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Classic Advertising From Late 60s 70s Birmingham And Black Country Nostalgia | Design & Artwork | Helix | Wilton | Claude Hooper | Carpet Industry | Severn Advertising Agency | Donnelly Burns Davis | Lye, Cradley Heath, Bilston, Stourbridge, Kidderminster, Worcester, Quinton

Severn Advertising Kidderminster Peter Donnelly began his career in advertising at Severn Advertising in Kidderminster in the late sixties. Debrett Wilton Below is  the company brochure from around that same time. At the time this must of been quite impressive PR material with die stamped cut-out panels and tracing paper overlays. Petes sat on the floor in this shot! Following on from Pete's stint at Severn advertising he set up business with colleague Bob Burns and moved to premises in Lye then a larger space in Cradley Heath. Helix Helix manufactures of stationery who actually patented the drawing compass were based in Lye, West Midlands In the 1960s, Heres an copy of an advert designed by Peter late 70s 80s Helix Lye The good news is Helix, one of the Black Countries great companies is alive and well and are currently based in Kingswinford, West Midlands. Barnett The Barnett Sports good company was originally based on the  Ettingshall  Industrial Estate In Bilson and is known

Bernard Oakley Memorial Garden and Pleasure Grounds Colman Hill Cradley

Bernard Oakley Memorial Garden and Pleasure Grounds Colman Hill Cradley Opening Ceremony Brochure from 1953 Halesowen Borough Council Sandwell Dudley West Midlands

Pete Donnelly used to live on Colman Hill in Cradley. The Parks opening ceremony brochure from 1953 found in the Peter Donnelly Archives. 

Bernard Oakley was a local lad who got killed in war..... the park was gifted to the neighbourhood by his father and mother in dedication to their Son..

THE MAIN ENTRANCE GATES, COLMAN HILL, CRADLEY The Garden and Grounds which comprise three acres one rood nine perches are situate between Colman Hill and Highfield Crescent Cradley in the Borough of Halesowen. The land is sloping towards Colman Hill and has a southerly aspect. New iron ornamental gates with York stone pillars have been erected at the main entrance in Colman Hill, the double gate bearing the inscription " The Bernard Oakley Memorial Gardens." On the stone pillar on the left hand side of the double gate is a bronze plate with the following inscription on it : " These Gardens and Pleasure Grounds were laid out and presented on June 27th, 1953 to the Borough of Halesowen by Mr. and Mrs. James Oakley in memory of their son, Bernard J. Oakley, who died on active service in Holland October 16th, 1944." On the pillar on the right hand side another bronze plate contains the words. " Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."—John 15-13. From these, a shrubbed drive leads to a car park, Dutch garden, and conveniences, then, turning to the left, to an open air stage facing up the slope to the northern part of the grounds where on the summit a shelter has been erected facing south towards the Clent and Walton Hills. Immediately in front of the shelter a walled terrace laid out with a lily pond and rose gardens has been constructed. The land on the opposite or east side has been reserved for a children's playground which already contains swings. Access can also be obtained from Highfield Crescent by means of a drive and gate on the north side of the Grounds. 

Bernard Oakley

Bernard Oakley

Bernard Oakley

Bernard Oakley

Bernard Oakley


  1. I visited today on my way to West Midlands Hospital and sat on one of the large rocks on the right side of the path as you enter those wonderful gates. The birds were singing beautifully and the trees were in bloom. So peaceful!
    I looked up Bernard J Oakley when I got home and found this site. It made me cry when I saw his photo: so much like my own son might look in a few years time. The garden is a fitting tribute to his memory. He fought for the freedoms so many people take for granted today.


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Peter Donnelly 1932 - 2005 by Dr Carl Chinn MBE

Peter Donnelly was born in Birmingham, educated at Corpus Christi junior school, Stechford and later at the holy rosary, Saltley. While at the Holy Rosary he took and passed a drawing examination for Moseley school of art at which he spent several years tuning his artistic talent.

On leaving the art school he joined Birmingham printers, Sam Currier & Son in brook street, St Pauls square, as an apprentice commercial artist. After completing his apprenticeship he left Sam Currier and worked at various printers and advertising agencies gaining valuable experience before starting with his working associate Bob Burns (typographer). Donnelly Burns Graphic Design studio was in Chapel Street, Lye before moving to larger premises in Cradley heath then Harborne.

Before starting the business Peter entered and won the Sunday Telegraph national photographic competition. He submitted an essay of photographs illustrating the demise of the Birmingham and Black Country canals with fellow photographer Norman fletcher. To Peter and Norman, Midlands photographers and photographic societies seemingly had ignored the once great industrial arena that surrounded their everyday lives.

What an arena! what powerful exiting subjects for the camera; neglected canals, weed and web woven towpaths, old worn out narrow boats – redundant and half submerged in silted murky brown waters; steam trains rattling, hissing and bumping their waggons into line and the rail men who worked the line at that time.

Old foundries, run down factories and scrapyards – the industrial flotsam of a once great manufacturing region. Many six o’clock early morning starts were walked and many miles covered by peter and his camera.

Now over 50 years later, photographs taken during those early excursions are being published - looking back at the time, long before the surge of change and reconstruction 1962 - 1965