Later Years

Jim at the Golden Jubilee meeting at Monmore Green Stadium in 1978. On the extreme left is Marie's grandson Simon. Courtesy of Simon Hinks.
Jim was a great fan of Wolverhampton's speedway team and often visited Monmore Green Stadium. On one occasion he was asked to ride his Rudge Multi around the track during a meeting and afterwards several of the Wolves riders tried it out for themselves.

Many people will fondly remember Jim Boulton after attending one of his many talks which covered a wide range of subjects including transport, cinema and old adverts. They were given to many of the local societies and were often amusing and always very popular. He was especially happy when talking to a group of ladies.

In the late 1980s it finally looked as though Wolverhampton was due to get a much wanted transport museum. The local authority planned to use the derelict low level railway station for the purpose and even considered the purchase of a railway locomotive. Unfortunately it was not to be, the plan was abandoned and this greatly saddened Jim who occasionally mentioned it in conversation.

In the 1980s through to the early 1990s artist Paula Woof painted the series of murals that are on display on Wolverhampton railway station’s footbridge. The murals feature famous Wulfrunians and Jim can be found on one of them standing next to an early Sunbeam car.

1990 was a difficult year for Jim because his friend and companion Marie sadly passed away. This left a great gap in his life and he became even more involved in his leisure activities, and his book collection rapidly grew.

Jim with Marie's grandchildren Jacky and Simon. Courtesy of Simon Hinks.

Jim the cook.

Jim never owned or wanted a television and wouldn’t have a telephone. The only way to contact him was by letter, he had a complete trust in the postal service. He loved to read and this became his main hobby, always on the lookout for an interesting book. Jim's kindness manifested itself in many ways. One of his friends from New Zealand, Bob Entwhistle, collects stamps and Jim would always obtain the latest set of first day covers to send to him.

Similarly the wonderful and helpful neighbours in Ounsdale Road were rewarded with presents, and first day covers were always sent to the son of his favourite neighbour across the road.

Early December was always a busy time for Jim because he did his bit for the local children in the lead-up to Christmas. He was Father Christmas in the nearby school and very popular with the children. They seemed to enjoy meeting their Santa Clause and he enjoyed meeting them.

Jim's friends and neighbours also did their bit for him. Every Christmas he had a large number of Christmas cards and many presents, often consisting of warm clothing to help out when walking his dog Koko and such things as biscuits and cakes. He often commented on the large number of mince pies that he annually acquired.

In 1996 while snoozing on a chair in the kitchen he was awakened by an unexpected noise from his study. On inspection he found that two teenage boys had broken-in, obviously totally unaware of Jim’s presence. The intruders fled taking one of Jim's jackets but the experience unnerved him and in order to prevent this happening again he agreed to have a dog.

Wombourne's Father Christmas.

At home with some of the numerous items in his collection. Courtesy of Simon Hinks.
His old friend Vic Cox found a suitable companion from Midlands Animal Rescue and right from the word go Jim and Koko became firm friends.

Jim never trained Koko who tended to rule the roost. The pair were inseparable and a frequent sight together in the Wombourne area, where they went for a walk several times each day, covering many miles in the process.

When visitors arrived, Koko would get very excited and rush around barking loudly. In an attempt to keep him quiet Jim would hand some dog biscuits to each visitor with the instructions to give one to Koko each time he barked. Koko however soon realised that if he barked he got a reward and so unwittingly Jim trained him to bark. Koko is a friendly dog and would often hold out an outstretched paw to be shaken.

Koko in 2005.

Jim in characteristic pose at Bantock House in 2002.

It was always a pleasure to visit Jim and see his latest books covering a wide range of topics. There was always something interesting to see from his collection and the conversation could be about almost anything.

One of Jim's ambitions was to win the National Lottery and purchase a traction engine. Had he been successful in this venture he would have donated it to the Black Country Living Museum. His other wish on winning the lottery would have been to purchase an expensive luxury car with a lady chauffeur, but sadly this was not to be.

Jim was always in excellent health until well into his 80th year, no doubt helped by his frequent walks with Koko. Several years ago a friend persuaded him to visit the doctor for a check-up. This he duly did and the much younger doctor told him “you are fitter than I am”.

Unfortunately this didn’t last and he started to complain about aches and pains and began to visit the doctor regularly. After a number of tests in the local hospital he was diagnosed with myeloma. The incurable disease progressed more rapidly than expected, his last public appearance being at a Black Country Society book launch in Wordsley Church on 12th March, 2005.

Jim soon found himself in hospital for several weeks and his condition seemed to greatly improve.

Another view of Jim at Bantock House in 2002.

Jim leaves Broadway bungalow for the last time.

Unfortunately on his return home he quickly deteriorated and passed away on 7th September, 2005 during a second brief spell in hospital.

The funeral took place on 19th October and well over 200 people filled Wombourne parish church. Local shops closed for the occasion and most of the locals came to say their last goodbye. Jim was cremated at Gornal Wood Crematorium and his ashes were scattered there.

Jim had a large number of friends and is well known to many vintage vehicle enthusiasts. He will be missed by them all. His neighbours were wonderful and extremely supportive, especially near the end when he needed a lot of help. One in particular, Joy Price, looked after his affairs and did everything that she could for him. Luckily Koko has now found a new and permanent home with a gentleman in Sedgley.

Jim believed he was the last of his line; as far as he knew there were no surviving blood relatives. His uncle Jim H. Boulton emigrated to Canada in 1904, but unfortunately the two branches of the family lost contact with each other. Thanks to this article Jim's second cousin Lea has been in contact with me and the family are now discovering their late relative from Wombourne. Jim would have been delighted to have known that he still had a cousin in Canada, it's a great pity that this couldn't have happened in his lifetime. 

Jim was a kind man, one of nature’s gentlemen, always willing to help anyone. It was a pleasure to know him and like many of his friends and neighbours I will miss him dearly.

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