From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bournbrook High Street.jpg
View of Bournbrook High Street (A38 Bristol Road) looking north towards Edgbaston
Bournbrook is located in West Midlands county
 Bournbrook shown within the West Midlands
Metropolitan borough Birmingham
Metropolitan county West Midlands
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district B29
Dialling code 0121
Police West Midlands
Fire West Midlands
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament Birmingham Selly Oak
List of places
West Midlands

Coordinates: 52°26′49″N 1°55′40″W / 52.44685°N 1.9278°W / 52.44685; -1.9278

Bournbrook Bournbrook is a neighbourhood in the Council Ward and Parliamentary District of Selly Oak as determined by the Boundary Commission for England. Prior to the Local Government Provisional Order (No 13) Bill, commonly termed the Greater Birmingham Act, which came into effect on 9 November 1911, Bournbrook was the North Eastern boundary of Worcestershire and was locally governed by the King’s Norton and Northfield Urban District Council.[1]

The Lapal Tunnel and the Dudley Canal were completed in 1798 and raw materials for heavy industry were transported into Selly Oak from the Black Country. In 1815 the Worcester and Birmingham Canal was completed and industrial activity developed along its banks from Lifford to Bournbrook. The industry stopped abruptly at the boundary with Edgbaston because of clauses inserted in the Bill that protected the property of Sir Henry Gough Calthorpe by prohibiting the construction of wharves, warehouses and other buildings without his consent.[2]

Kerby’s Pools was a Victorian pleasure resort in Bournbrook. Its three pools were devoted to boating and fishing and there was also a leisure garden. People would travel in great numbers to enjoy the entertainment and facilities the resort offered. There were a variety of attractions and events like fireworks displays. The pools were filled in during the 1880s as the spread of heavy industry and the construction of terraced housing for the workers diminished the rural attractiveness of the location.[3]

The 1839 Tithe Map and Apportionments for Northfield Parish, Worcestershire, show that in Bournbrook James Kerby owned 43 acres of land that included pools, a forge, and the Bell and Shovel Inn.[4] The Inn was reported to have existed in c1700 and has undergone alterations and name changes becoming the Malt Shovel under the ownership of George North from 1859. Holt’s brewery changed it to the Bournbrook Hotel in 1876; for a short time it was a Firkin Pub, and it is now the Goose at the OVT.[5]

In 1878 a cricket match was played at Bournbrook. At least 3,000 spectators were present when the game commenced at noon on Wednesday 25 June 1878. This number had risen to 12,000 by close of play. For the first two days batting, bowling, and fielding were excellent. Sadly, a thunderstorm on the final day resulted in the pitch being flooding and the game was abandoned.[6]


The last remaining district sign for the Bournbrook area, situated on the Bristol Road (A38) near to the University of Birmingham’s South Gate, as seen when entering the district from Edgbaston

The name comes from the Bourn Brook, a tributary of the River Rea, which flows along the northern boundary of the area. The name 'Bourne' is derived from the Old English for brook or stream. Physical features were frequently used to identify the boundary of a region or estate. The brook is now the Ward and Constituency boundary distinguishing the limit of Selly Oak from Edgbaston and Harborne. Until 1911 it was also the ancient Anglo-Saxon boundary between Worcestershire, Staffordshire (Harborne), and Warwickshire (Edgbaston). Potentially it was a meeting place for the nobility of each of the shires. The boundaries of the Midland shires were possibly established during the reign of the Danish Kings from 1016-1042 based on the former tribal kingdoms.[7]

Earlier than this, Metchley Roman Fort occupied a site nearby distributing goods such as salt from Droitwich to places further north and west. It is probable that they upgraded existing tracks. At some point they would have needed to ford the brook and Bournbrook seems a likely place with the possibility of local support for periods when the area was flooded. Along the Bourn Brook evidence has been found of Bronze Age burnt mounds. As these have been interpreted as having domestic use, for beer-making, or saunas the implication is that there may have been a prehistoric settlement nearby.[8]


Bournbrook is in Selly Oak electoral ward along with the neighbourhoods of Selly Park, Ten Acres, and Lodge Hill. The Ward is represented by three Labour Councillors: Brigid Jones, Karen McCarthy, and Changalese Khan. The Parliamentary Constituency and District of Selly Oak also includes the Wards of Billesley, Bournville, and Brandwood. It has a District Committee and is represented in Parliament by Labour MP Steve McCabe. The committee of the TARA / Bournbrook Neighbourhood Forum seeks to address specific local issues.



