History of Burbury Street in Lozells, Birmingham in the county of Warwickshire.


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Some history on Burbury Street

Burbury Street, partly in Lozells and partly in Hockley, used to run north to south from Lozells Road to Great King Street and Bridge Street West - the Queen's Head being the last building on the western side of the thoroughfare. Talk is that the further up [north] you went up the street the houses were of higher quality - a bit posher as they say. Certainly, the houses in this photograph [below] were good terraced properties, all of them featuring a bay window on the ground floor. These faced Burbury Street Recreation Ground so they would have been quite desirable residences. It is the Hockley section of the street that has virtually vanished from the landscape, whilst the Lozells section remains remarkably intact - alas, the pubs were in the former and, as a result, were lost to redevelopment.

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Birmingham General Dispensary [Lozells Branch]

This large edifice stood on the corner of Guthrie Street and was built as the Birmingham General Dispensary [Lozells Branch]. At the turn of the 20th century the resident surgeons were Herbert Orford and William Lisam, both of whom were no doubt kept busy tending to the local residents. The son of a general practitioner in Market Bosworth, Herbert Orford was a young doctor who was probably in his first role here in Lozells. In later years, following the Second World War, David Dykerman had a practice here.

Burbury Street Shop and Housing [1964]

This photograph shows the aforementioned General Dispensary but from another angle which provides a lovely glimpse of the shop and houses between the junctions of Guthrie Street and Defford Road. The barber's shop was located on the corner of Defford Road. Around the time of this photograph in the early 1960's the shop was run by Leslie Hobley [see Genealogy message]. Thirty years earlier the shop is listed as a laundry run by Thomas Clark. This business was formerly operated by Frank Griffiths. Roll the clock back to the beginning of the 20th century and the shop was a confectionery store. The proprietor of this shop was Mrs. Fanny Allen. It may have been Fanny Allen who converted the shop into a laundry. Certainly, the census conducted in 1901 records her as a laundry manager. She was assisted by her daughter Gertrude who, interestingly, was born in Newark, New York and listed as an American subject.

The Potter family lived next to the shop in the early Edwardian period. William Potter worked as a cabinet brass founder. His neighbour, James Allsopp, worked in a similar field as he was recorded as a brass chandelier maker. His daughers, Emma, Florence and Agnes, all worked in the watch industry.

Burbury Street Shops and Housing [1964]

The photographer has moved a few yards to the south, on the opposite side of Defford Road and towards Farm Street. The lodge for the recreation ground would be almost opposite to this row of shops and houses. Here a newsagent's shop was run by Sylvia Smart with Mrs. V. Smart next door in charge of a sweet shop. On the corner of Defford Road was the draper Margaret Hughes. During the Second World War this business was operated by Edith Worrall, though the property also housed Jessie Worrall who was a music teacher. Edith Worrall was in business here for many years. In 1940 the newsagent's and sweet shop were run by Leonard Smart and Mrs. Ellen Peach respectively.

Former Post Office in Burbury Street [1958]

These shops close to the corner of Wills Street, including the King George post box, survived into the 21st century. The shop fronts and windows may have changed but the buildings remain essentially the same as when this photograph was taken in 1958. In this year the cigarette shop and newsagent's [in the centre of the image] was run by Howard Cook. Locals could also buy fags from the small general store next door. This business, featuring a very neat window display, was run by Mrs. Nellie Cavill. The greengrocery shop on the corner of Wills Street was managed by Arthur Bosworth. He had been in business in Burbury Street since at least the Second World War. Indeed, the newsagent's and general shop were pretty much the same businesses in 1940, though run by Florence Cook and Mrs. Carrie Joynt respectively.

When a free-standing pillar post box is located outside of an old shop it generally indicates that a post office was in operation some years ago - and this was the case here in Burbury Street for the corner shop was once a post office. In fact, in the 1920's it was both a post office and chemist's outlet of Richard Hollick Ltd. This firm were located here at the turn of the 20th century when the other two shops were occupied by the haberdashery of John Faherty and the confectionery shop belonging to Percy Hammon.

Burbury Street Factory [1960]

This is an unusual view of some small factories in Burbury Street and affords a glimpse of how industrial parts of the street were back in the day. Of course, the locality was dominated by the Lucas factory years ago. A plate shows that the registered office of The Reliance Pattern Making Company was based here, along with the E. T .P. Co. Ltd., Press Toolmakers and Engineers. Although faded, the painted sign on the wall above the Ford saloon car appears to have the name W. E. Cramp and Sons. The plate from which this image is produced is marked up Burbury Street but it could be in another locale close by.

