The Hub Marketing Board

One of the most enduring features of the West Midlands Exploration blog over the years has been the minutes of the Hub Marketing Board, recounting the antics of the Chairman (Andy/Mr D9) and the Secretary (myself/Mr WME) during the course of many adventures...

The Hub Marketing Board came about as a spin-off from the WARP trips with Roger and Woody (which still take place from time to time) when one fateful December 2010 trip saw Andy and I having a few pints on the way back from a Bromsgrove blizzard. Our discussions that evening inspired a joint outing exploring Smethwick and it's been mayhem all the way ever since!


We adopted the Hub Marketing Board name as the word 'hub' was cropping up repeatedly in our respective jobs, so we've made it our mission to track down various hub locations and photograph them. The hubs are just one of the components that may feature in our trips, and other recurring elements include;

  • 'Ferrets' - investigating local areas on foot in search of history, heritage and vintage discoveries.
  • Bald spots and D9 drives - things we continued from the WARP trips, whereby one of my challenges each outing is to get a picture of Andy's bald head without him realising!
  • Pubs - every trip is a pubcrawl of sorts, covering the good, the bad and the downright hideous. We're gradually trying to get around as many West Midlands pubs as we can (plus several further afield), and while we love our real ale haunts we also have a soft spot for flat-roof establishments. Andy requests that we try to cover at least one dive for each adventure, and it should be emphasised that we always drink responsibly.
  • Darts - our pub game of choice with WME Whirlwind being the reigning champion from the last few years. Pool, skittles and dominoes might occasionally be attempted too!
  • 'Discounts' - as well as doing battle from the oche, we try to outdo each other by getting the cheapest round of the day (and the year). Conversely, we note who shelled out for the most expensive round too - the WME research usually helps me avoid the priciest pints.
  • 'Silly songs' - a shared affection for novelty numbers, the dafter the better. Andy specialises in songs from the 70s and 80s whereas I tend to unearth awful gems from the 50s and 60s.
  • 'Characters' - Mr D9 has a whole cast of characters at his disposal as he affectionately remembers bygone bus drivers such as Ron West and Hearty Carty.
  • 'Closets' - Andy has a fascination with public toilets, especially disused old urinal blocks so we keep an eye out for those wherever possible. 
  • Greasy spoons - old-fashioned cafes are another disappearing part of our heritage so we sample them where we can. Extra bonus points are awarded to cafes with traditional Pepsi advertising.
Here is a complete chronological listing of the Hub Marketing happenings so far...
  1. February 2011 - 'Spotlight on Smethwick'
  2. March 2011 - 'In Search of Old Oldbury'
  3. May 2011 - 'D9 does Dudley'
  4. June 2011 - 'D9 does Digbeth'
  5. August 2011 - 'The Hub Marketing Board' (West Bromwich Area)
  6. September 2011 - 'Hub Marketing Board: Telford'
  7. October 2011 - 'A Mini D9 Adventure' (Wolverhampton Area)
  8. November 2011 - 'The D9 does Walsall'
  9. December 2011 - 'Moseley, Ladywood and Smethwick'
  10. January 2012 - 'Starters Orders for 2012 Hub Marketing' (Darlaston and Wednesbury)
  11. February 2012 - 'Hub Hunting in East Birmingham and Coleshill'
  12. March 2012 - 'Happy Wanderers' (Yew Tree and Bilston)
  13. March 2012 - 'The Hub Marketing March' (Aston and Lichfield)
