Sutton Coldfield 1840 (Maney Hill) what is now Birmingham Road
The History of the Forest & Chase of Sutton Coldfield, published in 1860 tells us: Maney Hill, a lesser eminence, has a name suggestive, not only of the early working of its stone quarries, but that on its head were probably stones (meéné, Br.) arranged in a circle for Druids, or for their harmless successors, the British Bards. The latter held convocations termed gorsed, or assembly, within a circle, round which upright stones were placed. The Bards having laid a sword upon the high altar stone in the centre, proclaimed themselves men of peace, and recited their poems. The idea that such stones have been here is favoured by a popular tradition that, in early times, preparations were made for building the church on Maney Hill, but that, in the night, spirits always carried away the stones to the present site of the sacred edifice as well as the fact that in the year 1853-4 a large stone was turned out of a hedge-row on the hill , it measured about live feet in length and two feet in width and thickness, and was of a fine grained, hard, dark, substance, apparently limestone or trap ; but it was unfortunately broken up for the roads before its nature could be ascertained. It was much worn, and retained no marks of a tool. At length the time arrived when the cruelties of civilized heathenism were made the scourge of barbarian crime.
Wikipedia: Sutton Coldfield's only remaining cinema is located in Maney. It was operated by Odeon Cinemas from 1936 until 2006, when it was acquired by Empire Cinemas. It was officially opened on April 18, 1936 by Councillor W. A. Perry, the Mayor of Sutton Coldfield. Upon its opening, it had a seating capacity of 1,636 and was designed by Harry Weedon. It was put in direct competition of the 'Empress Cinema' on the Parade in Sutton Coldfield town centre which had reopened after reconstruction work in February of that year. The 'Empress Cinema' shut down in the 1970s and the site is now the location of Sutton Coldfield Library. Beeches Walk, Birmingham Road, offers a range of shops and restaurants. This parade stands on the site of a large Victorian house 'The Beeches'. In 1929, over 6 acres (24,000 m2) of paddock at the rear of the house was acquired by Compulsory Purchase Order for the building of Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls. In 1932, the old house was demolished and despite some local opposition retail development was permitted. St Peters Church is located on Maney Hill Road. The foundation stone was laid on June 22, 1904 by Rt. Hon. William Henry Lord Leigh and was completed in 1905. It is the parish church for the St Peters parish.
Stacked with history, from the original Vesey Manor House, the 14th & 16th Century building now the Driffold Gallery (formerly a Smithy) to the Art Deco Odeon Cinema. The corner itself is on an extremely busy stretch of road which leads south from Sutton Coldfield town centre to Wylde Green, Boldmere, Erdington, Oscott, Kings Standing and Birmingham beyond. This morning, the 25th August, I drove along there in order to take some images of the Maney Cottages and made my way behind the road to Beeches Walk and Church Road, turning into Church Road I could not believe my eyes, a very old Sutton 'original' that I must have driven past a thousand times on the main road. So I pulled into the Gallery car park to the rear in Church Road and paid it a visit. There are some really nice paintings inside, and I am not a arts fan!
14th century references to this ancient hamlet appear in the National Archives. A windmill was present in the area during the time of Bishop Vesey as a result of the high elevation of Maney Hill in comparison to the other lower lying areas of Sutton.
The area contains several buildings of some antiquity having Grade II listed status. These include:
In World War II, a bomb exploded in the middle of Maney Hill Road. The Beatles played a concert on the 1 February 1963 at 8pm in St Peters Church Hall aka Maney Hall. The spire of Peters Church Hall can be seen in the Beeches Walk image below, rear right.
In 1921, Maney Corner in Maney became the first place in the world where a centre white line was painted in a road. This was as a result of reckless driving and numerous collisions on the road.
Maney is not just the area around the cinema, but all of the area from Queen Street up to the Horse and Jockey. I do not know if this includes Holland Road. but will cover Holland Street, Duke Street and While Road, as well as Church Road, Driffold and Bishops Road.
Maney service station Jockey Road in the 50s
(note the street lamp). To the rear was the "five minute car wash" (cars washed
by hand and leathered for 2/6 old money)
St Peters Maney
Once the railway from the centre of Birmingham was extended to Sutton Coldfield in 1862, there was a rapid growth of population in the town. Holy Trinity, the parish church, was not large enough to cope with the growing size of its congregation, so the Revd Riland Bedford, the then Vicar, funded a prefabricated church in Church Road in 1877 for the residents of the Maney area. The Church, known as “Maney Iron Church” was the work of Messrs Kent of London. It would seat nearly 400 people and was built of corrugated iron and lined throughout with felt and then match boarded. Read more on the above link.
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