Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Ongoing research; last updated 27 February 2017

This volume continues the historical overview of Selly Oak Park; the earlier years having been reported in the previous histories (see the column on the right hand side of this page) and in the book, “The Heydays of Selly Oak Park”. Again the clippings, listed in the column on the right, contain the more extensive detail upon which it is founded - information from Council committee minutes, newspaper reports, etc.


Park Environment:
Post war, the City Council put in place schemes of work for the unemployed, and each of their departments was asked to draw up proposals for the scheme. In the Autumn, the Parks Department drew up its proposals suggesting that overall 250 men might be employed continually through the winter on repairs and renovations in the various parks after the severe wear and tear of the summer, which had been more than usual owing to the exceptional season. The eventual submission called for 510 men working at 25 different locations; and Selly Oak Park was one of the suggested locations where 10 men were required to work on the new extension (announced in 1919) which was due to come into the City's ownership in the new year.

Park uses:
23rd July, a very hot day, was the occasion of the annual Selly Oak and Bournbrook Children's Festival - yet another "very enjoyable and successful" event. There was a fancy dress parade and maypole dances. Punch and Judy, conjuring and ventriloquism all created their usual share of amusement. Open air concerts were provided by the Queries’ Concert Party, the Bournbrook Concert Party, and the Country Girl Concert Party. 4,000 children were entertained to tea and enjoyed themselves. Later in the evening parents joined the throng and dancing took place until 9.30 p.m.

Queries Concert Party

Alison Bailey, whose mother’s family lived in Selly Oak and Bournville from the late 1890s to the 1980s, found this photo in a family album and has very kindly shared it with me.

(There is an interesting 1921 map of the park used on the following webpage:
(When there, find the "Selly Oak" page and scroll to the bottom of it to the old map; the park is the green rectangle just above the label "Selly Oak".)


Park Environment:
13 acres of land belonging to Weoley Park Farm was gifted by the Gibbins family (on 17th June 1919) to the City Corporation as an extension for the Park - to become available when various leases expired on 29 September 1922 (Michealmas). It is interesting to read "the desire of the donors was that the land comprising this extension should, together with the park, be left open down to the canal, and so add to its value as an open space". The Corporation prepared to take, and then took, possession of their part of the Estate, and eventually had to be prompted to erect ("and for ever thereafter maintain") a fence on the western boundary of the extension ("similar to the boundary fence of the existing recreation ground, with a proper and suitable gate where the same crossed the private road"), all in accordance with the requirements of a covenant in the conveyance.
In October the matter of access to Weoley Park Farm and the adjoining houses arose. The pathway to these premises from Harborne Lane now ran across the Park. This was perceived as undesirable (since the Park would have to remain open day and night - remember in those days it was entirely fenced and gated) and the suggestion was made that an old road which ran (for 350 yards) from Gibbins Road to the Farm should be re-opened and "topped by a few ashes" at the Council's expense (estimated as £300, and to be provided from the allowances for unemployment relief work). These fencing and re-surfacing tasks were eventually completed - slag being supplied from the mufflers at the Battery Company for 2/6d. a load.
There had been a recommendation that for safety reasons a fence should be erected along the canal; however the matter was held in abeyance.
There was a cottage on the land that had been donated as the extension of the park. The occupier, Mr. Arthur Newbold, a sub-tenant of the occupier of Weoley Park Farm, paid 9/2d. weekly rent. This rent was now collected by the City, and Mr. Newbold remained as the occupant, but he was advised that the cottage may in due course be required by an employee of the Parks Department.
Regulations relating to football in the Parks (including Selly Oak Park) were drawn up. The charge for the use of a pitch was set at 3s. 6d. (17.5 pence in modern money!).

The Park-keeper's wages were listed as £3 5s. 5d. per week.
There were three other employee's at the park, which was listed as having an area of 43 acres, 3 rods, 24 perches.
In October there was a union dispute in the Parks Department about the true grading and rate of pay of a number of its employees - whilst many claimed to be "gardeners" they were actually "labourers". Messrs. J. Power and W. Price at Selly Oak Park were on the list of those affected. Price was regraded as a Gardener and granted an extra 2/- a week above the minimum rate of pay.

