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Hall Green History a brief look at the past

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Hall Green was a small part of the ancient Parish of Yardley, which later became Yardley Rural District. The Stratford Road Parish stretched for seven and a half miles from Yardley Wood to Lea Village. Survival of the past can often be in name only, and there are some examples of medieval names still used. Bromhale (Broomhall), Greet Mill, and Six Weyes (1382, now known as Robin Hood Island), are examples going back to the fourteenth century and beyond. Sixteenth century documents mentioned Sarehole Mill, Four Ways, Busmere (Bushmere), Shartmore (Shaftmoor), Swartmore Laine, Hawes House and Hawe Green. Hawe Green became Hall Green.


Sarehole Mill
This is Birmingham's only working watermill. There has been a mill on the site since before 1542, with the sareholemill_1908.jpg (21068 bytes) current builds dating back to the 18th century.   Flour was made here, and the mill was also used to roll and smooth metal in the Industrial Revolution. The mill now houses a fine display of Victorian rural life. The surrounding bogs and marshes provided the inspiration for JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth land of magic and monsters and it formed the basis of Hobbiton Village, home of the Hobbits. Tolkien's family  lived nearby at Wake Green Road and Tolkien trespassed at the mill as a boy. The mill is open from April to October. Entrance is free. >Tolkien Trail


Hall Green Hall:
 Parts of the timber framed hall dated back to the
fifteenth century. After his arrival in 1683 the wealthy Job Marston rebuilt the hall with Hall Green Hall additions and may have added a separate farmhouse so that the hall could serve exclusively as his home. The hall and estate were passed in in a series of inheritances to the Wigley family and the by marriage to the Severne family who sold it it in 1912. The hall was demolished in 1936 and replaced by the fine Charles Lane Trust almshouses that remain on the site today at the corner of Fox Hollies Road and School Road.


Just across from the Hall, Marston Chappell (now the Church of the Ascension) was
built in 1703/4 across from Hall Green Hall. Here was the Hall Green Church old centre of Hall Green, supplemented in late Victorian times by a collection of houses known as the Hamlet. Hall Green has lost this centre, and does not have one, unless the Stratford Road is seen as a very elongated one!
A smaller C of E church was St Cadoc's in Highfield Road which was renamed St Peter's in 1954, burnt down in 1957 and was replaced in 1964 with a new church. Some other local churches are the Methodist in Reddings Lane (1924), the Trinity United Reformed in Etwall Road (1929), the Baptist on Stratford Road (1936), the Anglican/Methodist centre at Redstone Farm Road (1970), and St Ambrose Barlow R.C. on Lakey Lane (1981).


Highfield Hall:
Highfield Hall
in Highfield Road was originally Highfield Hall in 2002 built around 1928 on land owned by Charles Lane as a pavilion for the Gresham and Highfield Hard Court Tennis Clubs, but became very popular before the War as a dancing studio owned by the Goodalls. It was brick built with only one large room. During the war, it was requisitioned to store flour or dried milk. In 1955 the site was sold to the city council. Since 1980 Highfield Hall had been used as a community centre and for adult education. 


Rural Scene:
One of the most attractive areas in the whole City is
The Dingles, Sarehole on the edge of Hall Green: the River Cole valley. The City has kept faith with early plans to retain the valley as a green corridor, and the River Cole and Chinn Brook Conservation Group pursues this aim very effectively today. There is now a continuous walkway from Solihull Lodge to the Ackers and beyond. The Group argues for nature conservation, and also seeks the preservation of old hedgerows, fragments of ancient woodland, and other remnants of historic landscape. These 'time-slips' are present in surprising places, and the Group tries to make local people and the City authorities aware of them, and also to value them.


In Hall Green a high proportion of private housing was constructed, which tended to be built without the
Etwall Road grand sweeping planning characteristic of inter-war municipal estates. Many were 'distinctive' homes built by Dare's. and frequently green spaces were left enclosed behind the new roads. A lot of money was spent on infrastructure by the city at this time, which contributed to the creation of a high quality of life in Hall Green. The only sizeable council estate was built around the Pitmaston Road area.


The early years of the twentieth century brought change with rail passenger services starting in 1908,
Birmingham Corporation Transport 29A at The Baldwin linking Hall Green and Yardley Wood to Birmingham and Stratford on Avon. In 1914 trams had crossed the River Cole and ran on to the Bulls Head, then from 1928 on to the City boundary. In 1928 the No. 29 bus service to Kingstanding from Highfield Road also began, later with a terminus at the Baldwin pub. The No. 11 outer circle bus route, which started in 1926, cuts across the Stratford Road at the junction of Colebank Road and School Road.


The main thoroughfare is the Birmingham to Stratford Road, entering as it crosses the river Cole at the
Robin Hood Island in the early 1960's junction of Stratford Road and Shaftmoor Lane and leaving the area past Robin Hood Island at the city boundary joining Shirley, Solihull. It is crossed by the Outer Circle bus route, in the north part, The Fox Hollies and Highfield Road junction at the Bulls Head, and then Robin Hood Island at Solihull Lane. The roundabout at Robin Hood was built in the early 1930s to replace a rather complicated series of small islands. Trams ran through the middle of the large island before they were replaced by buses. Today traffic lights control the flow of vehicles and provide safe pedestrian crossings across the busy Stratford Road. Robin Hood has provided the inspiration for the names of several roads in the area, such as Robin Hood Lane, Sherwood Road and Marian Way. 2004 sees the start of a new Red Route along the Stratford Road.


