Going all through May is Local History and Community Month; across the UK, the Historical Association want people to engage and discover more about the communities they live in, What better way is there to do that other than looking to the past!

It's exciting to learn history, especially when it's in your local community - makes the experience all the more exciting because it is so personal. You'll be surprised to see how much is different in the areas you have grown up in, most definitely puts a lot of things into perspective.

As you know Lench's Trust has three Schemes located in Quinton, Moseley  and Sutton Coldfield. All three locations are rich with history! So let us turn back the clocks and travel into the past; taking a look at the history of our three Scheme locations;


Quinton is full of history - dating as far as 1086 with communities growing bigger and bigger as time goes on. In the early years Quinton started out as a part of a grange in the Convent of Hales which was known as Ridgacre. As the years went on the area slowly came to be known as Quinton. In the earlier years, around 1844, Quinton was described as an "ecclesiastical district" according to Lewis's Topographical Dictionary .

The town back then was known for nail making as its agriculture, despite having 2 coal-mines. In addition to that Quinton was often associated with Methodism with Chapels being a big part of the communities culture.

Here are a few pictures of what Quinton looked like in the past: 


Our next Scheme, Lench's Close, is located on Wake Green Road. Let's briefly take a look at the history of Moseley that has been around since 1086 (according to its earliest record in the Domesday Book). Originally, just a little hamlet surrounded by forest, even described as mouse-sized. The village originally consisted of St. Mary's Church surrounded by a small settlement, some of the oldest surviving buildings being built as early as 1770 - 1780

Take a look at some of these old images from Victorian Postcards . The images and information used belongs to The Moseley Society. If you are interested in reading more please visit the Moseley Society HERE.

Sutton Coldfield:

The last Scheme, Tanner's Close, is located on Whitehouse common Road. Sutton Coldfield is an area surrounded by a rich history - some of which goes as far back as the Bronze Age! Let's have a brief look at some of Sutton Coldfield's history;

As mentioned above some of the history goes as far back as the Bronze Age with the discovery of a burial mound. The area also had findings of an Iron Age settlement. Close to the burial mounds, there were even findings to suggest Saxon fortifications. Even Sutton Park had evidence of pre-Roman human habitation in addition to Roman and Anglo-Saxon establishments.

Sutton was believed to have started out as a small hunting hamlet belonging to the Kingdom of Mercia, the area's name Sutton actually means south farm - and Coldfield indicates an area of land where charcoal burning occurred.

The area by 1843 had begun falling into decay - however a Bishop of Exeter, John Vesey breathed new life into Sutton Coldfield. Building a Town Hall (Moot-hall back then), Market place, a school (free to attend, called Bishop Vesey), empowering the church, clothing manufacture and built many homes. Even today, you can still see these old, pleasant houses dotted around Sutton Coldfield, which helps the area live up to its Royal status. As the years go by, you would start to more and more buildings get constructed like the Royal Hotel. Sutton Coldfield is also quite famous for the sheer amount of pubs, 29 of them at least.

Below you can see a collection of images from the ol' days of Sutton Coldfield:

The information and images belong to SuttonColdfield.net Please visit the site if you are interested in learning more.


Now that we have looked at the history of the areas where our three schemes are located, let us look at Birmingham as a whole. The city is at the centre of a lot of England's history full of interesting events.

To start let's look at the history of the areas where the first mention of Birmingham was referenced back in the 6th Century, it made mention of Birmingham seemingly starting out as a small settlement surrounded by thick forest - with a lot of its development being curbed due to its location. During the medieval period it was important to have some form of river transport.

The location of Birmingham did play a big role in evolving this small settlement into an industrial powerhouse starting in the late 17th Century and firmly bolstered itself, becoming the heart of the British industrial revolution; increasing its population massively. This period massively expanded Birmingham's trade in metal, gun making and jewellery. The creator of the Steam Engine, James Watt, did live in Birmingham for a period of time. With his assistance along with some other notable inventors - contributed tremendously to not only Birmingham's technological progress but the country's also.

Birmingham soon established itself as a pioneer in town-planning schemes like the implementation of one-way traffic, even today a lot of the country's new plans tend to be testing in Birmingham first (Green air zone for example). 

During wartime, Birmingham was a vital city for military construction. The city was producing everything from Tanks and planes to ammunition and grenades - extremely important to keep England strong during the war. Unfortunately due to Birmingham's importance in the ware with all their manufacturing, in addition to being the largest city outside of London, caused the city to be a prime target for aerial attacks.

It was during 1940 to 1942, came the Birmingham Blitz - the most heavily bombed city outside of London. Birmingham was constantly subjected to bombs being dropped onto the city, causing tremendous damage that the bombs had been caused. This was everything from rescuing people that had been injured, getting trapped and fighting fires where the Fire Brigade could get to due yo being spread out across the city.

One such local hero was Leslie Raymond Phillips, a 26-year-old assistant in the Queen's Hospital. He received a civilian gallantry award from a recommendation by the hospital's house governor. Leslie assisted firefighters by putting out fires with sand from the roof of the Hospital. Another local hero is Alfred Jervis was also recommended for a civilian gallantry for his bravery in saving many buildings from being burnt down and did so acting alone. Some people, like post office workers were kicking incendiary bombs off rooftops to prevent fires from devouring the buildings.

In memory of those that died or were seriously injured; a statue named "Tree of Life" was unveiled in 2005, marking 60 years since the Birmingham Blitz.

With that concludes the brief lookback into the history of Quinton, Moseley and Sutton Coldfield. I encourage you to visit the links that have been provided if you are interest. All three areas are full to the brim with interesting history and it would be doing a disservice if I tried to summarise it all. Sutton Coldfield especially, with its roots starting all the way back into the Bronze Ages.


I do not own the information or images that have been written in this article, if you are interested in the topics mentioned today - then I encourage you to visit the respective owners to the information and images that are credited below;

SuttonColdfield.net -   to%20http://www.sutton-coldfield.net/the_past.html

Moseley-Society -  https://moseley-society.org.uk/local-history/moseley-life-and-memories/

Quinton-Local-History-Society -  http://www.qlhs.org.uk/

Britannica (on Birmingham History) - https://www.britannica.com/place/Birmingham-England 

Wikipedia (on Birmingham History) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Birmingham