Park uses:
Canon Gross Hodge, Chairman of the Diocesan Evangelistic Council sought permission to hold services in the Park on every Sunday evening during the summer. He was granted permission to do so in May, after which the situation would be reviewed - but no outcome of the review has been found.
The annual Selly Oak and Bournbrook Children's Festival was held on a showery 24th June. As well as the usual attractions, choirs and a pipe band entertained the crowd. There were also "fire displays" and "first aid performances".
Another major use of the park, on 29th July, seems to have been by the “Country Girl” Box Fund Committee for their annual carnival in aid of the District Nurses and Crippled Union.

In October there was a footballing accident. A miss kick resulted in a complicated fracture of the left leg, and severe hemorrhage, of a 19 year old playing for Edgbaston Corinthians. "First aid was rendered by P.C. Frank Wright (B 230), who applied a tourniquet to the femoral artery, bandaged the wound and put splints and bandages over the fracture. Then the officer conveyed the injured man on the police ambulance to Selly Oak Hospital where he was detained".

Beside the Bandstand in Selly Oak Park, c 1922
My grandparents, Herbert & Florence Horton with their daughter, Josie, my mother.
Herbert was the son of the Park-keeper, Josiah Thomas Horton.

Near the Bandstand in Selly Oak Park, c 1922
My grandmother, Florence Horton with her daughter, Josie, my mother.

Some of the Horton Family near the Bandstand in Selly Oak Park, c 1922
Standing:  Herbert Horton (my grandfather); and his sister, Ethel.
Sitting l-r:  Herbert's sisters, Jessie (i.e. John Skinner's mother), Mary and Madge,
and Florence (Herbert's wife), with their daughter, Josie (my mother).
(Photographs kindly contributed by John Skinner)

Park Environment:
Following an inspection of the Park on Saturday, January 20th it was agreed that work (costing £150 for materials and £350 for labour [12 men for 12 weeks]) should be carried out on the 1922 extension of the park as Unemployment Relief Work. This work was broken down as follows:
i) the old existing drive was considered to be good enough as to foundation, but the surface had to be loosened and regulated as to crown, and water channels provided on either side;
ii) drains were provided at the entrance to carry the water away without damage to the public footpath and highway outside;
iii) the existing garden and orchard with surrounding hedges was removed and cleaned so that the area could be included in the playing space;
iv) a new path was made, linking up the drive from the extension to the original paths in the park;
v) the shrubbery which formed the original boundary was broken up, and those shrubs which were movable were used to make a few, more natural, “clumps” to break the flatness;
vi) screens of trees and suitable shrubs were planted to obscure the adjacent factories;
vii) a meter house was enclosed by shrubs; and viii) the main walk from the shelter was extended to join the drive in the latest extension.
Other work was carried out under normal budget provision.
Separately, and as part of a parks-wide project, £20 was allocated for the repair of the gymnastic equipment.
The bandstand was in a dilapidated state; it was painted and its paving was taken up and consolidated before being asphalted again upon a reinforced foundation (£10 materials, £15 labour).
The latrines were painted inside and out (£5 materials, £10 labour).
The public shelter was painted making good bare and rotting timber (£25 materials, £40 labour).
Urgent remedial action was taken when the Birmingham Battery & Metal Co. Ltd. complained that the wicket gate (allowing quick and easy access for their workers), which the Committee had agreed to install when the Selly Oak Park extension was handed over, had not been fixed.
Similarly remedial action was taken when a complaint was received about the condition of the woods used on the bowling green.
The Headmaster of Selly Park School asked that the goal posts be left in the Park during April, but this was not allowed - in keeping with the football regulations introduced last year which closed the season on 31st March.
The Headmaster of Harborne Lane Council School requested that organised games be allowed in the Park, i) on Fridays between 3.30 and 4.30 p.m., ii) on various evenings between 4.40 and 5.30 p.m., and iii) occasionally on Saturday mornings for cricket matches - his request was granted.
The Juvenile Organisations Committee called attention to the inadequacy of dressing room accommodation for football teams playing in the Park and it was resolved that, if possible, provision would be made in the estimates for the next financial year.
The agreement concerning the suggested pathway across the Park (see last year's notes) was formally concluded.

