~ Folklore ~
The legend of the 'Pig-On-The-Wall'.
Mention Gornal to a Black Countryman, and it won't be long before "where they put the pig-on-the-wall to watch the band go by" crops up in the conversation.
Perhaps the tale indicates the local humour rather than any simple-mindedness of the natives.
Such was the strength of the local legend, the Bricklayers Arms in Kent Street was re-named 'The Pig On The Wall' in 1985 to commemorate it.
Recently some have questioned the validity of the Gornal pig legend and offered an alternative explanation in that the tale does not originate from Gornal at all, however the following version strongly denies any such notion.
This account reproduced with kind permission of Jack Falstaff.

The Village Where They Put The Pig On The Wall To See The Band Go By.

Over the years all three Gornals have had this sobriquet attached to them, often in derision, which is a pity - not that any native would take offence, for we have broad backs - but because it all started as our own private in-joke. But that was so long ago that the reality has largely been lost in the mists of time.

The Pig on the Wall story is true enough, and it actually happened in Gornal Wood (though less favoured places may wish to lay spurious claims.. but I wouldn't know about that).

The trouble is there are too few natives left to tell the tale, and, of the few there are, too many have none of the actual facts. It did happen a long time ago, before even my seventy-eight years began, but here is the story told to me when I was a little lad by a lady, now long dead, who was actually an eye-witness.
We have to go back to the time when every chapel with any pretension to respectability (and that was all of them) had an Anniversary. That entailed a procession of the faithful around the locality, the whole congregation walking two by two in their very best clothes, and all on their very best behaviour. They would have a banner at the front and a band of music at the rear.
Most all of the denominations, almost all of the four and twenty jarring sects you might say, had a band. Zoar had one, the Methodists on Himley Road had one, and so on.... but there was one exception... The Ranters.
Now here I have to be careful because they weren't really Ranters, not in the original usage of the term originating in Commonwealth times, no, they were officially Primitive Methodists, but they had been called Ranters since the middle of the nineteenth century, and the name, however unfairly, stuck.
Anyway, the Ranters, being a small and impecunious congregation, had no band, and they felt at great disadvantage because of that. But fate smiled and eventually, sometime in the early 1920s, by a superhuman effort and with considerable ingenuity they managed to muster enough musicians to provide their Anniversary procession with music. All the players were reckoned to be competent and able to read Moody and Sankey at sight, all that is except the bass drummer.
By the time they got round to finding a bass drummer the bottom of the Ranters' musical barrel had been scraped pretty dry. In the end, with a certain amount of misgiving the elders settled on a gentleman (who shall remain nameless) of very short stature. Some unkind folk muttered that stature wasn't the only thing he was short of, but that is a wicked slur - let's just say that he was, in the best British tradition, something of an eccentric.
The day of the Anniversary came, the Ranters assembled and set off in fine style past Zoar and the Board Schools up the hill to show the unbelievers and lesser committed Christians of Lower Gornal just how a proper Anniversary procession should be managed. They were heading for Five Ways and all was going wonderfully, the band in fine fettle, playing away fit to bust, when they reached the point where Temple Street swings to the left to become Church Street and the lesser thoroughfare of Humphrey Street forks slightly to the right, though indeed it is almost aligned straight ahead. All of the procession followed the left curve into Church Street........... all that is except the bass drummer who, last of all in the marching band and hardly able to see over the massive drum strapped to his shoulders, marched straight ahead... into Humphrey Street. Serenely oblivious to his solitary state he marched on, banging his bass drum for all he was worth... marching you might say into his own little bit of history.
It was the chap who lived in the first cottage on the right in Humphrey Street (I think his name was Mr Roberts, but I may be wrong) who, seeing this wonderful lone drummer, shot down the garden to the pig sty, pulled his prize porker up the garden, propped his forelegs up on the wall and said to the pig "Theer mah mon, yoh woh see a band like that agin, Ah'll warrant." Maybe you have to be a Gornal native to see the joke, I don't know, but it certainly raised a laugh from the onlookers and spread joyfully through Gornal Wood, particularly amongst those not of the Primitive Methodist persuasion.

And that's the true story. The proof can be found in a photographic postcard made by the Sedgley Chemist, Mr Eggington, who got the owner of the pig to reconstruct the scene by propping his pig's front feet on the wall for the camera a few days later.

Jack Falstaff

~