Brian David Williams

All the days of my life

The days of a man’s life are threescore years and ten ...  (Psalm 90:10)


Because spammers were flooding guestbooks with junk advertisements, UK Online sadly had to withdraw the facility for readers to add new messages. But scroll down to see the guestbook messages received between 2002 and May 2006 (purged of spam). Please do contact me by post, phone or email (see home page for details), and I can manually add your comments here.

Harold Chinn in Solihull at 13:48:51 Saturday May 13 2006
Hello Brian, Fascinating reading!

I lived from 1941 to 1960 in Oakhurst Rd (the other side of Fox Hollies Park to you. I attended Yardley Grammar School and was also a member of the Boy`s Brigade next to the Methodist church in Botteville. The walks that you mention and also the radio and television programmes of long ago bring back many happy memories. I met my wife at the Olton cinema and we have now been married for 46 years.

We have recently returned to live in Solihull and so have returned almost to our roots.

Bob Smith in Mo i Rana, Norway, at 19:47:38 Thursday May 11 2006
Hello Brian

It was fascinating reading the part of your diary I've so far managed.

I was at KES from 1944 to 1950, and remember a lot of the masters you mention. I started at the end of headmaster England's sojourn. He used to stand straight-faced in his black gown facing us while we jubilantly sang "Where the iron heart of England throbs beneath its sombre robe ...".

john hornsby in cotteridge in humble retirement at 21:57:51 Monday April 24 2006
brian: rowing aimlessly through these sites recently i came across your diary and realised my life and times in birmingham ran paralel with yours from 1940 through to 1950.

i was a billesley lad who took the billesley school to sparkhill commercial route interlinking with those magic blues days and the schoolboy bottle cricket matches at the County Ground. The bombs, the luftwaffe drones, the shrapnel, eric hollies, ambrose mulraney, gil merrick, huge crowds for the matches, the struggles through the snow to get to school or find the milk or coalman, the British Restaurants (never got the spelling right!), Yardley Wood Road, the 24 bus, School Road Moseley, playing Hartfield Road School .... past days providing current nostalgia...

Also, it obvious we lived Birmingham City F.C: your memories are my memories to the last goal, including Gil's save from the Dougie Reid penalty at snow bound St Andrews and those Neil Dougal crossbar wallops.

But the paralels in those blakc and white days do not stop there: the reason i was trawling the web that night was to do a little geneological explorations which the same day had taken me to the house occupied by a relation c1890.... in Baldwins Lane (No 67)! You were bombed out at a time i was staying in Charles Road, Small Heath, on the night you must have been hit, the night they dropped a super landmine in Whitehall Road and I think the B.S.A. "got it."

Thank you, Brian, for your jottings between comic swapping no doubt. john.

Ivor M. Bolton in Wolverhampton, UK, at 23:42:10 Sunday April 16 2006
I found your site while doing research into variety acts appearing at the Hippodrome Wolverhampton 1921 -'56 ! I have really enjoyed reading your diary extracts and look forward to using them in my work as a Literacy teacher, alongside Anne Frank and William Cobbett. Good company - but what a mixture !!

Best wishes for a happy future.

Henry Dunsmore in Victoria, Prince Edward Island, Canada, at 22:34:33 Friday February 17 2006
Your website is refreshing and reafirming of what the WWW was/is supposed to be. I found your site by searching Google for stories about the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. I have only vague memories of the event (although I remember watching it on tv as well) when I was 6 years old in Grangemouth Scotland. Only one person on our street had a tv set so it was a very crowded living room indeed!

Thank you very much for the wonderful story!

Arthur Page in Solihull - Sheldon B'ham side. at 15:46:50 Thursday January 19 2006
A friend of mine gave me details of your web-site after discovering it in the magazine published for St. Mary's church at Acocks Green.

I understand you lived in Circular Road from 1941 onwards. I lived at 16 Central Grove from about 1934 until I married in 1953. I had friends that lived in Circular Road and in particular Ken Martin who also attended King Edwards Camp Hill grammar school from 1941 to 1946. I went to Yardley Grammar school in Tyseley during that same period.

I have taken a quick tour through your diary and will study it more thoroughly when I get more time. Regards, Arthur Page

Tom Luton in U S at 17:12:57 Saturday December 3 2005
Dear Brian, what a delight to discover your site as I was searching for some traces of my distant family. I was born in Solihull, in 1941 and emigrated to the U.S in 1965. I went to St Phillip's Grammar school in Edgbaston and The Oratory was my church.

I enjoyed your stories about the "Blues" (I'm a 'Villa fan!), your preaching and the ministry. I applaud you for these memoirs and the discipline it takes to maintain them...wish I'd done the same because we all have a book inside us? God bless. Tom Luton, Bettendorf,Iowa

dennis cook in Canada at 23:35:24 Monday November 28 2005
Thank you for your mail, and remembering dear Myrna. I miss her terribly since her passing July 24/05. My life is changed forever. But i must move on in my journey to eternal life. May God continue to bless you both and your work in His name. The Lord truly has comforted me and will sustain me. Your friend Dennis.

getaneh yiheyis in ethiopia at 13:22:09 Friday November 18 2005
remeber me to your 60 birth day july 31 I have sent you a handmade postcard find it

bob di vecchio in las vegas nevada.usa, at 14:13:27 Wednesday November 16 2005
pleasure speaking with you on the telephone & giving me your web site...God bless you & Freda.

