Stirchley Oral Histories (taken in the 1980s): Life Around Umberslade Road

The Stirchley blacksmiths’ was situated near the old Three Horseshoes pub (now the Bournbrook Inn).

The library is home to several oral histories which were recorded in the 1980s, and are still kept on cassette tape. Thankfully, the histories were transcribed, because tape players are a rare thing to find now!

One local history was given by George Phillips about the Umberslade Road area of Stirchley:

“I’m 76 years old and I’m George Phillips. I’ve lived in Umberslade Road all my life. We live about half way down in a block of ten houses. At first there were just these …

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Hazelwell Lane Past

Hazelwell Lane was cleared several years ago for new developments, one of which was the new Aldi store. Just before the last of the houses were demolished, in 2012, the illustration above was commissioned to capture the street before it was cleared completely. It used old photographs and the surviving houses to depict what it probably looked like in about the 1950s.

So, you can take a little walk down Hazelwell Lane as it used to look.

The entrance to Hazelwell Lane from the Pershore Road.
Another view of the shop on the corner of Hazelwell Lane and Pershore Road,

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Memories of Stirchley Carnival

Cover of 1936 Stirchley Carnival programme – held as Birmingham Archive (EP 107/17/7).

Stirchley Carnival was held annually in the 1920s and 1930s, with the last carnival in 1939, and then a few carnivals were held in the 1980s.

In the 1980s oral histories were taken from local residents, including Mr. and Mrs. Fisher who recalled the carnival. It was also at the 1937 carnival fair that the couple first met.

“The carnival procession would start from Cotteridge Park and go down Franklin Road and Mary Vale Road to the Pershore Road. The Procession would be a band, some floats …

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Mappa Rea

The Rea is a well-known companion to Stirchley, flowing gently to the east, tucked away in the parks and behind houses.

A couple of the volunteers have been ordering and cataloguing some of the photographs of the Rea which are kept in the library (see some of them here). As part of this we started to work out where some of the more local ones had been taken and drew a rough map….. which has now become a slightly less rough map.

Using Ordinance Survey maps from the 1880s and 1890s, we traced the meandering Rea and some of …

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Lifford Mill & Lifford Hall

Lifford Hall, 1969, taken by Phyllis Nicklin.

It is uncertain how old the place name of Lifford is. It is thought that the Roman Road Icknield Street crossed the River Rea here, and a ford is a river crossing point. The name Lifford, though, cannot be found in reference to this area before the arrival of Viscount Lifford who bought, what is now Lifford Hall, in 1781. The first record of the area being called Lifford is in 1785, when “Thomas Dobbs of Lifford” was noted at “Lifford Rolling Mill”, but this seems an incredibly short space of time …

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