A Cyclist’s Memories of Earlswood by Peter Bayley

Its a wet Sunday, Spring 1947. A few of we merry band of cyclists have turned up for the usual afternoon spin. How far do we go? Well, the shortest route from home to the Earlswood Cafe. This was an old green wooden hut or shed, (on the site of the present Hairdressers), with a warm pot bellied stove, the haven for many a cycling club, including Solihull Field & Track Cycling Club who we called the Solihull Foot & Mouth. I wont record what they called us. We were mainly a tourist club and they entered time trials and racing events, hence the slanging off of each other (all in good fun). Anyway the green hut served the best “cuppa char and a wad”, (sorry tea and cake) in the area. Mind you, Bill Dolphin at the boat house was also quite good but I think a penny or so dearer.

Who were we? Well the “C.O.A.C.S. Cycle and Hiking Club – I never knew what the actual title stood for except that our H.Q. was Canbrai House, Hall Green, Colebank Road/Stratford Road corner, now the College.

I run too far ahead. My pal and I used to visit by train from Hall Green for an afternoon out in the mid 40s, to the Lakes Halt and walk round the lakes. Sometimes we went to Henley for an ice cream, 4d or 6d, at Tudor Dairies; the ice cream was only made at the weekend I believe. We then walked up the hill to see the observer post, then back for another 4d ice cream and the train home.

Later I had 3 school mates at Bordesley Green Tech. who traveled to Small Heath from Earlswood, Wythall and Whitlocks End, along with 2 Camp Hill Grammar School girls. I joined them at Hall Green. Someone had a carriage key so we usually had a carriage to ourselves to swap homework, etc., meeting again for the return journey.

I would sometimes cycle to Earlswood hoping perhaps to meet up with either of the girls, but no luck until later on at Youth Club. Didn’t last though after I met June at work. And 6 years later we came to live here – small world isn’t it?

Peter Bayley