I’m heart­bro­ken at Bea­con’s sorry state

Black Country Bugle - - YOUR LETTERS - Nor­man D. Cad­dick nor­man­cad­[email protected] gmail.com

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.

Sed­g­ley Bea­con

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