From the archives we have selected a particular photograph to share with you, along with some thoughts from local individuals, our curators and participants. Perhaps never seen before, these images offer an insight into the Black Country and our changing lives.
From the summer of 1981, Jubilee undertook ‘themed’ playschemes across the borough of Sandwell -Space Week. Horror Week and so on. This image is from Brades Village, Oldbury in 1982. The theme of the week was ‘Around the World in 8 Days’, a playscheme exploring different parts of the world, and modes of transport. So of course, pirates had to make an appearance. The bus functioned as a giant mobile resource, full of cardboard, materials for costumes.
This playscheme took place on an empty patch of ground, behind the houses. In the background you can see the towers of Ocker Hill power station in the background, now long gone.
Where Jubilee led, others soon followed. A close relationship with the Department of Recreation and Amenities Department (who approved Jubilee’s grant aid) meant that many of these playscheme ideas (as well as arts and music festival events) were taken up across their youth and estate schemes. To promote these activities the Department came up with an overarching theme of ‘Holidays at Home’ (and a later event called Sandwell-on-Sea). Sandwell is about as far from the coast as you can get in Britain, and many families couldn’t afford to take their kids on a summer holiday, so these themes were highly popular. Sandwell was one of the most deprived areas at that time – nearly 50% of the land was derelict, a toxic legacy of the Industrial Revolution, less than half of households in the borough had access to a car, half lived in low-income households, and educational achievement was low.