New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

Exciting news from Bells Farm, Druids Heath, Birmingham

Posted March 25th, 2010 by Birmingham Conservation Trust with 83 Comments
Bells Farm in 1969 - photo by Phyllis Nicklin from the Bimringham University Archive

Bells Farm in 1969 - photo by Phyllis Nicklin from the Birmingham University Archive

Dave Thomas, one of our volunteers has sent us this update which I thought we would share with you:

Iā€™m really interested in old buildings and the work that Birmingham Conservation Trust does. I am a chartered building surveyor and I volunteered at Birmingham Conservation Trust (BCT). I was lucky enough to attend a recent meeting at Bells Farm with BCT, The Spearhead Trust (who use the existing part of the building for their valuable community activities) and Nick Joyce Architects LLP for initial discussions on the future restoration plans for the property.

The rear wing of this very special Grade II* listed, 17th century, timber framed farmhouse was seriously damaged by fire over 20 years ago and BCT have been asked to carry out an Options Appraisal to identify costs to restore it and a sustainable use to ensure its future. This is being done over the next few months and should lead to a bright new future for Bells Farm.

Which sort of sums up where we are at the moment.

83 Responses to “Exciting news from Bells Farm, Druids Heath, Birmingham”

  1. Pauline Strachan nee Knight April 5, 2016

    My sister Jennifer and I lived at 25 Wilsford Road and our garden backed on to the Chin Brook. Across the road lived the Lawrence’s , Paces, Parkers, Brooks and Clealands and our side were the Riggs, Butlers, Eatons, us the Knights, Beatlestones, I can’t recollect the next two as they had no children and at the end were the Jonses and she was French. We had an idyllic childhood running wild with the other children doing bashes across the brook,catching fish collecting wood for bonfire night and building dens. We went to Sunday school at the Primary school and the teachers were Mr & Mrs. Skene Smith. I remember the coronation well as we had a fancy dress parade and my dad took a photo of all the children in the street, I still have a copy of the programme and would like to download photos including an aerial shot of the prefabs and the Maypole, cinema and the Cartland arms that I found on the Internet but this site seems to only allow comments. I started Bells Lane Primary in 1951 and I remember Carol and Frankie Capper being in my class also Vicky Burford and Joyce Pace. My mother was from Aberdeen and she was a hairdresser at the shops befor training as a school cook, we moved back to Scotland when I was 13. I remember many of the children and adults mentioned in the comments and my sister, who is 3 years my senior and I have great pleasure remembering the happy days living in the prefabs.

    Reply

  2. Graham Freer July 13, 2015

    Perhaps no-one remembers me then?

    Reply

    • Mike Davies July 29, 2015

      Graham
      I feel that I should remember you, but I do need some help, if possible
      I lived at 122 Druids lane and went to Bells Lane School from 1948 to 1954. Great days, with Mr Pascoe the head master.
      Where did you live on the estate ?
      I think the prefabs we lived in at the top of the estate were known as English, whilst the other sloping roof prefabs we knew as American. I went out with a girl called Pat Grabowski in the 1950`s who lived near Terry Lock and Ian Morrow; both of whom were in my class. As was Alan Cowan and June ( ? ) Margaret Parrish and many more.

      Reply

      • Graham Freer July 29, 2015

        Hello Mike Davies,
        I’m from the generation labelled ‘de-mob’ babies, as are many of my age.Most of ‘us’ had elder brother’s or sister’s. Some, the lucky ones’, went to grammar school – my eldest brother attended KIngs Norton Grammar on Northfield Road – those that didn’t were a year or so in front of my lot (ho!). For example; Ian Morrow was/is the elder brother of Jonny Morrow who I can remember and was in my class. Terry Lock (friends of the Adams) I remember although didn’t know. Margaret Parish, who lived more or less next door was of the ‘elder folk’ I mention. There were others: Susan Possy; Hopkins; …….I lived in Stapleford Road, in the ‘tin prefabs’…fond memories…….Thank you.

        Reply

        • Mike Davies September 9, 2015

          Thanks for your reply.
          Graham Freer
          You mentioned Ian Morrow, elder brother of John, Margaret Parrish and Susan Possey. I was in their class, throughout my years at Bells Lane School, being born in 1943. We both went on to Moseley School of Art when we were 13 years. I assume, therefore, that you were a few years younger than me. Other kids in my class were Roger Gee, Alan Cowen, David Jones Carol Lucas who later married David Whiteside, and a girl called Betty ( cannot remember her surname ) In the year before me were David Whiteside Frank Howling and Graham Glancy. In the year below, Kenny Barnett Kenny Barton who went to Australia in the early 1960`s Margaret Howling Freddie Glancy
          One thing I ask all the people I meet from the estate is about the aerial photograph in Mr Pascoe`s office. It was of the complete prefab estate, and I would dearly love to get a copy, somehow,…… any thoughts ?.

          Reply

          • Graham Freer January 26, 2016

            Hi Mike Davies, appears I’ve left this reply lapse a little. Still, yes, you are from the older classes, as it were; a couple of years in front. As I say, Susan Possey and Margret Parish I can remember and they were of your age group.Susan lived across the road next to my mate Robert Davis, his elder brother named Chris was my elder brothers mate and, Margret lived in the prefab at the bottom of our garden, end on.

        • Ann Harrison formerly Watts October 6, 2017

          hi Graham
          I have just discovered this site and am sharing some of my memories.
          I remember your family as I lived at 46 Stapleford Road, I lived next door to the Smiths and on the other side the Broomes. I am a year younger than Margaret Parish and Susan Possy but used to play with them. I also remember the Davies family and the Hopkins. My prefab backed onto the fields near the Brook and the bridge.
          I also remember Mr Pascoe, Miss Bushell and Miss Dunsby. Although we had very little money it was a very happy time there. We lived there from 1946/7 when they were new until 1952 when we moved to Hall Green. I also remember the mobile greengrocer used to come around and had rabbits for sale hanging inside the van. We had some extremely hot summers while was living there and the metal in the prefabs became very hot it was really uncomfortable inside and at night as it contracted it made lots of noise and sheared the rivets in the roof causing it to leak when it rained, and the prefab became damp and cold in the winter.

