When I look at the images of The Parade that
existed before the 'progressive' 60s, I cannot help but feel that a lot of the
heart of Sutton Coldfield vanished with the demolition of The Parade and the
subsequent building of the Gracechurch Centre.. The Parade had so much going for it, diversity of
stores, entertainment and above all - life! Every kind of store, green grocers,
ironmonger, chemist, fruit, bakery, public house, cinema, outfitters, ladies
wear, you name it, the shop was there. 4th December 1974 - the opening of the
Gracechurch Centre and the death of' your personal shopper'. Sutton Coldfield
has lost so much to the developer, so much.
This 1886 map of the town centre shows what the Parade looked like
before 'modernisation' - points of interest are marked:
1. Moat House 2. Royal Hotel (later Town Hall) 3. Old Town Hall (and
first cinema in SC) 4. Museum Pub at the beginning
of the Parade.
5. Fire Station. 6. Blacksmiths. 7. The Old Dog Inn. 8. Sutton
Town Railway Station.
Parade & School House 1895. Pub on right was 'Talbot' Then the 'Dog' and in
Taken from am image on the wall of the
Wetherspoons pub in Birmingham Road. Not an angle I had seen before.
The two images are very badly done 'fakes' by an
artist who also painted the 'road' an orangey brown
WH Smiths on the left.
Image: David Wilcox
Very late Victorian or Edwardian if I am not mistaken, possibly turn of the
century. (Image: David
I received this wonderful postcard image from
David Wilcox, on the right hand side, half way down is a building with an
Chambers Cars, who are still in the town to this day
The same shot but with snow (?) on the ground -
Edwardian? Maybe 20s (Image: David
Above is The Parade Sutton Coldfield, in 1949, a
one way street.
Similar image (from David
Wilcox) of an earlier version of the 1949 one above. Museum pub on right
But, ossifer, ish opening time!! (The Museum Pub) see
postcard image above
Reproduced by kind permission West Midlands
Police (Sutton Coldfield)
and the other direction below
Empress Cinema, was located at corner of Lower Parade
and South Parade. Image: David Wilcox
The film showing above (1954)
Director: Wendy Toye
Writers: Francis Durbridge, James Matthews
Stars: Margaret Leighton, John Justin and Roland Culver
Dull, unimaginative, boring, flat - just some of the nicer accolades
James Speight well known local photographer and
his home/studio approx 1910, on The Parade
The parade in 1943
Taken in 1935. The Empress stood on what is now the Victoria Road Multi
Storey Car Park and Wilkinson's Store (Ex Sainsbury's) and the
(now closed) Sutton Coldfield Library. (2011)
Empress Cinema 1935 & (below) Museum Pub
Museum Pub - right
Old Ansell Signs
The Parade, from Birmingham Road, Mill Street in distance
1960s looking towards Trinity Church. Woolworth's
moved across the road from this location and survived until 2008
then was closed!
I recently came into possession of some slides taken around the time when
the Gracechurch was being built.
Here are the slides relevant to this
page. They have never been online before and are owned by me.
there are more slides but they will be on their respective pages (c) Mike
The Gracechurch Centre was opened on 4th December
1974 by the Duke of Aylesford
Taken from Wetherspoons looking towards the Gracechurch Centre, our Royal
sign on the roundabout
21st Century. The Gracechurch is once again
You would not believe it but this is Christmas
morning 2006 - note the marvellous decorations - NOT! And the next two images 5
30 Sept 2017. The
Mayor with the Sutton Civic Society in the Gracechurch. (Rob Pocock is
just off screen to the left !!)