Acocks Green

Acocks Green Train Station
Acock's Green is an area and ward of south Birmingham, England. It is named after the Acock family who built a large house in the area in 1370. Acock's Green is one of the four wards making up Yardley formal district. Nowadays, it is also sometimes written without an apostrophe.

Stockfield, located in the north of the ward, was once a separate village to the Acock's Green area. However, the two merged as a result of housing developments during the 20th century. The ward now covers an area 4.773 square kilometres (2 sq mi). Areas covered by the ward include the Edenbridge Road Estate, Gospel Estate, Pemberley Road Flats, Stockfield Estate, part of the Tyseley Estate and the Yarnfield Estate. The ward covers part of the B27 and part of the B11 postcode areas.

Acock's Green first developed north of the current centre at the roundabout where the Warwick Road meets Shirley and Westley Roads. This area was known Tenchlee or Tenelea, meaning 'ten clearings'. The settlement that developed here has completely disappeared. Huyon Hall and Broom Hall were moated manor houses located in the area. The area of Fox Hollies in the ward receives its name from the time when the Fox family bought the farm belonging to the atte Holies in the 15th century. The earliest known reference to Acock's Green is in the Yardley Parish Register of 1604. In 1626, Acock's Green House and other estates were given by Richard Acock to his son as a wedding gift. In 1725, the Warwick Road was turnpiked. During the end of the 18th century, the Warwick and Birmingham Canal was cut through Acocks' Green. This is resulted in wharfs being constructed at Stockfield Road and Yardley Road. The increased prosperity brought by the canal prompted the construction of farms and large residences.

Acock's Green began to expand in the 19th century when it was connected to the Birmingham to Oxford railway in 1852. At this time there were three hamlets along the Warwick Road; Flint Green, Acock's Green, and Westley Brook. Westley Brook was to become the centre of modern Acock's Green. As Acock's Green was closer to the station, it developed faster than the old centre.

In 1911, Yardley, of which Acock's Green was a part of, was absorbed into Birmingham. Birmingham was in need of housing and in the mid-1920s, municipal housing was built on around half of Acock's Green, resulting in a large increase in the population. Many new residents were unwelcome and existing residents moved away leading to the nickname Snob's Green. Acock's Green benefited from an increase in commerce brought about by the newcomers. It developed into a major shopping area and churches and meeting halls were extended to accommodate more people.

Trams first arrived in Acock's Green in 1916. They first stopped at Broad Road, before stopping at the Green from 1922. The centre of Acock's Green was remodelled in 1932, and a large island incorporating the tram terminus was created. After the tram service ended, the island was grassed over to become the Green.

Acock's Green was the location for a custom-built factory which made parts for the Bristol Hercules radial engines. Construction of the factory commenced in late 1936 on the site of Westwood's market gardening business near the canal. The factory was the Rover shadow factory and it was operational by July 1937. Towards the end of the war, the Rover factory began to produce Meteor tank engines, and the Meteorite engine. The factory was visited by King George VI in March 1938. The military connection the factory had made Acock's Green a target for German bombers.

There are a number of statutorily listed buildings; cottages at 89-93 Arden Road (Grade II), the Baptist Church on Yardley Road (Grade II), the Baptist church hall on Alexander Road (Grade II). As well as this, there are locally listed buildings; the fire station (Grade B) and caretaker's house (Grade A) on Alexander Road, police station on Yardley Road (Grade B), a house on the corner of Elmdon Road, and the library on Shirley Road (Grade A). In Fox Hollies Park, there is a Bronze Age burnt mound with Scheduled Ancient Monument status.

