Book Reviews

By Dave Woodhall.

Amberley Books have carved out a useful niche in the historical publications market. Show a number of old photos from a town then get some of the same scene either from a few years later, or taken recently. It can be fascinating to see how places change; sometimes they’ll be unrecognisable but more often than not there will be traces of what went before. It’s proof that history isn’t a random, unconnected series of events; it’s a constantly-evolving process and the past is invariably relevant to the future.

Walsall Through Time

Walsall Through Time by Michael Glasson

Walsall Through Time (Michael Glasson) is no exception, showing scenes from the town centre and outlying parts of the borough. There’s a particularly striking portrait of Great Barr Hall in what seems to be its nineteenth century prime, contrasting with the building work recently being completed on the site of what was once one of the great houses of the region.

If you like in Walsall or you have any interest in the town you’ll find this book very interesting.

Beer and Spirits

Beer and Spirits (David Taylor and Andrew Homer)

Beer and Spirits (David Taylor and Andrew Homer) is a bit different. As its subtitle says, this is an illustrated guide to haunted pubs in the Black Country and surrounding areas. Again there are some interesting photos but this time more text, which deals with the history of some of the more historic pubs in the area, and the other-worldly goings-on therein. A cynic might say there are a few too many eye-witness recollections along the lines of “I didn’t see anything, but I DEFINITELY felt something was there,” which pad the book out, but that’s a minor fault. The Black Country has a proud tradition of some of Britain’s finest pubs and this title adds to their heritage.

Both are available from bookshops and online from