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Selly Park is named after the parkland that was originally associated with Selly Hall, now preserved within Selly Convent.
Initially Selly Park was developed on the parkland around Selly Hall, whilst the land to the west of the Pershore Road (A441) was laid out for development in the mid nineteenth century with spacious plots and tree-lined streets, and where development is still restricted by covenant. On the other side of the Pershore Road, between it and Cannon Hill Park are several streets of superior c19 terraced housing, built by Grants, the principal local builder. One or two of the larger houses have been converted into offices and two small hotels.
The suburb is in the Selly Oak local authority electoral ward, along with the districts of Bournbrook, Selly Oak, Ten Acres and a small part of Stirchley. It also comes under the Selly Oak local council constituency, which is managed by its own district committee, and comprises both the Selly Oak ward as well as the wards of Billesley, Bournville and Brandwood.
St Edward's Church, Selly Park is the main local Catholic Church. Selly Park is also home to three Protestant Churches, namely St Stephen's Church, Christ Church, Selly Park and Selly Park Baptist Church.
Some episodes of "Dalziel and Pascoe" have been shot in Oakfield Road, An episode of "Bird of Prey" was filmed in Selly Wick Drive and various local shops and houses have been used in the soap opera of "Doctors".
- W. H. Auden (1907–1973), who briefly lived in the grounds of Selly Wick House.
- Sir Richard Alfred Pinsent (1852–1948), 1st Baronet Pinsent of Selly Hill, 1938–1948, and former President of the Law Society, 1918–1919, who lived at Selly Wick.
- Phil Lynott (1949–1986), rock musician, was baptised in St Edwards Church and lived in the area as a child.
The economist P. Sargent Florence lived in Highfield House on Selly Park Road. The area is and was home to many academics from Birmingham University, such as Prof. Ivor Keys (1919–1995) and Dr Gordon Warwick (1918–1983), and to two former olympic athletes, Audrey Court and Max Madders.
Alex Higgins won his first snooker World Championship in 1972 at the British Legion Club in Selly Park. This was demolished around 2000 and is now a block of flats.