the Free Church Hall from 2.30 to 4.30 p.m. to enjoy a happy afternoon with varied activities and a delicious tea.
Edited by Ray Porter from notes supplied by Christine J. Millington, chairman of the Tuesday Tea Club, dated 23 October 2015.
Hagley Chess Club
Leslie Heathcock, having played at Lye Chess Club until it ceased to exist, formed a chess club which played in Hagley’s Parish Room. The Hagley Village News published in February 1972 announced the formation of the club as follows:
HAGLEY CHESS CLUB
The chess club has now been formed and we meet each Friday at 7.30 p.m. in the Church Hall. Anyone who would like to play will be very welcome. For further information please telephone either Mr. Joyner, Hagley 2837 or Mr. F. Bradbury, Hagley 2091.
The Parish Room was located on the corner of Church Street and Worcester Road Hagley. By August 1972 it was demolished and then shops were built on the site. The club then met in St. Saviour’s church hall and in about 1975 moved to the Free Church. Club records from its early days are missing however details from 1974 show that Leslie Heathcock was then chairman, Les Joiner was treasurer and Larry Fretwell was secretary. Leslie Heathcock was a member of Hagley Free Church and facilitated the arrangement to use the room.
The club played on Friday evenings every week. The members’ weekly subscription was initially 1/- (one shilling). This automatically became 5p after the change to decimal currency in 1972. Having paid this fee, members were entitled to play as many games as they wished each week. In May 1976 the fee was increased to 15p and then in the 1980s went up to 50p. Later an annual £5 membership subscription was introduced. This subscription eventually increased to £26 and then, in May 2004, was increased to £30 and then stayed the same until the club closed.
At its peak in 2010 the club had a membership of 20. A notable achievement of the club was when the club joined Division 2 of Worcestershire County Chess Association and was later promoted to Division 1. The club also joined Worcester and District League. Leslie Heathcock became County Captain for Worcester County team and president of Worcester Chess Association as well as County Postal Captain.
The club won the Cobham Trophy as leaders of Division 1 of the Worcestershire County Chess League in the season 2012-3.
On May 30th 2016 the club ceased to exist as membership had declined to just five members which was insufficient to ensure that enough members were always present on match evenings. At closure the chairman was Andrew Moore who had moved away from Hagley. The treasurer, Gerald Thomas, had passed away in November 2015. Assistant secretary was Bill Sitch who with help from Julian Taylor, Peter Keate and Tony West ran the club.
Written by Ray Porter from information given by Bill Sitch and Tony West