THEN & NOW on the Outer Circle – stage 39

As we continue north along Vicarage Road, on our right is the Grade II Listed Ye Olde Red Lion public house. Built in 1903 this was probably the first Birmingham ‘reformed’ pub, part of a movement to replace the small street-corner drinking dens with public houses where a man and wife could drink and eat in respectable surroundings.

Now, if you plan to take this tour by car you need to turn right after the pub to avoid Kings Heath village centre as there is no right turn at the end of Vicarage Road – if you’re on the bus stick with us!

On the left is Kings Heath House in Kings Heath Park. Built in 1908 this replaced the original building, which was destroyed by fire during riots in 1791. The Birmingham Horticultural Training School has been housed here for over 50 years. Part of the park has been used in the past by the BBC for gardening programmes, but of course the BBC doesn’t think Birmingham exists any more!

At the end of Vicarage Road on the left we can see the new Kings Heath Square, which has been created out of land at the end of the road and the churchyard of All Saints Church. All Saints opened over a hundred and fifty years ago!

Who remembers these subterranean toilets on the traffic roundabout just here?

On the roundabout was an unusual lamp post. This was powered by sewer gas, although by the 1950s it seemed to be out of use. However more recently it has be converted to run off electricity.

The bus now takes a right turn onto Alcester Road South, then turns left into Addison Road. This becomes Brook Lane and on the right is The Billesley Arms, which was built in 1927.

Opposite the Billesley Arms is Moseley Golf Course and following WW2 as many as 45 prefabs were built on the edges of the course. This is one of about 10 prefab sites on the Outer Circle. These here had all been demolished by the mid 1960s and the land handed back to the golf club.

At this junction the Outer Circle bus would have originally turned left to go down Coldbath Road but it is extremely narrow so about 30 years ago the number 11 was diverted straight on along Brook Lane to head towards Yardley Wood Road. There it turns left along the side of Swanshurst Park.

Ye Olde Red Lion Kings Heath (The architect CE Bateman’s sketch)

Ye Olde Red Lion – Kings Heath – 1935

The Red Lion – Kings Heath – August 2018

Kings Heath House – 1911

Kings Heath House – 2018

All Saints Church – Kings Heath – 1911

Kings Heath Square – All Saints Church – March 2019

The junction of Vicarage Road and Alcester Road – 1906

The junction of Vicarage Road and Alcester Road – 2018

Image may contain: tree, sky and outdoor The public conveniences at the junction of Vicarage Road & Alcester Road – 1932 – with the sewer gas powered lamp post.

The sewer gas powered lamp post in Kings Heath, c1960s (by now out of use).

Kings Heath Square with All Saints and the old sewer gas lamp post on the left, which has now been converted to run on electricity.

Ex- Birmingham bus no 2847 on Alceester Road South, with All Saints church to the left – c1972

The original Billesley Arms c1924

An Outer Circle bus passing the Billesley Arms – 1930s

Birmingham bus 2847 (again!) outside the Billesley Arms – c1969. Prefabs can be seen in the distance between the lamp post & the bus shelter

Ex-Birmingham bus 3018 with the driver giving his passengers a thrilling ride at the roundabout by the Billesley Arms – c1972

The Billesley Arms in 2017

Prefabs at the junction of Coldbath Road & Brook Lane – c1964

Coldbath Road in the 1950s

Coldbath Road – 2018