Brummagem Boozers

List of Pubs

Burbury Arms
Queen's Head
Vine Inn

Ansell's Bitterman - You Can't Beat 'Em

In the post-war years Brewery Lanterns became quite an in-vogue feature of public houses. Although some Birmingham brewers used them sparingly, almost every Atkinson's-operated boozer seemed to be decked out with one above most entrances.

Genealogy Connections

If you have a genealogy story or query regarding Burbury Street you can contact me and I will post it here in addition to including your message within the website pages for Birmingham Genealogy.

"I was fascinated to find this webpage for Burbury Street and its shops. My dad was Leslie Hobley, the barber before the war. My mom and dad married and mom moved into Defford Road. After the war my mom approached the woman who lived on the corner and asked for an exchange as my dad's shop in Small Heath had been destroyed by bombing. So when my dad was finally demobbed he had a shop to come home to and was able to rebuild his life. For a short time he also had one of the other shops opposite the park. I remember the sweet shop was owned by a Mrs. Adams and her son Larry. Mrs. Hughes used to make all my mom's dresses. We lived there until 1963 when we moved to Quinton due to redevelopment."
Kate Key née Hobley

Atkinson's Ales


Map Showing Pubs of Burbury Street in Birmingham [1912]

This map shows the locations of Burbury Street's pubs. The Lucas Factory on Great King Street is marked as a Cycle and Motor Bell and Lamp Works. This site had previously been occupied by a rows of terraced houses with courts, similar to that on the southern side of the thoroughfare.

Related Websites

Aston Brook through Aston Manor
Birmingham City Council
Birmingham History Forum
Birmingham Places and Place Names
Carl Chinn Archive
Handsworth History
Ladywood Past and Present
Perry Barr and Beyond
Winson Green to Brookfields

Have Your Say

If you would like to share any further information on Burbury Street - perhaps you drank in one of the pubs in the past? Or maybe knew a previous publican running one of the boozers? Whatever the reason it would be great to hear of your stories or gossip. Simply send a message and I'll post it here.

Mitchell's and Butler's Traditional Cask Ales

Dare's - Perfect Beer

Ansell's Mild Playing Card

Mitchell's and Butler's Special Ale

Davenport's Traditionally Brewed Ales

Atkinson's Punch Stout

Be an Ansell's Bitterman

Mitchell's and Butler's - Good Honest Beer [1950 Advertisement]

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Gaston Bachelard

"The repose of sleep refreshes only the body. It rarely sets the soul at rest.
The repose of the night does not belong to us. It is not the possession of our being.
Sleep opens within us an inn for phantoms. In the morning we must sweep out the shadows."
Gaston Bachelard

