The rest of the nineteenth century
The arrival of the canal enabled Yardley farmers, tile makers and brick makers to export their products more successfully to Birmingham and beyond. Tile and brick making were common winter occupations for farmers, and there were many works in Yardley, including in the area around Stockfield. Clarke and Clifford are listed at Yardley tunnel, on the canal, between 1867 and 1871, and in 1872 William Mansfield is at Bordesley Green and Acocks Green (Mansfields owned Pinfold Farm nearby, but the brick maker may or may not be related). Stephenson in his book on brick making refers to a Henry Smith at Rushall Lane in the 1870s (this was later Stockfield Road). In 1875 David Shirley is listed, and in 1878 Charles Shirley and Mrs Caroline Smith are listed at Stockfield Road. Caroline Smith is listed here until 1884, with the location described as South Yardley in 1881. The 1881 Census has Caroline, a widow, as head of the family, with occupation as brick manufacturer. With her at Broom Hill Cottage are four sons, Alfred, Jessie, Thomas, and William, all brick makers. Between 1890 and 1896 the Smithe are listed as brick makers in Tyseley, but it may be the same works. By 1883 the directory shows Broom Hill Cottage occupied by a Joseph Gilman. The 1916 map shows Broom Hill House on the corner of Stockfield and Amington Roads. Even if this is not the cottage itself, it must be very close by. It is possible that some use was made of the spoil heaps by the cutting as well as the large scale resources at Red Hill.
The canal also enabled the cheaper importing of coal to take place. There was a coal wharf at Yardley Road behind Field Gate Farm, and wharves for exporting bricks and tiles were built below Pinfold House (Mansfield Farm). Opposite there were other wharves for loading sand and gravel. Fast flyboats drawn by several horses sped through Acocks Green.
Enclosure of common fields came in the first half of the nineteenth century, and a result of this was that Yardley Road was widened to thirty feet. It, rather than Rushall Lane (Stockfield Road) effectively became confirmed as the main route to Yardley when the railway station opened on Yardley Road in 1852. The old ridgeway route up to Wynford Road became a narrow footpath.
In 1827 Congregationalists opened a small chapel on Rushall Lane. It was finally demolished in 2012 after many years of existing, precariously and much altered, behind a workshop frontage to the left of the petrol station. This chapel was superceded by a splendid church at the junction of Rushall Lane and the Warwick Road in 1860, but the chapel remained in use as a church school for several decades after that.
Rushall Lane was occupied in the 1840s by a few farms and Stockfield House. In an 1841 directory there were listed: Rabone, John, farmer & maltster; Taylor, Isaac, farmer, Stockfield; Hicken or Wickens, Miss, Stockfield House and Wilson, Miss Sarah, also Stockfield House. The tenant of Stockfield House was Isaac Taylor, and he farmed fields either side of the lane. John Rabone had a house at the corner of Rushey Lane and a field, part of which he had sold or given to the Congregationalist Chapel Trustees. Along the south-eastern side north of Quality Lane (Arden Road) nearly up to Stockfield House John Watmores was the tenant, and east of him many of the fields were being farmed by William Greenway. Between Quality Lane and the Warwick Road William Brookes was the farmer on the west side, and John Briscoe on the east. North of Stockfield House some of the fields were tenanted by Thomas Mansfield. Others were being farmed by James Cox, who was at Stockfield Farm, while Edward King used some of the spoil banks by the canal east of the lane. To the west of the lane alongside the canal the fields were being used by Bartholomew Smith, who also occupied the cottages on the corner of Tanyard Lane.
A very interesting name appears in 1860, which reflects the change that the railway was beginning to make in Acocks Green. A Mr Louis Keller is listed at Stockfield House, but it is likely that he had had a new mansion built, that is Stockfield Hall, which was nearer the railway, and where he was listed later. The 1861 Census lists the house as at the top of Rushey Lane, which is indicative. He was a diamond merchant, born in Germany. His eldest son was born in Middlesex. A higher class of person, working in business or retired from business, was moving into the rural backwater. The census shows also a gardener living at his carriage house. In 1864 a Mr Thomas Stanton begins to be listed in directories at Stockfield. He was at Stockfield Villa. This was near Stockfield Hall. The 1871 Census shows the large Keller family, but there is another interesting name: Nicolai Kushakevitch, a 2nd Captain in the Russian Army, described as a lodger.
In 1876 a Julius Schaffer is listed at Stockfield Hall. So is a Charles Budde: whether the Buddes were at Stockfield House can only be surmised. The situation changes radically around 1880, when a whole new row of terraces appears above Stockfield Villa on the east side of the road: this is Rushey Terrace. By then, Charles Rabone is a farmer and Maltster at Stockfield House, farming 133 acres. In 1883 William Barwell is listed at Stockfield Hall. He is a metal merchant, and a J.P. In 1880 Joseph Gilman is listed at Broomhill Cottages on the corner of Tanyard Lane. George Muscott is variously listed as a farmer and tanner, at Stockfield Road, although by 1890 he had moved to Amington House on Tanyard Lane.
In 1890 there is only a Mrs Rabone listed on Stockfield Road. The Census of next year has a Jane Holloway as Head with various Rabones, her children, with her. Stockfield Farm is occupied by a widow, Kate Cooper. There is no mention of Stockfield Hall, but in 1896 the directory shows Stockfield Hall as occupied by John Frazer. In 1901 the Census describes him as a manufacturer of bedsteads, fenders, fire brasses etc. Stockfield House still has Jane Holloway and the Rabones. John Frazer’s will is online at