There is one surviving primary school: Tiverton Junior and Infant School. This was opened by the King’s Norton and Northfield Urban District Council in 1906. Selly Oak Nursery School was founded in Greet in 1904, but in 1921 the school moved to premises in Tiverton Road which had been equipped by Mr. and Mrs. George Cadbury Junior.[9]

Population and services[edit]

Located adjacent to the main campus of the University of Birmingham the area has become the principal area of private housing for students at the university, with university students representing as much as 76% of the population of Bournbrook and 29% of the total population of the Selly Oak ward as a whole.[10]

Shops on the Bristol Road (A38 road) in Bournbrook

Due to the large concentration of students in Bournbrook, the area has retained many of its pubs. There are also numerous eateries along the Bristol Road (A38). Bournbrook also has a very high concentration of curry houses, largely run by Bengali immigrants.

Public transport[edit]

Both Bournbrook and Selly Oak are served by Selly Oak railway station on the Cross-City Line, providing services to the Birmingham New Street, Lichfield Trent Valley and Redditch stations. The former Bristol Road tram route and its depots were replaced by buses in 1952.

The Goose at the Old Varsity Tavern (formerly the Bournbrook Hotel), Market Place, Bournbrook

Public facilities[edit]

The Tiverton Pool and Fitness Centre originally opened in Bournbrook on 28 January 1906 as Tiverton Road Public Baths. They were built by King's Norton and Northfield District Council and included two swimming baths, one with a gallery for spectators, a children's bath and private baths for men and women. The larger swimming pool would be floored over in the winter months and the floorspace was used for gymnastics. In 1911, it was taken over by Birmingham Baths Committee.[11] More recently it has been converted into a health centre and now includes a "Pulse Point" gym as well as sunbeds and a sauna whilst retaining the swimming pool, the children's pool which is used as a smaller instruction pool and pool spectator seating facilities. King's Norton and Northfield District Council also built the public library.


St Wulstan's, the Anglican church of Bournbrook, was consecrated on 6 and 7 October 1906. Its commemorative foundation stone declares that it was built "To the Glory of God and for the benefit of the People of Bournbrook".[12] It became a separate parish in 1911.[13]

At the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth Bournbrook was home to a small meeting of Conservative Quakers,[14] who also ran a school in Tiverton Road. Sometime in the 1880s the group joined with a like-minded Friends meeting based at Fritchley in Derbyshire, to form an independent General Meeting entirely separate of the London Yearly Meeting, however following disagreements over the fact the Friends in Fritchley refused to travel to Bournbrook for meetings, and also concerns about the increasing permissiveness of the former, the Bournbrook meeting separated from them in 1906.[15] Some members also left for a better life in Canada in the early 1900s, and following the loss of the school because of fire in 1910, what remained of the Bournbrook meeting appears to have emigrated en masse, establishing the Halcyonia Monthly Meeting at Borden in Saskatchewan. [16]

The local Muslim community, which is predominantly of Bangladeshi origin, is served by the Jalalabad Mosque and Islamic Centre in Dartmouth Road.[17]


Industry in Bournbrook was varied but engineering was significant.

Until the mid-sixties, Bournbrook was the home to Ariel motorcycles owned by first Charles Sangster then his son Jack Sangster, and with their main factory in Dale Road. Ariel was the first motorcycle company to employ noted designer Edward Turner from Peckham to join their established engineer, Val Page. He introduced the Ariel Square Four model and re-vamped their Ariel Red Hunter range. Ariel acquired Triumph motorcycles before the Second World War and, with Triumph, was itself later absorbed into the Birmingham Small Arms group when Jack Sangster joined their board. Although introducing new models, the Ariel Leader and Ariel Arrow, the Bournbrook site gradually lost importance within the BSA group with their final model, the ignominious Ariel 3 being wholly produced at Small Heath.