          Ann

          Reply

          • Vicki Cox October 10, 2017

            Hi Ann,
            Thanks for sharing your memories. If you lived in a prefab then you might be interested in joining our Friends of the Wake Green Road Prefabs mailing list. We are currently undertaking a scoping scheme to investigate possible futures for the buildings. If you would like me to add you to the mailing list then drop me a line at vicki@birminghamconservationtrust.org You might also like to get in touch with the Prefab Museum who are always on the lookout for images, memories and information about life in prefabs across the UK. You can reach them on prefabmuseum@gmail.com

    • Terence Booth July 2, 2016

      Hi Graham

      Just come across your posts . Was wondering if you remember the Booth family who lived at 56 Winterbourne Cresent which was directly in front of your home , as we remember you . I remember the kindness your mom and dad showed to my mother Phylis Booth,as my father lost his life in the last week of the Second World War., and my mother was raising two boys myself Terry and my brother Colin I would love to hear from you to reminisce .
      I have included my email as my daughter worked out how to contact you on here.

      Best wishes

      Terry

      Reply

  3. Josie bruen ne Rogers April 15, 2015

    This is for Robert Jennings I’m Josie my sister is Jackie my dad was Michael and mom was rose ur mom pat and dad Jim were friends with us in bells lane and we went to bells lane school in the 50s and 60s I used to go to see ur mom and dad in naford Grove maypole but lost touch hope u can remember us u had 3 brothers Philips Russell and Stephen

    Reply

  4. Peter Foster March 30, 2015

    Hi Julia Parish, Brian Sheasby and Neville Holt.
    Julia, my brother Barry was in your class at Bells Lane and I remember Mr Coles taking us to Cwmbran for a day to meet our pen friends. We each went back to penfriends for dinner then we all met and walked up a hill/mountain nearby before coaching back home.
    Brian and Neville were in my class at Bells Lane too. Brian were you with Villa? I know Neville and Pete Watson went to France.

    Reply

  5. Peter Foster March 24, 2015

    My brother Barry and me used to walk round to Bells Farm from our prefab in Oatlands Rd to buy eggs. We would climb the backdoor step and knock. The farmers wife would open door and we would stand on the step while she brought the eggs to us. The house looked massive inside to us and very dark. I recall a niche in the wall on the right and in it stood an early black Candlestick Telephone.
    Years later when I made friends with the girls from Bells Farm I would go into the front room which I think had a dirt floor and large fireplace.
    I have a photo somewhere of us playing on front lawn behind those large gates. It was the twins birthday I think.

    Reply

    • Simon hookes July 6, 2015

      Hi peter I am roger Hookes brother Simon I was born in 43 Stonehenge rd we then moved onto primrose hill where I lived opposite your mom who was friends with Mrs Andrews

      Reply

      • Peter Foster August 21, 2015

        Hi Simon,
        I remember all your family. My brother Barry who is a farmer was friends with Richard who I think went into farming too? I was same age as Roger and used to call at your prefab with Kevan Parker.
        My friend Liz Scott worked with Roger at Cadburys I recall.
        Happy carefree days.

        Reply

  6. Peter Foster March 24, 2015

    Hi, my name is Peter Foster and I have just stumbled across this site.
    I was born at 10, Oatlands Rd, in 1949 and left when the prefabs were vacated and demolished.
    Very very happy childhood living “in the country” and making lots of local mates.
    My elder brother is Barry, we both went to Bells Lane Primary school.
    My first teacher in introductory class was Mrs Fowler, she later left and worked at the new school, Broadmeadow with our ex Headmaster Mr.Pascoe. Mrs Fowler lived opposite Broadmeadow on Bells Lane and had adopted son Simon.

    Other teachers at Bells Lane were
    Mr. Hancocks headmaster after mr Pascoe left.
    Miss (Pat) Brown, later to become Mrs Peach.
    Miss Busher, deputy head
    Miss Dunsby
    Mrs Watson (The Granny from Giles cartoon) lol
    Mrs Possey was secretary
    Mr Coles the welsh guy

    My mom worked at school too, initially in kitchens and also teaching assistant.

    I read Jimmy Frazers comment. Jim I met your younger sister here in Wales a while back! Your sister Diane used to come visit my mom at our prefab a lot.
    Robert Jennings I was in your class at school.
    I remember Foxalls, Smiths on corner by phone box, Powells, Harris, Holloway, gaskin, Whitehouse, Wades, Chappel, Cunningham (Bunny was my bros mate), Edwards, Gill Holt, Hockings, Wallbridges, Nightingale, Kev Parker (RIP), RogerHooks, Malc Cleland, Beatlestone, Jill and John Andrews(cousins), Shepherds lived opposite Nurse Munn. Carol Kesterton, joan Littlewood and sisters, christine Berringer, Kay Hallam, The Vestys. Fletchers, Mrs Shaw offlicence, Mr Giles sweet shop next to Frazers prefab.Pountneys, Jen Whittam, Brian Keach, brian Kenny…….I am running out of memory lol.

    Me, Kay Hallam and Chris Berringer used to play with the three daughters at Bells Farm, Elder girl was disabled and then twin sisters.
    My bro was mate of Pete Warren and I hung round with David Warren (Moseley Rugby and Married Jackie Blackburn) also Kenny Bennett from Bennetts Landscaping at Maypole.
    Remember Ken Davis the Blacksmith and the news agents next to Forge on Maypole Island, my mom worked there part time.
    So many memories, thanks to the previous contributers.

    Reply

    • Julia lewis (nee Parish) March 27, 2015

      Hi, all these memories have come flooding back…..
      I do not think we were in the same class, but I remember some of the people you mention.
      Particularly the teachers!
      I remember Miss Busher was handy with the ruler across the knuckles!
      Mr Cole took us on a day trip to Wales to meet our pen friends . I remember feeling sick all the way back!
      Mr Hancock the headmaster.
      Miss fowler in the reception class. I found a photo recently I will try and find it out to post on here if possible.
      I also remember eggs from the farm. I also remember everyone had a ‘pigbin’ for food waste, then collected by the pig farm for pigswill!!! Yuk!
      It was a long walk go the bus stop, I remember that well. I also remember the blacksmith on the way go the Maypole.
      Happy Days!