The budget figures for 1923/24 were: expenditure £855; income £125. The actual figures turned out to be £905 and £89 respectively.
An outstanding debt from Mr. Lyde was identified; this related to 9 months tenancy arrears from Weoley Park Farm and Lands.

In June, Mr Albert Gilbert (35) commenced work as a Park labourer; his wages were £2. 10s. 7d. per week.
The grading and wages of park staff were reviewed generally, and without change at Selly Oak. The wages received were: J.T. Horton £2. 16s.10d. per week; W. Price £2. 12s. 10d. per week; W. Wale (Police - a pensioner from the City Police) £2. 12s. 10d. per week.
During the year the Parks Police was also reviewed with respect to numbers, hours, holidays, and pay.

Park uses:
The Selly Oak British Women’s Temperance Association (through Miss Caroline Cadbury) was given permission to sell refreshments (tea, lemonade and buns) from a hand cart in the park on Whit Monday.
Mr. P. Collins was not allowed to use a portion of the Park for his amusements on June 14-18th (no reason was given – was that despite, or perhaps because of, his previous use?).
The Selly Oak and Bournbrook Children’s Festival, with all its usual attractions, was held in glorious sunshine on Saturday, 23rd June.

Typical park maintenance - not necessarily Selly Oak Park.

Park maintenance  - definitely Selly Oak Park - see bandstand in background.
(Photograph kindly contributed by John Skinner)

Horse riding in the Park!
(Photograph kindly contributed by John Skinner)


Park Environment:
The original conditions attached to the gift of the Park were re-stated, namely - that it be opened daily; that power be reserved to close it for two days continuously or seven days in all, for flower shows or other like purposes with or without rental; that no intoxicating liquors be allowed; and that no games be played on Sundays.
It was reported that the Unemployment Relief Work on the extension was almost complete, just a shield of trees had to be planted, for which provision had been made.
In the Autumn further Unemployment Relief Work on path and roadway repair was anticipated, involving the supply of 200 yards of asphalt, 1,000 yards of tar paving, and 1,500 yards of tar painting.
In April there was an inspection by members of the Finance Sub-Committee of the Parks Committee. 11 parks, including Selly Oak, were visited and reports detailing work required written for all of them - except Selly Oak! - was that because so much had been done in connection with the extension that Selly Oak had had its share of available resources, or .......?
The budget figures for 1924/25 were: expenditure £785; income £95; at the year end the actual expenditure was £824 and the income £84.

The Park-keeper’s wages, which were £2. 16s. 10d. per week, were increased by 3 shillings per week; and the wages of John Power, one of his labourers, which were £2. 10s. 10d. per week, were increased by 2 shillings per week.

Park Uses:
The customary Selly Oak and Bournbrook Annual Children’s Festival with all its features was held on a showery Saturday 21st June; it was anticipated that 4,000 children would attend.

(Click or double click on the photograph to enlarge it.)
Research has shown that the Festivals were not past their heyday - over 3,000 children attended this one - see the detailed report in the clippings, from which some of the characters can be identified.

Mr. Geo. Horwill, applied on behalf of the Kings Norton Parliamentary Division of the Labour Party for the use of the Park on Sunday 27th July for the purpose of holding a public meeting in the afternoon, but his application was refused because the bye-laws prohibited the holding of political meetings in all the parks except the five specifically allocated for the purpose (Selly Oak not being one of those) - he was offered the use of Calthorpe Park instead.

A Police Report, dated 12th June, referred to 4 minor offences in the park which involved “playing on swings and with a hard ball”.

