ANTHONY ARTHUR WARBY
Anthony Arthur Warby was born on 9th January 1950 at 55 Grosvenor Road, Lower Gornal, Sedgley. Arthur (father) was a Machine Fitter at the Brickworks when Anthony (Tony) was born in 1950. Rose had left work at the 'Scrim' to become a full time housewife. Anthony was the first of six children born to Rose and Arthur. Tony was baptised by Walter Hooley at the St. Paul's Protestant Church in Lower Gornal on 12th February 1950.
Tony was educated at the Roberts Street Infants School and Junior School. Having past his 11+ he was awarded a Scholarship and spent the remainder of his school years at High Arcal Grammar School. It was often hard to 'fit in' with the grammar school boys of wealthier families that went to High Arcal. A will to succeed and obtain the trappings of wealth was spawned in his years at the grammar school.
Tony attended the 1894-1994 Robert Street School Centenary
It was also around this time that Tony wanted to become a 'Rock Star' and obtain everything stardom offered....money, women, travel and fast cars. To get his career off the ground Tony decided to mix with the 'right people' and set about helping to organize the Youth Club with Vic Green. They called this club 'The Phoenix' as it rose from the disused and redundant cookery block at the Red Hall School. Tony also frequented the Ruiton Youth Club known as 'The Quarry Club'. Life amidst the superstars (although they were all relatively unknowns at this time) gave Tony his first taste of travel. As far as Wolverhampton .... were he got to see bands such as The Beatles, The Who, The Hollies, Led Zeplin, Cream (Eric Clapton), Rod Stewart in the Small Faces, Jimi Hendrix , Jimmy Cliff and The Inbetweens (Slade). The last being Tony's greatest brush with stardom ........ he tells of a time when he was running the Disco Tech at Ellowes Hall (he thinks it was) that he mysteriously lost his microphone when the 'Inbetweens' (later to become known as Slade) made an appearance. Tony holds the belief (rightly or wrongly) that it was his microphone that gave 'The Inbetweens' their break into stardom and that if, on that day, he had not lost his microphone that it would have been him that would have gone on to become a household name in the world of Rock'n'Roll and not 'Slade'. Tony was delt a devastating blow that he never fully recovered from and it was years before he could ever bring himself to play again. Now, with the healing process behind him, the neighbors are priviledge to hear him play his Electric Guitar, on frequent occasions, when inspiration takes hold of him. Old 'Rockers' never die.
His adolescent years were interlaced with leisure activities of the times. Tony's love of fishing can be traced back to his days spent at The Marl hole on the Himley Road. His Uncle Ken first took Tony fishing and he caught his first fish on a Bamboo Rod with a split cane top. This treasured rod was his pride and joy for many years. He also fished in the Pensnett Pools and the local canals. As he got older his fishing trips took him to the River Severn. Every fisherman has a tall tale to tell and Tony recounts the time he would have broken the record for the biggest Tench caught...except the dog broke his line and like all sad tales the fish got away.
Disused Pen Canal Tony (wife on left) Joanne (son at rear) David and 3 grandchildren
A favorite activity, frowned upon by the boys parents, was to ride the coal trucks. The rail line ran from the Baggeridge Colliery to the Round Oak Steel Works. The boys would 'high jack' a truck and jump aboard for a wild ride down the line. When the truck hit the up hill incline, at The Marl Hole, they would evacuate the rattling trucks and jump to safe ground.
A coal truck similar to the one used by Tony and friends
'Scrumping' was also a challenge Tony and his friends could not resist. A local couple, Jo and Ester Truck, who lived in the road opposite the Fiddle, had a Damson Tree. Very few Damsons escaped being plucked from the branches at a tender young age and devoured by the local rogues. This was also the era of local policeman, Sgt. Pask. He had the power to frighten the living daylights out of the young thieves. If this alone was not enough to deter the boys Sgt. Pask would arrange for further punishment to be waiting for the local lads when they returned home. Tony, when he was not out pinching fruit from poor old ladies was helping them cross the road. He was in the Association of Boy Scouts and on 30th October 1960 at the age of 10 years and ten months, he was awarded his 'House Orderly' Badge. The Examiner was his mother J.R.Warby and his Cubmaster was P. Jackson.
Gornal, at this time, was very much a village were everyone knew everyone. To some degree it remains the same. Gornal's history, in part, is a wealth of memories of people encountered by the locals in their every day life. Ike Hale delivered vegetables and milk by horse and cart. Not only were the fresh vegetables and milk always welcome so were the droppings the horse left behind. A rush always followed to see who could bag the much prized fertilizer for the garden. Tony would be given the little red grocery book to take to Ben Hemming's shop and Ben would deliver the groceries to the homes in his van.