Kings Heath

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Kings Heath
High Street Kings Heath, The Station Pub on the Left - geograph.org.uk - 1283548.jpg
Kings Heath High Street
Kings Heath is located in West Midlands county
Kings Heath
Kings Heath
Location within the West Midlands
OS grid referenceSP073815
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBIRMINGHAM
Postcode districtB14
Dialling code0121
PoliceWest Midlands
FireWest Midlands
AmbulanceWest Midlands
List of places
UK
England
West Midlands
52°25′53″N 1°53′39″W / 52.43143°N 1.89406°W / 52.43143; -1.89406Coordinates: 52°25′53″N 1°53′39″W / 52.43143°N 1.89406°W / 52.43143; -1.89406

Kings Heath (historically, and still occasionally King's Heath) is a suburb of south Birmingham, England, four miles south of the city centre. Historically in Worcestershire, it is the next suburb south from Moseley on the A435, Alcester road.

History[edit]

Kings Heath came into being as a village in the 18th century when improvements to the Alcester to Birmingham road acted as a catalyst for the development of new houses and farms. Prior to this, the area was largely uninhabited wasteland run by the Royal Borough of Kings Norton.

The streets running off High Street are dominated by pre-1919 terraced, owner-occupied housing.[citation needed]

A number of independent shops have taken advantage of comparatively cheap rents in the side roads off High Street, leading to an influx of boutiques and the start of an (organic) café culture. In 2008, the businesses agreed to establish a Business Improvement District, which top-slices a proportion of their local business taxes to go directly into improvements and promotion of the area.[1]

The local community still refers to Kings Heath as a "village" even though it has been part of Birmingham for over a century. Its centre at the High Street / Vicarage Road junction has been developed to form an attractive public square which is used as a venue for a monthly farmers' market and other events.[2]

On 28 July 2005, Kings Heath was hit by a major (by European standards) tornado which damaged several shops on High Street and All Saints' Church. The tornado then moved on to damage many houses in Balsall Heath. There were no fatalities.

In 2021 the area was named an official gayborhood alongside the likes of The Castro, San Francisco and The Marais in Paris.[3]

Education[edit]

Kings Heath Police Station

Kings Heath has several schools including Colmore Infant, Nursery and Primary School, St. Dunstan's Catholic Primary School, Kings Heath Primary School, Kings Heath Boys, Wheelers Lane Technology College, King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys, King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls and Bishop Challoner Catholic College.

Public transport[edit]

Kings Heath is serviced by National Express West Midlands' bus routes 11 (Birmingham Outer Circle), 27 (Maypole - Longbridge), 35 (central Birmingham – Hawkesley), 50 (central Birmingham – Druids Heath) and 76 (Solihull - Northfield).

Features[edit]

The central shopping area runs along High Street and Alcester Road, and the shops include branches of national chain stores, charity shops, supermarkets, electrical retailers and opticians. There are also a number of pubs, churches and schools on and around High Street.

Plaque marking UB40's first gig.

Kings Heath has two parks: Kings Heath Park, which is famous as the setting for the popular ATV series Gardening Today,[4] and Highbury Park, which is adjacent to Highbury Hall, a former residence of Joseph Chamberlain. Kings Heath Park has "Green Flag" status. It features a Victorian-styled tea room and is the venue for the annual Gardener's Weekend Show, which comes under the Royal Horticultural Society and is one of the top regional events for gardening enthusiasts to show off their vegetables, floral displays, etc.

The Hare & Hounds public house, in Kings Heath High Street, was the location of the first concert by UB40 on 9 February 1979, which is commemorated by a PRS for Music plaque. The pub was rebuilt in 1907, but is Grade II listed, as it has retained many original Art Nouveau internal fixtures. The pub is still an important local music venue.[5]

Sport and leisure[edit]

Kings Heath Stadium was a greyhound track that existed from the 1920s until its closure in 1971.[6] The site was first developed in 1923 at Alcester Lane's End on the southern outskirts of Kings Heath as the venue for the annual Kings Heath Horse Show. The ground was converted to include a greyhound track and the first dog race took place in May 1927. After the Horse Show moved elsewhere in the 1960s, the ground was exclusively used for greyhound racing until being permanently closed in 1971. The land was eventually sold for housing development.[7]

An 18-hole golf course opened in 1926 just to the south of the race track along the Alcester Road.[8] This is also the site of the modern Cocks Moors Woods sports and leisure centre, the largest of its kind in south Birmingham.[9]

