Some history on Burbury Street at Hockley and Lozells in Birmingham in the County of Warwickshire
More information on Burbury Street to follow. I probably created the page as I had a link to Burbury Street from another page. When building the site it is easier to place links as they crop up rather than go back later on. I realise this is frustrating if you were specifically looking for information on Burbury Street. There is information on Birmingham dotted around the website - click here for a suitable starting place.
"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 equal 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