  14. May 2012 - 'Hub Marketing: South Birmingham'
  15. June 2012 - 'Wet Weather Warley'
  16. June 2012 - 'D9 Conquers Cradley'
  17. July 2012 - 'The Shropshire Scrutiny Away Day' (Telford Area)
  18. July 2012 - 'The Wolverhampton Pintathlon'
  19. August 2012 - 'Double Duds with Mr D9'
  20. September 2012 - 'D9 does Coventry'
  21. October 2012 - 'Penn's Poised'
  22. November 2012 - 'D9 does North Wolverhampton'
  23. December 2012 - 'East Birmingham the Second'
  24. January 2013 - 'Getting Shafted' (Netherton Tunnel Pepperpot Trail)
  25. January 2013 - 'Mushroom Marketing in Willenhall'
  26. January 2013 - 'Braving the Birmingham Blizzard'
  27. February 2013 - 'Battery Bother in North Birmingham'
  28. March 2013 - 'The Halesowen Hub Hunters'
  29. April 2013 - 'The D9 Bloxwich Blast'
  30. April 2013 - 'D9 does Solihull'
  31. May 2013 - 'Going Going Gornal'
  32. May 2013 - 'Milking the Round Oak Run'
  33. June 2013 - 'Scarecrows, Sheep and Shove Ha'penny' (Shrewsbury and Market Drayton)
  34. July 2013 - 'Armitage Shanked!' (Cannock and Rugeley)
  35. August 2013 - 'The Barley Mow and Other Stories' (Wordsley and Wollaston)
  36. September 2013 - 'South Birmingham Rovers'
  37. September 2013 - 'The D9 Doorstep Challenge' (Tipton and Coseley)
  38. October 2013 - 'Coventry Hub Marketing 2013'
  39. November 2013 - 'The D9 Doorstep Challenge - Part Two' (Bradley and Darlaston)
  40. November 2013 - 'Hubs of Praise' (West Birmingham)
  41. December 2013 - 'D9 does... Stafford and Uttoxeter'
  42. December 2013 - 'Christmas Hubs with a Helping of Calendars' (Wednesbury)
  43. January 2014 - 'Once More Into The Bleach' (East Birmingham)
  44. January 2014 - 'The Wednesfield Darts Marathon'
  45. February 2014 - 'Hub Marketing 2014: North Wolverhampton'
  46. March 2014 - 'Hub Marketing 2014: The Titford Trail'
  47. March 2014 - 'Hub Marketing 2014: The Doorstep Challenge Continues...' (Portobello)
  48. May 2014 - 'Hub Marketing 2014: North Birmingham'
  49. May 2014 - 'Hub Marketing 2014: Bridgnorth'
  50. June 2014 - 'Hub Marketing 2014: South Birmingham'
  51. July 2014 - 'Merseyside Hub Marketing'
  52. September 2014 - 'Hub Marketing 2014: Rowley Regis and Cradley Heath'
  53. September 2014 - 'Hub Carpeting 2014' (Kidderminster)
  54. October 2014 - 'Sheepwash Shenanigans' (Greets Green and Tipton)
  55. November 2014 - 'Hub Marketing 2014: Coventry'
  56. December 2014 - 'Hub Marketing 2014: Tamworth'
  57. December 2014 - 'A Hub Marketing Christmas' (Handsworth and Smethwick)
  58. January 2015 - 'Hub Marketing 2015: Walsall'
  59. February 2015 - 'Hub Marketing 2015: Redditch'
  60. March 2015 - 'Hub Marketing 2015: East Birmingham'
  61. March 2015 - 'Hub Marketing 2015: Dudley Wood & The Delph'
  62. April 2015 - 'Hub Marketing 2015: Bescot and County Bridge'
  63. May 2015 - 'Hub Marketing 2015: Spring Vale and Sedgley' (Big Lizzy)
  64. May 2015 - 'Hub Marketing 2015: North Wolverhampton'
  65. June 2015 - 'Mini Marketing with Mr D9' (Gillity and Charlemont)
  66. June 2015 - 'Pottering About...' (Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme)
  67. July 2015 - 'Hub Marketing 2015: Caldmore and Leamore'
  68. August 2015 - 'Hub Marketing 2015: The Telford Trek'
  69. August 2015 - 'Wet Weather West Bromwich'
  70. September 2015 - 'Hoot Marketing' (Big Hoot owls in Sutton Coldfield)
  71. October 2015 - 'A South Birmingham Scrummage'
  72. October 2015 - 'Witch's Coventry and Hallowe'en Hockley'
  73. November 2015 - 'Hub Marketing 2015: The Perry Barr Patch'
  74. November 2015 - 'D9 does... Dudley Winter Ales'