Stockfield Estate was one of Birmingham's many interwar housing estates, built by the local council during the 1920s and 1930s to rehouse people from inner-city slums. The houses were popular on their completion thanks to the inclusion of electricity, running water, gardens, indoor toilets and bathrooms. The houses were constructed out of concrete and were designed in the 'Parkinson' style. However, the housing was declared defective by law in 1985 and structural tests carried out in 1986 concluded that damage was so severe that repair would not be possible. This meant that the 477 houses had to be demolished, however, Birmingham City Council did not have the financial services available to carry out the work. Residents of the estate set up an Estate Development Group and architects Webb Seeger Moorhouse were invited to prepare a masterplan for the estate. They worked in partnership with the residents and the city council. The masterplan and the proposal to establish a community association were publicly announced in October 1989 in a public meeting to the residents of the estate who unanimously approved the plans. Stockfield Community Association was formed in 1991 and a redevelopment partnership was then formed between the Community Association, Birmingham City Council, Halifax Building Society and Bromford Carinthia Housing Association, with Anthony Collins Solicitors and Webb Seeger Moorhouse Community Architects giving support. Wimpey Homes were appointed as the developers and work on the first phase of the estate commenced in July 1991. This was met with opposition with some residents refusing to move and the crime on the estate was so bad that the washing machine in the show home provided by Wimpey was stolen. The first phase, 17 Bromford family homes for rent, were opened in the summer of 1991 by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. By 1998, all four phases of the estate were completed by Wimpey Homes.

The 2001 Population Census recorded that there were 26,635 people living in Acock's Green with a population density of 5,580 people/km². The 1991 Population Census recorded 26,087 residents living in the ward, a decline of 6.7% from 1981. 51.5% of the population is female whilst 48.5 is male. 19.6% (5,188) of the ward's population consists of ethnic minorities compared with 29.6% for Birmingham in general. 80.4% of the population are White making it the largest ethnic group in the ward. Chinese was the smallest ethnic group in the ward at 0.7%, compared with the Birmingham average of 1.1%. 13% of the ward's population was born outside the United Kingdom, compared with the Birmingham average of 16.5% and the national average of 9.3%. Christianity was the most prominent religion in the ward at 64.3%, above the city average of 59.1%. Islam was the second most selected religion at 7.7%, although "No Religion" had a higher percentage at 13.7%.

98.8% of the population live in households, which is above the Birmingham average of 98.3% and the national average of 98.2%. 1.2% live in communal establishments. There were 11,008 occupied households in the ward at the time of the census with an average of 2.4 people per household, equal to the national average. 305 households were vacant. 57.2% of the total households were owner occupied, below the city average of 60.4% and the national average of 68.7%. The majority of the houses in Acock's Green were terraced (39%), whilst semi-detached houses were also common in the area (36.4%).

17.5% of people are of a pensionable age and 58.2% are of a working age. 9.1% of the ward population was unemployed, above city average of 6.8% and the national average of 4.1%. 36.6% of the unemployed had been in such a situation for the long term, whilst 13.5% had never worked. The majority of those that were employed worked in the manufacturing sector (18.6%). Wholesale & Retail Trade and Vehicle Repairs Finance and Real Estate & Business Activities were both major employment sectors in the area at 16.4%. The largest employer based in Acock's Green is Eaton Electric Ltd, employing approximately 750 people.

Acock's Green Primary School was created in 2004 upon the amalgamation of Acock's Green Junior School and Acock's Green Infant School. It is located in buildings dating to 1908. It was opened in 1909 by Worcestershire County Council and was transferred to Birmingham City Council in 1911. The school consisted of Boys, Girls and Infants departments, but in 1932 it was reorganised into Senior Mixed and Junior Mixed departments. The Senior Mixed department became a separate school in 1945 and the Junior Mixed department became a primary school at the same time. It currently has approximately 480 pupils.

The Cottesbrooke Infant and Junior schools opened on September 6, 1968 as a combined school. As the school was so oversubscribed, which resulted in the use of the local church hall for lessons, it was decided to split the school into an infant school and a junior school. The infant school remained in the original school buildings whilst the junior school was moved over the road with the original headteacher taking charge. Cottesbrooke Infant School has 329 pupils whilst Cottesbrooke Junior School has 220.

