B.14

BIRMINGHAM…….B14

KINGS HEATH & DISTRICT

HISTORY

ALCESTER LANES END

©  COLIN BAKER   2007                                                                                       

Alcester Lanes End became the terminus of the tramway when the line was extended from Kings Heath in 1906, and a number of  shops were built around the area of the Kings Arms public house. The area became known as “The Knob” although I have been unable to find the origin of this name.

There was a dog racing stadium at Alcester Lanes End and meetings there were very popular events.

The land, an area of ten acres was purchased in 1923 by members of the Kings Heath Horse Show committee, who formed a shareholders company and named the venture ‘Kings Heath Horse Show and Recreation Ground Limited’. The Society was formed in 1899, and held its first show in the form of a parade. Led by a silver band, the parade took the five mile route from Kings Heath Station Wharf and progressed up the High Street to Parsons Yard (later to be known as the site of Kingsway Cinema) continuing into Vicarage Road and came to an end at Kings Norton Green. Eyewitness reports say that the crowds were two deep on both sides of the road for the whole of the route with people waiting to watch the spectacular site of the two hundred horses, ponies and trade turnouts.  A wide range of horses were used in the area, mainly to draw tradesmen’s delivery vehicles owned by the Railway or Breweries. In the early 1900’s the parade developed into a horse show and was held in the grounds of Highbury Hall, the home of Neville Chamberlain.  His stepbrother Austen Chamberlain was the first president and was often seen at the show wearing a home grown Orchid. After four successful years the show transferred to The Priory in Vicarage Road, the home of Major J Howard Cartland, who became the second president of the society.  By 1923 the show had moved to the Alcester Lanes End site . As well as the annual horse show many other sports were catered for, the ground was converted for Greyhound racing in May 1926.  This lease was taken over by H Leo Craven in 1936 and he and his associate Herbert Mansfield were both invited to join the horse show committee. In June 1932 it was reported “ between three and four thousand people attended the 29th Annual Show, which took place on Whit Monday, despite the unfavourable weather the attendance, and the standard of entries was on the high plane usually associated with this event”. From 1944 the subsequent war time shows were an enormous success with the attendance’s over 8,000, the turnstiles were forced to close early for safety reasons and thousands of pounds raised was donated to charity. In 1949 the Greyhound racing company bought the freehold of the ground and a Trust was set up by the original shareholders enabling the show to continue with a long lease on Whit Mondays, with a cash balance of £2,241 7s 2d. The Kings Heath Horse Show Society moved from the site in the 1965, and purchased a 22 ½ acre site in Tithe Barn Lane, Earslwood and exchanged for the Lease. The Society continues to hold horse shows to this day, details can be seen on their website.

In January 1933 the South Stand, built May the previous year, caught fire during the night, and despite the Fire Brigade’s efforts was completely destroyed. The Birmingham Gazette reported that the fire which had started on the evening of Friday 6th January, had caused damage which would cost thousands to repair.

Dog racing continued until 1971 when, following the last meeting on the 31st March, it closed and the land was sold for housing it is now the location of Wynfield Gardens.

The tram terminus outside the Kings Arms, better known locally              as “The Knob”

This garage is on the corner of Woodthorpe Road / Alcester Road dated about 1910.There is still a garage there today

 

At the junction of Taylor Road, opposite the garage was the fruit & veg. shop of A.J.Carter shown here c1925.

My grand father Arthur is the driver of this tram at the Alcester Lanes End terminus. Date about 1920

Before and after the demolition of the Co-Op building, ( Branch 13 ) it is now a Tesco Express

Damage caused by fire at the Dog Race Track in Jan. 1933