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I'm starting this thread, for because these areas were part of my life. It has also been mentioned on other forums that they do not get the mentions that other areas get.
There is an organisation that is centred in Balsall Heath (I shan't name it) and I have viewed their website on occasion. Nowhere on it do they mention the history of these two districts. Oh yes they mention the great progress that has been made cleaning up the area and how great it is now. If you want to read up on the history of the area then you have to make a special journey to their centre to view hard copies of the material. Why not put it on the net? Are they ashamed of Balsall Heath's history or are they all newcomers with no knowledge of it?
We will try to put that right here, and I hope that any new members will record any memories or matters of interest.
Make Love, Not War
A rough shortened history of Balsall Heath 1700’s to Annexation in 1891.
Moseley Rd Balsall Heath in the mid 1700’s was little more than a muddy track road. The surface of the road was just mud and was covered with many furrows that cut in to the clay which most of Balsall Heath was to be built upon. To do this they would use local made bricks from the many clay pits that sprang up in the area. At that time the area was mostly fields and farms the main industry being agriculture.
Wealthy people started moving out of the city to these rural areas to escape the dust and grime of an increasingly industrial Birmingham City centre. It soon became a very desirable area for the rich industrialists and manufacturers.
In 1767 the Moseley Road was improved and a turnpike installed. This made Balsall Heath more accessible to the city and encouraged even more people to move out of the city to a much cleaner environment. The Balsall Heath that we know today started to spring up, and so of course did industry. Parts of Highgate near the town centre soon turned to industry and the ever increasing demand for housing tempted the landowner to sell up their land for housing.
By the mid 1800‘s industry had crept up to Camp Hill and a railway station was built to accommodate the growing needs of the community. By the 1860’s there were 10 miles of streets in Balsall Heath with a population of 10,000. Balsall Heath at this time was still a part of Kings Norton in the County of Worcester. Around this time it established its own Local Board of Health to be responsible for such things as street lighting, sewers, and rubbish collection among other things. Eventually Balsall Heath became a part of Birmingham in 1891 after a public vote on Annexation. It was from this time that we began to see the Balsall Heath that it became high density housing development with its tightly packed terraces and side avenues. But with that came the sense community and neighbourhood that we see very little of today.
Make Love, Not War
A very interesting story thanks. I know also that Garretts Green lane where I live was also a muddy farm track only as far back as the 1940's. There was still a cottage where the Garretts Green Industrial estate now stands, up until the 1960's. The family that lived there actually had a big tank and used to sell paraffin. SB
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No phil, i think kerosene was only beginning to be accepted in the US by 1860 and took a bit to get over here. I think in 1860 it would have been mainly whale oil (imagine the smell) or rapeseed oil for lighting , other than candles , which , for most people were tallow.