The Parade - Sutton Coldfield

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 1981, 'Knott'

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 Wilcox)

I received this wonderful postcard image from David Wilcox, on the right hand side, half way down is a building with an ad
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 Wilcox)

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 kemble

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 British owned.

You would not believe it but this is Christmas morning 2006 - note the marvellous decorations - NOT! And the next two images 5 years later

Feb 2015 

June 2016

30 Sept 2017. The Mayor with the Sutton Civic Society in the Gracechurch. (Rob Pocock is just off screen to the  left !!)

Sept 2018

Parade from Trinity Hill

Sept 29th 2018 - Community/Local Interest Stalls