Peter Barnsley has many articles and essay's on this site. We are sad to hear of his passing in 2023
Peter was born in Colman Hill, Cradley in 1934, the grandson of Henry Reece, a chain maker who later owned a chain works in Colley Lane, Cradley.
This chain works closed down in the late 1950s. His mother, Elizabeth (Hannah) Reece, the elder daughter of Henry, was a school teacher at Colley Lane Primary School in the 1920s and later at Holt Road in Blackheath. She insisted that both Peter and his sister attended Holt Road school, and she taught him in the scholarship fourth year.
He passed his 11+ examination and attended Stourbridge Grammar School, as had his father and two uncles, although he says that he really wanted to go to Halesowen Grammar School. He went on to read Law at the University of Birmingham.
After graduating, Peter spent one year in a solicitor's office. This was enough to convince him that a career in law practice was not for him. In fact, he never practised law, nor did he intend to, but he taught law at the College of Further Education in Halesowen. During the years 1960-66 Peter taught at an annexe of the College in the Colley Lane schools at Cradley. During his teaching career he spent one year in a Birmingham school, but returned to the College in Halesowen, from which he retired in 1988.
Peter's interest in local history went back to listening to his mother talking about his family, and was reinforced by studying 'A'-level History. He started by listening to people talking about their lives and recording this oral history. When he retired he had time to spend in the Reference Section of Stourbridge Library. His favourite research source was the County Express newspaper.
Peter Barnsley was a prolific local historian whose extensive research into Cradley led to a great many informative and sometimes amusing articles on the people and their lives and times. The Editor of "The Blackcountryman" is aware of our publication of articles that first appeared in that journal, and we would recommend membership of the Black Country Society to anyone interested in the area.
Peter had published three compilations of photographs: "Cradley, Impressions from Old Photographs" (1992), "A Cradley Album" (1994) and Cradley: Looking Back (2003).