The Binding Site Ltd was founded 1983 to replace BDS Biologicals which made kits for diagnosing and monitoring illnesses. It occupied part of the Boxfoldia factory in Dale Road during the 1990s until it moved to King’s Heath. [18]

Bournbrook Mill may have been a site in continuous use for many years. A miller was mentioned in the Lechmere Tax Rolls of 1276-82. [19] In the 16th century the King family had a fulling mill on the Bournbrook. Henry Cambden the elder, a knife cutler, built a blade mill on part of Gower’s Farm in 1707. In 1727 the mill was assigned to Henry Carver, a brass founder. The Gunsmiths, Heeley and Company, are recorded as occupying the mill in 1816. The Tithe Map of 1839 shows the land owned by James Kerby included a forge. An iron founder and metal roller, Noah Fellows occupied it in 1863 when it was described as a rolling mill. Arthur Holden, a paint manufacturer was the occupant in 1873. From 1880 Frederick Spurrier worked the mill for rolling joined in 1908 by Henry Spurrier. Another mill was shown in 1787-9 on the most westerly of the streams from Edgbaston Pool where it joined the Bourn Brook near the Bristol Road. [20]

Boxfoldia Ltd was founded in 1921 by Charles Henry Foyle. It began in Ten Acres and moved to Dale Road in 1933 where it took over a large part of the Ariel Works. The company moved to Redditch c1990. [21]

Cycle Components Manufacturing Company was founded in 1895 and Charles Sangster bought the trade name ‘Ariel’ from the Dunlop Cycle Company. It was built on site of Kerby’s Pools. An Ariel cycle won the World Championships in 1897. First motor tricycle made in 1898 and the first motor cycle in 1905. About 200 people were employed in 1930s. Charles went bankrupt in 1932 and the company was bought by his son Jack. It became part of BSA and moved to Small Heath.

Engineering company, Decimals Ltd, were making phosphorous grenades and wire-cutters In Grange Road for the Great War.

George Morgan Ltd was a drop forgers who made parts for the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge. They traded from part of the Ariel factory until the mid-1980s.

Greenwood Paige and Co Ltd occupied 193-199 Tiverton Road in premises called the “Seville Works”. From 1905 until 1915 they were making jam. The site had several owners after they left: Loffets Sweet Factory; Swish Curtain Rails; Patrick Motors Spare Parts Division.

H W Ward and Company Ltd moved to Dale Road c1914. They were very significant producers of capstan and turret lathes.

Lewis Woolf Grip-tight Ltd owned a rubber plantation in the Far East. They had various premises in Bournbrook: rear of 507 Bristol Road; Old School in Hubert Road for rubber processing; Offices 144 Oakfield Road; 508 Bristol Road shop used for storage; 519 Bristol Road as a canteen. They also used the former TASCOS building on the corner of Alton Road until it was destroyed in a massive fire.

The Patent Enamel Company Ltd, founded in 1888, moved to a purpose built factory in Heeley Road in the following year. Benjamin Baugh had begun to manufacture tough vitreous enamelled sheet wrought iron in Bradford Street In 1857. He combined with William Walters, and H W Elliott to form the Patent Enamel Co Ltd. The products were used for advertising on railway stations, hotels and public houses. Competition and the improved paper posters and plastics caused the business to decline and the company closed in 1965. The site was occupied by several small firms until it was destroyed by fire. Comet moved onto the site and later moved onto the Battery Retail Park. [22]

Albert M Patrick founded Patrick Motors for his son Joseph A M Patrick. Beginning in 1930 it occupied the site of Edgbaston Garage Ltd on the Bristol Road. The company moved to Lakeside in King’s Norton where they had a museum of cars called the Patrick Collection. The site became Tesco Express.

From the mid-1930s Sandvik Steel Band Conveyor & Engineering Co Ltd occupied the former tram sheds at 20 Dawlish Road. In the 1970s they moved to Halesowen.

The tall brick and terracotta building that resembles a French Gothic chapel was the Selly Oak Water Pumping Station. Although built in the 1870s by Birmingham water corporation and was opened in 1879 by Joseph Chamberlain. Following the successful construction of the Elan Valley pipeline the well was finally capped in 1920. The beam engine was built by Messrs.' James Watt and Co. and produced 1¼ million gallons each day. [23]

The now dilapidated building beside the library on the Bristol Road belonged to timber merchants W J Vincent & Co Ltd. They moved to Bournbrook in 1923 and had other premises including a storage area in Heeley Road beside the railway. In 1975 the business returned to Sparkbrook.