William Hillyard in New York City at 15:13:44 Sunday August 28 2005
This is delightful. I grew up in Hall Green, and went up to KES in 1961. I remember many of the masters you mention, although we added many nicknames; "Ollie" Matthews, "Billy" Buttle, "Coco" Copeland and "Fred" Kay to mention but a few! I also knew John Maund when he was, among other things, running the "70 Club" in Birmingham. Thank you. William Hillyard

Matthew Evans in Bristol Airport at 16:11:23 Thursday August 4 2005
Hi Brian, I trust your visit to Palma (If I remember rightly!) was a good trip? I met you yesterday morning at the airport at around 0600. Your site is very interesting, I have enjoyed browsing through the pages of your life! Hope all goes well for you in your future adventures! Matthew

Jim webmaster in Glastonbury at 15:03:32 Friday July 29 2005
Just checking to see that this works in the way we expect it to!

Mike Storey in West Yorkshire at 10:34:56 Sunday December 12 2004
Very impressive. Hope I haven't said this here before but there is much admiration for your diaries within the message forum of where I am the moderator. The site is devoted to 50s tv and radio and the forum covers tv, radio, theatre, literature, music, films, etc. Take a look! thanks, Mike

John and Gillian at 20:27:12 Saturday August 14 2004

Nice to meet you on holiday.Hope it wasn`t too hot. Cheers John

Bill Paskin in New Oscott, Birmingham, at 19:04:37 Thursday January 29 2004

A friend of mine as a collection of very old photographs which she was going to throw away, i have asked her to keep them and wondered if Alton Douglas or Carl Chinn would like them. they are of mixed content, but all in the Birmingham area.

Alton Douglas in Birmingham at 16:47:31 Sunday January 11 2004

I can only echo the remarks from Dr Carl Chinn. I am arranging for a link to be put on my site at Good luck with the continued updates of the site, and thanks for keeping the West Midlands in the "spotlight."

Dr Carl Chinn in Birmingham at 10:52:55 on Tuesday August 13 2002

Hi Brian

This is cracking social history. Have you contacted Patrick Baird, Head of Local Studies and History at Birmingham Central Library? I think he should know about the site. I now bring out a monthly magazine called Carl Chinn's Brummagem. Would you fancy doing a write-up about your website with its address etc? Be glad to receive it and include it in a future edition.

Best Wishes,

Alf Manders in Alcester at 11:45:26 on Monday July 8 2002


It was great to meet you and other old friends on Sunday. The girls and boys did a great concert in the evening, with excerpts from their shows.

Neil, John and I went round the school and were locked in! We got out eventually, having walked down all the forbidden corridors!

We met others later -- one, name not given, mentioned a book by Jonathan Coe, which uses School life under the name of King Williams -- I have look in Amazon and think it must be 'The Rotters' Club' -- have you read it?

Have looked at your dairy -- what a mammoth effort -- I can only admire your self-discipline.

All the best to Freda and yourself. Alf

Max Beran in Didcot at 23:21:16 Tuesday June 11 2002

Dear Brian

I have just been reading the diary of that earnest young lad that was your former self. It was another world and all but had me in tears.

I wasn't a contemporary of yours as my years at KES would have been 1951-58 (I think). But I too was in UMD (which I think was for the more "remedial" types who weren't going to make it to Oxbridge) and Mr Parry was my form teacher then too. I recall he got a lot of kudos from having some sort of Welsh Rugby experience and seemed to take a firm though fatherly line with some of the rougher elements that had gravitated to UMD. Of the names you mention I think I remember Mendelssohn as he was the 6th former in charge of the Jewish boys who didn't attend prayers in Big School.

I too was from your neck of the woods in Birmingham and used to catch the Special Bus that started at Acocks Green on those occasions when the weather was too bad to cycle. I attended York House School prior to KES which was near the corner of School Road and Fox Hollies Rd. I picked it up from Springfield Road and do recall the Springfield cinema which I think became a car showroom later on (I was an ABC minor at the Robin Hood which was also on Stratford Road, near the end of Fox Hollies Rd).

I didn't realise the school was doing anything special for 450 years -- I've still got the Quadringentos iam per annos .... book somewhere that marked 400.

All the best and I look forward to future instalments.

Max Beran

From Annie Murray in Reading on 26 May 2002

Dear Brian,

What a prolific writer you are! I admire anyone who has the discipline to keep diaries as they get older. I used to do it a lot as a child but find it difficult to keep up now. From a quick brows (so far) your diaries seem very rich in just the sort of detail which so easily gets lost and would also be of great value to me. In fact the next book I am currently preparing to write will probably be set from about 1946-50 or so. So thank you very much for that.

How many books? Well -- the Birmingham ones, there are now seven. The last of these, [Chocolate Girls], which is set round Cadburys in Bournville is due out next March. The others are probably listed in the books you have, but just in case: Birmingham Rose, Birmingham Friends (also titled Kate and Olivia), Birmingham Blitz, Orphan of Angel Street, Poppy Day and The Narrowboat Girl.

With all good wishes.

Bob Plowman near Fareham at 11:28:39 on Saturday April 13 2002

Hello Brian

We have found you on the Net and will have great fun reading your escapades in due course. Bob's a bit worried about the reference to Phyllis Dixey!

Regards to you both. Angela & Bob