      Reply

      • Neville Holt March 30, 2015

        Hi all,
        great to have all the names and i can add : Gretton, Field, Underhill, Cox, Farrel, Nicolls and Willy. Most of us were moved to the Maypole and went to Brandwood.Ihave found certain on facebook.
        I remember spending hours at and wadling in the brook and going to the flea pit at the Maypole on saturday mornings.
        Lots went to Australia, Nicolls,Gil Holt…..etc

        Reply

    • Leanne July 4, 2015

      Hi Peter
      I currently have quite a lot to do with Bells farm and am looking into restoring the gardens to what they used to be. I see in your post you may have a photo of the garden behind the front gates could you possibly email that to me at all?
      Kind regards
      Leanne

      Reply

    • Mike Davies July 29, 2015

      Just read your comments on Druids Lane area.
      I also went to Bells Lane school. I went there when it first opened and stayed until 1954 went I then went to Wheelers Lane and then Brandwood.
      The teachers I remember were Mr Pascoe, Head teacher, Mr Kimberley, Miss Dunsby and the assistant head, who names escapes me, but always smelt, no reeked, of lavender perfume., was it Bushell ?. I also remember the caretaker Mr Skinner who whenever the school held a play or whatever, would paint superb back drops on the stage. He went on with another teacher to form the schools Art Club. I was invited onto that, as so were a girl called Betty Box, sister to David, Ian Morrow who went on to Moseley Art School and David Jones. There were more, of course, but “oh, my memory”
      I lived at the top end of Druids Lane, nearer the Maypole. In our area I remember Val Carey, a lad called William Clark John Chiswell The Hodges family who farmed at the start of Druids Lane, as opposed to the Warrens who farmed opposite the blacksmiths at the very start of Druids Lane. Mrs Vesty who were replaced by the Smith Family, Graham and Freddie Glancy, Nigel Lord Frank Howling and sisters who all emigrated to Oz. Roger Barton, who`s family also went to Oz, Pauline Watson, Ken and Roger Barnett Roger Sutton David and Phillip Whiteside who married close neighbour Carol Lucas. Oh the list just goes on and on.
      One thing I do remember, and would love the chance to buy a copy, is the ariel photograph of the prefab estate on Mr Pascoe`s wall in his headmasters study.

      Reply

    • Graham Freer October 26, 2015

      Well,maybe you don’t remember me? Did you live opposite Jennifer Hacket? (I wonder how she is?). I recall all the names you give and stii remember those days. Wouldn’t it be good if all, if able, were to have a reunion??

      Reply

    • Paul Wallbridge August 1, 2016

      Hi Peter,

      Have just read some of your memories from the past on Bells Lane estate. I remember you well and your mother who used to be Dinner Supervisor at the School, she was always on at me to eat my shoe leather ( Roast Lamb?)! Happy days indeed.

      We were the first family to be moved off the estate to enable the new development to begin

      Hope you are well

      Best wishes

      Paul

      Reply

  7. graham freer March 23, 2015

    Hello, Graham Freer formerly of 37 Staleford road, and have posted here previously. Just would like to, if I may and memory doesn’t let me down: stating from Winterboune cresent end and going down Stapleford road towards the roundabout (island by the mid-wifes’) on the right side from Pete Turners was Michael and brother ??; then Derrick Brindley’s relations, (the male used to have a BOND 3wheeler); unknown; Robert Davies; Possys; Jacky and Jill Halt; Hockings; Brindleys; unknown and then the mid-wife.
    On the left side from The Poutneys; Freers (mine: end on to road prefab; Parishes, set on it’s own then on to an alley way type and I can only recall the Adams’s.
    Across from the mid-wife was Elizabeth Wall; the Rowley’s and now the memory fails.
    Moving from the Poutney’s on towards the shops, (Giles’s etc) next were the Harvey’s, unknown and the the James’s Over the road were the Morrows’ Shaws (who owned the pop shop); the Morrows, Cunningham’s and the Fletcher’s. Further up were the Grundy’s and David Brown. Then on up to Susan Harris (her friend Sandra ?), the Powel’s; Phoxall’s Richardson’s.
    Over the other side of the brook were the likes of David Lawrence, Michel Jones; the Hook’s, Jennifer Hacket, Barbera Shakespear; Terry Parker; The Mynette’s(peter?) (?) ; Gregory ?; My teachers were Miss Stokes, Miss Busher and Miss Dunsby. Had both Headmaster’s: Mr. Pascoe and Mr. Hancock.
    Apologies for missing some folk out. Have many good memories fro Bells Lane etc and each time I watch the Likley Lads program it reminds me of those times. Pity it has all gone in the way that it did.
    Anyway, hope it’s ok for me to write all this here and, perhap’s it may help someone….
    Thank you. Graham Freer

    Reply

  8. Dean Harrison February 16, 2015

    Hi All
    I have only just stumbled across this site and it very interesting reading all the comments
    I was born on Druids Heath and lived there till I was 28 lots of memories of the place
    The Name of the farm house that Carl was referring to was Kingswood Farm it was situated about 300 yards from Druids lane and was knocked down in the early 1970s and left as a pile of rubble for many years
    I remember when we were kids we found a way into a cellar area but we got caught down there and shortley after it was filled in rubble
    The Tank ramps were a short distance from the house and as kids we were often found playing in the fields around there
    Just about 400 yards down from the house was another small building and a large circular wall around 3 or 4 courses of bricks filled with white stones I assume it was some type of water filtration the building next to it had been knocked down and was full of water . As kids this was one form of our entertainment catching the frogs and newts in there
    I hope this helps
    Dean Harrison

    Reply

    • Kim Taylor May 2, 2015

      Hi Dean, I have fond memories too of exploring the fields as a child and always wondered what the old brick foundations were from. Funnily enough, I decided to take my husband and children exploring over there only yesterday and we visited the old (very overgrown) tank ramps and quickly snatched a photo before being told to leave as it was private property, to which we did out of respect. We also explored the old brick ruins and came across a ditch which led down to an old cellar/air raid shelter under the ground which my children found very exciting so of course we had to take a photograph!