Kings Heath Baths was an indoor facility on Institute Road that first opened on 15 August 1923. For many years, the swimming pool was drained and floored over during the winter so it could be used as a dance hall, with additional badminton courts also provided.[10] The baths closed in 1987 and the building was subsequently demolished.[11]

The Kingsway Cinema opened on High Street in March 1925 and remained open for more than fifty years until its closure in May 1980. The cinema was later converted into a bingo hall, first run by Essoldo Bingo, then Gala Bingo, but eventually closed in 2007. The building was largely destroyed by a fire on 17 September 2011.[12] It was auctioned off in 2016 to a local building development company[13] and demolition work was carried out at the rear of the building in early 2018.[12] The Grade A locally listed facade at the front was largely unaffected by the 2011 fire and the redevelopment plans include restoring this to its former glory.[13]

Notable residents[edit]

People born in Kings Heath
Notable residents

In popular culture[edit]

The church musicians window; Kings Heath Methodist Church; featuring Bach, Charles Wesley, Handel and the local organist Leslie Wright

The 2011 musical film Turbulence was shot in the area, with much of the film's action taking place in the Hare & Hounds pub.[24]

The 2013 song "Green Garden" by Birmingham born Laura Mvula is an elegy to her home in Kings Heath.[25]

The BBC documentary Fighting For Air, about suburban air pollution, was filmed in Kings Heath in 2017 and broadcast on BBC2 on 10 January 2018.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Business Plan for 2018–2023 Kings Heath BID". Enjoy Kings Heath. June 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  2. ^ "Village Square". All Saints Centre Kings Heath. All Saints Community Development Company. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  3. ^ Bains, Sanjeeta (26 April 2021). "Kings Heath named alongside San Francisco and Ibiza as LGBTQ-friendly 'Gayborhood'". Birmingham Mail. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  4. ^ Buxton, Roddy. "Studio One". Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2002.
  5. ^ "Hare and Hounds, The Venue". Hare and Hounds. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  6. ^ Tarter, P Howard (1949). Greyhound Racing Encyclopedia. Fleet Publishing Company Ltd. p. 62.
  7. ^ Pittaway, Gail. "King's Heath Horse Show & Kings Heath Greyhound Stadium" (PDF). King's Heath Local History Society. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Cocks Moors Woods Golf Course". Mytime Active. Archived from the original on 12 October 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Welcome to Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre". Birmingham Community Leisure Trust. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  10. ^ J. Moth (1951). The City of Birmingham Baths Department 1851–1951 (PDF). James Upton. p. 32.
  11. ^ Baxter, Mark (4 August 2016). "Lost Moseley: 'Last Splash?' Part One – Lidos & Baths". Moseley B13 magazine. Archived from the original on 12 April 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  12. ^ a b Blackham, Bob (July 2019). "Kingsway Cinema Story" (PDF). King's Heath Local History Society. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  13. ^ a b Jones, Tamlyn (18 January 2018). "New plans to restore historic former Kings Heath cinema". Birmingham Mail. Archived from the original on 7 March 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  14. ^ "The Guy Car". Wolverhampton History & Heritage Website. Archived from the original on 28 October 2020. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  15. ^ Anderson, Martin (24 March 2003). "Edna Iles, Pianist and champion of Medtner". The Independent. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  16. ^ Howells, Glenn (12 July 2019). "Obituary: Birmingham Rotunda architect Jim Roberts dies aged 97". Architects' Journal. Archived from the original on 2 September 2021.
  17. ^ a b c "Famous former residents of King's Heath". King's Heath Local History Society. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  18. ^ Anderson, Ian (8 September 2017). "All about Martin Barre". jethrotull.com. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  19. ^ "Toyah on Kings Heath Walk of Fame". BBC News. 17 June 2012. Archived from the original on 19 June 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  20. ^ Lockley, Mike (17 February 2013). "Plaque to be erected for Kings Heath Cluedo inventor Anthony Pratt". Birmingham Mail. Archived from the original on 2 October 2015.
  21. ^ Cutler, Judith (2015). "About the author". judithcutler.com. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  22. ^ "Rock legend Trevor Burton honoured on Kings Heath Walk of Fame". Birmingham Mail. 5 June 2013. Archived from the original on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  23. ^ "Joe Lycett". Birmingham Living magazine. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  24. ^ Suart, Paul (15 July 2011). "Kings Heath film maker turns to bike power for new movie". Birmingham Mail. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  25. ^ Jones, Alison (26 April 2013). "Laura Mvula is one of the UK's hottest prospects in 2013". Birmingham Mail. Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  26. ^ "'Fighting For Air' BBC2 documentary broadcast 10 January 2018". Kings Heath Residents' Forum. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.

External links[edit]