Between the wars and since

With the building of the Showell Green Estate in the 1920s and Hangleton Drive in the 1930s, the private development of Sparkhill and Greet was complete. Manor Farm municipal estate appeared between the Wars, and a prefab estate now razed brought life back to Old Greet after World War Two. Bombing had left many gaps in terraces throughout the districts, but most of these have been infilled. The only large patch of destruction, off Stoney Lane, was an early rebuilding with towers and detached blocks. Some old terraces have been cleared, on and off Percy Road and in West Greet. Most houses, brightly painted since clean air came in, are in good repair, and very little demolition will take place now that population decline and recession are upon us.


A 1909 plan of the Rural District Council, adopted by the City Council, was intended to save the Cole from the fate of the Rea, confined in a brick channel and lined with factories. A green strip on one or both sides of the river was to be barred to builders and a walk provided from end to end of Yardley, giving nine miles of grass and trees from Yardley Wood to Sheldon. Land for this purpose was given and bought, most of it secure as parks, playing fields, and allotments.


The South Birmingham Town Planning Scheme, begun in the early 1920s, included three throughways hereabout. One would have linked Formans Road to the foot of Weston Lane, the last stretch of a riverside highway from Trittiford. It was never made. A second, linking Hall Green to Tyseley, (Cateswell and Tynedale Roads) is bordered by municipal estates and light industry. The third, a far-sighted plan to bypass the inadequate Warwick Road through Tyseley and Acocks Green, was Olton Boulevard. It was intended to start at Greet Bridge, link up with Spring and Victoria Roads, and sweep on to the city boundary at Olton. By 1939 one carriageway and a grass strip had been made from Reddings Lane north, but Spring Road and the railway bridge were unimproved, the west end had not been started, and no progress has been made since. Lucas's Works sprawl across the intended line south of Weston Lane, and only at Fox Hollies is the dual carriageway completed. There have been no road improvements in Sparkhill and Greet except the 1967 diversion of Stoney Lane to a direct crossing with Walford Road, and the provision of lights at the Mermaid junction. A planned bypass of that intersection will probably never be made.


Immigrants from Ireland have long been common in Sparkhill, lured by the strong Catholic community based on the English Martyrs' Church. In the last two decades people from the West Indies and Asia have filled older and larger villas and are increasingly occupying the terraces. Indian and Pakistani shops now predominate on The Hill and down to Sparkbrook. The characteristics of our districts today are ageing dwellings with gardens, many with converted or added bathrooms but no garages, plenty of shops (some closed or in decline despite Asian enterprise) but no parking spaces, inadequate main roads with too many intersections, good public transport but great traffic congestion, far too many through streets and too few safe play areas, little room for further development and major change.



Birmingham and its Regional Setting by Kinvig, Thorpe, etc.

Printed Maps of Warwickshire by Harvey, Thorpe

V.C.H. Vol. vii Birmingham

Notes and Mss. for a History of Yardley by Bickley

History of Birmingham by Gill and Briggs

Kelly's Directories

Aris's Birmingham Gazette 1756-1804

Transcripts and Summaries: Discovering Yardley Group

Photographic Survey of Warwickshire

Charter of Edgar AD 972

Presentment: of Yardley Boundaries 1495, 1609

Plan of Greet Farm 1766

Rental of Taylor Estates

Allotments of Open and Common Fields in Yardley 1843 - 6

Yardley Tithe Map 1847

Ordnance Survey Maps:First edition one-inch et sequ., Drift geology, Six-inch 1924 (South Birmingham Town Plan)

Map of Warwickshire Beighton 1725


Relief and drainage
Relief and drainage
Surface geology
Surface geology
The medieval period
The medieval period
THe eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
THe eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
Land use
Land use


Sparkhill and Greet


Relief and drainage, geology, and the natural landscape

First footers and Anglo-Saxon settlement

The manor of Yardley, the boundaries of Yardley, and the 'Manor' of Greet

Section two 

Ancient roads, ancient buildings, and watermills

Turnpike roads, bridges, and administration

Section three 

Public transport


Urbanisation, and amenities and services

Churches, schools, and commerce and industry

Section four 

Between the Wars and since, and references



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