THEN & NOW on the Outer Circle – stage 16

We now cross the River Cole for the second time. There was reference to a bridge here in the fifteenth century, however there may have been one there earlier. There was, on the left beyond the bridge, one of the River Cole’s 16 mills – Stechford Mill. It was a corn mill belonging to the deErdington family and was in use until around 1830. Its last use was as a paper mill. There were still traces of the mill’s foundations as late as 1960, but all traces have now been cleared. Two pools in parkland to the northwest of the river are still there where the millpool was.

In fact, the area both sides of the river are a flood plain, which has been designated as green belt. The River Cole valley is known as the Kingfisher Country Park and along the river kingfishers and herons are a common sight, feeding on fish in the river. Water voles and mink are both associated with the river and, more recently, otters have been recorded at the lower reaches of the Cole.

ELO, or Electric Light Orchestra, was launched in 1970 and grew out of the 1960s Birmingham group The Move (as in Flowers in the Rain – the first record played on radio 1 in 1967). ELO used a mix of guitar & drums with a classical string section. ELO was formed by Roy Wood (he of the wild hair) and Jeff Lynne, who was born & bought up in a council house at 368 Shard End Crescent, about 1½ miles away to the east. As with many of our pop heroes, Jeff Lynne now lives in California.

It is worth noting that the ELO song “All Over the World” contains the words:
“London, Hamburg, Paris, Rome,
Rio, Hong Kong, Tokyo,
L.A., New York, Amsterdam,
Monte Carlo, Shard End and …..”
So – fame for Shard End at last!

The bus now takes us up Stechford Lane to the Fox & Goose – at long last another bit of dual carriageway that was actually completed.

The bridge over the River Cole at Stechford – 1889

Bridge over the River Cole at Stechford – c1900

Bridge over the River Cole at Stechford – March 2019

The new bridge at Station Road, Stechford over the River Cole under construction – a temporary footbridge is in the background – June 2019

The new bridge bring built over the River Cole on Station Road, Stechford – December 2019

Kingfisher Country Park

Station Road Stechford, at the foot of the photograph, looking west along the River Cole. There seems to be work taking place to widen the roadway here (mid 2019). The bridge over the Cole is in the bottom left corner – towards the top is one of the two pools remaining from Stechford Mill. The roundabout at the foot of Stechford Lane is at the bottom right.

ELO (“Out of the Blue” artwork) – 1977

Roy Wood

Jeff Lynne

368 Shard End Crescent – Jeff Lynne’s home (at one time)

Stechford Lane shops – 1961

Stechford Lane shops – October 2018

Stechford Lane looking up towards the Fox and Goose – October 2018