Welcome to Balsall Heath Local History Society

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  • The magnificent  Baths and Library remain a proud feature of Balsall Heath

Our  image based collection is at Digital Balsall Heath . For hundreds of Balsall Heath images (and new ones added every week) go to Digital Balsall Heath. You can also find us on Facebook at Balsall Heath Local History Society.

Over the last 30 years the Society has grown from strength to strength and has a part-time Development Worker, Chris Sutton. We also have a Victorian Schoolroom and a Second World War Classroom, a fascinating range of publications, some interesting projects and active participation in local events such as Balsall Heath Carnival.

Our History Base at St Paul's Venture is open to visitors by appointment every monday or tuesday by prior booking. Either email chris.sutton@stpaulstrust.org.uk or ring 0121 464 1890 to arrange a visit.

Our monthly meetings are held at St Paul's Venture, Malvern St. off Clifton Road, Balsall Heath, on the last Thursday of most months. The 2015 meetings are on the meetings page.

Why not come along? Visitors and new members are always welcome. We make a small charge for visitors.

2017 Meetings programme updated.

New pages - Balsall Heath on postcards

2017 Calendar available - just £4

Calendar 2017

Get it in person at the History Society meetings onNovember 24th or December 15th. Or email for further details.

When The Lamps Went Out

Our new pages are scripts, images, activities and talking points from the HLF supported play about a Balsall Heath family in WW1. All the content is downloadable in pdf format. (When The Lamps Went Out)

Five new additions to the Legends of Balsall Heath page

Our first ladies make an appearance this time around, along with two more gentlemen of note. It is a very diverse collection of people we have building up on this page! (Legends of Balsall Heath)

Three new additions to the Legends of Balsall Heath page

See if you know the three new additions - Harry Engleman, John Kenneally and Dave Wakeling. Next time its the turn of the ladies. 

First World War Schooldays at the Old Clifton Board School (Saturday 10th September)

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A chance to visit the Old Clifton School, and the First World War schoolroom, with activities including: writing with pen and ink; chanting tables and air raid practice in case of Zeppelin attack. Open Saturday 11am to 4pm. Taster classes will be held with a teacher at 11.30am and 2.30pm and are limited to 30 pupils. Places will be allocated on arrival. Class discipline will be strictly adhered to. There will be interactive displays and demonstrations throughout the day relating to Clifton School in particular and the First World War in Balsall Heath. Event not suitable for children under the age of 5.

Opening Times
Saturday 10th September: 1100-1600; Classes 1130 & 1430
Booking Details 
No booking required
Access Information
It is possible, but not easy, to bring wheelchairs into the building but please phone in advance - 0121 464 4376.
Clifton Road runs from the Moseley Road to Ladypool Road. The old school is just past the junction with Hertford Street if coming from the Moseley Road - walk down under the bridge, past the farm and it is just over Malvern Street on the left.


See you at our stall on Carnival Day

Carnival Poster Web

We are appearing at Birmingham History Day

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A NIGHT AT THE MUSIC HALL (New Dates announced!)


The Good Old Days are returning in May as the Birmingham History Theatre Group presents three performances of old time variety at its very best.The shows are inspired by the old BBC show “The Good Old Days” (memorably hosted by Leonard Sachs, above).
There will be three performances at St Paul’s Trust on Hertford Street:- Friday June 24th (7:30) and Saturday June 25th (2:00 and 7:30). Ticket cost is £6 or £4 concessions on the door. £1 off a  ticket for anyone in costume! Come and see a wide variety of acts, along with some classic as well as newly written homages to the music of the period.

The Victorian Classroom

Our Victorian Classroom sessions are extremely well received. A recent school visit reported that:

  • The activities were very engaging. 
  • The children had hands-on experience with artefacts. 
  • They were able to experience a Victorian classroom, it gave them a good insight. 
  • Children were engaged all the time. 
  • There was learning happening throughout the sessions.
  • The quiz was very good and challenged the children.
  • An amazing experience, the children thoroughly enjoyed their time
  • All staff were fantastic with smiley faces.

Read more about what is on offer: Victorian Classroom

In The Path Of The Tornado

Our latest book is out now. It features memories and photographs of the 2005 tornado and the earlier one from 1931, which took a similar path. Cost is £5 plus £2 postage.

Tornado Booklet

Clifton Road Tornado

The image above was taken on Clifton Road.

George Inwood GC of Balsall Heath


Research has picked up that Home Guard Section Leader George Inwood (aged 34), who was awarded the George Cross for rescuing several people from a gas filled cellar in Bishop Street, was from Edward Road in Balsall Heath.

Bishop Street runs parallel to Sherlock Street, down near Bristol Street. There are still many old buildings left there and visiting it now it is easy to imagine the events on the evening of Tuesday 15th October 1940. Inwood knew the risk to his own life in continuing the rescue attempts in the cellar, but he carried on regardless. It was this devotion to duty and sacrifice which earned him the posthumous award – a year later. He was buried in Yardley Cemetery, his gravestone carrying a George Cross design. His George Cross was donated to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

For more information, download our latest (January 2016) newsletter.

2016 meetings updated!

Some fabulous speakers and topics this year. Please come along!

Legends of Balsall Heath

New on the website is a growing series of pages on the famous and well known from Balsall Heath.

Heritage Open Days Weekend - 12th and 13th September

Come and visit the Victorian classroom, see our displays and artefacts and share your memories of the 2005 tornado!

Open from 11 till 4 on both days at our site on Clifton Road.

Heritage Open Days

Tornado Event  Flyer

Canal walk "through time" in July


On Sunday 19th July we have a walk along the Birmingham to Worcester canal towpath. This is a historical drama trail with music and will be accompanied by a canal boat. We start at 11:30 in Worcester Wharf (outside the Mailbox waterfront) and arrive at 2:30 pm (or thereabouts) at Bournville Station. Bring a packed lunch as we will stop for a break around 1pm.

Places are limited so please get in touch to reserve a spot. Prices are being sorted out and I will update as soon as I know but you can reckon on around £5 a head.

When The Lamps Went Out

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The new play from the Theatre Company is on on May 8th ( 7:30)  and 9th (2:30 and 7:30). It is all about how a Balsall Heath family went through WW1 - a drama with music and film.

A Blue Plaque for Balsall Heath

On Monday, September 22nd a Blue Plaque was unveiled in honour of John Bowen,( 1844 to 1926), a renowned builder who had his works in George Street. The plaque is to be installed later this year at Ark Tindal School - built by Bowen.


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David Bradnock (Deputy Lord Lieutenant), Tim Watts (High Sheriff for West Midlands), Philip Bowen (High Sheriff Powys), and Michael Hogan (Worcestershire's High Sheriff) help launch a Blue plaque in honour of Victorian Birmingham builder John Bowen

The book "Honest John" by Anthony Collins can be bought for £5 plus postage from his website about John Bowen. This is a beautifully put together book and well worth picking up.