These photographs are undated but, taken in Selly Oak Park, 
reflect various activities there in the 1920s and 1930s.
(Photographs kindly contributed by John Skinner) 

Park Environment:
A deputation from the Birmingham County Football Association complained that a footpath ran across one of the football pitches in Selly Oak Park!
Authority was given to purchase 6 seats for the Park, from Messrs. Parker, Winder and Achurch Ltd., each seat costing £3 16s.
The grass in the Park was advertised for sale and purchased for £2 by Mr. F. Monk of 730, Bristol Road, Selly Oak.

The budget figures for 1925/26 were: expenditure £915; income £90; though these figures seem to have been adjusted to £865 and £95. The actual spend and income, as reported in 1926, were £785 and £77 respectively.

The Park-keeper’s wages were reported to be £2 19s. 7d., and the value of his emoluments (i.e. accommodation, fuel, light and uniform) was set at £60.
On 16th July, Mr. John Bowen (61) retired after 17 years service; at the time he was earning £2. 9s. 7d. per week as a Park labourer; his superannuation was 4s. per week plus 50% war allowance.
There is also a record regarding a Mr. John Power, one of the permanent men who had been employed at the Park for 17 years, who had to give up work due to ill health brought on by the death of his wife; he was examined by the Corporation Doctor, certified to be permanently incapacitated for further work, and awarded an optional allowance of 5 shillings per week under the Birmingham Superannuation Scheme with effect from 16th July. The Park-keeper asked for additional help in Power’s place for the mowing season, and was allocated a man, named Abbey, who had been working at Balsall Heath. Mr. William Abbey had started work as a park labourer on 1st April ; his wages were £2. 11s. 10d. per week. The details of the two retirals are so similar that I wonder whether in reality only one person retired, but the retirement was double reported erroneously - there could well have been a mis-reading of the handwriting to generate the name Power / Bowen by the typist(s) who produced the respective minutes.

Park uses:
It was recommended that “in view of the present financial position” the engagement of local bands to play in the smaller parks and recreation grounds be discontinued for the season - Selly Oak was one of those.
Cricket and football clubs had to register to play in the various City parks; Selly Oak Park was listed as having accommodation for 5 cricket clubs.
The annual Selly Oak and Bournbrook Children’s Festival was held on Saturday, 4th July and as usual reported in the press.


Though not directly relating to Selly Oak Park, but setting the context, there was an interesting item in the Birmingham News on 24th July: –

"The City’s “Lungs” – I spent a pleasant day with the deputation of the City Fathers which accepted the invitation of the Parks Committee to inspect Birmingham’s open spaces (compiler's note - Selly Oak Park was included). In this respect, Birmingham holds an enviable position in being only second to London, amongst all the local authorities of the country, in the total acreage dedicated to the public health and enjoyment. Altogether, we possess 31 parks, 55 recreation grounds, and 20 open spaces (the distinctions are rather subtle for me to go into here!), with a total area of 2,795 acres. Not a bad record for a great industrial centre like Birmingham."

Park Inspection

This was taken during the Inspection at Aston Park; Selly Oak Park was visited later on the same day.
(Photograph posted on Facebook by Leonard Price in March 2015, and used here with permission)

Park Environment:
The Birmingham Battery & Metal Co. Ltd. had cause to complain again. When the Gibbins family had gifted the third portion of the park in 1922 there had been an agreement that they would relinquish their rights over the road running across the new extension from Harborne Lane to Weoley Park Farm in exchange for the Corporation re-opening a road for access to Weoley Park Farm from Gibbins Road. The Battery Company offered to provide the necessary material for the new road. The complaint was made because by 1926 little or nothing had been done. It transpires that this was just one issue in a litany of charges against the Parks Superintendent, Mr. Morter, which lead to his suspension for a month and the suggestion that he resign. Subsequently Mr. Morter was certified by the Corporation Doctor as being permanently unfit to continue his duties and he was superannuated from 1st April. Once the procrastination had been brought to light, the new road was quickly built.
A general survey of gymnastic equipment in the City’s parks revealed that in Selly Oak Park at this time there were:- 2 bays of swings, a bay of trapeze equipment, one sea-saw, one set of parallel bars, and one horizontal bar.
Around this time the Parks Department appointed a Bird Sanctuaries Advisory Committee, under the chairmanship of Alderman Cadbury.  In June this committee suggested that willows might be planted along a portion of the canal bank at Selly Oak Park, and it was arranged that an appointment should be made for their Mr. H.G. Alexander (their secretary, and initial advocate of the provision of bird sanctuaries, who lived at 78 Gibbins Road) to meet the Parks Superintendent to discuss the matter.

