Some history on Upper Priory at Birmingham in the County of Warwickshire
Laid out on land formerly occupied by part of the priory of Saint Thomas, Upper Priory was one of the main thoroughfares leading from the Old Square to Steelhouse Lane.1767 3 Baker - William Night 4 Instrument Maker - Francis Deakin 8 Turner - John Cash 9 Gun and Pistol Furniture Forger - J. Boole 11 Button Maker - John Hallen 14 Grocer - William Combe 20 Glazier and Painter - William Farnell
This photograph shows some of Upper Priory in the late 1920s. The photographer would have been pointing the lens from an upper window or the roof of Lewis's department store. In 1928 the business had acquired the neighbouring Newbury's premises on the north side of The Minories. Although a fine-looking building, the older style of Newbury's did not fit in with the redevelopment plans of Lewis's who rebuilt on the site, connecting the combined enterprise with a bridge over The Minories. Here the demolition of Newbury's can be seen in the foreground. The photograph affords a glimpse of the eastern side of Upper Priory. The gap between the buildings was the gated entrance to the fire station.
This photograph shows the fire brigade unit that operated from Upper Priory. The gated entrance to the Central Fire Station can be seen behind the engine. Following a decision in October 1874 in which the council decided to take responsibility of fire-fighting from the insurance companies, the City of Birmingham Fire Brigade was founded. Under the command of Superintendent Tiviotdale, an early station was established in Little Cannon Street. New headquarters were constructed in Upper Priory in 1881, the inscription stone being laid by Alderman Deykin on September 30th, 1881. The fire brigade occupied the site until moving to new purpose-built premises in 1935.
This photograph shows the former Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital, the latter being located on the western corner of Steelhouse Lane. Seen here on the left, the Women's Hospital was directly opposite the Bull's Head. Providing out-patient care, the building was operational by late 1878 and continued to be used until 1941.
Dr. Johnson Passage separated the former Women's Hospital and the commercial properties seen in this photograph. Occupying the ground floor of the corner site was E. C. Osborne Ltd., stationers and printers. However, back in the Victorian era this was the probably site of the White Swan. Back to this image ... on the first floor, in what was officially known as Winchester House, were the legal offices of Rabnett, Conway & Co. The Press Association also occupied offices in this building. A firm established in 1899, the retail premises next door was occupied by Harrison & Fowler Ltd. The tall pitched roof of the building to the left used to the Society of Friends' Priory Schools.
"By a very violent gust of wind about the same time, a man who was standing with a child in his arms, by a well in Upper Priory, near
Steelhouse Lane, in this town, was blown into it. The man was cut in the head, and bruised, but the child, which the man never quitted from his arms, was but little
Aris's Birmingham Gazette : October 16th 1752 Page 3
"On Tuesday night, about 12 o'clock, as John Taskel, was returning home from a public-house in Weaman Street, where he
had spent the evening, he was attacked at the corner of the Upper Priory, next to Steelhouse Lane, by a lusty strong man, who demanded his money, which Taskel
refusing to part with, the fellow gave him a violent stroke on the shoulder with a kind of bludgeon, and repeating his blow, he received another severe knock on
his hand, which he held up to guard his head; Taskel then crying out, and some people luckily coming up, the villain made off, otherwise it is supposed he
would have executed his threat of murdering him."
Aris's Birmingham Gazette : February 17th 1766 Page 3