Does anyone remember Albert Trapp? He used to be a binman many years ago (1960/70s) working from Lifford Lane.
He talks about his days working with great people all the time.
2014 marks the hundredth anniversary of the start of the first world war.
Does anyone know anything of the honours board in Cotteridge School library, which lists those who fell in the great war?
For example, who funded it, when was it installed, who unveiled it etc.
Any information let us know by posting below or emailing.
Someone asked me the question, “are any famous people associated with Cotteridge”, and I must admit I couldn’t think of any.
Any celebrities live here, work here, pass through? Anything exciting ever happen here?
Other than an episode of Homes Under The Hammer, I can’t think of much!
Any thoughts? The more obscure the better…
Does anyone know anything about a cycle repair shop – Charles Chadwick, 111 Pershore Road, about 1900?
I know it existed from a Commercial directory but would love to know more about it.
Does anyone remember the Ist Kings Norton Scout troop, based at Mrs Wimpey’s house in Middleton Hall Road, and some of the activities the troop engaged in at the outbreak of WWII?
I am trying to find a friend who work as a cleaner at the Breedon Cross pub around 1976.
Her name was Suzanne Stokes.
I know she got married to Mick. He used to play darts for the pub, can anyone please help me?
Leave a message below or email us if you can help.
Ian Fergus writes…
I found this site very recently and reading it has brought back so many memories. There are so many names I recall from the time I lived in the area!
I grew up in Midland Road, where we lived from 1963 until 1971. I went to Cotteridge school and then to Kings Norton Grammar.
My Dad Archie set up a football team based in the park, that went on to become quite a successful set up, Cotteridge Park Rangers.
It started as a way of occupying youngsters and initially lads of my age ended up with a local football team. This included names like: David Harris, the Cotton twins, Ray Priest, Alan Waterhouse to name but a few.
It then grew and an adult team was formed, no longer based in the park but retaining the name.
They played in the Kings Norton League and won several titles during the late 60s early 70s.
We moved away in 1971 to live in the west country. I have visited the area on several occasions and had a trip down memory lane. I also have a number of photos stored that I intend to scan and get to the site, most of these relate to the football but I would be fascinated to hear if there are still people around who recall those days.
Update: Spent a long time thinking about these pics and huge apologies to those I have failed to recall but as best I can remember the names are shown below. I would be fascinated to see if anyone could fill in the gaps and would love to hear from anyone that either played or could remember those days.
Photo 1: (standing L to R) Rob Price, David Harris, Ian Fergus, Paul Toombs (holding ball), unknown, Roger Owen, Archie Fergus (Manager), unknown.
(kneeling L to R): Ian MacLelan (I think), Ray Priest, Keith Hilston, John Petrucciano, Neil Derrington, Vincent Hickey,
(seated L to R) unknown
Photo 2: (Back L to R): one of the Cotton twins, Roger Owen, unknown, Mick Corke, David Garner.
(Front L to R): unknown, Ian Fergus, David Harris, unknown, Alan Waterfield
Photo 3 (Standing L to R): unknown, Rob Garner, unknown, unknown, unknown, Rob Price.
(Kneeling L to R): Ray Priest, unknown, unknown, Paul Toombs, unknown, Neil Derrington.
Carol writes: does anyone know what happened to number 1 Baldwin Road, Kings Norton? This the first house is number 3 and there is an area of open land along side it where I assume number 1 would have stood?
Rachel writes… I’m looking for info about a man called Clifton Peter Scott-Riddle who married my late Grandma Ivy Lee in March 1939. He then disappeared and it transpired that he was a bigamist. Grandma gave birth to my father in Dec 1939 so this man is my grandfather. She lived with her parents in Beaumont Road and married Horace Jays in 1942.
I am looking to trace a Lesie Whorwood Auster.
I have an address for the year 1861 as Park Hill, Kings Norton, Worcestshire . The address as now shown looks to have been built long after that date.
Also I have been led to understand that the property had land, and am wondering if this could have been around Cotteridge Park?
My daughter has recently moved to live at 76 Ashmore Road.
I have tried to find out who was living in her house in 1911 but with no luck.
The last house on the 1911 Census seems to be 60 Ashmore Road and then Midland Road is the next address.
Can anyone help?
I seem to remember that in the early 60s they were dredging the canal at Lifford between Lifford Lane and the canal junction by Kings Norton Park, and they accidently lifted and removed a massive plug which they didn’t know was there because it wasn’t mentioned on any of the plans they had from when the canal was built.
This resulted in the water draining from the canal and flooding the valley and the river below. I seem to remember that Lifford Hall was at least partly flooded but it wasn’t deep enough to reach Sturges factory. Can anybody remember it and is there anything anywhere on the internet about it?
I attended Cotteridge School from 1948. I had a week at Bournville School on the Green and made such a fuss as they made us have a lie down in the afternoon. I did not want to lie down. I remember the rocking horsein the windows which was still there many years later.