Newspaper Articles

"The ceremony of opening the recreation ground in Burbury Street, presented to the town by Mr. W. Middlemore, took place on Saturday afternoon, at the ground, in the presence of upwards of ten thousand persons, principally from St. George's Ward and All Saints' Ward. The ground is 40 acres in extent, covered with asphalt, and laid out into parterres of flowers, and also with trees, and has a very attractive appearance. Including the cost of laying out the ground - about £3,500. - the total value of the gift is estimated at nearly £12,000. Although the laying out of the ground was conducted under the superintendence of Mr. Till [the borough surveyor] the whole expense has been borne by Mr. Middlemore. As a playground for children and a breathing space for the artisans of this densely-populated district. the recreation ground will be of great benefit. About 6,000 children, attending the various schools in St. George's and All Saints' Ward, marched to the ground early in the afternoon, and on passing through the gates were supplied with buns, also at the cost of Mr. Middlemore. A covered platform had been erected at one end of the ground for the use of the speakers and representatives of the Ward Committees and the Town Council. Amongst those present were Mr. and Mrs. W. Middlemore, Mr. James Middlemore, Mr. J. T. Middlemore, the Mayor [Alderman Kendrick], the ex-Mayor [Alderman Baker], Mr. J. S. Wright, Rev. G.. J. Dixon, Alderman Deykin, Councillors White, Whateley, Cook, Barrow, Barratt, Woodward, Bloor, Payton, Ellaway, Mitton, Houlston, F. Wright, Pattison, Messrs. Schnadhorst, G. Hanson, J. Buttress, W. Radford, Till, Rodway, Dr. Hill, Mrs. Payton, Miss Wright, etc. Mr. Middlemore, in a few words, formally handed over the gift to the Mayor and Corporation, remarking that he did so with pleasure, hoping that it would be an advantage to the district for generations yet to come. [Applause.] The Mayor, in receiving the gift, said that, on behalf of the Town Council and that vast assembly, he expressed thankfulness to Mr. Middlemore for his munificent gift. [Applause.] Steps were being taken to reclaim some of these wilds - the closed burial grounds - and to make them healthy breathing spaces for the population of that crowded part of the town; but they could hardly make those grounds recreation grounds. The School Board had wisely and liberally provided, in various parts of the town, playgrounds for the children, but none of them would compare with the ample recreation ground which Mr. Middlemore had dedicated to the public use. There the children of the district might play in safety, without interfering with the traffic of the streets. After referring to the liberality of Miss Ryland in giving two magnificent parks for the public good, the Mayor spoke of the great advantage that would result in the increased health of the public by the possession of a recreation ground and breathing space in the centre of the town. [Applause.] Dr. Barratt then read the following address presented to Mr. Middlemore on behalf of the united wards of St. George's and All Saints - "Permit us to thank you on behalf of the families residing in All Saints' and St. George's Wards for the generous gift to the town Council of this playground for children. Christian benevolence takes many forms. It is as varied as the wants of modern life. In you and your family it has shown itself in a tender solicitude for the health and happiness of the children in this large town. The noble gift which you make us today is only another instance of that benevolent protection which you have exercised over those who have too frequently neither counsellor nor friend. In providing a breathing space and healthy recreation to the children confined too long in the narrow courts of Birmingham, you do much to make their lives morally and socially purer than they are at present. It seems to tell how much of the impurity of town life is distinctly traceable to the physical conditions in which people live, in the dirty and confined spaces in which the young are forced to find their pleasure, and to the unsanitary homes in the centre of a dense population. This extensive playground of four and a quarter acres, laid out as it is at much care and great cost, will afford room for the healthy growth of the eager and intense life of the young, and coming generations will secure better health and deeper enjoyment here; for no pleasures can eqaul those which children find in bright and sunny places, where, losing for a time  all sense of the ugliness and wretchedness which in many instances is their only outlook, they abandon themselves to their joyous nature. It is our earnest wish that you and your family will live to see this investment of your wealth produce large returns of moral and social purity to the community." The address was signed by the chairmen and secretaries of All Saints' and St. George's Wards Liberal Associations. Miss Payton daughter of Councillor Payton, presented a bouquet of flowers to Mr. Middlemore, as a token of love, wisdom, and kind regard for the generosity he had shown. Mr. Middlemore, in reply, said he thanked them sincerely for the flattering terms in which he had been addressed. If it was a pleasure to them to recognise that gift it was a luxury for him to make it. To do something for the town of his birth, which he loved and honoured so much, was a gratification indeed. [Applause.] The authorities of the town were fully alive to the duty of providing for the improvement, comfort, and recreation of the population, as was evidenced by the schools, free libraries, baths, and parks that they had supplied. [Applause.] He contrasted the present state of the town in respect to these advantages with its condition fifty years ago with the greatest delight, and felt not only proud that they had a Corporation worthy of the high vocation, but he felt grateful to such public benefactors as Sir Josiah Mason, Sir Charles Adderley, and that noble lady Miss Ryland, who had done so much for the benefit of the poorer classes. [Hear, hear.] He hoped that increasing numbers of their fellow-townsmen would adopt as their motto the great truth that the power to do good involved the duty to do it. [Applause.] In conclusion, he thanked Mr. Till, the borough surveyor, for the pains he had taken in laying out the ground. Mr. Middlemore and party then left, and were loudly cheered on their departure. The meeting soon afterwards dispersed. The police band and a drum and fife band rendered several musical selections during the afternoon. In the evening a public tea meeting was held in the King Street Schools, about 400 persons being present. Councillor Payton presided, and amongst those present were the Mayor, Councillor Shammon [chairman of the Baths and Parks Committee], and most of the gentlemen present at the opening ceremony. A vote of thanks was passed with acclamation to Mr. Middlemore for his splendid gift."
"Opening of Burbury Street Recreation Ground"
Birmingham Daily Post : December 3rd 1877 Page 8.