I’m heartbroken at Beacon’s sorry state
TAKING my dog, Keatlie, for a walk over Sedgley Beacon on Tuesday, 13th November, evening, the first time I have been on the Beacon for over 20 years, my mind harked back to the years just after the Second World War in the very early ’50s.
Walking over the old allotments between Bath Street and Beacon Lane, walking then the last few yards of the lane, passing a small cottage on the left onto Beacon Hill, you were first met with the sight of the green water tower standing on stilts, about the height of two houses, then the tanks half again. Standing at the side of the water towers was a brick encased water tank and at the side of this was the well-known folly, the Monument, built by Lord Wrottesley in 1846.
I spent many happy hours with my mates up and down the stone steps, looking over the turret, I think it was the Bristol channel we could see looking over to the West Country, but then again perhaps it wasn’t but it was great looking out over the beautiful countryside, the blue, green and yellow of the grass and trees, looking to the Wrekin and the Malverns, then turning around and seeing the dirt and filth coming out of the life and blood of the Midlands, the factories. There was no need to go up the tower to see most of this as it could be seen from just standing on the hill itself.
Then walking along the Roman-built road between the cornfields to the Horse Shoe or Tommy Duxes to play solders, then climbing up the old rock face left by the lime quarry and collecting fossils.
The grass slope on the west side of the Beacon we would gambol down to the quarry at the bottom of the hill, which was then used by Sedgley UDC for tipping the rubbish from the house bins. Then we would run down the east side (now the cemetery), dodging the old bull, who was asleep most the time. Then in the winter using both slopes to slide down on a piece of cardboard or a cardboard box or, if you were rich, a wooden sledge.
Many bonfires were lit on top of the Beacon for royal birthdays and many different festivals.
Then in the 1980s, I took my daughter onto the Hill to fly her kite, mostly standing on top of what was now the new underground water storage tank. The Horse Shoe was still in decent condition and we could still collect fossils or stand and listen to the grasshoppers rubbing their legs together. The tower was now unclimbable, as the steps had been damaged so many times and the top of it damaged by the idiot vandals, the council took the bottom steps out but, still the idiots managed to damage it. My daughter, like myself, could use the west side of the hill to slide down in the snow, now on a plastic toboggan, the east side was now the cemetery. Weekends there would be many coach parties visiting the Beacon Hill and I was proud that I had been part of it for a good many years.
As I started off telling you, that I took Keatlie a walk onto the Beacon and I was brokenhearted seeing it as it is. The east side is now a small forest overgrown with bracken and weed, it is now impossible to see the beauty of the hill. On the east side, steel fencing and the tower are overgrown with weed and bracken – the state of it now, I am afraid it is only good enough to be demolished. Walking along to the Horse Shoe, the Roman road no longer exists, the cornfields overgrown with weed and bracken. Tommy Duxes no longer exists, destroyed by modern progress vandalism, the water company has destroyed it all. The Roman road ran from the top of the Beacon, past a small copse, right down to the Wolverhampton Road, now about 200 hundred yards along the rut which was the Roman road there is a great mound of earth which seems to tower above the Beacon Hill itself.
However hard they may try, and I don’t think they will, it can never be put back to its historical beauty, a big loss to the young generation and the history of Sedgley.