Research undertaken by Amblecote History Society uncovered some potentially interesting material for further investigation into the background context behind the paper records – I was attracted to some photographs of what I guessed was the original inauguration of Joyner’s Wharf – talking to colleagues down at the Bonded Warehouse has enable some meat to be placed on the bones.
Ron Joyner was Head of the Parks & Recreation Department at Stourbridge Council, before Dudley MBC amalgamated the Town Council into the Metropolitan Borough in 1974. The current SNT Treasurer’s wife, Ruth remembers him quite well from when she worked at Stourbridge Town Hall for a while.
We think that at some time he joined the West Midlands Regeneration Group and became involved with the project to regenerate the canals of Birmingham and the West Midlands, this mainly involved dredging work, orientated along with some cosmetic work and of course marketing the benefits of the canal infrastructure. This included the Stourbridge canal main line and Town Arm.
Ron was no doubt recruited to the precursor of the Trust by Alan Smith. Ron was part of the fundraising team and acted as Project Officer during the refurbishment of the Bonded Warehouse and also of the Manpower Services scheme which successfully did much of the other improvement work in the surrounding environment.
The historic photographs were taken at the unveiling of the plaque to dedicate the Wharf to the memory of Ron, so sadly he is not in either of the photos. The lady in the one showing the name board is his wife Sadie Joyner who did the unveiling. The unveiling took place in early October (in time for the Open Weekend). Ron passed away in March/April, recourse to Trust minutes from 1987 confirms. Joyner’s Wharf was dedicated to him in recognition of the time, effort and enthusiasm the he had put into the Bonded Warehouse refurbishment and as the Liaison Officer with the Manpower Services Commission scheme.
This scheme worked on:
- Relaying the cobbled section of Canal Street.
- Laying the brick towpath from the warehouse to the end of the moorings as they were then.
- Manufacturing a stage for use within the Brindley Room
- Varnishing tables and chairs that Ron had acquired from school cast offs.
- Rebuilding walls on the old dry dock bridge, reclaiming the “Dingle” between the Canal and the River
Part of Ron’s job was to source the materials on a weekly basis to ensure that the works continued. He also compiled and submitted the renewal schedule each year for the scheme to continue.
Quite noticeably the mooring wharf which Ron Joyner’s name is aptly commemorated upon was finished with solid edgings by the use of really heavy stone blocks which were salvaged from an old railway bridge which had been dismantled near Old Hill railway station. Some also came from a scheme that Dudley MBC were carrying out in the Smithy Lane, Dreadnought Road area of Pensnett and are old granite kerb stones, once again cunningly scrounged by Ron! He was certainly ‘responsible’ for obtaining cobble sets for the surfacing of Canal Street, ex railway masonry for the Joyner’s Wharf moorings area, ex cinema seating, old school tables, and much else!!!
Ron was a very ebullient person, always moving along as if the world was going to end in the next five minutes. Generally he was two steps in front of everyone else, they were of course the ones doing the jobs that Ron had delegated. He was also part of the fundraising committee for the restoration of the warehouse, preparing submission documents to the various government departments, something he was used to from his working days, because much of the money came from local authority budgets it still is part of our remit that the building be used for community purposes, something Ron was keen to encourage.
Ron was the right man at the right time, without whom the warehouse project may never have come to fruition.
Looking back now it is a reminder that only three of the original group involved with saving the Bonded Warehouse are still with us as Alan Smith, Roger Squire, John Greaves Smith, Ron Joyner and Graham Wyles have all passed away – their legacy survives and thrives!
The more recent photographs show the work of the “Tuesday Club” who recently refurbished and re-set the commemorative plaque to Ron Joyner in its original position.
If anyone has any other background information on this subject or indeed any associated interesting stories to tell we would be pleased to hear them !