One of the best known and most infamous characters in Darlaston was scrap collector Billy Muggins, who was often talked about, and raised many a smile in the town. He was born in Eldon Street around 1904, and earned a living pushing his cart around the town, collecting scrap metal. He is fondly remembered for his warm and friendly demeanour, and his sayings, such as "Gorrenny Missis?", "Hope it dow rain", and "Nice day ay it."

He collected all kinds of scrap, and crudely repaired holes in old buckets and bowls, which he sold to people during his rounds. He later lived in Rough Hay Road, then Mill Street, and finally in Watson Road Moxley, before retiring, along with his sister, to the Bush care home. He died at Goscote Hospital, Walsall in January 1974. His real name was William Walters, although everyone knew him as Billy Muggins.


A made-up picture of Billy pushing his familiar cart along Moxley Road, possibly heading for the scrap yard.
Darlaston sign writer Albert Peters' brilliant characterisation of Billy for a wartime poster.

From the collection of the late Howard Madeley.


Catherine's Cross in the late 1960s.


The staff at Pearks' once well-known grocery shop in King Street. From the collection of the late Howard Madeley.

The empty shop in the middle of the photograph belonged to the Bayley family, who were pork butchers. The family ran the shop from the 1840s until the 1950s when Miss Ann Bayley retired. The family lived in the house next door, which was the last private house in King Street. Photo courtesy of Bill Beddow.
Park Laundry was once a well known site in Factory Street and the surrounding area. Its tall chimney was a familiar landmark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An advert from the mid 1950s. Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.

Mr. D. J. A. Phillips, Darlaston Public Works Superintendent standing beside a council van in the yard next to the Town Hall, in about 1960.

Courtesy of Ken Phillips.

Mr. D. J. A. Phillips, Darlaston Public Works Superintendent is presented with a long service award by Mr. J. Spooner on behalf of the council workmen. He had completed 40 years service with the council. From an unknown newspaper.

Courtesy of Ken Phillips.


An advert from the mid 1950s for Marston's, the once well known outfitters in Church Street. Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.

The council's "folly". This row of shops in New Road was built in the early 1960s. The plans followed by the builders had been copied back to front, and so the shops were also built back to front. Because of this they were never occupied, and were demolished in the late 1970s to make way for the ASDA supermarket.
In the mid 1960s the Darlaston Branch railway line from James Bridge to Wednesbury closed as part of the Beeching cuts. This fine photograph from 1959 was kindly sent by Lynn Horton who lives in Toronto. It was taken in 1959 by her Darlaston born grandfather, Sydney Patrick Horton.

The train has just passed under Bull Piece Bridge on its way to Wednesbury. Behind the bridge is Darlaston baths. The grey structure on the right of the bridge, is the top of the old railway footbridge from Victoria Road to Station Street.

In January 1965 Darlaston lost its railway station when the line was closed to passenger traffic.


The Town Hall in 1963.


The public baths in 1963.


Darlaston's first supermarket, the once-popular Bedworth's store. Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.


One of Darlaston's oldest butchers. Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.


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