Wychall

B31/ B38 - Grid reference SP034789

la Wythalle: first record 1253, Wichalle c1275

The River Rea passing through Wychall Nature Reserve. Image from the BirminghamUK website used under the terms of their copyright conditions. See Acknowledgements for a link to their website.
The River Rea passing through Wychall Nature Reserve. Image from the BirminghamUK website used under the terms of their copyright conditions. See Acknowledgements for a link to their website.

Wic heall is Old English for 'dairy farm' 'hall' and certainly by the 12th century a timber-framed hall stood within a moated site later occupied by Wychall Farm. Later rebuilt in brick, that building was demolished after 1952 to make way for housing and St Thomas Aquinas School.

 

However, human occupation here goes back to the New Stone Age. On Wychall Road a flint scraper 6.5 cm long was found in 1967 by Mr Day of Northfield at Wychall Road Allotments not far from the River Rea. Dating from between 6000 and 3000 BC the scraper is in very good condition.

 

On Wychall Lane an antoninianus, a 3rd-century Roman coin was found in a garden also close to the river.


Standing on the north bank of the river near Wychall Lane was Wychall Mill. Of uncertain date, it is referred to in a deed of 1638. By 1822 it was a metal rolling mill and remained as such until the early 20th century. Charles Emery was the tenant in 1843; by the end of the century Ellis & Sons, metal rollers occupied the site. The buildings which stood at the east end of Wychall Reservoir, were derelict by c1950 and demolished c1976. 

Wychall Road shops Photograph downloaded from Geograph OS reference SP0379  © Copyright Jonathan Billinger and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.
Wychall Road shops Photograph downloaded from Geograph OS reference SP0379 © Copyright Jonathan Billinger and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

Archaeological excavation found Victorian brickwork only and nothing visible remains. However, the beam engine, which was used continuously from c1820 until 1943, was preserved by Birmingham Science Museum.

 

When the Worcester & Birmingham Canal was cut in 1815 a requirement was made that a reservoir be dug to compensate Wychall Mill for loss of water to the canal; a feeder from the reservoir now joins the canal before Wharf Road bridge. Wychall Reservoir is now used as a balancing reservoir to cope with high water on the River Rea; the area around it has been designated as a nature neserve.

 

The area was developed for housing in the 1950s and Wychall Farm County Primary School was built on Middlefield Road in 1956. Work has recently been carried out to improve the quality of housing on the Wychall Farm Estate with some realignment of roads taking place

 

William Dargue 06.02.09/ 01.08.2010

 

 

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For 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps of Birmingham go to British History Online - Maps.

See http://www.british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.aspx?compid=55144&sheetid=9256&ox=2148&oy=433&zm=2&czm=2&x=387&y=154 

 

Map below reproduced from Andrew Rowbottom’s website of Old Ordnance Survey maps Popular Edition, Birmingham 1921.

Click the map to link to that website.