  75. December 2015 - 'Hub Marketing 2015: Christmas' (Halesowen Area)
  76. February 2016 - 'Hub Marketing 2016: Wolverhampton'
  77. February 2016 - 'Hub Carpeting the Second' (Kidderminster and Stourport)
  78. March 2016 - 'Hub Marketing 2016: East Birmingham'
  79. March 2016 - 'Golds Hill Good Friday'
  80. May 2016 - 'Hub Marketing 2016: Shropshire'
  81. May 2016 - 'Hub Marketing 2016: West Bromwich and Bilston'
  82. June 2016 - 'Hub Marketing 2016: North Birmingham'
  83. July 2016 - 'Hub Marketing 2016: Bromsgrove'
  84. July 2016 - 'Hub Marketing 2016: Burntwood'
  85. September 2016 - 'The Turners Hill Trip' (Rowley Regis and Gornal)
  86. October 2016 - 'South Birmingham Hub Happenings'
  87. November 2016 - 'Hub Marketing 2016: Coventry'
  88. December 2016 - 'Hub Marketing 2016: Burton-upon-Trent'
  89. December 2016 - 'Hub Marketing 2016: Christmas' (Essington and Willenhall)
  90. January 2017 - 'Hub Marketing 2017: Desi Day' (Lion Farm and Bearwood)
  91. February 2017 - 'Hub Marketing 2017: Enville and Kinver'
  92. March 2017 - 'March Moments' (Birmingham Outer Circle)
  93. March 2017 - 'Hub Marketing 2017: Small Heath, Meriden and Olton'
  94. April 2017 - 'Hub Marketing 2017: Good Friday' (Greets Green and Wrens Nest)
  95. May 2017 - 'Hub Marketing 2017: Bloxwich'
  96. June 2017 - 'A Patent Shaft Pubcrawl' (Wednesbury Area)
  97. July 2017 - 'Hub Marketing 2017: Worcester'
  98. August 2017 - 'Wolf Wanderings with Mr D9'
  99. September 2017 - 'Bye Bye Bears' (Birmingham and Solihull Big Sleuth)
  100. October 2017 - 'Hub Marketing 2017: Coventry'
  101. October 2017 - 'Birmingham Beer Festival 2017'
  102. December 2017 - 'Hub Marketing 2017: Christmas' (Willenhall Area)
  103. February 2018 - 'Hub Marketing 2018: Warley Wanderings'
  104. March 2018 - 'Bagpuss and Bilston' (our second blizzard outing)
  105. June 2018 - 'Hub Marketing 2018: Sedgley and Gornal'
  106. July 2018 - 'Hub Marketing 2018: The Cheslyn Hay Crawl'
  107. August 2018 - 'Hoodwinked Hubs' (Nottingham)
  108. September 2018 - 'Hub Marketing 2018: West Birmingham'
  109. October 2018 - 'Hub Marketing 2018: Coventry'
  110. November 2018 - 'D9 does Dudley Winter Ales... again'
  111. December 2018 - 'Ho Ho Hubs: A Christmas Caper' (Whitmore Reans)
  112. January 2019 - 'Hub Marketing 2019: Desi Day' (West Bromwich Area)
  113. February 2019 - 'Crooked Hubs in Himley and Kingswinford'
  114. March 2019 - 'Rugeley Power Rangers'
  115. April 2019 - 'Roaming Rushall with Mr D9'
  116. April 2019 - 'Riding around Redditch with Mr D9'
  117. May 2019 - 'An Inner Circle Indulgence' (Birmingham)
  118. August 2019 - 'Wellington Wanderings with Mr D9'
  119. August 2019 - 'Woeful Weather in Walsall Wood'
  120. September 2019 - 'Pottering About Some More' (Hanley and Longton)
  121. November 2019 - 'Hub Marketing 2019: Coventry'
  122. November 2019 - 'Dudley Winter Ales Fayre 2019'
  123. December 2019 - 'A Halesowen Ho Ho Ho'
  124. January 2020 - 'The First Hubs of 2020' (Eagle & Tun Farewell)
  125. January 2020 - 'Brexit Hub Marketing: West Brom and Wordsley'
  126. February 2020 - 'D9 Goes Clubbing!' (Wolverhampton Area)
  127. October 2020 - 'Masked Marketing in Soggy Stafford'
  128. December 2020 - 'The Hub Marketing Awards 2020' (Walsall Canal, Darlaston and Pleck)
  129. March 2021 - 'An Ocker Hill Occurrence'
  130. March 2021 - 'Tunnel Vision with Mr D9' (Bradley and Coseley)
  131. April 2021 - 'Key Hill, Ladywood and the Birmingham Main Line Canal'
  132. April 2021 - 'D9 Discovers the Anson Branch'
  133. May 2021 - 'Wet Weather Wellington'

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