      Reply

  9. Robert Jennings September 11, 2014

    Hello,

    My family lived in one of the prefabs. 47 Orcheston Close.
    We backed onto the playing fields of Bells Lane Primary School

    We were:
    Dad – Jim
    Mom- Pat
    Brothers – Robert, Stephen, Philip and Russell

    Anyone out here that remembers us?
    Be good to hear from you
    B

    Happy days

    Reply

    • Neville Holt March 26, 2015

      Hi Robert,
      I remember you well! We spent years at school together and even lived in Nafford Grove at the Maypole. Lots of time has gone by!!
      I have bien living in France ( Lyon) for the last 40 yrs and i go back to England now and then to see one of my sisters who lives at Hollywood. I have three sisters Evelyn, Janet and Jinny. Do you remember Pete Watson? He came with me to France and we meet often.
      Do you still live at the Maypole? I hope to be there in Sept maybe we could meet I was going to say at the Maypole pub but it’s no longer there!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply

      • Brian Sheasby March 27, 2015

        Hi Neville, yes I remember Pete Watson. His mom used to make the most delicious home made lemon ice lols. Say hello to Pete for me.

        Reply

        • Paul Wallbridge August 1, 2016

          Hi Brian,

          I lived at 22 Stapleford Road

          I remember you well, especially on Friday afternoons when we used to have football games on the field. Anyone who chose you to be in their team was assured that they would win!! Did you go on to paly for the Villa at some point?

          I seem to remember that you lived in Nafford Grove at the Maypole and you lived by Derek Nutt, who in later years played for Moseley Rugby club

          Hope you are well

          Regards

          Paul

          Reply

    • Julia lewis (nee Parish) March 27, 2015

      This is amazing, you have bought back long forgotten memories!
      Neville gave me the link go this site, I have found it most interesting.
      I lived at 43 Orcheston, then 8 Nafford Grove.
      I remember the teachers mentioned…including Miss Busher ( very handy with the ruler across the knuckles I remember).
      Miss fowler first teacher…happy days.
      People I remember in our road , Stephen and Gillian Hack, Linda and Peter Watson. I remember your family toward the bottom of the road.
      We played all day in the streets, woods without a care in the world!
      Happy Days….

      Reply

    • Brian Sheasby March 27, 2015

      Hi Robert – yes I remember you and all your family. You used to live just down the steps from us in Nafford Grove. Happy childhood days playing out together. We were all football and cricket mad. Great bonfire nights all bonkers messing on with bangers and roman candles. I’ve been living down on the south coast since 1981 after a five year stint in the Cotswolds. Say hello to everyone

      Reply

      • Christine Wilson nee Wyatt February 20, 2016

        I remember your family, my sister was friends with your sister Yvonne. We lived in the maisonettes on the other side of the grove next door to the Willys and the Holloways. Bonfire nights were great, a real communal affair! you mention the steps, I remember ‘the stage’ too. Familes I recall: Underhill, Glancy, Nicholls, Whiteside, Willy, Holt, Holloway, Bates, Jennings, Beaver to name a few. Happy days.

        Reply

    • Howard Smith December 13, 2015

      I remember the name but can’t quite picture a face we also lived in Orcheston Close I went to Bell lane in1960 then on to Grendon Rd and finally Brandwood left in 1970. I have Ginger hair if that jogs a memory.

      Reply

    • Christine Wilson nee Wyatt February 20, 2016

      I lived in Nafford grove from 59-74. I remember your family. Your Mum and dad used to drink with the ‘Beavers’. I remember your brother was in my class at Grendon road.

      Reply

  10. Graham Freer March 12, 2014

    Blimey! All the memories come flooding back while reading these posts. I posted in February 2012 and now I notice that the following post – Jim June 2012 – in his memoirs, does mention me; thank you. Nothing to add although on another site, name eludes me just now, there is a photograph of, as it says, ‘the last standing prefab’ during the clearing of the site. What a shame, aye? Thanks.
    Graham (Freer).

    Reply

  11. Adam Savage-Hill December 2, 2013

    As a former pupil at Sir Theodore Pritchett School i vividly remember seeing on the wall in the headmasters office (Mr Griffiths) a large Photograph of the Bells Farm Prefab Estate constructed during WWII by Irish navvies and POW’s, Most of the Prefabs were of the Aluminium version, most of the Roads constructed used names of Wiltshire villages-some of which were kept when the Municipal Estate was built in 1965. I have a copy of this photograph which i obtained from the National Monuments records, Swindon. i have another Ariel Photograph of Sir Theodore Pritchett School taken in 1979, i suspect it was part of a larger picture of the Druids Heath Municipal Estate. the only surviving part of the then-named Bell’s Lane School in situ is the Boiler house and small chimney and parts of the infant school, as the school was expanded upon completion of the Estate in 1965 and named after Sir Theodore in memory of his childhood roaming of the area, unfortunately it seems i cannot post the Photographs here, but would be happy to forward the pictures to this forum’s Admin team. The so-called “Tank Ramp” at Kingswood Farm was part of a Anti-Aircraft (Heavy) Battery, where the Radar unit was fitted onto the ramp to aid with target lock on at enemy aircraft, nearby there were barrack hut accomodation for the crew and operators, the site was abandoned by July 1944 as by then the Luftwaffe was on a purely defensive role, the last air raid over Birmingham was April 1943. I hope this ionformation is of some use here, Best Wishes šŸ™‚

    Reply

    • Suzanne Carter December 2, 2013

      Hi Adam. Would love to see pictures of the prefab estate – so few remaining now in Birmingham! If you can email both images that would be great; I can forward on to those following this post trail. suzannecarterBCT@gmail.com Thanks so much for getting in touch. Best wishes, Suzanne

      Reply

      • Adam Savage-Hill December 2, 2013

        Hi Suzanne,
        Thanks for your reply, i have sent forward the pictures, a real joy finding this forum and have enjoyed reading the posts here bringing back lots memories šŸ˜‰

        Reply

    • Paul Wallbridge August 20, 2014

      Hello Adam,

      I’ve just come across your site and it has brought back wonderful memories of my childhood. I used to live in Stapleford Road and our garden backed on to the Bells Farm Fields.

