THEN & NOW on the Outer Circle – stage 34

Further down Harborne Park Road, on our right is Old Church Road and along here we would find Harborne Hall.

This was once home to a succession of notable families including Walter Chamberlain, brother to Joseph Chamberlain and members of the WT Avery family remembered for their weighing machines. The hall became a convent and is now used as a conference centre.

Further along the same road there is St Peter’s Church, parts of which date from the 14th century and the church school, which is grade two listed.

At the bottom of Harborne Park Road, on the left, once stood the Golden Cross pub, also known over the years as The Lazy Fox and the Florence and Firkin. This became notorious in 2002 when two men were killed in separate incidents. The first in April involved a man standing outside being run over by a car and this was regarded as murder. In November a man died after being punched during an altercation, in this case the verdict was manslaughter. It comes as no surprise that the Golden Cross closed in 2006 and it was demolished in 2011. A block of students flats now stand on the site.

In the distance on the left you can see the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital building above the trees. This now houses most of the activities from the old QE & Selly Oak Hospitals including the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine which has the largest single-floor critical care unit in the world, with 100 beds. When new, the hospital cost a total of £545 Million pounds, it has 1,213 patient beds, 30 operating theatres and 3,800 car parking spaces (but you still can’t find anywhere to park!).

The original Queen Elizabeth Hospital was opened about 80 years ago and stands on land donated by the Cadbury family.

The Outer Circle now goes up the hill to where a new roundabout called Harborne Island is located. If you look to the left you’ll see the new Selly Oak By-pass, known as The Aston Webb Boulevard, which was opened in 2011.

As you look left down the By-Pass you can see the University Clock Tower.

Built in 1900, the clock tower was the tallest building in Birmingham for 69 years and is nicknamed “Old Joe” after Joseph Chamberlain, the University’s first Chancellor. At almost 300 feet, it is said to be the tallest free-standing clock tower in the world.

St Peter’s Church – Harborne – c1965

St Peter’s Church lychgate- Harborne – c1920s

St Peter’s Church lychgate- Harborne – 2018

Harborne Hall – 1960s

Harborne Hall – c2018

St Peter’s Church School – 1965

St Peter’s Church School – 2019

Golden Cross pub in September 1961

The Golden Cross – Harborne – closed in 2006 and demolished in 2011

The Golden Cross site – now Metchley Hall (student flats) – March 2019

Queen Elizabeth Hospital c2016

The Original Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Birmingham University campus – 1920s

Birmingham University clock tower – “Old Joe”

Birmingham University clock tower – “Old Joe” in 2003

The tallest free standing clock tower in the world – Birmingham University clock tower – “Old Joe”