The Parks Pools each have their own page

Page 2 - Continuation of images.     Page 3:  Mosses & Fungi      Donkey Sanctuary. 

I had not been to the Park for quite some time, months in fact. So I decided to spend the morning of Febraury 7th 2014 just drifting along and taking some pictures. To put it bluntly it is going 'down the nick' and we all know which Council is to blame. There is dog muck piling up all around Town Gate car park, and those people who have been 'kind' enough to bag it, have then thrown their bags full of dog muck into the bushes! Filthy people who care nothing for the effects on children and adults alike. Do these ignorant people not know that dog muck can kill a child, can blind a child!!?

The walk I had intended took far longer than planned, mainly due to retracing my steps due to impassable pathways that are either afloat with black slippery mud or actually flooded. Where flooded there is no evident means of run off for the water, although there are the Pools nearby. There is little or no maintenance in Sutton Park these days. Even the main pathways are covered in large pools of water and mud - yes ok, we have had our fair share of rain, and more - but we always do and yet there seems to be no planning or counter measures in place. When I passed the Park maintenance yard there were a few men in there laughing and joking and seemingly doing little. Get out and clear some paths!

Winter In The Park

Map & Info provided by Sutton Coldfield Civic Society (Alan Green) The yellow shaded area is primarily heathland but has plenty of trees. The Green, is mainly wooded.

Below names recorded in 1774 and this updated on 1904

The Geology of the Park

As with other colour postcards I have in here, the lady in white is the artists wife and has been artificially added


Again, my thanks to David Wilcox for this lovely image of the Park gates and the cafe on the right. David owned this cafe for quite some time.
I would love to know what that sign says on the left - looks like ***ved the ***dens???

As in the image above this (right), the bike storage is still there. One of the gents on the left is holding a newspaper. (Image: David Wilcox)
and again, the town gate
(Image: David Wilcox)

Park Road with Clifton Road crossing at figure. Now a very busy roundabout junction (Image: David Wilcox)

As  left above, Park Road, looking back towards the Railway Bridge and Town.  

I have never heard of this area before (right above) - The Gumslade? Its by Four Oaks Gate Image: David Wilcox

David Wilcox's former cafe by the Park Road Entrance

The 'white lady' is in the background.                                                            What is this memorial? Cant say I have ever seen this

Hollyhurst                                   The Pines 1906 - possibly Bracebridge

     Nuthurst                                                                                                                          Image: David Wilcox

This was  a favourite place for sledging  in the winter it also acted as as an arena for many social events i remember in the 50s a giant firework display celebrating The Coronation - David Wilcox  (Note the lady is there again, with the white dress and hat).

Image David Wilcox

I have never heard of this, wonder where it is/was located?

Unknown location, but in the Park.

The jewel in Sutton Coldfield's crown is Sutton Park, with an area of about 2,400 acres, is the largest urban park in Europe. A triple SSI site. The park originated in the 12th century although there is evidence of prehistoric burial mounds, an early, fortified settlement and a Roman Road. Sutton Park was given to the people of Sutton Coldfield in 1528 by King Henry VIII. The story goes that Henry VIII was attacked by a wild boar whilst out hunting in Sutton Park with his good friend Bishop Vesey. Before it could harm the king though, the beast was killed by an arrow. To the King's surprise, when he called for his saviour to be brought to him, he discovered that the marksman was a young and beautiful woman. Henry was told of how her family had been dispossessed of their property and he ordered that restitution be made to them. Henry was also keen to show his gratitude to Vesey and the people of Sutton Coldfield and on December 16th, 1528, a Royal Charter was signed giving Sutton Coldfield the title of Royal Town and Sutton Park to the people of Sutton Coldfield in perpetuity. Henry also gave his emblem of the Tudor Rose to the town, which was used as the town's Coat of Arms until Sutton Coldfield became part of the Birmingham Metropolitan District in 1974.

Throughout the years since, the people of Sutton Coldfield have guarded their rights to the park fiercely and lawsuits were brought against the town's Warden and Society, those that administered the town and park, if there was evidence of mismanagement. Complaints were made about the stocking of the park with strangers' cattle, spoiling the woods, felling timber without the consent of the town's inhabitants and increasing the fees for the pasturage of horses and cattle in the park.