      I too like many of your contacts can remember the photo of the estate in Mr Hancocks, Head Teacher at Bells Lane Primary.

      I used to spend my summers “Stinger Bashing” and reclaiming milk bottles from the brook and then take them to Mr Giles to get 1d (penny) that I could spend on sweets in his shop then I’d climb the wall at the back of his shop and “Retrieve” more bottles to get more money to spend.

      Do you have a clear photo at all that I could pinpoint the Pre-Fab where I used to live?

      Many Thanks

      Reply

  12. Janet November 26, 2013

    My family were the tenant framers of Bells Farm from 1904/1917. My mother was born in the farm house in 1911. The family name was Amott. I have the 1911 census showing this address.

    Reply

    • Suzanne Carter December 2, 2013

      Hi Janet. Thanks for sharing this link with your family.

      Reply

  13. ANGIE October 2, 2012

    IS THIS WHERE ST JUDES SCHOOL WAS BUILT.

    Reply

    • Suzanne Carter October 10, 2012

      Hi Angie, St Judes Primary school is just off Bells Lane, behind Baverstock School. The school next to Bells Farm is Bells Farm Primary School. Best wishes Elizabeth

      Reply

  14. Berni June 16, 2012

    I’m after if anyone knows if there are any pics of the old barracks or barns on the tank ramp site, i’d love to know what it looked like in it’s prime šŸ™‚

    Reply

  15. Gaynor May 17, 2012

    Hi,Like everyone else came upon this site by accident. I lived in Walkers Heath Road from 1955 until 1975. Opposite where I lived were the football fields then through them the rugby fields. We used to play on them for hours. At the bottom of the fields was Druids Heath where all the prefabs were. I remember playing in the gardens of the empty ones.There was a big half timber framed house on the left which was owned or worked on by the residents of Monyhull Colony. I have a vague recollecion of a church building of some kind on Druids Heath which we thought was haunted. I went to Broadmeadow when Mr Pascoe was the Head Teacher, happy days. The Cartland Arms was still a huge pub and opposite was a parade of shops including a sweet shop, chip shop, greengrocer/butchers and a grocers. Happy days!

    Reply

  16. Berni March 18, 2012

    I was just wondering why my comments were deleted re the tank ramp site?

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Perkins March 23, 2012

      Hi,

      So sorry we have deleted your comments. It was not intended. We have been doing a lot of work on the website over the last few weeks in the background and it must have disappeared as part of the reformatting. If you want to send them again we would be happy to put them up again.

      best wishes, Elizabeth

      Reply

  17. graham February 22, 2012

    Hello,
    Found this site while reminicing…ho-hum.
    I used to live as a child, well, until I was fourteen actually, in a prefab on the site that is Druids Heath. I was a pupil at Bells Lane infant/junior school. I remember this farm very well when it was in full production, so to speak.
    There were two types of prefab: up the hill towards the Maypole were what we called the asbestos type, while at the other end, as it were, were the aluminium type; the type I lived in,
    The brook(chinbrook} runs through the center and I have many memories of going home soaking wet having fell in it loads of times – we (my friends and myself) – used to do what is called ‘bashes’ across it; i.e. jumping across at difficult parts.
    There used to be two wooden bridges at each end – Druids and Bells lane – with woods near by…..I can’t write anymore as too many memories.
    Many say that they should never have been demolished, and I agree; well not at the time they did.(like the railways, I suppose!?). The clearance started with the ‘asbestos, type. I remember it clearly.
    My parants moved nearer to Kings Norton although, some years later, they moved to Druids Heath but on the far side near to the Alcestor road.
    Would be interesting to see/hear if anyone I know/knew visits this site – especially if they attended Bells Lane during the 50’s?
    Thankyou.
    Graham. .

    Reply

    • Jim June 22, 2012

      The prefabs and surrounding area was the most wonderfull place to grow up in.
      Bells Lane school was a pleasant place most of the time, the playgrounds were covered with wicked grit so that when we fell over our knees were ripped to pieces, we were taken to the secretaries office who delighted in washing out the grit with Dettol and then applying Iodine , ouch.
      Just found an old photo of myself at the coronation party held at the school blowing up a balloon, also in the picture is a lad which I think was Johnny Morrow and his older brother, also a lad called Dennis (he lived by the pig bin in Winterbourne Crescent) , also a lad not sure of his first name but his surname was Frear, great memories.
      The head master had an aerial photo of the area in his office.
      The chinn brook was full of gobby’s and sticklebacks , we used to dare each other to wade under the road bridges in Bells Lane and Druids Lane.
      The greenwood in Bells Lane by the Chinnbrook was reported to be haunted and if you ventured in there you would be kidnapped by Gypsies and sold (older peoples way of keeping us out of wood).
      When the hay was baled in the fields down Druids Lane we all used to stack the bales into piles and make forts, ships etc, great fun, the farmer that chased us was not amused.
      Could go on for hours but I will save it for another time.

      Reply

      • Rob March 21, 2013

        I started school in Sep 1951 at Bells Lane, I was 4.
        I believe Mr Pascoe was the Head, my sister had already done two years there.
        We were living in Oaklands Road in a prefab since 1948, which backed onto the farm.
        We moved in October 1951 to a 3 bed house in Ward End.
        Does anyone have a street map of the area as it was in 1950?
        I have seen an ariel photo

        Reply

  18. Sandra atkin February 21, 2012

    Found this site by accident. I lived in a prefab in Bells Lane from 1946. – 1950 and attended Bells Lane school. I remember the German prisoners of war building prefabs and my mother trading coffee for handmade toys which they made out of wood. The blacksmiths, the Maypole grocery shop, gyp sys traveller caravans coming each year to work on the fields are all part of my early memories. I also remember helping on the farm situated off Druids Lane and getting a new laid egg as payment!