My first teacher at Cotteridge was Miss Rich in the reception class. Opposite the class room was the small stair case up to Miss Howard the headmistress’s office. The hall had murals of nursery rhymes on the walls and the parquet floor was highly polished. Mr Carling who was a dab hand with the side edge of a ruler, Miss Smith who was very strict, Miss Powell and Mr Hewlett who shouted and went red in the face. I remember the wall being knocked down between the boys and girls playground and Mr Hewlett picking up the boys toes. I had lived in the cul de sac on Dell Road, I remember Barbara Barnes and Pauline Dunn. The horse which used to pull the milk float ate the top off the gate post whilst the milkman had a cup of tea in one of the houses. I attended Dell Road Gospel Hall every Sunday with Mr Stormont in charge. Saturday was the baths in Stirchley in the morning and the Pavilion picture house in the afternoon.
I did not pass the eleven plus exam so went onto the Senior Girls School aged 11 years. Miss Walshe was the headmistress for the first year, she then left to take up the position of headmistress at Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School which opened in 1959. She was very keen to teach us netball and we continued to play until we left in 1958. Having won all our matches whilst in the final year a few of us continued to play for Miss Walshe as Linden Netball Club which she ran for many years after her retirement. It was a very successful club, won many trophies and had many girls trialled for the England Netball Squad.
Miss Warren became the headmistress, Miss Watterson, Miss Woodall and of course our final year teacher Miss Garfield who used to say ‘Girls that is not Christian like’ whenever we misbehaved. I remember girls came to join us from Kings Norton and Stirchley schools, Kay Parker and Maureen Alcock who also played netball for the school team.
I was a member of Dr McMahon’s special choir which sang in the Town Hall. The memory of sitting in the choir stalls at 14 never left me even when as a member of the CBSO Chorus I stood in the same place for concerts years later in the 1970′s. I left at 15 years old in 1958 to join the GPO as a telephonist.
In addition to the shops mentioned on this website I do remember the horse meat shop just down from school on Pershore Road and the Treasure Trove bear was a white polar bear named Harold. Peter who ran the Treasure Trove after his father died told me that he was sold to a posh hotel in the centre of Manchester. I too spent many hours in there and still have a few items bought from the fascinating amount of items.
Looking back now I suppose we were all quite poor, but we did not know anything different. What more could you want, going to Cotteridge Park to play on the swings, the pictures on a Saturday and the swimming baths. Life was carefree. Happy Days.
Val Lovett nee Taylor
I have been working on Haye House, a private house directly across the road from the old Breedon Bar pub.
Please could you supply any info of this lovely house? The plaque on the exterior of the building reads Haye House 1862.
We have a relation, Brian Lambert, over from Australia.
Could someone help please if anyone has any memories or photos of a company called R J Hunt, a foundry which was situated by the bridge close to the Breedon Cross pub.
Any help would be gratefully received, thank you.
Any information please leave a comment below or email us and we’ll pass it on.
Well worth a visit for more nostalgia, photos and memories, try “Northfield Past” on Facebook, which covers Northfield, Cotteridge, Kings Norton, West Heath and Longbridge:
David Turner writes…
I am looking for information on the Field family name. My grandmother’s maiden name was Field. She along with my grandfather are buried in Kings Norton church cemetry. The grave is directly in front of a headstone of a Field damily dating back to 1754. Too much of a coincidence?
Is anyone aware if they are directly related? I am aware that the family who lived in “The Moats” (mentioned in the history of Cotteridge) were named Field.
I look forward to hearing from anyone with any information.
PS. Is it possible that the John Felde (family name) mentioned in the court rolls of the Manor of Bromsgrove and Kings Norton from 1494 to 1504 could change over a period of time to “Field”?
I am one of many grandchildren of Frank Lawton, who started a business in 1906 of cooked meats and pork pies etc.
This shop was 1833 Pershore Road, Cotteridge.
In 1956 they celebrated its jubilee. The business continued into the early 60s.
I am very anxious to know if anyone has pictures of the shop, as I am in the process of writing about this.
You may even remember the van driven by Harold – pale green with a cream egg shape sign on the sides of the van with writing about Lawton cooked meats.
My Dad owned the chemist in Cottridge for about 30 years.
I am desperate to try and get some old photos of the shop, L E WORRALL Chemist. Can you help?
Hi, love the site. I was born and raised in Birmingham. Lived in Ashmore Rd for over 20 years,
I just wondered if you had any photos or info on Roger Page’s cycle shop. I loved this shop when I was growing up and in my early cycling days. I’m now a father and wanted too show my children , what and who kick started my passion for cycling.
Any info would be gratefully received.
We are trying to find a local boarding house for special needs people
I believe it’s at 2 Dell Road.
If you can provide a phone number or other contact details, it would be much appreciated.
