Poetic Writing of ROBBIE KENNEDY BENNETT © www.rkbpoetry.co.uk Born in Wolverhampton of English and Scottish parentage. He grew up on the Rough Hills Estate area of the town and his Scottish ancestral roots are in the Kingdom of Fife and Dundee. The author is now residing in Codsall, Staffordshire. Drawings, pictures and writing are copyright of the author Robbie Kennedy Bennett.

part extract of;

My Bilston Belle ©
Her folks they came from Bilston
deep Black Countrified,
she kept the place they came from
her roots she did not hide.

Apparent in her accent
anyone can tell,
her folks they came from Bilston
she is my Bilston belle.

My Bilston Belle ©

Bilston is 2 miles southeast of Wolverhampton well known for its market; iron works and has a coal mining history. A typical example of a small Black Country town, although the borough of Bilston ceased in the 1960’s it has kept its own identity.

The ‘Stump’ mentioned in the 4th verse is the name that locals call the Swan Bank Tavern public house.

It also has a football team; Bilston Town founded in 1894 as Bilston FC and nicknamed the Steelmen. Their ground is Queen Street and I had a spell there in the 1970’s when they played in the West Midlands League.

They have in recent years fell on hard times and almost folded. In 2007 new owners reformed them as Bilston Town (2007).

Sunday morning July 26, 2009 my wife and I decided to drive to Bilston to take photographs to display on this page. It was apparent that times have changed but nevertheless at least we came. Firstly we noticed the Swan Bank Tavern was yet another pub struggling with the modern age, boarded up and for sale.

We strolled around the back of the pub to Bow Street where her dad had lived but it is now mainly new buildings and a car park. My wife felt sad about the losing part of her past and even suggested tongue in cheek for us to buy the pub.

We then crossed the road and made our way to St Leonard’s Church. It was here she remarked where she was baptised.

For the first time we saw Witness, the work of Bettina Furnee, quotes in iron castings from people of Bilston and the industrial change.

We still have a picture on our wall of my wife’s grandfather Thomas Young. He was standing in a group-wedding photo and had been zoomed in to have an individual picture. Later back at home we studied the doorway in the background and little had changed except wear and tear and 2 pillars were not there. We could still make out the writing overhead, RESTORED ANNO DOMINI 1883.

When taking the photograph I had in mind I was in the same viewpoint that the photographer of that day was in and imagined my wife’s family being pictured.

We then went back to the car looking at the war memorial on route and drove to the other end of Bilston where my mother-in law had grew up. The buildings of her home in Wolverhampton Street appear to have long been gone with only over ground land in view.

I often look at landscape and skyline and many times it has got me back on track before the age of sat nav’s. I’m greatly interested in buildings, places and people who lived there in their given day. In my youthful day my approach to Bilston was down the Parkfield and Millfield Road. At that entrance is now a modern island with a structure of today. That structure would be alien to my mother-in- law’s age but the landscape and the odd building remains.

There is a Sure Start Nursery building over the road that she assures was known as the ‘Mission’. In front of what is now the Nursery was the Chapel but now long gone. My wife and I studied the design in the brickwork of the Nursery building wondering if that was actually the Chapel but informed not.

The front of their house over the road from the Chapel was used as a barbershop where her dad Thomas Young cut hair for half a penny. Accordingly there were three public houses in the vicinity. The Barrel on the corner of Mill Street, the Hand and Bottle and the Hand and Keys. Her relations also owned a sweet shop on Wolverhampton Street known as Tandy’s.

The Swan Bank Tavern
© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

Bow Street back of the 'Stump.'
© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

St Leonard's Church
© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

Was this the 'Mission?
© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

© Robbie Kennedy Bennett

MY BILSTON BELLE, for my wife, her parents, families Howell and Young and Bilston in the Black Country. www.rkbpoetry.co.uk/page76.htm
© Robbie Kennedy Bennett


In My Blood, by Robbie Kennedy Bennett on Scotland's Enchanted Kingdom. This and a short detailed account plus other odes about Fife. Featured since 2008;

Featured poet on Poetry of Scotland since 2006;

Football Poets / Robbie Kennedy Bennett;

Wolverhampton wanderer muses on coastal path

An Ode To Hugh, Devotion In Rhyme;

Welcome to the writings of Robbie Kennedy Bennett, on Collessie.... a great place to live.

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RKB poetry since 1989