Posts Tagged ‘Transport’
Cliff Fleetwood and his cousin Hilda Thompson outside the bottom shop in 1929 or 1930. Thanks to Cliff for the photo.
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?
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.
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.
John e-mails to say:
I had a uncle Charles Jones who was a tram driver on the Pershore Road. I remember the tale that he was involved with a over-turned tram. Looking at the 1930 to 1940 memories a phantom tram flew down Breedon Hill, came off the rails,slid down as far as Fordhouse Lane.
Does anyone have any more details? If so, please leave a comment below or get in touch!
A trip, possibly to Kettering Park, organised by Frances Road resident Mrs Butler in circa 1952/3. Participants were Frances Road residents past and present and include Lois Brown, Molly Hickey, Phyllis Patrick, Maggie Snipe, Alice Howes, Rodney Stokes, Sidney Banner and Steve Lovesey. The coach is provided by Birmingham firm Ludlow Brothers.
Thanks to Jan Lovesey for this – her website has loads more information and pictures.
Thanks to Cliff Fleetwood for these photos.
He writes, my father, Bill Fleetwood, was possibly one of first ‘horse whisperers’, who won vast numbers of trophies for his horses” in the 1920s and 30s.
He remembers, “”Snowy” Mason, or “Dripping” Ballinger, or Herbert Wathen who lived in Dell Road. Finally Walter Carrol who was the blacksmith responsible for shoeing most of the horses in the area, & who originally acquired the land in Breedon Road from Fishers. Dad bought the whole property from Walter.
A German land mine (a bomb on the end of a parachute) fell and was caught in a tree, without exploding, so the area was cordoned off for a couple of days. The horse was without feed or water so Cliff’s dad dodged the police officer at the top of Hole Lane and took the horse across the field at the rear of the stable, so avoiding any metal, sparks or noise on the roadway from the horseshoes.
David is looking for information on his grandfather, Alfred Kinsella, who used to work for Fleetwoods Hauliers taking supplies into Cadburys. He was a carter and used to show the shire horses at the Kings Heath Show at Alcester Lane End, and was wandering if anyone could steer him towards more information about Fisher/Fleetwoods and the horse show / fair that was in Kings Heath. David’s father worked for Cadbury Bros at their waterside stores, and he remembers Alfred Kinsella coming to the waterside laden with brick, clay and bits & bobs. There was an area at the back of the waterside stores where stuff like this was tipped – this is what Alfred was doing for Fleetwoods. Alfred Kinsella married David’s grandmother in 1934 and he would love someone to remember him and maybe another picture might turn up.
I know Cotteridge pretty well! I was born there. It sits on top of a hill, you go down to Stirchley, down & up to Kings Norton & Bournville, the only time you do go a little higher is towards Northfield.
It was a centre of industry, especially during WW2; do any of you recall RJ Hunt Ltd foundry just over the canal at Lifford Lane, and Compressor Accessories by the first railway bridge in Lifford Lane?
R.J.Hunt Ltd was the heavy industry of Cotteridge producing cast iron products. Scrap and other metal was brought by road a rail to the site just over the rail and canal bridge at Lifford Lane. Casting sand came from “Wildmoor Sand” near Bromsgrove. From my memory they produced gearbox casings and brake drum castings for Morris Commercial. Fleetwoods also removed the “black sand” (spent sand after being used in the casts), which was a filthy job. The skill of the labour force in producing the “casts” out of wooden patterns & sand had to be seen to be appreciated.
There was also Chisholme Grey in Hudsons Drive, and Winstanleys in Cotteridge Road, behind the Grant Arms. Mr Winstanley taught me how to scribe my name, with a nail, on a young vegetable marrow & as it grew my name got huge!
Winstanley’s was a small engineering firm with a skilled force of men who undertook diverse mfg of fixture and fittings. When they opened the large green doors onto Cotteridge Road you were immediately confronted with drills, lathes, shapers, and power saws.
Writing this I can still smell the machine oil and acrid smoke from welding.
One of the main contracts was with Cadbury Bournville, during WW2, when they refurbished & overhauled the small “hydraulic stacker” trucks, or trolleys. Similar work was undertaken by the smaller firm, whose name escapes me, that was situated next to the old Savoy Cinema in what was the old lodge gatehouse to the “Manor”.
It was my fathers firm (WR Fleetwood, see the separate history here) who transported the trucks, to and from Cadbury’s. I hated the job, in those days as it was very difficult to tie the dam things down, for the short journey to Bournville Lane, to prevent them, “falling of the back of the lorry”?
At the back of where you now live was the firm of Chisholm Grey, in Hudsons Drive. The specialised in brassware and plumbing products. During WW2 they worked full out providing sanitary fittings for army camps, especially after December 1941 when the USA entered the war. The Americans would insist on sitting on proper toilets, not “doing it” in holes in the ground like our forces.
Looking back, I now see how the small community, and small firms such as the above, worked together and formed relationships which sadly does not happen these days. I have mentioned Mr Winsatnley, in the Cotteridge website, and who lived at Barnt Green under the shadow of the Licky Hills. He in turn introduced my father to Mr Lawrence Cadbury and Mr Christie of Chisholme Grey and so this bond occurred through the war and after.
There were Birmingham City Council work horses billeted in Breedon Road & when the incendiary bombs fell on the yard they were turned loose in Cotteridge School playgrounds. That same night the Grants timber yard, in Francis Road was gutted, but the houses either side were saved.
Then there was the very early morning incident with the ‘phantom’ tram? A No36 set off from the top of Pershore Road, with no one on board, picking up speed passed Midland Road, Holly Road, Dell Road, and literally flew over Breedon Hill, came off the track, turned on its side and slid down as far as Fordhouse Lane, coming to rest just outside the paper shop and missing a war time pool petrol road tanker by a few feet.
Or I could tell you about the day a German bomber just missed the top of Cotteridge School, as it came out of the low clouds looking for (we now know) Triplex Safety Glass. I clearly saw the pilot and bomb aimer.
In later years there was Sewells Timber, opposite Hudsons Drive, on Pershore Road, Wavern Engineering at the old Savoy Cinema, Bert Gillard who sold me my first 14″ TV and was able to watch the Coronation. Yes, I also recall Treasure Trove, but what about Mrs Grant Ferris’ beautiful home & garden being turned into a rather opulent Police Station with the gardens having police flats built thereon. I was one of the very privileged youngsters to be aloud into the house by Mrs Grant Ferris, and I still recall the noise her chauffeur driven Armstrong Sidderly car made, early on a Sunday morning on its way to church.