    Reply

  19. Ryan October 11, 2011

    hello all,

    could do with some help? i am after any plans of the old farm house down druids Lane by the “Tank Ramps” or HAA Site and if anyone has it a layout of the sewage routes thruogh that area during the time of the farm or HAA Site

    Thanks šŸ™‚

    Reply

  20. Bell’s Farm – result! « Birmingham Conservation Trust August 4, 2011

    […] Farm has always got you talking on this site – as we found with the number of comments on this post alone.Ā  Clearly you all care a great deal about the building and we are really delighted that all our […]

    Reply

  21. bill dinenage June 16, 2011

    Like most of the correspondants I have stumbled acros this website and having lived in the area all my life. We moved to the maypole in 1946 and lived in the house on the corner of Druids Lane and the Alcester Road.The Bookie refered to earlier used to park his car on the wide verge adjacent to our hedge. a detail is that it was a Triumph Renown, the bigger sister to the Mayflower. The farm opposite the end of Crabmill Lane was Maypole Farm and was farmed by Mr Percy Warren but I think owned by Taylor Estates of Birmingham. He moved there just after the 2nd war, and I am sure there is an old 16mm film made by British Railways about the move. Perhaps an avid researcher might be able to unearth this. The farm referred to “over the brow of the first hill in Druids Lane was KIngswood Farm, farmed by Mr Bob Hooper who was also an agricultural contractor. The gun site was part of this farm and access to it was from Crabmill Lane.Although now the site is very overgrown I’m sure the gun foundations will still be there as they were when I was a kid playing over there. The foundations were huge, about 15 feet diameter concrete circles with large 2 inch diameter bolts sticking up.The tank ramps referred to were to give greater elevation to the aircraft tracking equipment used then. For many years the filter beds for the sewage treatment works for the accomodation could be seen in the field adjacent to the no.50 bus terminus in Druids Heath.The area has just gone up for sale but still remains unsold. Any future purchaser will have great fun digging out the foundations, Bob Hooper never bothered because he said it wasnt worth the effort.

    Reply

  22. Lucie Thacker March 29, 2011

    Thank you for all your recollections – they really bring the formerly rural place to life. Good luck in your hunt for old photos and please keep us posted with your updates.

    Reply

  23. Jim Fraser December 16, 2010

    Hi Neil
    There were two bridges over the chin brook, a road and a wooden bridge(pedestrian)on Bells lane and the same on Druids lane, the road from the Druids lane bridge walking into the woods were the remains of an old watermill we spent many hours catching small fish in the small ponds there.
    Coming from the Maypole along Druids lane on the right was a farm (now gone)opposite Crabmill lane (just before were Baverstock school is now built), passing the junction of bells lane/druids lane and staying on druids there is a small farm with an orchard just before the old houses, then a couple of hundred yards on the left was the drive to Warrens farm (tank ramps)my mother and other women off the estate used to go pea picking on warrens farm and travel to the fields on a farm trailer.
    Down Bells lane about 1/4 of a mile from the fork of the road druids/bells and triangulation point on the right hand side used to be an old timber framed cottage (approx were the shops are now and Phoenix pub),this was knocked down about 1957 (should have been preserved).
    At the maypole near the 50 bus terminus on the start of druids lane there was a grocery shop and just behind it was the blacksmiths, I remember helping the blacksmith stoke the forge with coke and being allowed to hammer the red hot metal into shoes and hold the horses whilst he put the new shoes on (the smell of burning hoof still lingers in my memory).
    Unfortunately I have no photographs of the prefabs or surrounding area, apart from some taken at Bells lane school during the coronation party.

    Cheers

    Reply

    • Neil Price December 21, 2010

      Hi Jim

      What great recollections, thank you. Particularly confirming the existance and location of the bridges. None of my family recall them but I knew I hadn’t imagined it even though I must have been very young when they were covered over.

      I’m even more curious now to find some photos of the place pre-Druids Heath

      Thanks again

      Reply

      • David Hicks March 28, 2011

        When I taught at Sir Theodore/The Oaks in Bells Lane we used to have a large aeriel photo of the prefab estate as it was just after the war.Might be worth contacting the school – mention my name!

        Reply

        • Stephen Russell April 12, 2012

          Hello Mr Hicks! You taught me in the late 80’s – you were a great teacher, thank you!

          Reply

          • David Hicks April 24, 2012

            Hello Stephen – you were a great pupil!
            Hope life is going well for you.

        • Craig Spriggs July 8, 2012

          I second the previous comment by Stephen, although you never taught me I always wanted to be in your class. I was in Mr Reynolds’ class (which was an experience in itself). I just remember you being a very approachable and caring teacher. Good luck in your retirement

          Reply

          • David Hicks July 9, 2012

            Hello Craig, Thank you for the good wishes. I remember you and Claire – hope you are well and are enjoying life. I suppose we are both part of the history of STP School!
            When I first started at Sir Theodore in 1974 I taught Karl W. who lived with his family in Bells Farmhouse.

        • Craig Spriggs July 12, 2012

          I very rarely visit Druids Heath as I now live in North Wales, I am very good friends with John Nelder and Lee Warburton who also remember you as being a “superb” teacher. Do you still keep in touch with any of the old teachers? Life is good for me, I live in a lovely part of Wales and I even went to University to study Environmental Science. I have very fond memories of STP (football on the concrete pitch, sports day and the famous cricket ball throw). If only life was that easy and simple now.

          Reply

        • Kim Taylor nee Rees December 5, 2014

          Hi Mr Hicks!
          Just stumbled upon this site looking for information about the old ‘tank ramps’.
          Just wanted to say, thanks for the inspiration, I am now a primary teacher and love to read Michael Morpurgo stories to them. I left STP in 1990, my brother is Lee Rees who left in about 1983 and my mom Margaret was a dinner lady for many years.