The southern part of the Park is so named after the 'col' the charcoal burning activities which went on here until into the 18th century.  Hence the name South Ton Col Fields = Sutton Coldfield.  

"This tablet is erected to commemorate the occupation of this park from 1914 to 1920 by His Majesty's troops. The park was placed at the disposal of HM Government entirely free. Over 50,000 of HM Troops occupied the various camps constructed.  The Birmingham City Battalions of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment received their training here & were followed by other units. For a considerable period the camps were used for convalescent officers & men - and New Zealand troops also were in occupation prior to their return home. The Council of the Royal Town (of Sutton Coldfield) received the thanks of the War Office for their patriotic action." 

Blackroot Pool 1854                                           Sutton Park 1854                                      Blackroot Glade 1887


Youngsters collecting firewood in the Park and a very old image of the Plantsbrook

The emergence of the carriage as a popular mode of transport, saw the introduction of highwaymen to the park. A group of bushes within the park became known as 'The Thieves' Bushes' - a suitable hiding place for the highwaymen as they awaited their next victims. In 1862, the railways arrived in Sutton Coldfield and this brought about an increase in the town's population and in visitors to the park. By the time war broke out in 1914, many people had started spending their holidays in the town. Sporting interests were increasingly catered for and in the 1900's, there were two racecourses within Sutton Park. 
During the two great wars of the 20th century, Sutton Park was used for military purposes. During the First World War, the park became a training ground and camping site for thousands of young soldiers and in the Second World War, a prisoner-of-war camp was established there and park maintenance was carried out by German soldiers. There is a plaque near the Town Gate, which commemorates the part played by Sutton Park in the First World War.

Much of the Park has never been cultivated and is today a mixture of woodland and heath with a number of streams and man-made pools. Plants and animals that are not otherwise found in this region are supported in the heaths and bogs of the park, which are themselves somewhat rare habitats in the Midlands area. Conservation and protection of the park are vitally important to the people of Sutton Coldfield and in 1950, the Friends of Sutton Park Association was founded to promote awareness and interest in the park. The association also alerts the public to threats to the park, and checks on 'improvement' proposals offered by administrators.

Conservationists repairing the Plantsbrook near the Town Gate. This was taken in the same location as the image left. Image: David Wilcox 

Today, the park is still enjoyed by a large number of people who come to walk the dog, have a picnic or to just get a bit of fresh air! All manner of sporting activities are offered, from cross-country running to RAC Rallying. A Visitor's Centre opened in 1985 and offers an impressive array of information about the park. It's a shame one or two areas have been denuded by kids on mountain bikes who will not stay on the paths.  And the curse of English society, the amoebic like vandal, is also taking its toll.  See also Keepers Pool. In Oct 2000, walking the dog, I talked to one of the Rangers. He told me that one or two buildings within the park, built about 100 years ago, have had to be demolished due to vandalism.  Intrusive Silver Birch are currently being removed bit by bit to restore the park to a more natural state. The Silver Birch is by nature, a thirsty tree, and has drained some natural marshland, a situation it is hoped will be reversed.

The park was granted special status from English Heritage in 1995 and is now included in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. With this Grade II listing, the profile of the park has been raised and, it is to be hoped, that its future conservation ensured by not letting the Council get its hands on it. And now, some random images of the Park taken since 2002 to date.
there is the 'white lady' again!     Sawmill - (right) location is now the Rangers Yard. The twin roof boathouse can be seen above the Mill.

This picture is obviously earlier than the one above it as the brick building in the top image is stil there.
right, the same area today, from the opposite side

Heritage Signs in The Park
The rose bears no resemblance to the Sutton Coldfield Rose because that was red & white, signifying the union following the War of the Roses 

Plantsbrook near Town Gate                                       Town Gate 6th June 2013 the Parks cattle grazing

