THEN & NOW on the Outer Circle – stage 18

From the Fox and Goose, if you were to follow Washwood Heath Road off to the left for almost a mile you’ll find Wallbank Road on the right. This was the entrance to the drive to Ward End Hall. Yes, Ward End had its own hall, and one of the remaining gateposts was there at the junction until it was hit by a vehicle around 2008. The lodge of Ward End Hall was on the small piece of grassy land near here. Various members of the Hutton family (related to William Hutton, the famous Birmingham historian), lived for a number of years in the Hall, which was built by Isaac Spooner in 1710. In 1749 it was sold to Abraham Spooner. By 1817 it was occupied by relatives of William Hutton, who in his “History of Birmingham” mentioned a previous building there as a castle with three moats. During the early part of the 20th Century the hall was lived in by the Chevase family, and later a Mr Dowling, but eventually it became empty and fell into disrepair and was demolished at the end of the Second World War.

There were two statues on the roof, known locally as Tom and Jack (Thomas Pitmore and Jack Hammond), who were allegedly soldiers. They were hung on Washwood Heath for sheep stealing, highway robbery and murder. The hall stood on land between where Northleigh Road and Ward End Hall Grove are now.

On the other side of Washwood Heath Road, about 250 yards away from the site of Ward End Hall is Ward End Park House, which has been known as is known by many different names; Ward End Park House, Ward End House, or The White House.  Its exact age is not known and there are varying accounts of when it was built, but probably, late 18th or early 19th century. The earliest known residents were the Marshall family. George Marshall was in banking. His son, George William, was born there on the 19th April 1839.  The property was sold in 1884 to Fredrick Gwyther, the electro plate manufacturer.  Their family motto (Dum Vivinus Vivanimus: While we live let us live) is still on the oak surround of a fire-place on the ground floor.  The 1845 plan shows a different shape to 1759, indicating it was most likely rebuilt. It was sold to Birmingham Corporation in 1903 with 11 acres, and since then it has had many uses.  From 1939 it was leased as refreshment rooms and in 1941 was a divisional HQ for the Fire Service. During WWII it was used by the Home Guards and as a barrage balloon unit.

Anyway, back to the Fox & Goose and let’s set off up Bromford Lane.


Junction of Wallbank Road and Washwood Heath Road – 2008. You can see the gatepost to the drive to Ward End Hall next to the road sign

Junction of Wallbank Road and Washwood Heath Road – 2010. You can see that the gatepost to the drive to Ward End Hall has been removed. This was the entrance to the drive to Ward End Hall and there was a gate lodge sited off to the left

Ward End Hall – 1930s.

The statues of Jack & Tom on the roof of Ward End Hall

Ward End Hall c1900

Ward End Park House (not to be confused with Ward End Hall!). This stands in Ward End Park and is still there.

Ward End Park House – probably around the 1930s. That is a weighing machine to the left of the front door.

Ward End Park House from the side showing the glasshouses..

Ward End Park House c2012.

Birmingham Corporation’s last working horse towing a mowing machine in Ward End Park.