          Reply

    • Ann Leach August 8, 2011

      Hello I have just stumbled across this site.
      My Grandparents ran the grocery shop by the Blacksmiths which was knocked down to build the Hollywood bypass. I have a couple of photos and also a painting of the shop which was done by a lady that lived locally.
      They used to have bikes left in the yard behind all day while people went to work on the bus. They also did Tea’s for the bus drivers when the 50 terminus was at the Maypole. My Grandparents names were Lesley and Winifred Haydon and my Mom, Barbara Poulton worked in the shop too. I used to be there all day when I was little and then after school. Nobody else seems to remember the shop so I am glad to see you mention it.

      Reply

      • Lucie Thacker August 8, 2011

        Fantastic! We will pass on all your recollections to the people at Bell’s Farm

        Reply

      • Mike Davies September 9, 2015

        Ann
        Saw your comments on the maypole. I remember the shop you mentioned. Two buses stopped at the terminus, being both the 48 and the 50.
        I also remember the blacksmith, Mr Davis. ( possibly Jim Davis ). Many an hour I spent, seated just inside the doorway while he made shoes for the horses, I can still remember the smells….glorious and the smoke that fizzled as he immersed the new shoe in the cold water. I also remember the people that moved into the very first house after the smithy`s, they were called Bennett and sold Turf Loam etc. They moved into that first house in Druids Lane when the prefab they lived in was burnt to the ground in ( I think ) Winterbourne Crescent.
        So many memories !!

        Reply

  24. Neil Price December 15, 2010

    Hi Jim

    Like you, I have some fabulous memories about growing up in that area but I have only ever known the place as it is now (more or less). I have been trying for ages to find photos of the prefabs and even before they were built (I think it was a Golf Coursew). I knew nothing of the shops and Post Office you mentioned but I do remember the farm buildings with different coloured walls. In fact, I was pointed towards some photographs that might bring back a few memories for you. If you copy and paste the web address below into your address bar and then scroll down I think you’ll find them interesting.

    I also have a vague memory of a small rickety wooden bridge/walkway in front of the farm buildings but the other side of Bells Lane which, presumably, crossed the Chinn Brook. Do you remember it at all?

    Good luck

    http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/view/series/Birmingham=27s_Buildings_and_Urban_Topography.html

    Reply

  25. Jim Fraser December 13, 2010

    As a young lad I grew up in the prefabs that were built between the Cartland Arms and Maypole pubs, sandwiched between Druids lane and Bells lane, as a youth I delivered morning papers to Kingswood farm and tried to avoid the snapping corgis, the tank ramps used to be an anti aircraft and searchlight unit, the old army huts served as temporary housing for homeless families until the prefabs were built.
    We lived in the prefabs from 1947/8 until they were torn down in 1964, I went to Bells lane infant junior school, on the wall in the headmasters office (Mr Pascoe) hung an aerial photo of the estate showing the two types of building building materials, aluminum (majority) and asbestos at the Maypole end of the estate.
    In Bells lane was the Bells farm buildings, amazing place pigsties cattle sheds, the workers on the farm mainly resided in Monyhull Hall hospital.
    There were two blocks of shops, Winterbourne Crescent,( CoOp store and Butchers, also chip shop etc) and Wilsford Road, PO, hardware and news agents.
    Wonderful memories of field,s woods, cows, the chinn brook, coronation party at Bells lane school(not Bells Farm or Pritchard schools)long walks to catch a no 50 or 18 bus, taking bets for my dad to the bookies runners at the Cartland Arms(now Macdonalds)or to Reg in his Triumph mayflower car opposite the blacksmiths at the maypole.
    Happy days.

    Reply

    • Meson March 6, 2011

      My wife as a child lived in the “American” style prefabs in Druids Heath, Maypole lane possibly early fifties but finding archive photos is proving difficult,any prefab photos she has seen are not like the one she lived in…

      Reply

      • Ryan October 8, 2011

        Hello, do you mean the houses that was where sainsburys is now ??

        Reply

    • Mark Crump July 3, 2011

      Hi my Nan, Grandad and Dad lived in one of those army huts after the war. Mr Grandad was a sergeant in The Royal Berkshire Yeomanry and had served in India and other places. When he came back they had knowhere to live so they stayed in the huts. Grandads name is Bill Crump and he is still alive aged 93. His wife was Phylis (Now passed away)and my dad is Anthony Crump.

      Reply

    • Ryan October 8, 2011

      does anyone have any photos or more infomation on the AA site? if you do could you let me know please? and just to let everyone know the land has now been sold and will be built on by the RSPCA for a rescue centre, they have strted removing the scrub and you can see more foundations of buildings and stuff. i also found a old number plate: 82 29 WD does anyone know where i can get any info on this?

      Thanks Ryan

      Reply

  26. Steve James October 1, 2010

    Just stumbled accross the site. Very interesting.I’m a former resident of the Estate, recollecting my childhood in Baverstock Road.I have foggy memories of being involved as a very young child in the planting of a commemorative tree in the grounds of Sir Theodore Pritchett School and certainly remember the Tank Ramps.I’ll drop by to look at any updates with real interest!

    Reply

  27. Lucie Thacker July 12, 2010

    Hi Carl, We have been in touch with our consultant, Stephen Price, and he sent the following information:

    ‘ From the description Carl gives I think he is referring to Kingswood Farm. Confusingly there were two Kingswood Farms at the Maypole, the
    other being Kingswood House Farm which was north of the Maypole on the western side of the Alcester Road, close to the site of Maypole Library. I knew both reasonably well in the 1960s and photographed Kingswood Farm off Druid’s Lane in 1966. It is reproduced in King’s Norton: A History by George Demidowicz & Stephen Price, (Phillimore & Co, 2009) p.85.
    And Carl is right about the wartime remains there. I remember them too.They have become part of the archaeology of the second world war now and have been the subject of a recent survey. See Mick
    Wilks The Defence of Worcestershire and the southern approaches to Birmingham in World War II (Logaston Press, 2007). There’s a section about the anti-aircraft gun site there with photographs, plans and detailed drawings between pages 172-174.’

