Summer Road

 

 

This is a very short road which runs from Shaftmoor Lane to Fox Hollies Road. The south side of the road, which includes Lidl and the garage will be discussed under Fox Hollies Road (page to come).

 

The first 20 houses, all numbered 1-20, were listed on the 1881 census. The 1888 O.S. map shows a Mission Hall near number 1. We do not know whose this was, but St Mary's had a Mission Hall behind the road from 1881. However it was in the way of the new railway line to Stratford, so it was moved to a new position next to number 20, set back a little from the building line, after 1905. St. Gabriel's, as it was named, was licensed for public worship from 1909-1926. A couple of years later, it was renamed Acocks Green War Memorial Hall. In 1934, the church built a youth centre on land behind the Memorial Hall, and this was renamed the Jubilee Hall shortly afterwards, commemorating George V's Jubilee in 1935. Kath Huckfield told us that the money was raised for the hall in large part due to the efforts of a local milkman, Leonard Skan, and that there were tennis courts and sports facilities there. Around 1925, numbers 23-33 were built. in 1928, the bus garage was built, and the gap between number 33 and the bus garage wall was filled in with single-storey shops, initially two, then three. By 1932 there was a doctor's surgery at number 33, and shortly afterwards a cooked meat dealer and a confectioner appeared at numbers 34 and 35. At the same time, number one was divided, with a branch of Payne's boot repairs appearing at number one, and a confectionery shop at number 1A. There was another confectioner at number 7 and another doctor at number 16. By 1936 there was a dentist at number 3 as well. a dairyman at number 18, and shorthand and dancing teachers at 19 and 20. Clearly the houses had sufficient room for these businesses. After the war there was a cafe near Shaftmoor Lane and one next door to the bus garage. Number 4 was also a shop until about 2001.

 

The most interesting changes happened to the Memorial and Jubilee Halls. They were sold freehold to the Birmingham and District industrial Safety Group in 1956. This innovative organisation was at the forefront of health and safety training. By the end of the 1950s they were running 70 courses at 22 Summer Road. There were other competing/collaborating organisations as well, including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). RoSPA managed to get government money in 1965 to set up safety training centres throughout the country, and the Birmingham and District Industrial Safety Group saw no other option but to hand over the site and staff to RoSPA, while retaining the freehold and charging RoSPA a peppercorn rent. Following this loss of activity, the Group turned their attention to fostering education and research at Aston University. The Group was responsible for the square frontage to number 22, which was formally opened in style on 20 December 1961. Today the frontage is a blot on the landscape. In 1970, over 4,000 people were trained during 122 courses covering 25 different types.

 

The original St. Gabriel's still stands behind, although altered and extended by a sequence of organisations. The Jubilee Hall was replaced by several new buildings, for example demonstration and lecture rooms, and offices, until the whole site was full. The Industrial Safety Group itself moved their headquarters elsewhere in 1983, and RoSPA went to Edgbaston Park next to the University in 1996.

 

The Industrial Safety Group still owned the site, and around 1998 new tenants arrived, in the form of the South Birmingham Mental Health Trust. They were looking to run personality disorder outreach and day treatment from number 22, which they named Bridger House. They were attempting to develop innovative services, and were able to develop at Summer Road until 2006, when the funding structure changed. The Bridger House service ceased in 2008, and the Mental Health Trust finally left in the autumn of 2012.

 

The Industrial Safety Group, which had become the Birmingham Health, Safety and Environment Association, was looking to rent number 22 out again, but were pleased to receive an approach from a Muslim school, which wanted to buy the site outright. The Al-Burhan Grammar School for girls from 11-18 moved in in 2013. The school entrance is on Spring Road, and the owners used number 22 as their registered office. However, they have been extending and refurbishing it, with a view to it becoming a prayer hall. So the building on Summer Road will return to its original religious purpose.

 

 

Summer Road O.S. extract 1916 (Birmingham Libraries). The building on the south side is the cottage shown on the postcard. The kennelmaster for Fox Hollies Hall lived there.
Summer Road O.S. extract 1916 (Birmingham Libraries). The building on the south side is the cottage shown on the postcard. The kennelmaster for Fox Hollies Hall lived there.
An Edwardian view. the cottage on the right housed the kennelmaster for Fox Hollies Hall.
An Edwardian view. the cottage on the right housed the kennelmaster for Fox Hollies Hall.
The Jubilee Hall (Birmingham Libraries). Thanks to Sheila Huckfield-Powell.
The Jubilee Hall (Birmingham Libraries). Thanks to Sheila Huckfield-Powell.
Summer Road shops, c. 1951 (thanks to Peter White)
Summer Road shops, c. 1951 (thanks to Peter White)
Businesses between number 33 and the bus garage, 17 Jan 1968 (Birmingham Libraries)
Businesses between number 33 and the bus garage, 17 Jan 1968 (Birmingham Libraries)

 

 It is now possible to see the sequence of large-scale O.S. maps online at www.old-maps.co.uk. For this road enter the postcode B27 7UT, and choose the 1:2,500 maps up until 1952-4. Use the plus and minus buttons to change how close up you wish to see the houses. The map can be dragged by using click and hold as normal.

 

 

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