A large glacial boulder, some 20 tons in weight, was found on site as the new tram depot in Chapel Lane, Selly Oak, was being built. The boulder was considered of such general, and geological, interest that it was decided to locate the boulder in the park, care being taken not to damage the pathways as the large weight was moved in. The boulder was moved, without incident or damage, on 8th June.  (N.b. - Such boulders were often referred to as "erratics".  A glacial erratic is a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests. Erratics take their name from the Latin word "errare", and are carried by glacial ice, often over distances of hundreds of kilometres. Erratics can range in size from pebbles to large boulders (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacial_erratic).  Francis Leonard (1933) in his History of Selly Oak mentions an erratic in Selly Oak Park -
http://www.users.waitrose.com/~stmarysellyoak/History/The%20Story%20of%20Selly%20Oak.pdf. Roland Kedge has an interesting article on the occurrence of glacial erratics in the Birmingham area [including those in Selly Oak Park], in Newsletter No. 207 (p 9 & 10) of the Black Country Geological Society - see www.bcgs.info/BCGS_Newsletter207.pdf).

Again the grass in the park was advertised for sale and purchased for £2 by Mr. Thos. Monk, of 730, Bristol Road, Selly Oak, who did the cutting and carting.

The estimates for 1926/27 were: expenditure £850; income £80 – a reduction on previous years, presumably a reflection of the recession – this was the year of the UK General Strikes. The actuals turned out to be: expenditure £1,044; income £89.

Park Uses:
By mid April the cricket pitches and tennis courts in the City parks had been allocated; at Selly Oak Park there was still capacity for one more club to use a cricket pitch.
It was discovered that back in 1920 it had been agreed that Selly Oak Park would be one of 5 parks in the City set aside for political and other meetings and demonstrations (though this seems to have been overlooked when an application was made in 1924!); the new extension was considered the most suitable area in this Park for this purpose.
Shopkeepers enjoyed half day closing on Wednesday. Those who were interested in cricket formed themselves in an "Early Closers" league, and we learn from press reports that many of their games were scheduled to be played in the Park on Wednesdays.
The traditional annual Children's Festival was held on 26th June - 3,000 children were reported to have enjoyed their day with the usual entertainments.
By the third week of September the football pitches in the City parks had been allocated; at Selly Oak Park there was still capacity for one more club to use a pitch. The charge for use of the pitches was still 3/-, but a 10/- deposit had been introduced.

There was, according to one report, a serious accident in the park - Sidney Kent (aged 55 years), of 5, Highfield Terrace, Ladywood, sustained a broken leg. 

Chapman-Horton wedding party in Selly Oak Park
- the wedding of one of the Park-keeper's daughters
(Click on the photo to enlarge)

Back row R to L - Vic Davies, Ernie Venn, Jack Horton, Florence Horton (my grandmother), Herbert Horton (my grandfather), Ethel Stone, James Stone, Phyllis Horton.
Middle Row R to L - John Skett Jr (aka Bim), Gladys Horton, Kathleen Venn, Freda Horton, Josiah Horton (the park-keeper, the bride's father, my great grandfather).
Bottom Row R to L - May Skett, Edith Horton (the bride's mother, the park-keeper's wife, my great grandmother), Jessie Horton, Mary Horton, Margery Chapman, William Chapman, Madge Horton.
Children R to L - Edith Horton, Peggy Davies, Josie Horton (my mother), Betty Davies, Robert Stone, Dolly Davies.
The people to the left of the photograph are members of the Chapman families.