Holy Souls Primary School is a voluntary aided Roman Catholic primary school. It is run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham in partnership with Birmingham Local Education Authority. The school was established in 1907 and moved into its current premises in 1968. There are 401 pupils on roll.

Oaklands Primary School, which was a primary school on Dolphin Lane, was constructed in 1928 and opened in 1929 as Oaklands County Primary School. It was expanded in 1932. In 1950, one of the timber buildings which formed the infants block was dismantled and reassembled in the newly-constructed Gilbertstone estate to form Gilbertstone Primary School. It currently has 335 pupils on roll.

Archbishop Ilsley Catholic Technology College and Sixth Form Centre is a specialist Technology College with a sixth form centre. Construction commenced in 1955 and the school was opened in 1957. The school is named in memory of Archbishop Edward Ilsley, who built the first church in Acocks Green.

Ninestiles Technology College has over 1,300 laptop computers. It is attached to Fox Hollies Leisure Centre, which complements Acock's Green's other sports, gym and recreational facilities.

Fox Hollies School and Performing Arts College, in Fox Hollies in the western area of the ward, is a special school.

A private school is to be found on Yardley Road. Adult education takes place at Stone Hall, Archbishop Ilsley Technology College, Ninestiles Technology College, and Fox Hollies Leisure Centre. City College run an IT training facility from the Green. There is a yoga institute on Westley Road.

Acock's Green also has numerous parks and green spots, including Fox Hollies Park in the south which is home to a man-made lake called Round Pool.

The roundabout where Warwick Road meets Shirley Road and Westley Road is called The Green by most locals. This is the main shopping area in Acock's Green. Most of the general retail shops are located here and further along Warwick Road. There is also a library and a bowling alley. Outside The Green you will not find many shops except convenience stores and off-licences, although there is a large modern bingo hall located on Stockfield Road.

Acock's Green has seven churches including St Mary the Virgin, Acocks Green, Holy Souls, a Methodist church on Shirley Road, a Baptist church on Yardley Road and the Ghamkol Sharif Mosque. There is a large cultural diversity in Acock's Green with a mix of people from all religions and races. In recent years, Acock's Green has begun to see an increase in Polish residents.

On August 12, 2006, Gospel Lane Skatepark was opened to the public. It was created using Neighbourhood Renewal Fund grants and through the advice of youngsters who would use the park. The British Legion have a local office and club in the ward. Hall Green Little Theatre is also located in Acock's Green.

The area is served by Acock's Green library which has been in use since June 14, 1932. Outside the library is the Acock's Green war memorial.

Acocks Green railway station

Acock's Green has very good transport links to Birmingham city centre and Solihull. Birmingham Moor Street and Solihull stations can both be reached in under ten minutes by train from Acocks Green railway station or Spring Road railway station.

Many bus routes are served by Acock's Green Bus Garage, including the Outer Circle (11A/11C), which is the longest urban bus route in any European city. The 37 service links Solihull and Birmingham City Centre and runs mainly along the Warwick Road, passing through "The Green". The 37 bus route is also featured in Acocks Green, this runs between the areas of Solihull and Birmingham City Centre. Also the 31 service links Hall Green Church and Birmingham City Centre and runs mainly along Stratford Road, and runs in Acock's Green, as of November 2009, the 31 service runs directly through Acocks Green Village. The 1 service runs between Acocks Green and Birmingham Town Hall (located in Birmingham City Centre) via Moseley.

The area can become congested and there have been calls for a bypass to ease pressure on the roads. Businesses in the shopping area have opposed the ideas as they have concerns about loss of passing trade and residents do not want increases in traffic past their houses. Another idea which has been proposed in recent years to resolve some of the problems of congestion in the centre, whilst also making the area more pedestrian friendly, is to introduce a type of high street design known as Shared Space.