A Collector’s Tale

A postcard view of Smethwick High Street from 1930.


Sandwell Archives have a substantial collection of photographs, but there are also local people who collect historical materials and regularly make use the search room at Smethwick.  Mike Fenton, by way of example, is one. The image above is from his extensive collection – a postcard view of Smethwick High Street from 1930.

In the bottom left-hand corner, a gentleman cycles out of view – perhaps to avoid the attentions of the photographer – and in doing so, takes our eye immediately to the side of the town’s singularly most important construction – the Toll House. On the right, the civic buildings, one of which todays houses Smethwick Library and Sandwell Archives.

Mike tells us: ”Initially I was going to collect local postcards – I had about some 20 or 30 and I now have about 2000. Then I got into collecting objects relating to industrial history. I don’t just collect material related to West Bromwich, where the family came from. I collect Oldbury because that’s where I live, Rowley and Blackheath because that’s where I went to school, and Smethwick, as that as where I was born. So my collection has expanded, which is why my house is so full.”

Read his article here: https://jubileeartsarchive.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/MikeFenton.pdf