Cliff Fleetwood and his cousin Hilda Thompson outside the bottom shop in 1929 or 1930. Thanks to Cliff for the photo.
It features 96 pages, each with two pictures: a historic photograph, alongside the same view in the present day. Each scene comes with a detailed caption and description.
Themes include industry, transport, education, retail and leisure.
It’s a great read, and a great present for nostalgia-lovers.
It’s available on Amazon now, at this link.
ISBN is 978-1445602387.
Derek Gilbert writes:
I went to Cotteridge school, 1945 – 1951.
I was a milk monitor there and remember distributing the milk when it was frozen and the tops had come off (must be 1947). Teachers I can recall were Miss Smith (strict but no patience with slow learners, hence my writing has always been poor), Mr Hewlet (a short temper, remember him lashing out at Pamela?).
Pupils remembered were Dave Gunter, Bernard Tye (Tyler?), Jean Poorley, Pamela ___?, Arthur Newman, Dereck Underwood.
Went home to Watford Road via Cotteridge Park or the “Styles” between the houses and the railway. One day going past Ma (Mrs) Ferris’s back entrance, which had a big steel door, some other kids was throwing stones at it and making a din a guy came out siezed me and few more kids. Hauled us before Mrs Ferris. Eventually we were released after a lot of pleading we wasn’t the ones.
Later on her land was compulsory purchased and the police flats were built. This was before Fleetwoods yard was built on.
I am looking for any information, photos etc of my husbands family.
His father was Stanley Newton who was married to Peggy Newton, nee Richards, until her death in 1967.
He then married a lady called Frances.
I have two sons and we have no photos or information about their father’s family. We are just looking for any information or photos or any details of Peggy’s family. We are not necessarily in need of any contact if it is not wanted. Just some photos of their fathers family would be great. Their father could never tell them much and now this is their only hope.
I hope you can help, thanks!
Hello, hope you don’t mind.
We are desparately searching for Mary Teresa (Tess) Johnson, born Birmingham in 1945, and who attended Shenley Fields Children’s Home in the 1950s.
Do you remember her at all ?
Thank you Christine
I’m looking for anyone who new Charlie and Kathleen butler and their three children: Fred, Muriel and Bill Butler.
Charlie was a decorator.
Margaret Glover writes:
What wonderful memories this website brought back!
I lived at a cottage, number 8 Camp Lane, Kings Norton, from 1939 to late 1960, with my brothers Bobby, David, Kenney and sister Rita, plus my parents Bob and Cecilea.
I belive the site is now a nursery. I rember the Camp Inn right opposite the cottage, the little shop called Maggie Rileys. Triplex Glass, Burmetals and Kings Norton station.
I went to kings norton school then on to Cotteridge Girls School until 1952. Looking at the photos of Cotteridge brought all my youth flooding back.
I am now doing ancestry and I have been trying to find old photos of Camp Lane. I belive my old cottage was demolished in the 1970s. Does anyone have any old photos or memories?
I was wracking my brain to remember the name of the very large site exhibiting and selling second-hand furniture, bric-a-brac, books etc in Cotteridge. It was a favourite haunt of mine when I was a scholar at Kings Norton Grammar School for Boys 1949-1955.
The shop was Treasure Trove.
Peter writes back:
I vaguely remembered the bear at Treasure Trove, but reading about him brought him vividly back. I used to put pennies in the coin-operated Victrolas (is that the right word – large music-making machines with a rotating copper disc punched with slots that operated to play music-hall tunes). Most of them didn’t work, but a few did. I spent many intriguing lunchtimes browsing at that place. Other lunchtimes I spent my dinner-money on return train rides between Kings Norton and Northfield with a bag of chips from the chippie on the corner of Northfield Road (or near it).
I’m at that age when childhood memories come thick and fast, a nice nostalgic blast, I never thought I would be such a softie…) I was born and brought up in Northfield, my mother’s sister and brother-in-law were live-in stewards at Kings Norton Golf Club during and after the war. I remember that the land between Northfield and the club used to flood (down Hole Lane) and the unmade lane was sometimes impassable without a boat. Happy Days.
There are two other references to Treasure Trove on the site too:
The Treasure Trove: I remember there was that big bear when you went in the entrance. And then there was a statue of a nude man outside and people used to come along and stick chips on his wotsit. When we were children the place was just a little shop then Mr Vincent opened it as the Treasure Trove. There were sheds round the back where they stored all the big things – suites of furniture, grandfather clocks and beds and wardrobes and all sorts of things. With the house and the sheds it would take you quite a while to go round and look at everything.
Near St. Agnes Church was a shop called “Treasure Trove” that sold all kinds of things, many from house clearances. It was a wonderful place to look round,you could find anything from a large stuffed animal to a tiny button. It was owned by a Mr Cecil Vincent.