Idiotic Brain Cell Deficient Vandals In Sutton Park

The Vandals were a Northern European race who are mostly famous for their taking of much land in and around the Mediterranean, particularly in North Africa. By 534 AD they had all but vanished under Roman conquest. Their namesakes are thriving in the United Kingdom. Nothing is sacred and human life is apparently a trivial by-product of their work. What is it about things that make them such a target for vandals? Here in Sutton Park, we have been plagued by these mindless morons for many years, fires in the summer, tress demolished in the winter and life saving lifebelts are tossed frequently into the lakes of the park. A swimming pool was totally destroyed, now removed. On February 21st, 2008, whilst on a walk near Banners Gate, I saw this scene at Longmoor Pool:

At least three lifebelts lie on the surface of the Pool, thrown in by vandals. This tree on the side of the Pool has had its branches ripped from the trunk by vandals swinging on them. Young children could not have done this, its has to be teenagers (or over!). Are you one of those people who regularly walk the area, do you often see, or sometimes see, vandals at work. Are you the one who turns a "Nelsonian Eye" at what is being done to YOUR Park? I'm telling you now, your a coward. Get your mobile out and call the Police! I would! OK, its odds on the Police will not even respond, too much like hard work and too much paperwork if they catch them, but you could at least try!; before some person drowns due to the lack of lifebelts!

October 2014

     Water boatman on the Plantsbrook See also Valley

The area refered to in the above marker

Recycling is not a human invention!

Rowtons Well

An excellent aerial image of Sutton Park to the left of the Town Centre.

The pool top centre is Bracebridge Pool. Below right of that is Blackroot Pool and the smaller one below that is Keepers Pool. The railway can be seen crossing the Park lower right to upper left. The housing area above the railway is Four Oaks, a highly desirable, very expensive area which has obviously encroached upon the parkland in the past, (money talks?) and Mere Green


David Wilcox sent me this image of the Parks 'Crystal Palace' 50s/60s
See my fairground page at Sutton Park Palace & Fair 

Invalid Carriage or park taxi? Crystal Palace in the background. Image: David Wilcox


Park Map 1940/1950's

David also sent me a copy of a map from either the 40s or the 50s of Sutton's Park. The site of the above image is clearly visible in the top right image
as I had to scan it in four parts.


    1. Top Left 2. Bottom Left 3. Top Right 4. Bottom Right Top. The still attached cover


Four Oaks Park Entrance. Man in uniform (gatekeeper?) images David Wilcox
And below Banner Gate, also with gatekeeper

Two present day buildings in the Park. 1. Blackroot cafe and 2. Visitors Centre

Two images of Druids Well Sutton Park
Images David Wilcox

Never feed birds bread, it does them no good, feed corn or, in my case, cereal multi grain. (Cheerios)


Film Company - Royal Sutton Park


I got a nice email from a lady with some fond memories of Sutton Coldfield; here it is:

I just wanted to thank you for the photos of Sutton and Sutton Park. I stumbled across them by accident and was delighted as I grew up on Melrose Avenue just near the Boldmere Gate. We lived there from when I was born, at the end of 1939 until 1958. The views of Sutton still looked mostly the same except for the Parade, although I think I could spot the gable of the "Dog Inn" on the left, where I used to catch the 107 bus from Sutton to Boldmere.  The antiques store at Maney looked more brightly painted but still similar to when I passed it twice daily, changing buses on the Parade, to go to the school I attended from age 5 - age 10, St.Paul's Convent on Lichfield Road (recently bought by Highclare I heard). I particularly liked the photos of Sutton Park.  Our family knew the lanes of the park extremely well and we loved the park. In the days when I was small, and my father in the war in Burma, my mother and I used to walk to Bracebridge pool where there was a little tea shop-in a cottage I think. There as a treat you could have a boiled egg. That probably seems funny to you but in those days food was scarce. In those days too there were prisoner of war camps for Italians near to the Boldmere Gate. There was also a Fair near to the Sutton Gate, mostly off-limits to us but one day a year it was opened to our school only as the daughters of the owner went to our school.  For all the years we lived on Melrose Ave. our whole family enjoyed the park and its pools, Powells for the boats - I didn't sail in those days- and I also caught my first and only fish there using Co-op bread, Wyndley Pool for the ducks, Keepers pool for swimming, Blackroot for rowing boats and then Bracebridge which was very pretty and had, at least during the war, the attraction of a tasty tea. Your photos are so familiar, including the Roman Road and the carpets of  leaves in the  woods. At Christmas time residents of Sutton were allowed to receive free holly by walking to either Keepers or Blackroot and being given the bundle. That was an annual tradition for us. (Rosemary (Wood) Whelan University of Michigan USA - 21 May 2002).