    Hope this helps and gives you some interesting things to follow up. Thank you for sharing your recollections with us.

    Reply

    • Neil Price August 13, 2010

      Hi Lucie/Carl

      I stumbled on to this site, and so this thread, by chance and am so glad I did. Carl and I have a couple of things in common; I grew up in the area Carl is speaking of at about the same time and I also have an interest in old buildings. I suppose because they’re a tangible link to the people and places that have shaped us.

      From time to time I have “dabbled” in some local history research in that very area. About a year ago I tried to find out more about the “Tank Ramps” Carl mentions but got very frustrated at the lack of information (I am in no doubt it has more to do with my underwhelming research skills as opposed to the lack of data). As a youngster I had been told that the tank ramps were a part of a tank repair station during the war. That it was placed there because it was easy to camouflage from Strikes from the air and reduce collateral damage should it be targetted. I couldn’t find anything to support this “myth”. I am just about to order the two books you mentioned. I can’t wait to get them, thanks.

      I said that I had dabbled in the past which really means that I have tried, on five or six occasions, to find pictures of the Druids Heath area prior, during and just post development. Each time I have been sidetracked when a snippet of information has stirred my curiosity and sent me off on a tangent. These tangents have usually created as many questions for me as they’ve answered.

      So, apart from the tank ramps and pictures of Druids Heath’s construction I have also tried (and failed) to get pictures and information about Moundsley Hall (Now an old people’s home). It used to belong to a prominent family in the area by the name of Field I believe. I would like to know how such a beautiful building came to be in such dis-repair (prior re-development). Do you know where I could find any of either photos or info?

      I have also tried to find a picture of former conservative councillor (and Director of Aston Villa Football Club) Sir Theodore Pritchett who opened the junior school in his name and who spent his childhood in that area.

      But, most of all I would like to find pictures of the area before and maybe during it’s construction. I believe that there were originally pre-fabs on the site are there any photo’s of them. What before that? I know there were farms owned by the Drews and Risbridger families.

      There is an information placque on a small obalisk where Druids Lane and Bells Lane meet (opposite Baverstock school) that explains that it’s situation is the highest point of land in Birmingham. I would love to think that photos were taken from that point throughout recent years. The view is magnificent.

      Many thanks

      Reply

      • Lucie Thacker August 17, 2010

        Hi Neil
        Wow! Lots of interesting things to follow up there!
        The place most likely to have old photographs and information is Birmingham Central Library Archives, based on the 6th floor. They have loads of interesting photographs and Moundesley Hall is likely to be catalogued.
        I found an interesting web site which you may have already seen, but it has a potted history of the Hall (and loads of other information about Birmingham)so it is worth a look. http://billdargue.jimdo.com/placenames-gazetteer-a-to-y/places-m/moundsley/
        You might also find a photograph of Sir Theodore Pritchett in the Archives, unless there are any Aston Villa fans out there who can help.
        Good luck in your search and keep us posted!

        Reply

        • Neil Price August 19, 2010

          Hi Lucie

          Thanks for the pointers. I’l let you know how I get on.

          Reply

  28. carl redden June 9, 2010

    hi every body, what a response. the only info i can give really is as follows.
    i am now 43 years old and lived in druids heath all my life. when i was a child my father used to take me scrumping over what was called the old field. ?
    however the site is. if you come down bells lane from the maypole to baverstock school. (formerly the maypole) you turn left directly opposite the school into druids lane you come past the tower blocks and opposite these are some old buildings this was known then as barrys farm when i was young these are still there.
    you carry on past these down the lane and just as you get to the top of the 1st brow of the hill on the left hand side there was a turning on the left hand side. this was blocked off with dirt many years prior. however if you could turn left you then go into the fields along a old sort of road for about 100 yards this is the location of the site all the kids when were young new this site as the air raid shelters. you can still clearly see the site and remenence of gardens stables orchards etc. however i do think that the main entrance may of been off crabmill lane this side was nown as the tank ramps.? due to the funny concrete structure in the middle of the field which looks like a ramp for tanks. hence tank ramps i now this site was flat over 40 years ago and much longer.? ive heard this site may be due for re development and it would be a crime to loose it forever. by the way when i was about 6/7 me and my freind nicked apples from trees in the back yard of bells farm befor the new estate whent up. the photos bought back so many good memories. thanks hope we can sort this mistry out. carl redden. p,s let me now if i can help any more

    Reply

  29. Elizabeth Perkins June 8, 2010

    Hi Carl,

    We have got lots of historic maps of this area as part of the research for Bell’s Farm so if you could give us more of a clue, either what it looks like or where it is, I am sure we could find the farm you are looking for. Also the consultant we used for the research is very knowledgeable and we could probably pick his brains about old photographs.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Reply

  30. Jez Collins June 7, 2010

    The only one I can think of is Daisy Farm, now I can’t fully remember if this was on the Baverstock School side or over the Maypole Island on the other side (towards Solihull) but i definitely remember it was in that area. Hope it is the one you mean….!

    Reply

  31. carl redden June 7, 2010

    i am intrested in old propertys myself. i have been looking for some photos of the old deralict farm off druids lane about 250 yards down from baverstock school. not the 1st farm but the one further down up the old trackway. it was a old haunt when i was a child. hope you can help. carl

    Reply

    • Nick Booth June 7, 2010

      Umh – Hi Carl, that’s an interesting problem – can you pinpoint it on a map? If you use http://maps.google.co.uk/ and then create a map using my maps you can put a pin where you mean and show us – that way we might be able to find some images.

      Reply

    • Bernadette Hherron July 1, 2016

      Carl, Hello.
      I was wondering if the farm, that, you was talking about, was the one I and my friends used to play in.
      It was a big, I think, white building that had a spiral staircase in the hall main entrance that went the whole length of the building. It was extremely dangerous, very rickety, but us being kids we didn’t care. I was about 8/9 years old at the time and we were one of the first families on the Druid Lane’s estate. I am 57 now, so it was along time ago. Good luck to everyone.

      Reply

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