If you have any information, email us using the link above; or leave a comment below.
I was interested to read the article about the High House, Kings Norton. I lived at flat 5 the fire station from 1949 until I was called up in 1956.
My father had a part-time job ferrying cars from longbridge to various parts of the country and used to park them overnight in the drive leading to the coach house. As a 12 year old I took the keys to one of the cars and crashed it into the coach house gates. A fireman who had seen me in the car, informed my father who made my life a misery and grounded me for a week.
I, with other boys from the fire station and the two brothers who lived at the shop (under the clock) gained acces to BK Alloys and got up to untold mischief among the scrap planes keeping a wary eye out for the watchman who chased us off on many ocassions. Our escapades came to an abrupt end when when we blew up a war-time emergency water tank on the site with sticks of potassium found in outbuldings at the scrap yard and thrown into the tank whilst some men were fishing there. For my sins, and on leaving school in 1954 I was sent to BK Alloys as an electrians mate, but I never let on about my past.
Our other stamping ground was opposite the fire station behind some war-time garages, a wild over grown area where you could spend all day messing about until our camp fire got out of control and set fire to the undergrowth and trees.
I was also a member of the Boys Brigade at the church next to the tram depot, had a paper round at Wincotts and a Saturday job at a greengrocers opposite the tram depot.
Does anyone remember a comic shop in Stirchley in the 1970s called Outer Limits?
If so can you share any information you have about it or remember?
“I’m trying to find out two things from the 70s about Kings Norton.
First I remember around the very early seventies that there had been animal sacrifices in the Barn at Hawksley, can anyone shed any light on this subject? I remember it in the press but cant find anything on the Internet.
Secondly, does anyone remember what year the canal bridge opposite the old Primrose Hill school collapsed? Again i have a vauge idea it was 1978 but I want to be sure as I’m collecting the information for a future book.
Another memory that was jogged is in the picture of a tram shown in the post Pershore Road trams. The second picture shows exactly the same spot of a terrible accident, in snowy weather on a Sunday afternoon in about 1947, involving a Midland Red bus, a tram, and a private car.
There were also double deck buses involved used on the visiting hours hospital run. The conducteress on the Midland Red was thrown through the front glass window and was treated, as other injured passengers were, in the houses 1713 and 1715 Pershore Road.
I was a prime witness and in the subsequent court case, even as a very young man, disputed the evidence given by the police sergant on the amount of snow in the gutters of Pershore Road. Fortunately the court accepted my version of the events and convicted the right person.
If I recall correctly the damaged tram was recovered by another tram sent down the “up” line, from Cotteridge terminus and so cleared the road.
Perhaps someone reading this on the Cotteridge website can verify my version?
Does anyone know anything about a secret tunnel leading from Kings Norton Church to somewhere in the area of Wythall Lane? I have a very hazy recollection of this, and have been making enquiries locally with negative results. An elderly lady I met in the church grounds told me it was an urban myth but I am not so sure?
In 1817, access to High House was via a gated driveway complete with Lodge. The entrance was situated about ten yards south of what is now the railway line. The drive ran through woods in an ‘S’ shape to a large hard standing by the House. There was a secondary access point for foot passengers from what is now Pershore Road. This entrance lay halfway down the hill leading from Cotteridge to Kings Norton and also ran through woodland. As one walked along the driveway from the Lodge, after twenty five yards, there was a smaller driveway leading to the outbuildings.
At this time, High House was at the centre of what was known as High House Farm. The farm was extensive and was bounded to the south by land owned by the Earl of Plymouth and an estate owned by Mr Mynor. The northern and eastern boundary abutted Cotteridge Farm, then owned by Mr Spurrier.
There was of course, no railway line and no shops. The farm filled the area between what is now Lifford Lane and Pershore Road almost into Stirchley. The farm consisted of eight large fields and I make no apology for listing the names of all the fields. As can be seen, echoes of these fields exist today as road and place names…
- Long Meadow
- Tanners Meadow
- Crofts Lands
- House Close
- Tanners Close
- Cotteridge Close
- Garden Close
- Hill Close
The term ‘Close’ refers to fields fenced on three sides only.
On 6th November 1817, the owner of the farm, Mr James Pool, sold the farm via the auctioneers J&C Robbins. The sale was held at the Woolpack Inn, Moor Street, Birmingham. I believe the purchaser was Mr Pumphrey. On 17th January 1850, Mr Pumphrey sold the farm via the auctioneers Cheshire and Son. The farm was described as easily worked soil especially suitable for the cultivation of turnips and barley. I can find no record of the buyer.
In 1882, the railway line had severed the farm, the track being at its current location. The overall size of the farm remained the same, movement between the two parts of the farm was via a farmers bridge over the track just north of High House. The original road bridge carried what is now Pershore Road (as it does today).