William Westley Richards founded the company of Westley Richards (Gunmakers) Ltd in 1812 although they didn’t move to Grange Road until 1849. [24] They crafted sporting guns for Edward VII and other members of the Royal family. It was a highly integrated factory that mass-produced revolvers with a good deal of machinery. [25] Westley engineering, trading from the same premises, became separate company in 1998. Their business was precision pressing and tool making. They were required to move in order that the phase of the Selly Oak New Road to the new Queen Elizabeth could be completed. The demolition of the factory caused a lot of local protest.

A Wood Turning business operated from Rose Cottage from 1828 until the c1970s. They made woods for bowls matches. Apparently they also made woods for Triplex to test the resistance of their glass used in airplanes!

Wrights Saddle Company who operated in one of the old Components factories in Dale Road was closed in 1961 by British Cycle Corporation.

Notable buildings[edit]

Bournbrook's 14th-century manor house, Selly Manor, was purchased by George Cadbury in 1907 and moved to his nearby model village, Bournville, in the 1910s, and is now a museum.[26]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Briggs, Asa: History of Birmingham Volume II, Borough and City 1865-1938, (OUP 1952) Chapter V Greater Birmingham
  2. ^ White, Reverend Alan: The Worcester and Birmingham Canal – Chronicles of the Cut (Studley 2005) p13
  3. ^ Upton, Chris: Days of Birmingham’s Lake District.(Birmingham Post 14 March 1998).
  4. ^ Tithe Apportionments for Northfield Parish, Worcestershire, 1839
  5. ^ Butler, J; Baker, A; and Southworth, P: Selly Oak and Selly Park, (Stroud 2005 ISBN) 0 7524 3625 2
  6. ^ The Australian Cricketers at Bournbrook versus a Birmingham and District Twenty-Two, Birmingham Daily Gazette 25–27 June 1878
  7. ^ Hooke, Della: The Anglo-Saxon Landscape, MUP 1985
  8. ^ Hodder, Michael: Birmingham – The Hidden History; Stroud 2004, pp28-44
  9. ^ Butler, Joanne; Baker, Anne; Southworth, Pat: Selly Oak and Selly Park. Stroud 2005 p80
  10. ^ Population statistics for Bournbrook and Selly Oak ("2001 Census: Neighbourhood Statistics". )
  11. ^ Moth, J. (1951). The City of Birmingham Baths Department 1851 - 1951. James Upton Ltd. 
  12. ^ St Wulstan's Church, Bournbrook: Jubilee Day Programme (1956)
  13. ^ The History of St Wulstan's, Bournbrook
  14. ^ Saskatchewan Settlement Experience
  15. ^ Pink Dandelion, Ben (2007). An Introduction to Quakerism. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 114. ISBN 0-521-84111-9. 
  16. ^ Greenfield, Davies ‘Religious Society of Friends’, The Encyclopaedia of Saskatchewan
  17. ^ Jalalabad Mosque and Islamic Centre, UK Mosque Searcher
  18. ^ Pearson, Wendy: Selly Oak and Bournbrook through time, Stroud2012
  19. ^ Willis Bund, J W and Amphlett, J (editors): Lay Subsidy Roll for the County of Worcester c1280 (WHS 1893)
  20. ^ VCH Warwickshire Volume VII, OUP 1964, p253 and p266
  21. ^ Butler, Joanne; Baker, A; Southworth, P: Selly Oak and Selly Park, Stroud 2005
  22. ^ White, Reverend Alan: The Worcester and Birmingham Canal – Chronicles of the Cut: Studley 2005
  23. ^ Pearson, Wendy: Selly Oak and Bournbrook through time, Stroud 2012
  24. ^ Dowling, G; Giles, B D. Hayfield, C: Selly Oak Past and Present, Birmingham 1987
  25. ^ VCH Warwickshire Volume VII, OUP 1964 p139
  26. ^ "Selly Manor Museum". Bournville Village Trust. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 


  • Dowling, Geoff, Giles, Brain and Hayfield, Colin (1987). Selly Oak Past and Present: A Photographic Survey of a Birmingham Suburb. Department of Geography, University of Birmingham.  ISBN 0-7044-0912-7

External links[edit]