Brum To Wolves Midland Metro Line: Part 2 – Bilston And Beyond

You left me and my pals boarding the tram at Wolverhampton St George’s and I can reveal the breaking news that the bloke with the grey vest got on the same tram as us.

That’s right, the feller from The Wheatsheaf sporting a dapper pair of shoes, jeans and a cheeky old school plain vest, boarded with us and also got off at our next port of call, Bilston.

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The first post in this trilogy of Metro pub stops saw some Black Country stalwarts – who used to shop at Toys Am We – quite rightly point out a couple of areas for improvement!

Baggies fan Len pointed out there were quite a few gaps on the Metro Map and he’s spot on, so here’s a map with the current state of play.

Birmingham Metro (Website 4

I’ve no doubt Alan would have stopped at every station and found a boozer for a pint as a matter of course, but I’m not quite ready to fill the great man’s boots yet.

Therefore we thought we’d pull over at selected stations where we knew there was a boozer within a reasonable walking distance.

As we got off at Bilston the geezer in the grey vest went right and we went left out onto the High Street to discover this is definitely Slade territory.

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Don Powell, drummer with Noddy and the boys, was born here so there is a musical heritage of sorts and that is obvious in 459 – The Trumpet WV14 0EP.

Like most of Bilston, this boozer has got a real throwback feel to it and it’s a small one roomer with a stage at the back for the live bands who play here eight times a week.

It felt like there should be a fug of smoke as you walk in or the bloke from the Fast Show saying ‘nice’ as it’s a jazz/blues boozer in the heart of Bilston and it doesn’t get more off the wall than that.

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The landlady was terrific and really friendly although it was still early afternoon and the place was sparse with a couple of old boys reading the paper and one at the bar talking music.

There’s trumpets all over the walls and ceiling and other various musical instruments and you can feel the history in this place.

I like my Holden’s beers but the Golden Glow felt tired and with four or five handpumps on maybe they need to adopt the ‘less is more’ adage during the week.

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There was a bit of Steppenwolf coming through the speakers as the younger one in our group of three had the Shazam app, which obviously spoils all conversation, but is great for spotting obscure Steppenwolf tracks.

Bilston High Street was full but had a feel, like many other suburb High Streets, that its best days are behind it and I hope that doesn’t apply to The Trumpet as the landlady made sure it was a well-kept, well cared for boozer.

Pete Allen recently waxed lyrical about the virtues of Wetherspoons boozers and I have to agree, which was handy as our next port of call was Wednesbury where an old boy pointed us towards the spoons.

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He overheard our conversation on the team about The Old Blue Ball but reckoned it was a mammoth walk (subsequent checking proved this not to be the case) but he was such an advocate for 460 – The Bellwether WS10 9BZ I thought he must have been on Tim Martin’s payroll.

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If anything, the market town of Wednesbury was probably earthier than Bilston although we had a magnificent pork cob from the Chip Tub café en route.

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A closed down cinema and some Sixties architecture greeted us as we headed towards The Bellwether but it stood out like a sore thumb as there were hanging baskets everywhere and was easily the most full pub of the day.

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It’s a big L-shaped room and a huge selection of beer with Blonde (Backyard Brewery) we chose was top class and under two quid!.

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It was a chilled out place and a fairly standard Wetherspoons, but I mean that in a positive way.  They are clearly doing something right as it is the go to place for anyone over 55 and we got served as quick as I have in any spoons ever, which was another bonus.

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Next port of call was West Bromwich’s oldest boozer in Hill Top (or Black Lake Station on the Metro map).

I didn’t know this at the time so I’ll need to credit Carl who flagged it up in the Twittersphere after my last post.

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461 – The Sow & Pigs B70 0PS is a big roadside boozer and was apparently revamped by Two Crafty Brewers Brewery and Sadlers Brewery although I’m not sure who owns it now.

Its credentials were boosted by the bloke leaving on a mobility scooter just as we arrived.

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The barmaid was really friendly, a theme throughout the day,  and the beer (I think it was Backyard again) was excellent.

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A smart refurb inside with Tenable presented by Warwick Davis on the box and doing its best to knock The Chase off top spot for “quiz shows on the TV in pubs” award.

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There was a dart board but no darts (!) and the beer was spot on as a debate raged between the three of us as to whether The Chase or Tenable won out

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and the verdict was The Chase all day long.

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Apparently this pub has been here since 1726 and has fought off plenty of bids by Sandwell Council to put houses on the site…long may that continue as there are plenty of chimney pots nearby and for beer tourists this is the only boozer by Black Lake Tram Station!

We were edging ever closer back to Brum but there were still a couple of stations to visit…

22 thoughts on “Brum To Wolves Midland Metro Line: Part 2 – Bilston And Beyond

  1. You make a great point. Data on mobile phones has completely ruined drunken arguments. The answers are too easy to obtain. Very detrimental to good drinking sessions. It’s no wonder so many people sit there just staring at their phones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed Dave. In our defence we did spend about five minutes trying to work out the songs but had to give in and it then became useful…however, the constant thirst to find things out immediately and not think/talk about it is one of the modern world progressions I don’t like!

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  2. “and I can reveal the breaking news that the bloke with the grey vest got on the same tram as us.”

    Did he follow you from the Wheatsheaf?

    “That’s right, the feller from The Wheatsheaf”

    I really don’t read ahead before posting. 🙂
    (I take it the pubs were that close together?)