By 1904, virtually all of the farm to the north of the railway line had gone. St Agnes’ Church, the Methodist Chapel and two Sunday Schools now occupied the land. Further developments of the railway line had widened its course and a second line running north had joined the original at a junction just north of High House. The farmer’s bridge had disappeared. The Lodge and gates had gone, being replaced by a signal box. The driveways remained the same but all of the outbuildings except the coach-house had vanished. The Pershore Road Bridge had been altered to accommodate the widened track.
By 1916, all the farm to the north had gone. On what once was farmland, suitable for the cultivation of turnips and barley, stood a tramway depot, private houses next to the Methodist Chapel (now shops), and allotments.
By 1937, the allotments had been lost to a fire station and a much enlarged tramway depot. It was virtually the same in 1937 as it was thirteen years later when my parents along with a five year old boy moved into the coach-house as tenants.
At this time, my Father was working, as a toolmaker, at what was known as Kings Norton Factory Centre. My Mother and I were living at my paternal grandmother’s house in Leicester. It was post war, and there was a dire shortage of private houses, most of the building carried out was to help rebuild the infrastructure of the country. We, along with thousands of others, had lived in rented rooms and relatives houses for all my short life. The wartime camaraderie had evaporated, and tenants were, for the most part, not treated well.
We received a message from my Father to the effect that he had found us a house close to where he worked. We travelled to Birmingham, met my Father and he took us to the coach-house. The flat we were to occupy was on the top floor and in poor order. Nobody else lived in the building.
I well remember the three of us in the small back room. My mother was in floods of tears. My father looked rather crestfallen. I was over the moon: what a great place to live! All those fields and woods and a railway running past.
We moved in, and to their credit, my parents made it quite cosy. We lived there for five years and I loved it. The Flat (as we now called the coach-house) was a big building. It measured 120ft long by 20ft wide and as tall as a three storey house. There were however only two storeys: the working area which was a series of workshops and stables occupying the ground floor, for the height of two storeys, and the living area above the western half of the building for about 60ft.
Access to the flat was along the driveway leading to High House. Taking the left hand drive at the junction, it was about fifty yards to the flat. Passing through a large wooden gate the coach-house extended into the distance on your right hand side, a large field being on your left hand side.
As you walked along the front of the building the first thing on your right, was a recessed area containing two stables and an entrance to what I assume was a large tack-room. As you walked further along, you became aware of a huge set of double sliding wooden doors suspended on two iron rails. These doors opened onto a covered ‘garage’. This was where the better coaches would have been kept.
A little further along was a covered courtyard with a flight of stairs to the living area on the right hand side and a solitary toilet under the stairs.
After the courtyard, the roofline of the building dropped by about ten feet and the remainder of the building consisted of a blacksmiths workshop complete with furnace, a large square workshop where new rims were fitted to wooden wheels and a carpenter’s workshop.
At the far end of the building was a large Victorian hothouse in poor repair. Against orders, I entered this hothouse many times, and can still picture the exotic plants now left to look after themselves. I can only imagine that these were once used to decorate High House in its heyday.
At the very end of the building was a crater full of rubble: the result no doubt of a stray bomb meant for the adjacent factories.
The living area was long. Up the stairs from the covered yard, through the front door, along a narrow hall to the first room….the kitchen. Ahead of you was a big black range. In the far left hand corner was a sink and a solitary cold water tap. Between the two, a cooker fuelled by bottled gas. The door to the next room was in the far right hand corner.
This was our living room. The fireplace shared a chimney with the range. In the far left hand corner was the door to the bedroom, in which we all slept.
The only toilet was under the stairs by the covered yard. Quite a walk if you needed it in the night.
The only windows were facing north and very small. They were the iron framed, roman arched type common in factories all over the Midlands. The only other source of light were skylights on the south facing side of the roof.
I remember these dripped a lot.
Life at the Flat, for a small boy, was wonderful. The artefacts I discovered from the buildings previous life led to all sorts of adventures. I found horseshoes, leather harnesses, old tools, wooden wheels, numerous old steel wheel rims and a host of other steel bits and pieces, the purpose of which I still do not understand. The prized possession was a rusty revolver.
I kept my treasure in the blacksmiths forge. The front of the furnace had a small access door to a large ashbox. I cleared the remnants of the last fire, and this became my stash.
Other oddments found were several iron farm gates, and dozens of pigtail fencing spikes as used in the war for the rapid erection of barbed wire fencing.
By standing an iron farm gate on end allowed me access to the top of the wall separating our field from the railway line. Sitting on the wall watching the busy flow of locomotives moving from Birmingham to Kings Norton sidings was a major recreation. I would wave at the drivers, and they would always wave back.
At the eastern boundary of the field was another wall running from the railway wall to the bomb damaged building. I tried to scale this wall, but it was too tall for the farm gate method. I had to wait about two years until I had grown taller. I eventually climbed a cherry tree adjacent to the wall and looked over.
