Hazelwell

B30 - Grid reference SP057811

Hazelwell: first record 1325

The Hazelwell public house
The Hazelwell public house

An estate was held here by Hazelwell family in the 14th century. It belonged to William de Hazelwell in 1325. Part of the Worcestershire manor of Kings Norton, Hazelwell was not known as a manor until the 17th century. The family very likely took its name from this self-explanatory topographical placename, although the exchange may well have been the other way.


The original Hazelwell Hall, which would have been a large timber-framed building, stood within a moat near Hazelwell Recreation Ground. No visible traces now remain. Within a century the estate had passed by marriage to the Middlemores of Edgbaston with whom it remained until the beginning of the 18th century. George Middlemore was lord of the manor in from about 1637, but as a member of a family of noted Royalists, his house was commandeered during the Civil War by the parliamentary commander, Colonel 'Tinker' Fox who occupied and fortified the hall c1644. His house was plundered and damaged and the neglected estate reduced in value. Parliament sequestered his property in 1646, but he was later able to buy it back at the price of £10, perhaps equivalent to £15 000 at today's values.


The interests of the Middlemores ended in 1715 when Thomas Middlemore, a soldier, sold the manor to one George Birch. After the Civil War the hall was rebuilt on or close to the original site as a three-bay three-storey house in the contemporary neo-classical style. However, by 1840 it had been relegated to the status of a farmhouse. This was later thoroughly modernised as his home by George Cartland. The Hazelwell public house was built on the site in the 1930s in a mock-Tudor part-timbered style.

The Church of the Ascension
The Church of the Ascension

The Birmingham and Gloucester Railway, the B&G, was built in 1840 from Gloucester to a temporary terminus at Camp Hill reaching Curzon Street Station the following year. The line passes to the east of Hazelwell.

 

In 1844 the Midland Railway took over the line and by 1885 it was used with the Birmingham West Suburban line BWSR as a circular commuter route from New Street station via Moseley and Kings Heath to Lifford and back via Selly Oak and Edgbaston.

 

When the BWSR was made double-track in 1885 it became the Midland Railway's mainline route from Bristol and Gloucester, the B&G being used only for local services and freight. It is now used only for freight and diverted traffic. A station was built at Hazelwell in 1904 where the railway passes under Cartland Road; a ticket office stood on the bridge.

 

The station closed in 1941 during World War 2 and was never reopened.

No settlement is shown on the 1834 Ordnance Survey maps around here, but by 1888 there was housing at Hazelwell Street/ Pershore Road, a hamlet then known as Stirchley Street. By 1906 buildings, houses and shops, spread in a ribbon along the Pershore Road from Hazelwell Street as far as Fordhouse Lane.


The Church of the Ascension was built on Hazelwell Street in 1901, a large red-brick building in decorated gothic style which opened as a chapel of St Mary's Moseley. It had a south-east tower and an unusual scissors-truss roof. It became a parish church in 1912. After the church burned down it was rebuilt in 1973 on the Pineapple estate.


Hazelwell Mill, which stood on the River Rea near Hazelwell Road, was a corn mill first recorded in 1704. By 1783, in common with many Birmingham mills, it manufactured gun barrels until 1886. The buildings, now demolished, were used as a rubber factory by 1900.


An unusual archaeological find which was made in Hazelwell Fordrough was a gold coin, an aureus of the Emperor Vespasian (69-79 AD) which had been minted in Tarragona in Spain in the last quarter of the 70s AD. It is of a design never before found in Britain. This was a significant amount of money to lose; it represented at least a month's wages for a soldier or labourer.

 

William Dargue 21.03.09

 

 

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

See http://www.british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.aspx?compid=55194&sheetid=10124&ox=4158&oy=433&zm=2&czm=2&x=252&y=69

 

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.