It was the shops, not the pubs, that closed early

Black Country Bugle - - YOUR LETTERS - Terry Har­ri­son, Wal­sall, by email: ter­ry­har­ri­[email protected] hot­mail.com

RE­GARD­ING the pho­to­graph of Lye Early Closers in The Bu­gle edi­tion of Jan­uary 2, num­ber 1375.

The term ‘Early Closers’ means, ba­si­cally, play­ers who were free to play sport on an af­ter­noon. Noth­ing to do with Pub­lic Houses.

Some teams con­sisted of shop-work­ers whose place of work closed early, usu­ally on a Wed­nes­day or Thurs­day, [Lye’s early clos­ing day was a Thurs­day] hence hav­ing the af­ter­noon off. Other teams would con­sist of shift work­ers or those with jobs with a very early start.

Birm­ing­ham had an Early Closers League at both foot­ball and cricket – this was, in later years, known as the Birm­ing­ham Wed­nes­day As­so­ci­a­tion. I can’t re­mem­ber when this ceased to ex­ist, but I played for Wal­sall Cor­po­ra­tion Trans­port Depart­ment (cricket) in this League in the mid-1960s.

A glance at some of the teams in­volved over the years gives an im­pres­sion of the or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved:

Birm­ing­ham Post­men, Birm­ing­ham Co-op, WH Smith, Birm­ing­ham City Po­lice, Lewis’s, Mid­land Coun­ties Dairy, Great Western Rail­way, Birm­ing­ham City Trans­port, Smithfield Fruiter­ers.

Also var­i­ous ar­eas of the West Mid­lands had their own teams, hence Lye EC, West Bromwich EC and Wal­sall EC for ex­am­ple. There was even a team from The White Horse Restau­rant, where ever that was.

Coven­try also had an Early Closers League, I be­lieve that it may have been held on Thursdays.

So, for all you ‘mil­len­ni­als’, shops used to close early on ei­ther a Wed­nes­day or Thurs­day – guide­books used to list this in­for­ma­tion for ev­ery town in Bri­tain.

Lye Early Closers Foot­ball Club – they were shop and shift work­ers, noth­ing to do with pubs!

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