It was small boy’s heaven. Old aeroplanes for as far as I could see. British, American and German. All had their wings removed, but were intact otherwise. They were in huge piles four or five deep and ready to be explored.
I had a problem. I could jump from the top of the wall, but could not return.
To overcome this, I built a den at the base of the cherry tree, and over a period of weeks, wore away the crumbling mortar to make a hole just big enough for me to climb through. I took the precaution of not making it big enough for a man to climb through, should I be chased away.
The aeroplanes were part of a materials reclamation programme and were under MOD control. A company called BKL Alloys ( whom I think still exist ) were responsible for the metal extraction.
I couldn’t care less at the time. They were there for one purpose only: to play with.
After much exploration, my favourites came down to two: a complete Hurricane fuselage and a complete German bomber fuselage. I spent many many hours in them, bombing both Berlin and London!!
A nasty incident however, curbed my enthusiasm. I slid the cockpit canopy of the Hurricane to the closed position whilst I was sitting in it. The canopy closed with a click and I was trapped. Nobody knew where I was as I dare not tell anybody what I was up to.
I do not remember the details of my final release, but I can still hear the click as the mechanism released the canopy. I was trapped for several hours.
As a family, we would visit High House during the summer. The House was now a social club. The steward was an old man called Amos, assisted by a younger man Roy.
I cannot remember much about the House. There was a bowling green on the southern grounds which was well used. A very large room ran across the rear of the House containing three full sized snooker tables, end to end, and a spectators seating on three sides. I didn’t like going there as you were not allowed to talk.
The most impressive thing was old Amos. He carried a catapult and a supply of steel balls. Rats were a problem, but Amos could kill a rat at thirty yards.
The summers came and went, and I never tired of the field or surrounding areas. Suddenly, things took a dark turn. Slough Estates had bought the land belonging to High House and they wanted us out.
I do not understand the legalities of the situation and therefore speak as I remember. What I do understand is that my hatred of Slough Estates (or SEGRO as they now like to call themselves) remains with me.
The first hint that something had changed is that we now paid the rent to Slough Estates and not to Amos. The price, of course, increased.
I returned from school one day and found that High House had been reduced to rubble.
A few weeks later, I returned to find that all the outbuildings attached to our flat had suffered the same fate as High House. All that remained standing was our living area. My collections of artefacts were buried under tons of rubble. I cried.
Slough Estates then served notice on my father that our flat was to be demolished and we had thirty days to find alternative premises. This notice had no legal authority as subsequent events proved. The thirty days passed and we were still in residence.Slough Estates then began a truly Rachmanesque campaign to remove us. The electricity supply was severed and removed. Lighting was provided by oil lamps and candles. Heating was difficult.
When this failed, a large and deep trench was dug across the access drive to the Flat to prevent movement of vehicles. This was, after a period of some months, filled in.
Their final move was to sever and remove the water supply to the house. We had no running water and no sanitation.
The Fire Service were sympathetic to our plight, and provided water containers and a supply of water: if we could collect it. I remember as a boy of ten, pushing a push-chair across the railway bridge with a container to be filled up at the fire station many times a day.
This situation continued for about a year and attracted the attention of the local press. Slough Estates had no comment. The water and electricity were never restored. Eventually, my parents had the deposit for a new house and we moved out.
On the day of our move, as the removal van was loading, three large bulldozers appeared in the field and sat revving their engines. I was in the cab of the removal van and remember looking in the door mirror as we moved up the driveway for the last time. The bulldozers had already reached the house. By the time we had reached Kings Norton, the Flat would be rubble.
I have written what I believe to be true, but have viewed it through the eyes of the child I was. If anybody could throw some light on the true purpose of the coach-house, or what it was like in its heyday, I would be most interested.
Dave in Alberta, Canada is wondering if anyone has any information on his great grandfather, Benjamin Wood. He is listed as living at 1 Rowheath Road on Dave’s grandfather Fred Wood’s World War I Canadian Attestation Papers. He was been married to Elizabeth Hall. Any information would be of interest – please leave a comment or contact us with any clues.
There’s also some great 80s photos of buses on Flickr – see these links:
Three shots that clearly show the importance of Kings Norton station in the 1950s.
The uppermost not only shows the four platform station but also shows a section of goods yard and shed. To the right, the carriage sidings can be seen. In the middle picture, the photo shows the northern half of the station from under the footbridge.
The bottom picture is taken looking in the opposite direction to the other two – out of city and towards Northfield. The signal box from which the top picture was taken can just about be seen under the footbridge.
At this point, Pershore Road climbed steeply up an embankment to cross the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and the old single-track Birmingham and West Suburban Railway, later used for a few freight movements.
