Erased from History?

The lost sign: Harold Lea Shoe Repais'

The lost sign: ‘Harold Lea Shoe Repairs’

On Bournville Lane, opposite Lea House Road is a house that once held the shoe repair business of Harold Lea. Sadly this old shop sign has recently been sanded and painted over. From sharing this photograph on twitter I was able to learn from Mr. Lea’s grandaughter that he had two further shops. Another shoe repair business at 29 Maryvale Road and a drapers in the building that is now St Mary’s hospice shop on Raddlebarn Road.

Harold Lea's shop at 29 Maryvale Road.

Harold Lea’s shop at 29 Maryvale Road.

His business was listed in the 1939 telephone directory. And he operated out of his premises on Maryvale Road between 1930 and 1971.

1939 Telephone Directory entry.

1939 Telephone Directory entry.

Do you remember Harold Lea’s shops? Do you have memories to share?


Stirchley baths Time Capsule

Below is a video of the opening of a time capsule that was buried at the old Stirchley community centre, the building  was closed down last year. (2013)

Jess Allen is taking the video and Brenda Thomas, Sandra Cooper and Peter Walker, are giving us a description of its contents.

The Capsule was buried in the old community centre in 1989 and judging by some of the contents wasn’t expected to be discovered for at least another 25 years.

The time capsule will be buried in the new community centre which will be part of the Stirchley baths development, it  will possibly include  this video and other memorabilia from present times.

Update on Baths Development Progress


Following the arrival of the crane, poking out of the top of the site, refurbishment work has progressed following some delay because of asbestos and its removal. New scaffolding is up, walls are being removed and rebuilt, the old boiler and filtration tanks have been removed and the white hoarding boards are now around the frontage. Attached are some of the recent photographs from the site – kindly sent through by Steve and Jon from Balfour Beatty and a few of my own arty shots !!

Progress 7-7-14 010Progress 7-7-14 008IMG_1996

Roof views 004 (2)


A very successful open day for invited community stakeholders was held in July which allowed everyone to see some of the work – one of the most interesting bits being the basement, almost set out like an old roman  baths!

On 6th September Mark ( scheme architect) and I enjoyed ourselves at the excellent Stirchley Bash event in Stirchley Park with  the up to date proposals for the site including the proposed much improved 2 way entry/ exit system to the car park – attached below. What do you think?


You’re all invited to Stirchley Late Summer Bash!

One of the rides at last year's Stirchley Fun Day.

One of the rides at last year’s Stirchley Fun Day.

Tomorrow will be the 6th year of Stirchley Fun Day. It’s beginnings stem from the then elected councillors (Timothy Huxtable, Rob Sealy, and Nigel Dawkins ) suggesting that should the Neighbourhood Forum apply for funding they would support the application. The funding was granted and the council helped a great deal in the early days, not only funding for the event but also sorting things like event licencing, permission to use the park and public liability insurance.



The first year was quite slow, probably because the only advertisement was posters in and around Stirchley. The next year was busier, flyers were printed and volunteers distributed them. That’s when things really began to take off. Last year a local sign maker was asked to make banners for the event, which he did for free, as he was happy to support local not for profit community events, even though his business is located in Cotteridge.

Last year the event was funded by The National Lottery Fund to the tune of just over £6,000, but this source of funding is a one off event. This year it has proved very difficult to obtain funds. This year’s funding is £1850.00, however, this hasn’t deterred the Neighbourhood Forum. To manage the shortfall in funding, the decision was made to change the name and the venue, the thinking was that if residents came along to Hazelwell Park expecting the same as last year that they would be slightly disappointed. This years event will take place on Saturday 6th September in Stirchley Park. For those who aren’t familiar, Stirchley Park is located at the rear of the Co-op and can be accessed from an entrance near Farm Foods and Bond Street. The park’s importance to the community will grow over he next few years, as it is directly behind Stirchley Baths.

The Bourne Brook which passes through Stirchley Park

The Bourne Brook which passes through Stirchley Park.

One of the new benches as part of the recent improvements to Stirchley Park.

One of the new benches as part of the recent improvements to Stirchley Park.

Nearly everyone who had stalls for the event in the past have rebooked for this year and the children’s rides will still be free.

Previous stall holders.

Previous stall holders.

There will also be the return of the famous Stirchley raffle!


Neighbourhood Forum Chairman Peter Walker says:

‘I am still amazed at the generosity of local Traders and at how the word has spread further. We now have prizes from the hippodrome, Cadbury world, businesses in Cotteridge and even from the National Trust. I think over 70 prizes so far, have to thank Rowena Evans especially, without whom we would have no funding to start with plus she has done all the stall bookings for me, my wife Margaret, who has to organise and put up with me, and also the raffle. Brenda who also collects prizes and Di from Stirchley News Facebook & Twitter, who has received prizes from further afield (like the golf for two on the Lickey Hills).’


We hope Stirchley residents will enjoy the event this year and for many years to come!


Going Swimmingly



A message about the Stirchley Baths restoration from Senior Site Manager Steve Marsh:

‘There’s been lots happening since [the recent restoration tours]. The traffic management that is in place in Bourneville Lane & Hazelwell St is to allow us to put up hoardings and scaffold the building from the footpath for brick and stone repairs. The corner of the building next to the library is now down and the giant boiler removed, the other big blue tank that was on the ground floor is also gone along with all of the old balconies from around the pool. Just out of interest the blue tank was a filtration system for the pool water and contained 23 tons of sand and gravel. As everyone can see we have scaffold the chimney and will be starting the repair’s this week, so plenty going on.’

There will be more updates in the coming months and further restoration tours will take place in due time. Watch this space!