The Town Trail

Have you ever heard of the Sutton Coldfield Town Centre Trail. I had not, until today. I called in at a local business to collect some history and they passed me a brochure which was in turn passed to them, for me, from a printers. Sutton Coldfield’s town centre contains a wealth of interesting buildings but sometimes you have to look above and beyond the modern additions to appreciate them. The brochure states:

Sutton Coldfield Civic Society hopes this Town Trail leaflet will help you to see them in a new light. The trail will lead you through the historic High Street, which was for centuries the heart of the town and is now a conservation area, down into the retail area which developed in the late l9th century and on to Maney where medieval meets Art Deco. lf you would like any further information please contact them at www.suttoncoldfieldcivicsociety.com and look out for their blue plaques at Holy Trinity RC church, Moat House, the Three Tuns and Vesey House.

The old Swan Hotel: built as a private house in the mid 1700s and converted into the Royal Hotel in 1895.

2 separate houses were joined together to form The Three Tuns in the 18th C. Note the archway which originally gave access to the rear for carts. Reputed to be haunted by a Cavalier drummer boy but surely not in the same building that exists today? A previous Three Tuns, on the same site maybe?

No 1 High Street was a stone building dating back to 1624. The Georgian style front was added around 1700. Original stonework can still be seen on the side.

The Old Workhouse, on Mill Street, was built in 1739 to comply with the Poor Laws, was converted to commercial use in 1840.

 

Also on Mill Street is the original Town Hall built in 1856, becoming a Masonic Hall in 1906.

The Gate positioned to be an entrance to Park Road which was the main route until road redevelopments took place. This is not the original Gate site. The building behind it is the Telephone Exchange
that is where the Gate was located on Reddicroft.

Sutton Town School was built in 1856, in 1860 the school was expanded and the frontage added. in 1980 the building was bought by a church, who carried out further changes but kept the frontage.

On the east side of Coleshill Street is an interesting block of 9 cottages and one three storey stone building. All are Grade 2 listed.

Nos 1, 3, and 5 Coleshill Street make up the old Rectory, now commercial. There are grooves in the stone walls in the archway which is where arrows were sharpened during the middle ages.

 

The Bank Building, locally listed, dates from 1900 as does the building on the opposite corner of Midland Drive.

Just past the Three Tuns, on the opposite side, is a perfect example of a much older building being gentrified with a new frontage.

48 High Street gives an idea of how the original High Street would have looked before the builders got going.


Jan 2011

Buildings of note

Town Hall

A large hotel was built in 1865 to take advantage of the expected boom in tourism to Sutton and its Park due to the arrival of the railways. It never happened and, after a short lived use as a sanatorium, the Borough Council took it over in 1904, when the Town Hall was added. . The clock tower was used to hang the fire service hoses and an extn of the building was used as the fire station for many years.

Holy Trinity Tower

An imposing tower, on High Street, marks the location of the RC Church here in Sutton Coldfield.

Bishop Vesey's School

The earliest (northern) part of the building dates from 1728 when the school transfered to this site from Church Hill, where the school was originally founded by Bishop Vesey in the 1540s.

Guildhall

The first Catholic Church opened in Lichfield Road in 1834. When it became too small in the 1930s, the church was built on Lichfield road, the vacant church became the Guildhall and is currently being used for offices.

The Art School

A winning architectural design led to the construction of a new Technical School for the Borough in 1904 for 200 students. Since then it became an Art School and part of the nearby Sutton Coldfield college.

The Moat House

Built in 1690 by William Wilson (blue plaque on side of building) as a show house in the Palladian style for himself and his bride. Later the style gained popularity and other homes sprang up all over the Midlands.

Railway Station

The first branch line of the L&NWR from Birmingham arrived in Sutton Coldfield in 1862. This helped the town to expand and a new through station was built allowing passage through to Lichfield and connection to national lines.

United Reformed Church

Built in 1902 this Church is the lone survivor from the Victorian commercial area, the parade. Now swallowed up by the development of The Mall in 1974. If you look behind the Nat West Bank - its there.

The Cup

Was rebuilt in 1902 on the site of a single storey building set back from the road. It has been thought that the Cup can claim to be the oldest Inn in Sutton Coldfield with a reference to the 'Golden Cup' in 1769.

The Horse & Jockey

Various Horse 7 jockey Inns have existed ion the same site for over 250 years. The present name, as well as Jockey Road, is believed to have derived from a local race course.

Vesey Manor

Former farmhouse, the manor underwent many alterations and additions before becoming what is its present existence, an antique gallery.

Maney Cottages

Just around the corner from Vesey Manor, cottages from the late Elizabethan period. Early photos date back to 1892 but no earlier.

Smithy

One of the oldest buildings in Sutton Coldfield, dating from the 15th C. Consisting of massive cruck timbers, partly stone built, partly brick. Was then a workshop and a farmhouse now an Art Gallery.

Holy Trinity Church

Sitting on a commanding hilltop, looking up the High Street. The first Nave and Altar were built in the 13th C. Bishop Vesey added a bell tower in the 16th C which was also part of significant internal changes.

information obtained via Sutton Civic Society Brochure and other sources, see credits

Historic-Newspapers.co.uk