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:

  • The Smithy, 78 Birmingham Road; originally a stone built cottage based on a 15th century cruck frame construction, now used as an art gallery.
  • The Stone House, St Peters Close, which is thought to be one of the very few remaining stone cottages built by John Vesey, Bishop of Exeter in about 1530.
  • "Vesey Manor" at 62/64 Birmingham Road, built as two stone cottages in the 16th century, later converted to a farmhouse, and in the late 19th century enlarged and provided with its current frontage.

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.

Two New Pedestrian Crossings, Two different places, same person, same car!!

1. Birmingham Road, just above Parade, by the Cottage Hospital and 2. The Parade near Queens Street both 1938

This is were Maney begins, at the junction of Queen Street (left) and Birmingham Road, and stretches up to Beeches Walk (below)





Just around the corner is Vesey Manor (below) and The Odeon. The image right is Church Road


Odeon Cinema - renamed

The Duke Inn Maney and the former Barclays Bank on Birmingham Road

Birmingham Road Maney



Image & Info: David Wilcox

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)
cost today £5 - 40 times as much (I seem to recall petrol was about 2/6 a gallon now it is £6 plus literally 50 times as much. This is now 'luxury flats'.
Note the woman in the distance crossing the road. If she did that now she would be killed on the same spot due to the volume and speed of traffic!!
I can recall at my home on Merseyside that, in the late 60s, petrol was approx 90p for FOUR gallons.

Maney 1880

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.  -The Beartles in Maney