Brownhills Bob Strikes Again!

I have been blogging for only a short time and I have quickly become aware that my current status is definitely a student in the world of Brownhills blogging. The Grandmaster is the renowned blogger, Brownhills Bob… Aka. William Roberts. I posted an article about the Potclays, Swan Works recently and Bob left a comment as quoted below.

His attention to detail is astounding and he is defiantly a fountain of knowledge for Brownhills. I felt his comment was so informative and constructive that it was worth a few minutes to highlight to my followers with this post. If you are not aware of Bob, please take a look at his blog – BrownhillsBob’s Brownhills Blog. He regularly posts on his blog on a daily basis and it is definitely worth bookmarking if you are interested in Brownhills and the local area.

Bob has also provided me with advice and clear direction on the way to blog. Basically… cut the bullshit and blog new, interesting & detailed information! It’s always a pleasure to converse with him and he is a genuine credit to the local community.

Hi Barry.

Potclays still supplies a limited amount of clay from Swan Works. It was very particular clay that was abstracted here with a very specific use. Technically, the site is still semi-functional.

You’ve missed a whole element of the site’s history. The gate you pictured on Coppice Side isn’t the works entrance – that was Pelsall Road. In the late 60′s and throughout the seventies, coal was opencast from a large excavation stretching nearly to Engine Lane. Indeed, the owners asked permission to cross the road and opencast the common, but were denied. The name of the company then was actually ‘The Potters Clay and Coal Company’ – they still exist in Stoke and recently celebrated their 70th anniversary.

When the coal was exhausted, Potclays retained the front of the site and piled remaining clay reserves in the bank behind the yard. Effluent Disposal – latterly Leigh Environmental then spent most of the 80′s filling the void with industrial waste. At some point, they got into trouble for dumping uncategorised paint waste (bad for xylene content), and bagged medical waste was also found. The operators came under fire for security, as scavengers frequented the tip, too. The entrance to the tip was through the gates you feature the picture of.

The site will never be developed due to it’s highly unstable nature. Gas is still regularly burnt off there, and the EX sign on the gate indicates that explosive gas – methane evolved by decomposition of refuse – is a hazard.

I believe unlinked to the tipping history, but the houses along the front of the works yard were subject to some scrutiny around 1979ish when one householder dug foundations for an extension garage and uncovered drums of toxic waste. It’ll be in the Obbo of the time, no doubt.

As to housing being built in Brownhills – it would be nice to see the acres of wasteland left by the demolitions utilised, don’t you think?

Best wishes


Fantastic comment submitted by Bob… as always!

I had one more photograph in my collection so I’ve included it below.

Potclays, Swan Works, Pelsall Road, Brownhills - Taken on 05/03/12

I found the history of the site as Bob described in his comment above very interesting and I will attempt to dig (Excuse the pun!) some more detailed facts and figures about the site from some new sources that I have located.