Kings Heath Local History Trail
Kings Heath Trail
The purpose of this trail is to be an introduction to the area.
The numbers on the map correspond to the text.
Our thanks goes to Andy Bishop, who developed the Trail and provided some of the text. Photographs are courtesy of Local Studies archive.
Kings Heath was once a rural area surrounded by farms, ancient woodlands and fields.
Don't believe us? Well try this!
Name as many roads in Kings Heath that have the ending "...field" in them as you can.
Here's one to start off with: Mossfield Road
Built in 1893. it replaced the two previous and much older ones in the area. The other two were situated at the Hare and Hounds pub and Balaclava Road respectively. It was re-built in 1998 and only a small part of the original building now remains.
This library was built in 1905. It was paid for by Scottish philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
Grange Road was named after The Grange, a large family house that once stood roughly where number 94 now stands. The house was surrounded by acres of fields that stretched from High Street to Avenue Road.
Access to the house was via a driveway that roughly follows the line of Grange Road today.
The grange was built in the 1770s and was William Harper's home until 1869 when it was purchased by Isaac Bate of the Cross Guns. The house was demolished in the 1890s when Grange, Station, York and Westfield Road were built on its grounds.
The Cross Guns (now called The Goose) is the oldest known pub in Kings Heath. A pub has stood on this same site since 1792. The original pub was known as The Pear Tree, as it had a large one growing across its front.
The Bate family were associated with the pub from 1831 - 1885. James Bate (1776- 1836) was originally a Gunsmith and gave the pub its name.
The pub was the centre of Kings Heath life and used to hold magistrates court hearings in the upstairs room. The present pub was built in 1897 and still has the court room upstairs.
Kings Heath brewery was set up in 1831 by the Bate family. It grew into a huge site that stretched across the southern side of Grange Road, across Bank Street and behind The Cross Guns. At its height it was easily the largest business in Kings Heath. It was purchased by Frederick Everitt in 1881 and by Birmingham Breweries Ltd in 1895. It finally closed in 1902 and was demolished in 1904 when Bank Street was laid.
Baptists were known in the area as early as 1791 when, during the Priestly Riots, the house of John Harwood, a blind Baptist, was burned down. By 1811 the Baptists had a small cottage for worship. The present church was built in 1898 and was meant to have a tower added later when funds would allow.
The present pub is a grade 2 listed building and was built in 1907. The listing is aimed at protecting some original interior features, especially the Art Nouveau tiles that line the walls of the York Road entrance and stairs. It replace the original pub that was built by Aaron Payton between 1820 and 1824. The corner part of the original pub was a separate building used by Worcestershire Rural Police. This was Kings Heath's first police station in the 1840s and 50s.
This opened in 1887 when the tramway from the city was extended to Kings Heath. Originally it housed the dirty steam trams. Electrification of the line happened in 1907 and it was extended to the King's Arms pub at Alcester Lanes End. In 1949 the trams were replaced by motor buses.
A volunteer fire force was formed in 1886 and premises were built in Silver Street to house their horses and horse drawn pumps. When formed, the Kings Heath force was the largest in the whole of the Kings Norton district.
The church was consecrated as a chapel of ease for Moseley in 1860. The spire was added in 1866 thanks to donations from the Andertons of Wake Green.
Until 1907, trams only went as far as Silver Street. Riding further south required a hired horse drawn cab from the station that was sited at the junction of the Vicarage and Alcester Road
Situated on the corner of Mossfield Road, Heathfield Cottage was a beautiful old cottage with shaped topiaried trees. It was originally owned by Moss Todd, owner of the King's Arms pub.
Mossfield Road was named after Moss Todd across whose field it was laid.
This was the home of Joseph Henry Nettlefold for many years until his death in 1881. He was a brass founder in Birmingham. The house is now the site of St. Dunstan's Roman Catholic Church, which moved from its original location on Station Road
This was built in 1878 from donations by benefactors such as Joseph Nettlefold, Isaac Bate and Major Cartland. It became the centre of life in the community for many years. It housed a library, assembly room and lecture theatre. It hosted functions, dances and was the base of many societies such as drama and opera. Woolworths leased the ground floor in the 1930s and the building was demolished in the 1970s to make room for a new Woolworths shop.
Institute Road is the only reminder of its location.
Opened in 1923, serving the community for many years, it was a very popular venue. It was closed in 1987 and swimming facilities are now housed in the Cocksmoor Leisure Centre.16.Kings Heath School
Built in 1878. Along with the Institute the school also served many generations until it closed in the 1980s. It was demolished to make way for Scots Corner.17. The Stocks
There is no picture of the stocks . However, their exact location was on the High Street directly opposite Milford Place.
They were previously thought to have been located thirty feet further up the High Street on the corner of Heathfield Road. The stocks had room for two prisoners and were eventually removed in the 1840s.
The present Safeway store is built on the site of one of Kings Heath's oldest shops and its first Post Office. The building was originally inhabited by Thomas Knowles in the early 1800s. By 1875 it was run by Charles Elton who was later landlord of the Cross Guns pub and finally William Bluck who ran it into the twentieth century.19.The Parade and Kingsway Cinema
The Cinema was laid built in 1925 and The Parade was laid out in the 1930s, with its shops deliberately set back from the main road.
If you have any memories of Kings Heath, we'd like to hear from you. Enter your details in the form below and click on the "submit" button.
Great memories of Kings Heath lived at Brandwood Park Road went to Pineapple school remember the shopping in Kings Heath ,the old coop with the barbers inside the chip shop where after swimming we has 3d worth of chips the Kingsway on a Saturday morning the manager was a small man with grey hair and of course the library where i read my Enid Blyton books,great memories.
George Moreby, the son of my great-great-great uncle, lived at 10 Milford Place in 1891. (He was born in 1856 in Alvechurch). He was a railway signalman. He lived with his wife and children, and two lodgers, not far from the Hare and Hounds pub.
My grandmother came from Kings Heath, Blanche Grant daughter of William Grant a master pattern maker, my father was born at Pembroke Villas, 180 Addison Road but the street no longer exists, I visited there in 2006 but due to time limit did not have time to follow up at library ,I am now back in New Zealand , but would love any info on Pembroke Villas?
Whilst tracing my family tree I discovered my great, great, auntie Mary Newport worked as a housemaid domestic for Joseph Nettlefold at Kingsfield House (1881) she was 25 at the time. She originally came from Oxfordshire.
My grandmother lived at Heathfield Cottage, Alcester Road with her second husband, Percy Tunnicliffe in 1901. They then moved to Alcester House/Lodge, Alcester Rd. Percy died and my grandmother Madge married my grandfather Woolaston Rigbey from Pentre Lodge, Featherstone Rd. I'd love to hear from anyone who knew those families or any info about them....
Kings Heath Library
Kings Heath Local History Society