THEN & NOW on the Outer Circle – stage 33

The bus is now going down Lordswood Road and on the left we will see the Old House at Home pub. This is the second “House at Home” on this site, there was an older one here from before when the Outer Circle buses started running in 1926. It seems that the landlord here between the wars was a Harry Calver who had been the first manager of “The Tower of Varieties” which became the Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre. The pub is not particularly remarkable, but we will refer to it later in our journey.

Off to the left after the Old House at Home is Carless Avenue, along which is the Moor Pool Estate. This was established in 1907 by John Nettlefold, of Guest Keen Nettlefold, a familiar name now in the form of GKN.

The Moor Pool Estate was part of the Garden City concept shared by the Cadbury family, to provide low density housing centred on a community hall with many green spaces, at a time when the majority of inner-city housing was crowded back-to-backs.

As we approach Harborne we might like to reflect upon the fact that rural Harborne was a centre for the growing of gooseberries. In fact, the Gooseberry Growers’ Society annual dinner was held at the Green Man pub in Harborne High Street from 1815 for over a hundred years.

On the right as we enter Harborne you’ll see the Swimming Baths, which originally opened in 1923 They are still there, but now fronted by a more modern building.

About 200 yards away along Harborne High Street is another “At-Risk” building – the old Royalty Cinema, which became a bingo hall and has since been empty since 2012. It has a magnificent Art Deco interior. On the 19th of September 2018 The Royalty suffered a major fire which is being regarded as arson. The main auditorium is now gutted.

The Outer Circle bus now turns out of Lordswood Road into Harborne Park Road, and if one blazing Harborne building is not enough, here’s another one. At the junction there was a pub that was originally called the Kings Arms. This was re-named the Huntsman a few years ago when owned by a hairdresser. Afterwards the roof caught fire – could he have left his curling tongs plugged in?

The derelict building became unsafe and a block of flats has now been built on the site. To their credit the developers have created a building that may reflect memories of the old Kings Arms.

Ex-Birmingham bus no 2847 (the rare one with platform doors), turning out of Lordswood Road on the Hagley Road c1972

Lordswood Road c 1930s

Lordswood Road – looking towards Harborne – June 2016 (don’t say there aren’t enough trees)

Ye Old House at Home – Harborne c1895

Ye Old House at Home – Lordswood Road, Harborne c1920s

The new, Old House at Home c1930s

The Old House at Home c1980s

The Old House at Home – 2017

Margaret Grove – Moor Pool estate c1930s

Margaret Grove – Moor Pool estate c2018

The Circle – Moor Pool estate 1935

The Circle – Moor Pool estate – 2019

The tennis courts & pavilion – Moor Pool Estate – c1930s

The tennis courts & pavilion – Moor Pool Estate – 2018

Harborne Swimming baths c1960s

Harborne Swimming baths – 2012

The Royalty Cinema (as a bingo hall) – late 1960s

Interior of the Royalty Cinema

The Royalty Cinema on fire in 2018

The Kings Arms on the corner of High Street and Harborne Park Road – 2011

The Kings Arms, became “The Huntsman” – on fire in 2015

The remains of the Huntsman – 2015

The flats that have been built on the Kings Arms site

Bus no 2 (later renumbered 73) with solid tyres at the junction of Albert Road & War Lane in Harborne in 1922 – it is on the route no 11 before this became part of the Outer Circle four years later