Edith Horton with two of her daughters, twins Madge & Mary (bridesmaids).
(Photographs kindly contributed by John Skinner) 

My late mother, Josie Pugh, the Park-keeper's grand-daughter, left the following anecdote amongst her papers:

"When my cousin Dolly was very small she went missing.  She lived with her Mum, my Auntie Dolly, at the “Park”.  Everyone searched the house, then the park, and they were very worried, as the canal was at the bottom end of the park, so of course that was searched too, but to no avail.  She had by this time been missing a couple of hours.  There was a pantry in the living room, you had to go down two or three steps to get into it, and it was quite dark too.  Who should be in there, tucked in a corner, but little Dolly.  She had not uttered a word all the time, but sure enough, there she was, eating the contents of a jar of treacle.”

“When I was a little girl [1] there used to be quite a big party in the park every year.  Mums, dads and children would be there, literally hundreds, and the school children would dance around the maypole.  It was great.  My Nan made all the tea for them and she made gallons of ice cream too.  It was all made in the kitchen at the park house.”

[1]  Josie was born in 1920; since her grandfather retired from Park service in 1928 presumably these memories relate to the time before 1928 when the Annual Children’s festival was still held each summer.


Park Environment:
It was confirmed that the work on the new road to Weoley Park Farm had been completed.
In November there was a report of flood damage occurring at various parks; at Selly Oak £75 was expended on remedial work.

The budget estimates for 1927/28 were: expenditure £852; income £80 – effectively a standstill budget. The final outturns were £874 and £82 respectively.

The Park-keeper’s emoluments, listed as accommodation, fuel and light, were now valued at £56.

Park Uses:
New arrangements and regulations, similar to those recently adopted for football, were put in place for playing cricket in parks. These were applied to 24 parks, one of which was Selly Oak. The fees for the use of pitches were 4s. for an afternoon match, 2s. 6d. for an evening match (i.e. after 6 p.m.), and 6d. for a school match.
The cricket season was designated strictly from 1st May to 31st August; no matches were allowed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
The annual Selly Oak and Bournbrook Children’s Festival was held on Saturday, 18th June - the newspaper carrying only a very brief note of it this time.

The Park Lodge.
Some of the Horton girls driven perhaps by Herbert Horton, the park-keeper's son.
(Photograph kindly contributed by John Skinner)


Park Environment:
A survey was undertaken of the seating accommodation in the parks; Selly Oak Park was found to have seating accommodation for 400 people! – there were 25 plank seats, 4 teak lath seats, 25 pitch pine seats on cast-iron brackets, and seating accommodation for 68 people in the shelters.
Storm damage was rectified at a cost of £71.

There are several accounts of rent due and work carried out on the Lodge at Selly Oak Park. I take this to be the lodge at the entrance from Harborne Lane which was acquired as part of the third (1919/1922) donation from the Gibbins family, since the lodge in Gibbins Road was occupied by the Park-keeper rent-free.
The budget for the year 1928/29 was £900 of expenditure with an anticipated income of £105; the outcomes being £921 and £105 respectively.

Park Uses:
The annual Selly Oak and Bournbrook Children’s Festival, reported as the 25th event, was held on Saturday, 14th July, when 3,000 children were entertained in the usual manner.
An application, by Mr. Pat Collins, to use of the park for amusement catering purposes during a weekend in July was refused, even though he offered to pay £25 for the privilege.

According to a report, there was another accident - H. Taylor (aged 21 years), 39 Nawne Lane, Smethwick was concussed.