And this one from Australia: I've just spent a wonderful afternoon (should have been working) browsing your brilliant site.  I am certain I will spend many more hours continuing to view the fabulous photos and text, which you have so painstakingly put together into an heirloom production.  This is a 110% great sight (site) and more.  I can hardly believe that someone has put in so much effort.  You must truly love Sutton and the park.  Your photos are an absolute joy - even though some tell of the environmental damage that has befallen certain areas.  It is so sad to read that there are no longer any rangers.  My Uncle (Harold Hopkins) was a ranger when I was a child back in the late 40's early 50's.  He and his family lived in a lovely house not far from the Main gate (near the railway bridge).  How we children loved to visit this wondrous place. The reason I've been privy to your site is because one of my cousins, who still lives in Sutton, came across it and saw a picture of the Privy Gate, which also showed where his family once lived in Coleshill Street.  He was so impressed that he sent copies of the picture plus your web address on to me and my sister, who both live in Queensland, Australia.  Our family left for Australia in 1959.  My mother, sister & I returned for a 3-month visit in 1963 and my parents visited again during the 70's.  The last time I re-visited was in '73, when all one could see from Holy Trinity down to the Parade was scaffolding.  It was horrifying!  The thought of the beloved Royal Town becoming extinct was even worse and I've never returned since. so often relive the wonderful days of my childhood and have a few really old photos of Sutton and a booklet which the Town produced way back in '56. They were the so treasured and I thought I'd never see anything more recent.  Lo and behold, however, there is your wonderful site and I thank my cousin so much for sending it to me and you, well, words can't express my wonderment at your love for the environment and especially for Sutton.    If I never get the chance to return, I will always have your site to bring back the memories of my happy, carefree childhood days.   I always knew there was some Celtic heritage hidden deep within my psyche. (Nancy Warren. April 2004.)

Ah! Memories. Feb 04 Email.

I have just been looking through your excellent site on Sutton Park. I was brought up in Banners Gate/Streetly and later spent some time doodling at Bishop Vesey's G.S. For a number of years when the fishing bug first bit hard i practically lived in the park. I remember seeing a red squirrel near Royal Oak gate and frequently used to pause for a drink from a spring near Rowton's well en route to Blackroot pool. Don't think I would care to sample the water now though. After Birmingham took over the park I feared the worst and the last time I was there (ca 1993) it was looking pretty run down, broken fences and no more park keepers in sight...obvious vandalism etc. So it is nice to see that the park is now properly looked after again and secure once more. Your photos are very good and i remember catching several trout in the stream that runs from Blackroot towards Town gate...we always put them back. There was one large one (almost a pound!) that lived in the pool by the small waterfall where the stream exited Blackroot (by the lily pads corner). We caught it a few times and then somebody else caught it and took it away.. villain. It's very sad to see what has happened to the baths at Keeper's but I guess it's a sign of the times. Still at least it's not all gloom and it's great to see that the park still retains its essential character...much better than the overly tamed parks here in Holland. There used to be the remains of a watermill behind the dam at Longmoor pool as well...don't know what it was used for though. Some surprisingly good chub in that stream in the jungly bits just before it enters into Powells Pool. Casting was impossible and the midges totally hellish but we were able to drift a worm down on a piece of crust or a twig and then pull it off and let it sink under the branches. Bites were instantaneous...from chub and insects, kind of muddy too. Once a fisherman.... Thanks again for a great site. kind regards, Bob Spinks.


  - not used in my compilation but of great interest 


Fire Alarms? Do you want them installed & regularly serviced? Reduce Your Insurance?
Then I strongly recommend a friend of mine who has his own Fire Alarm installation & servicing company

The main stream dealerships rip motorists off big style, this is my local garage, actually located by Ryland Road tip on Norris Way. They are the "old" sort of garage
manned not by kids with degrees or a year at a Polytechnic, but by mature experienced men who know and care about their work.