~ History ~
Snippets - Bits and Pieces.
This section is for 'did you know' type content and stuff that doesn't fit in elsewhere.
Sedgley District Rifle Association was formed in 1877, the range was constructed near Dibdale Lane, Lower Gornal and the range extended to 300 yards. Patronage included B. Gibbons and other local Gentlemen.
Their meetings were held at the Five Ways Inn, Lower Gornal and their club emblem would be a target, crossed guns and a danger flag on the top. In 1878, the Association had plans to open a 600 yard range with pavillion and canteen for it's members.
'Kidney Bean Day' - December the 27th?
Reported in the Birmingham Post newspaper in 1962 was a brief description of Kidney Bean Day.
"...because in the Gornals everything from the Christmas feast is consumed by the end of Boxing Day and all that is left for December 27th is 'scraps and kidney beans'".
I've never heard this expression, and can't think where you would get kidney beans from in December, so I'll throw this one out there for confirmation.'
Another Gornal?
Yes, Gornal is a small district in the L'Hospitalet de Llobregat district near Barcelona, Spain, 'el Gornal'.
Gornall surname.
There are families with the surname Gornall, a well known example is Katie Gornall the BBC news and sport presenter.
The surname usually ends 'll' and there does not appear to be any connection with this place and early families came from the North.
1974 - "On The Road To Nowhere".
The documentary made for ATV in its 'Jay Walking' series, 'On The Road to Nowhere' won an award at the International TV and Film Festival at San Fransisco in the sociological film category.
The short film involves presenter Sue Jay on a visit to Lower Gornal, where Gornal Athletic F.C. were holding a Black Country 'faggot and pays' supper. Gornal folk, yowm gorra see....
[External link] On The Road To Nowhere
'A Gornal Cuckoo', a name given to a donkey, or someone showing the same amount of sense.
The Hawkers of Gornal and Ruiton travelled with their donkeys across the Midlands peddling salt, sand, and all manner of goods. The extended trips started in Spring and ended in the Autumn, like the seasonal Cuckoo.
'Gornal Ears' or 'Gornal Long-ears' are similarly insulting terms.
[From a piece in a 1930 newspaper]
'The Village - A Story of the Black Country', by J.R. Windsor-Garnett was published in 1931.
The author, Reverend John Raynham Windsor-Garnett, ordained at Lichfield in 1922 and was licensed to the curacy of St. James', Lower Gornal in 1924, but moved on a few months later, perhaps this could be due to his Catholic leanings.
He later wrote 'The Village' about his stay in the area, and reputedly much of the content was a caricature of the people of Lower Gornal.
J.R. Windsor-Garnett also published other titles and material, his duties took him all around the country during the period 1921 to 1946, then he appears to have moved back to Ireland, he died in Dublin in 1974.
It will be interesting to find this book!
Another curious custom among the folk of Ruiton recorded in a newspaper cliping from 1935:-
In Ruiton churchyard, Upper Gornal, women folk would scrub their family tombstones and lavishly decorate them with flowers on the anniversary of the Sunday School.
The Ruiton schools are reputably the second oldest in the country..
In 1994, the new £40,000 bus station and shelters in Gornal were offically opened, but the ceremony was marred when Wilbur, a Vietnamese Pot-bellied pig was due to make a star appearance.
However Wilbur could not be coaxed out of the van that bought him to Gornal Wood, his planned appearance was to be part of the opening ceremony and celebrating the Gornal 'Pig On The Wall' legend.
A remarkably preserved fossil, Hemicyclaspis murchisoni or "The Gornal Fish" as it has become known, was found in Rollinson's sandstone quarry off Holloway Street.
This primitive jawless bottom feeding fish, now long extinct, existed around 400 million years ago. The specimen is now part of the Lapworth Museum Collection at Birmingham University.