Brief history of the area

 Bibliography and Acknowledgements

Amberley Preparatory School

Formerly located in Coleshill Rd, Hodge Hill until 1946, then moving to Ward End House from 1947-59.  Robert Darlaston’s website, gives an excellent history of the School.

(Ye Olde) Barley Mow, St. Margaret’s Rd

The original pub was built in the 1700’s, and appears on a map of 1759. The “new” Barley Mow was built in the 1920’s on the same site and was demolished in 2014.

Barley Mow 1896

The Barley Mow, 1896

Beaufort Cinema

This was situated on the corner of Coleshill Rd and Stechford Lane.  It was built in the Tudor style and opened on 4 Aug 1929, showing “The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel”.   Initially, it had seating for 1200, but enlarged in 1937 to a capacity of 1584.  It had a large Compton organ, and stained glass windows depicting the kings and queens of England.  The last film shown was “Warlords of Atlantis” on 10th May 1978, and it was demolished soon afterwards. It was replaced by a DIY store, and is now a gym and some shops

Capitol Cinema

Alum Rock Rd, built in 1925 as “The Super Cinema of the suburbs”, showing “Broken Barriers”. It had 900 seats which were increased to 1407 in 1929. It was refurbished in 1964 and became a three-screen venue in 1979. It closed in 1996 after showing “ Muppet Treasure Island”, and is now a mosque.

Cocksparrow Hall

St Margaret’s Rd, close to the Barley Mow. Built early 15th or 16th centuries as a gamekeeper’s cottage. In the 1900’s it was a sweet shop. It was mostly destroyed by fire, the remainder was incorporated into Ward End Timber Supplies.

Fox and Goose

From 1680-1760 it was the Golden Cross. The original building had stables at the rear, which suffered a fire in 1913. It was demolished and re-built in 1914 and operates as a pub. 

St Margaret’s Church

St Margaret’s Rd. The original chapel was built in 1513, and became a ruin by 1730 and demolished in 1833. The current church was opened on 29th April 1835. It has recently been refurbished and reopened in 2014.


Ward End Hall

In 1710 a neo-classical hall was built outside the moat on the site of Ward End Hall Grove. William Hutton in his “History of Birmingham” mentioned a previous building there, as a castle with three moats. The Hall was a three-story building. Charles Blackham owned the house in 1725 which was later sold to Abraham Spooner in 1749. It was later, 1817, occupied by relatives of William Hutton.In the early 20th century it was occupied by the Chavase family and later Mr Dowling, the caretaker, but then became empty, fell into disrepair, and was demolished in 1945.There were two statues on the roof, nicknamed “Jack” and “Tom” (Jack Hammond and Thomas Pitmore). They were hanged in 1781 on Washwood Heath for sheep stealing (Jukes, 1990), or most popularly for highway robbery and murder.  They  were allegedly soldiers.WE Hall

Ward End Park

The sale of the House (below) included part of the land (11 acres). This was sold to Birmingham Corporation for £7500 or £7850 by Mrs Jaenichen in September and November 1903.  It was opened as Ward End Park on 14th May 1904. The pool was dug in the winter of 1908-09 by unemployed men. The winter was “pretty dreadful” and the City Distress Committee asked the Council to find work for the unemployed.

WEPIC4Last Birmingham Corporation working horse in Ward end Park,

WE Park building the lake



1954.Construction of Ward End Park boating lake, circa 1900


 Ward End Park House

The House is known by many different names; Ward End Park House, Ward End House, or The White House.  Its exact age is not known and there are varying accounts of when it was built, but probably, late 18th or early 19th century. The earliest know residents were the Marshall family. George Marshall was in banking    His son, George William, was born there on the 19th April 1839.  The property was sold in 1884 to Fredrick Gwyther, the electro plate manufacturer.  Their family motto (Dum Vivinus Vivanimus: While we live let us live) is still on the oak surround of a fire-place on the ground floor.  The 1845 plan shows a different shape to 1759, indicating it was most likely rebuilt.It was sold to Birmingham Corporation in 1903 with 11 acres, and since then it has had many uses.  From 1939 it was leased as refreshment rooms and in 1941 was a divisional HQ for the Fire Service. During WWII it was used by the Home Guards and a barrage balloon unit.WEP House Bren


There were horse-drawn buses in Ward End in the late 1870’s.  By 1884, these had been replaced by horse-drawn trams to the City Centre (Albert St). These ended in 1906, the last in the City, when the line were electrified.The tram route was the No 10, Martineau St, City Centre to Sladefield Rd,  on 2 May 1907 and extended to the Fox and Goose on 20th Dec 1913. The depot was at Washwood Heath (Now a supermarket), next to the former Cross Guns pub, where remnants of the line existed until the supermarket was built. The route closed in 1950.

BC Tram Washwood Heath BC Tram Washwwod Heath

Fox & Goose                                                                                                   

Washwood Heath depot

Bibliography and Acknowledgements