This view shows some interesting details of the trams themselves. The sunblind was drawn down to protect the driver’s vision and the leather-sheathed chain was in place across the driver’s platform – not always the case. The pneumatic starting bell was given from the rear platform by the conductor who pressed the plunger seen at the top of the bulkhead. A narrow tube connected with the driver’s bell beneath the stairs on the front platform. The elaborate life-guard can also be seen – the gate below the bumper was hinged and connected with the tray under steps, so that if anything struck the front gate it would rise, lowering the tray which would pick the obstruction up.
Also visible is the disused ‘Board of Trade’ light at high level, left of the sun-shade.
The conductress seems to have been quite nippy turning the pole at the terminus, as passengers were still getting off while she was half way round. Like trams 732 to 811, the body of the Leyland PD2 Outer Circle bus 1729 was also built by Brush at Loughborough, but 25 years or so later, and the bus was based at Wellhead Lane garage, Perry Barr.
A photo from the opening of the tramway on 23 June 1904 shows the properties on the left as houses with shallow front gardens, but they were soon converted into shops.
Until a small depot at the terminus was finished, the eight cars needed to run the service were housed at Bournbrook depot, but this was only for a few days, as the new depot opened in early July 1904. The gable-roofed shed ran parallel with the main road, and the four tracks converged into a single track at right-angles to the road which then forked left and right to meet the single running track in Pershore Road. After City takeover in 1912, the depot was used only for storage, the tram route being operated from the Bournbrook depot in Dawlish Road. During the 1920s, the Bristol Road tramway was extended in stages from Selly Oak to Northfield, Longbridge, Rednal and Rubery, cars still being provided by the Bournbrook depot. The Cotteridge depot was widened in 1922-23 from 4 to 8 tracks, and extended in length to give a total capacity of 30 cars, and on reopening it was provided with some brand new standard Birmingham Corporation bogie cars. The depot was then able to relieve overcrowding at the Bournbrook depot with its capacity of 46 cars, until this was replaced by the new depot at Harborne Lane, Selly Oak which had room for 80 trams in addition to buses.
What the photos do not show
An interesting feature of the Pershore Road route was the pair of lightweight experimental cars built in 1929-30, the last to be acquired by the Department. When Short Brothers tendered to build bodies for cars 812 – 841, they were required to produce virtually a facsimile of the previous batches (indeed they took car 740 to their works at Rochester for a few weeks to make sure they did so) but , having expertise in aircraft and lightweight bus construction, they offered to design a modern lightweight tram conforming with most Birmingham requirements. This was delivered in October 1929 and placed on lightweight trucks by the English Electric Company, and entered service the following month as car 842. It had a few teething troubles which were corrected in the early years, but the car remained in working order until 1952, and was driven to Kyotts Lake Road works to be broken up in July 1952. It weighed 13.6 tons, compared with the standard car’s weight of 16.8 tons. Wishing to be in on the act, the Brush Company offered to design and build their version of a lightweight, which they delivered to Birmingham in June 1930, and mounted on special trucks by Maley and Taunton with GEC motors and controllers. This car weighed only 12.3 tons, and entered service as car 843 in September 1930, but it remained a regular visitor to ‘The Lake’ (Kyotts Lake works). . It was closer in appearance to earlier Birmingham cars, but its domed roof made it particularly handsome. It was taken to Kyotts Lake works in January 1952 after one motor failed, and remained there awaiting scrapping with the other Pershore Road cars that July.
Liz contacts us searching for information about the history of her husband’s family. His mother’s maiden name was Sparks (her father was Ernest Sparks). They believe that Ernest Sparks was in partnership with a man named Gill when he started up a light engineering factory in Pershore Road, Selly Park. They think that the factory was in operation until 1950. During the war they produced glass for plane cockpits (?) and after the war produced car parts. There is also a vague connection with the artist Eugenie Margaret Valter; Ernest gave one of his daughters (Peggy) a watercolour painting called “Kennel Companions”, which Liz has recently inherited. Eugenie Valter lived in Upper Pershore Road in 1895 – was there perhaps a connection since the artist lived in the same road as the factory. Anyway any information would be gratefully received - contact us or leave a comment below.
Brian’s mother is doing some family history research and has come across a silver medal with the inscription
Division 1 Champions Breedon Cross FC
H Heath (Hon Sec)
He wonders if anyone can point him in the right direction to find out any history of this football club. Contact us or leave a comment if so.
Wendy is researching her family tree and has these two photos of Cotteridge Stores, which seems to be an off licence. The licensee is Clara Moorfield who was married in 1915 to Samuel Townend (his second wife). The photos appear to be taken in the late 1800s. Clara is in the centre of the first photo and on the left of the second one. Wendy wonders if anyone has any information about Clara Moorfield (perhaps her married name by a first marriage or maybe her maiden name). Also, where is this building and what is it now? Any information would be gratefully accepted.
I used to live at 1774 Pershore Road behind and above a second hand shop therefore consequently my nickname at school was Steptoe.