    “who used to shop at Toys Am We”

    (slow golf clap)

    “but I’m not quite ready to fill the great man’s boots yet.”

    Nor are any of us!

    “that is obvious in 459 – The Trumpet WV14 0EP.”

    I read that as the strumpet and thought there was a different type of heritage. 😉

    “It felt like there should be a fug of smoke as you walk in or the bloke from the Fast Show saying ‘nice’ as it’s a jazz/blues boozer”

    Jazz and smoke filled rooms go hand in hand.

    “There’s trumpets all over the walls and ceiling and other various musical instruments”

    Wait… there were trumpets all over other musical instruments? 😉

    “maybe they need to adopt the ‘less is more’ adage during the week.”

    I can hear Martin nodding from way over here. 🙂

    “but is great for spotting obscure Steppenwolf tracks.”

    Yep. Got that app on my phone as well.

    “I thought he must have been on Tim Martin’s payroll.”

    Who isn’t? 🙂

    “A closed down cinema”

    Love the Peaky Blinders advert.

    “It was a chilled out place and a fairly standard Wetherspoons”

    What the hell is that frothing away in the photo above?

    “and was apparently revamped by Two Crafty Brewers Brewery and Sadlers Brewery although I’m not sure who owns it now.”

    The outside sign still shows Two Crafty Brewers, so…

    “There was a dart board but no darts (!)”

    I believe that’s called ‘avant garde’.

    “We were edging ever closer back to Brum but there were still a couple of stations to visit…”

    Doing a good imitation of Alan at least. 🙂

    Cheers

    PS – “and one t the bar talking music”

    Mayhap ‘at’ not ‘t’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a proper old boozer Russ and I can imagine the smoke swirling around in a bygone era…Had that dark/backroom boozer feel to it that goes with bars that often have gigs on.
      Looking at the comments it is obviously a Bilston institution!

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  3. As I tweeted, Noddy from Slade was a regular at the Trumpet Bilston, because the beer and the music were both good. You mentioned Don. He lived about 2 miles away on the Stowlawn estate a couple of doors away from an old work colleague of mine. We booth worked in the office of Wessons steel mill and Don’s dad Walter worked in the hot mill. I lived in the next street to Slade’s roadie Graham Swinnerton “sweeney” and saw Noddy most days driving his dad’s Hillman Avenger. My colleague was a singer in the band Little Acre who almost made it big time. All this little coincidences just a few miles apart…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers Keith. I didn’t realise how much of a music hotbed this town was. I can imagine Noddy Holder driving round in a Hillman Avenger!!! Great stories and I imagine Bilston was a different place when the steelworks was in its prime.

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  4. as for the Bellwether. I like this pub and the food is good there. Bit rowdy on a Friday night. I did an interview with the licencee a few years ago when I was editor of Walsall CAMRA’s Kils n Kins. Spoons are grossly underrated.

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    1. Spoons are excellent. Not sure why they get such a mixed press. More reflective of society than any other boozer I go into and never any hassle.
      I’ve not been to any Walsall boozers yet – any good recommendations??

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      1. I don;t drink round my town, but the LLoyd’s spoons formerly the old Court House would be my town centre choice. CAMRA types like the Black Country Arms up the marketplace. Out of town gems include the Walsall Arms, PRetty Bricks and The Fountain. Oh I love the Butts Tavern, one of the friendliest pubs I know.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good shout. I’ll put them on my bucket list!!! I usually work off recommendations as people reading this blog usually go to pubs that I like. The Butts Tavern and the spoons are the two top choices…

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      3. Also Navigation and Rose and Crown in Birchills. Navi is a very warm, old fashioned friendly pub. Whilst writing, I have to lament three pubs long gone. The Anchor, Queen Street Tavern and the Forge HAmmer ann within half a mile of each other. Excellent pubs in their day.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. We’ll make an honorary Black Country mon out of you yet Beermat, although seeing some jazz at the Trumpet would have to be part of your initiation ceremony. You haven’t done Bilston until you’ve witnessed Musti’s Maracas!

    I don’t mind the Bellwether and am always happy to include the occasional Spoons on a day out; you did miss a bit of an old school treat as regards the Old Blue Ball but at least it gives you an excuse to go back to Wednesbury. Good shout too to try the Sow & Pigs, a place transformed from being a well worn Banks’s boozer into quite a smart establishment nowadays. I’m not sure the modern interior quite matches the building but it’s always worth calling in for a decent pint. Did you spot the New Talbot whilst you were there – Desi style pub but not sure if it’s still going? Cheers, Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes definitely do this again as scope for many more in wolves must be plenty more I’ve missed including blue ball and live tunes at the trumpet!!! Yes saw it but it was shut… Tuesday at around five (I think) so not prime time? Sow and pigs not what I expected inside…

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      1. Sow & Pigs used to be a musty cottage type with separate rooms (and proper urinals rather than those trendy barrel things) but beer wasn’t great. I have played darts in there – badly as ever – both before and after the makeover. If you wander up the hill a bit further to Witton Lane, the Three Horseshoes is a Black Country Ales establishment and you could make it a circuit with the Gough Arms (standard Marston’s roadhouse) at Hateley Heath.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I used to see Noddy from Slade in the Trumpet quite often. My friend Laura in the 70s lived next door to Don Powell on the Stowlawn estate and I worked at the same steel mill as Don’s dad Walter. He worked in the mill, me in the offices. As for the Bellwether. I’ve had a better Carbonara in there than in some posh Italian restaurants.

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