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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Lost Brooks of the Rea Nᵒ. 1

The Hazel Well (as explored in a previous post, here) was possibly a natural spring rising in Stirchley, where Hazelwell Park is now. Along the route of the River Rea through Stirchley and nearby, there are several brooks. Some are well-known, such as two confusingly named Bourn Brook and the Bourn. These are longer brooks which still survive today. The Bourn Brook meets the Rea near Cannon Hill Park, and the Bourn joins it a little north of Cartland Road.

There were other lesser known brooks, such as Cotteridge Brook and Breedon Brook, the latter seemingly now gone from …

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Pershore Road Past

1602 Pershore Road.

The section of the Pershore Road which stretches from Breedon Cross to Bournville Lane is very likely the “streete” which gave “Stretley Streete” (the old name for Stirchley) its name (see here). We were recently lent some family photographs of two of the houses on the street by Pam Hobson, a member of Stirchley History Group.

I wonder how many of the original doors, stained glass and decorated lintels (above the windows) can be found along the street? And other traces of the past lives of the buildings?

If you have any photographs of Pershore …

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