The family ran this business from just after the second world war until the late 1990s. In fact one of my dad’s childhood memories was playing cricket across the Pershore Road, imagine that now!
My granddad Frank, started the shop, F E Waldron, and ran it until he died in 1965.
My grandmother Elsie Waldron, (known as Margaret at St Agnes church because she didn’t like her name and so her church friends gave her a name that she liked), was a dress maker and later lived in Midland Road where she created wedding outfits and dresses for many until she died in the 1980s.
My dad, Reg Waldron, took over the business from until the late 1990s however was tragically murdered in the shop by a guy that needed money for Christmas. It was a pretty unpleasant affair and the guy was arrested by a retired police officer cleaning his soiled clothes in Kings Norton Green laundrette. So I suppose this is part of a darker side of Cotteridge as this is one of a few incidents in the area.
I like Cotteridge, it has many memories both happy and sad and therefore I still feel apart of the area though have not lived there for many years.
The fantastic Warwickshire Railways website has loads of photos, information and resources about the railways of south Birmingham over the past two centuries. Photos like the one below, which shows Kings Norton station in an Edwardian postcard, are just a taster…
Another great railway website is Rail Around Birmingham, which features information on every station in the city – even ones which have long gone, like Lifford.
John is wondering if anybody remembers a plane crash near the railway lines at the back of Laurel Road in the late fifties / early sixties? He recalls seeing a light aircraft downed, but wonders if anyone knows the story behind it. E-mail us or leave a comment if you have any information.
Kay (now in Australia) is researching her family tree and wonders if anyone has any information about:
- The Leavers of 29 Elm Tree Road, Stirchley
- Elizabeth Morgan of “56 Pershore Road” in 1911
- Any hotels in the area in the early 20th century.
Tony and the Friends of Cotteridge Park are looking for anyone who has accurate information on the history of the park, especially the land before the park was created. And was the bird table by the Breedon Road entrance once a war memorial? Any photos, memories or information about the park and events associated with it most welcome. See also their website.
Bernie is trying to find out where the Kings Norton Estate Office used to be – it was used for collecting rents from Grant properties in the area. Can anyone help?
In response to a query about Winstanley’s factory:
Let me put some meat on the bones for you. Mr Winstanley lived on the road to Barnt Green, at the foot of the Lickey Hills, and as I recall he was a keen gardener. He would have come across my dad as a result of two situations. Early in 1938 when the go-ahead was given to construct the “Shadow Factory” in Lowhill lane, Rednal, Fleetwoods were given the job of clearing the growing crop of grass/hay on the fields. Due to the urgency and secrecy, Dad set fire to the lot, bringing the trains to a stop on the Leeds to Bristol line. When the wind changed it engulfed the posh houses on the side of the Lickey Hills, including Mr Winstanley’s.
The second reason was, as Fleetwoods were home to a lot of horses, and just across the road from his factory, there was a trade in “horse manure” and Mr W was quick off the mark for compensation in the form of manure for his garden. I recall going with the driver on two occasions to dump the muck at his front gate. Mr W was a kindly man, bespectacled & larger than life. It was he who showed me, by scratching my name and a message on a young marrow, as it grew, so did the message, much to the embarrassment of the writer if it was rude…
It was wartime and after 1940 everything was kept strictly on a need to know basis. I can, even now, see what was behind the green doors in Cotteridge Rd, and other than the stacker truck trolleys being refurbished for Cadburys I don’t know what went on within the depths of the factory. It was a very skilled workforce and much more lethal bits and pieces were spirited through those doors, I am sure. Just the other side of the railway lines stood Peerless & Ericsons in Kings Norton Factory Centre. I know that they produced parts for Bofor Guns.
I’m also wondering why the police officer, who patrolled the Kings Norton Factory Centre during the WW2, always carried a revolver. It was unknown in those days for a bobby to be armed.
Bob writes, “I am a former pupil of Cotteridge School, from 1953 to 1958.I can remember a few of the teachers and pupils mentioned and wondered if anyone remembers an accident when the dinner van bumped into the wall separating the two playgrounds, knocking down part of the wall and injuring a pupil called John Stevens”?
Allan wonders if anyone has any history or pictures about the Breedon Bar, particularly the early days. If so, let us know.
Sandie is trying to find details and photos of her grandmother Florence Harrison, who used to drive a team of six horses up and down the Pershore Road delivering milk. Does anyone remember Florence? Leave a comment or get in touch if so.
Kerensa writes, “I am trying to find details of my great grandfather Ernest Simpson who lived at 65 Holly Road around 1918. He would have been about 30 at this time. His father was John Simpson, and he was a bricklayer by trade. I also believe he had two sisters named Beatrice and Evelyn and brothers George and Harold. I would appreciate if anyone either has any further information regarding them such as mother’s name or has a general information about the family”. Please get in touch or leave a comment if you have anything.