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Kings Heath High Street
Kings Heath shown within the West Midlands
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|Metropolitan county||West Midlands|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
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Kings Heath (historically, and still occasionally King's Heath) is a suburb of south Birmingham, England, five miles south of the city centre. It is the next suburb south from Moseley on the A435, Alcester road.
Kings Heath came into being as a village in the 18th century with the improvements to the Alcester to Birmingham road acting as a catalyst for 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. Because of the desirability of the area and the quality of local schools, Kings Heath is steadily becoming gentrified, with houses becoming increasingly unaffordable for local people.
A number of independent shops have taken advantage of relatively cheaper rents in the side roads off High Street, and recently there has been an influx of boutiques and even the start of an (organic) cafe culture. In 2008, the businesses agreed to a Business Improvement District, which top-slices a proportion of their local business taxes to go directly into improvements and promotion of the area.
The locals still refer to Kings Heath as a 'village' even though it has been part of Birmingham for over a century. Its centre at the Vicarage Road junction has now been developed to form an attractive public square which is used as a venue for the monthly farmers' market and other events.
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 went on to damage many houses in Balsall Heath. There were no fatalities.
High Street has also suffered from flash floods on occasions, sometimes up to a foot of water in depth, although recently installed underground reservoirs at the junction of Station Road and High Street aim to combat this problem.
Kings Heath is also home to several schools including Colmore Infant and Nursery School, St. Dunstans, 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.
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 and churches and schools on and around High Street.
Kings Heath Park also 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 and floral displays etc. The park has 'green flag' status. Highbury Park (on the border with Moseley) is adjacent to the Highbury Hall, which used to be a residence of Joseph Chamberlain.
The Hare and 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.
The 2011 musical film Turbulence was shot in the area, with much of the film's action taking place in the Hare & Hounds pub.
The novel, Stone River Running, by Rebecca J. Cunningham, which describes life in care, is set in Waterloo Road, Kings Heath, with references to 60s landmarks, such as the Ritz Ballroom in York Road.
- People born in Kings Heath
- Peter Aldis, (1927-2008), footballer who played for Aston Villa
- Kevin Ashley, born 1968, footballer who played for Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Martin Barre, born 1946, guitarist for Jethro Tull
- Frank Bowden (1904-?) footballer who played for and Coventry
- Gary Childs, born 1964, footballer for Walsall and Grimsby Town
- Albert Gardner, (1887-1923), footballer who played for Birmingham City
- Tommy Green (1873-1921) footballer who played for West Bromwich Albion
- Sydney S. Guy, (1885-1971), founder of Guy Motors
- Edna Iles, (1905-2003), classical pianist
- Ann Jones, born 1938, Tennis player who won 7 Grand Slam Championships
- Bob Latchford, born 1951, footballer who played for Birmingham City, Everton and England
- Dave Latchford, born 1948, footballer who played for Birmingham City
- Peter Latchford, born 1952, footballer who played for West Bromwich Albion and Celtic
- Dave Linney, born 1961. footballer who played for Oxford United
- Laura Mvula, born 1986, Soul singer-songwriter
- Jim Roberts, born 1922. architects whose works included the Rotunda in Birmingham
- Toyah Willcox, born 1958, musician and actress
- Notable residents
- Mohammed Ali, born 1979, street artist who moved from Sparkbrook to Kings Heath
- Judith Cutler, born 1946, crime fiction writer
- Paul Dyson, born 1959, footballer for Coventry and Stoke City who ran a sports shop in Kings Heath after his retirement
- Tommy Godwin, 1920 - 2012, international cyclist who ran a cycle shop in Kings Heath from 1950-1986
- J. R. R. Tolkien, (1892-1973), moved to Kings Heath to live with his grandparents in 1895
- Buxton, Roddy. "Studio One". Retrieved 12 April 2002.
- "Hare and Hounds, The Venue". Hare and Hounds. Retrieved 1 October 2012.