Harborne Lane, c 1928
Looking towards Gibbins Road (on the left just beyond the bus).
Tram depot on left.
(Kindly contributed by Don Hughes)

Harborne Lane Bridge, 1928,
as seen by many approaching the Park along the Lapal Canal.
(Kindly contributed by Steve Carter)

Compare this with:

Harborne Lane Bridge, 1922, before the road widening.
Selly Oak to the right, Harborne to the left,
with Monk's Dudley (Lapal) Canal boatyard under the bridge on the left.
(Kindly contributed by Don Hughes)


The budget for 1929/30 was drawn up allowing £870 to cover expenditure which would be offset in part by an anticipated income of £85. At financial year end (31st March 1930) the out-turn was £993 and £90 respectively.
Rents were still being collected with regard to the lodge near the Harborne Lane entrance to the Park.

By this stage the original Park-keeper, Mr. Josiah Thomas Horton, had retired after 30 years service. At the Oak Inn, on the 12th March, at a concert party, the residents of Selly Oak recognised his contribution by presenting him with a walking stick and a wallet containing Treasury notes; Mrs. Horton was presented with an umbrella. Before the Parks Committee meeting on the 6th May the Lord Mayor of Birmingham presented him (and three other long-serving City employees) with an illuminated copy of a resolution in recognition of his long service to the Parks Department.

Josiah Thomas Horton (centre) in the "Oak".
This may have been the occasion of his presentation.
(Photograph kindly contributed by John Skinner)

His post (and the Lodge) was filled by Mr. A.R. Tarr.
Once more the Park-keeper’s emoluments came under scrutiny; their value was listed at £52, but followng a review re-valued at £50.
The wages of Mr. A.E. Gilbert, a park labourer with 5¾ year’s service, were increased by 2 shillings per week from £2. 11s.10d. when he had completed six year’s service on 7th June.

Park uses:
The annual Selly Oak and Bournbrook Children’s Festival was held on Saturday, 13th July, when in glorious sunshine 3,250 children were entertained in the usual way - procession, fancy dress parade, maypole dancing, netball competition, sideshows, tea - with all the festivities rounded off with dancing into the evening.

Work beng undertaken on the canal in 1929 (top picture) (compared with view in 1987 lower picture).
The south-looking view is from the canal bridge at the Harborne Lane entrance to the park.
The fringe of the park is on the right hand side of the photographs.
(Taken from "Selly Oak Past and Present", University of Birmingham)


Park Environment:
There were proposals, as part of the Unemployment Relief Works, to provide dressing room accommodation for football at the Park; £300 were allocated for materials and £500 for labour, which would employ 10 men for 17 weeks.
Around this time, the Parks Committee began to introduce Sunday games in the City parks. Mr. Arthur Smith, on behalf of the Park donors, asked about the status of Selly Oak Park in the light of the original conditions of the gift of the Park, and was reassured that there was no intention of permitting Sunday games at Selly Oak.

The budget for 1930/31 was drawn up allowing £920 to cover expenditure which would be offset in part by an anticipated income of £85. At financial year end (31st March 1931) the out-turn was £914 and £109 respectively

Early in the year, Mr. F.W. Turner, the Park Policeman at Selly Oak, was dismissed because of his unsatisfactory conduct, he failed to attend Ambulance Classes which had been necessary in order that he might qualify in first aid.
On 17th April, Mr. Francis M. Heath (25) commenced work as a probationery policeman, his wages being £2 13s. 10d., and six months later, at the end of his probation, he was placed on the permanent staff.

Park uses:
A hitchless annual Children's Festival was held on 12th July, 3,200 children feasting on good things, and enjoying lively entertainments and activities.

Five individuals received attention in police reports to various committees - all of them for injuries in the Park; i) in Spring, Walter J. Miles (23), of 228 Bellbarn Road, cut his eye; ii) in Summer F. Evans (21), of 66 Alum Street, West Bromwich, suffered concussion; and in Autumn, iii) T. Roberts (adult), of 27 Baker Street, damaged his knee; iv) G. Burrows (15), of 33 Tiverton Road, fractured his arm; and v) P. Wallis (15), of 19 Teignmouth Road, dislocated his elbow.