The first cinema in Hall Green was the Rialto Cinema, situated on the corner of Green Bank Avenue and
Robin Hood Cinema, Stratford Road, Stratford Road. It opened in October 1927 and closed in May 1959. The site made way for a supermarket, now Somerfield. The same year the the Rialto opened Robin Hood Cinema opened on the 26th of December, it was then known as the Robin Hood Theatre. It stood on the corner of Stratford Road and Ingestre Road. The Robin Hood was a beautiful cinema with a gold dome, inside were gold settees upholstered in red velvet, the passageways had Tudor decor and over the screen was a scene depicting Robin Hood and his merry men. It closed in March 1970: its final film performance was "Zulu". It was soon demolished to make way for a Waitrose Supermarket which opened in 1971 and still remains today. 



Pubs in Hall Green
The pubs in the Hall Green area have not changed much over recent years but they have mostly survived the bulldozer unlike
The Robin Hood those in other suburbs. On a journey down the Stratford Road the College Arms stands at the corner of Shaftmoor Lane. Further down just past the junction at School Road is the Horseshoes which now has a "Wacky Warehouse" added to the rear of it. Next is the Bulls Head at Highfield Road, built around 1840, then The Robin Hood by the island with the same name. Sadly the name is now relegated to the small print and replaced by the official name of "Toby Carvery, Hall Green". At the rear of the pub is now a Holiday Inn Express Hotel. An interesting thought is all these pubs along the Stratford Road are all on the Southbound side. You can travel from the Angel at Camp Hill to Shirley before finding the Saracens Head on the other side of the road.  Another pub still in business is The York on the corner of Fox Hollies Road and York Road.

Courtesy of Maxam Cards


The Baldwin
The Baldwin
The Three Magpies
Three Magpies

Courtesy of Maxam Cards


A Tale of Two Pubs:
The Three Magpies in Shirley Road and its sister pub the Baldwin in Baldwins Lane were designed by Birmingham born Edwin Reynolds. The architects were Birmingham based Wood & Kendrick. A profile of the front elevation of the two pubs placed side by side would reveal another part of history as the design was based on The Queen Mary cruise liner launched by Cunard White Star on September 26th 1934, undertaking her maiden voyage on May 27th 1936.
Fortunately, The Three Magpies and the Baldwin have stood the test of time a little better as The Queen Mary was decommissioned on October 5th 1971. After a recent refurbishment the Three Magpies has become The Maggies. 


Sport: football
Moor Green were formed in 1901 when the players of Moseley Ashfield Cricket Club decided
to amuse themselves during the winter by playing football. The first ground was on a part of a farm in Moor Green Lane, Moseley, but when the rent was increased from £2 after one season the club was forced to move on. A number of grounds were rented until 1930 when the current site in Sherwood Road was acquired. The ground was named ‘The Moorlands’ and was soon developed into one of the best stadiums in the Midlands, but in the 1980s, safety regulations and planning requirements enforced the demolition of several banks of terracing and the pitch had to be turned through 90 degrees to make way for increased car parking. Moor Green are now members of the Dr Martens (Southern) Football League Premier Division


Sport: Greyhound Racing
Hall Green Stadium opened its doors to greyhound racing in August 1927. In 1928
motorcycle speedway racing started, on a circuit inside the dog track. Local residents signed a petition against the speedway and it finally finished when the Second World War started and later a football pitch was made in the centre area. The Stadium has been the subject of considerable investment over the years with two restaurants for around 500 diners, bars and fast food facilities. In October 1990 Hall Green Stadium opened its own Motel, situated adjacent to the third and fourth bends. Another addition has been a snooker hall, which is along the back straight of the track.


Industrial Past
Hall Green has an interesting industrial past. This is not just a matter of smithies and of mills, some of which ground blades or rolled metal. Some of
1935 Velocette the more recent industrial activity was also there before the houses. Early Ordnance Survey maps show a small building in the fields, known as the Robin Hood Works. This became Newey Goodman, manufactures of 'smallwares', employing over a thousand people. A small chocolate factory appeared before the First World War at Webb Lane, which later made electric vehicles and fork lift trucks in particular. Aldis Brothers built a factory on a green field site in 1914 at Sarehole Road, and made world famous signalling lamps. One of the great names in British motorcycling: Velocette was at York Road on the site that is now Goodrich Engine Control Systems (formerly Lucas Aerospace)


Famous names:
There are other famous names associated with Hall Green. Comedian Tony Hancock was born on Southam Road, Nigel Mansell,
Nigel Mansell one of Britain's greatest racing drivers, spent most of his childhood and early adult years in Hall Green. He was a pupil at Rosslyn School and his final home in Hall Green was a detached house in Doveridge Road before he moved to the Isle of Man in 1985. He is also an accomplished low handicap amateur golfer and combines golf with his World of Motor Racing Experience at Woodbury Park Hotel and Country Club in Devon. Commentary on Formula 1 racing during Nigel's career was another Hall Green man. Murray Walker lived at Reddings Lane from 1923 to 1925 before the family moved to Wolverhampton.


Images of England. Birmingham Hall Green by Micheal Byrne
Hall Green
Michael Byrne
Books about Hall Green:

Tempus Publishing have published a book about Hall Green compiled by Michael Byrne, which contains over 200 old photographs of Hall Green. It costs £9.99 and is available online from Amazon
Mike has helped with the above notes.



> More photos of Hall Green past and present.



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