The modern centre of Hall Green stretches along the Stratford Road but the original 'green' was not here nor was it called 'Hall'. Originally known as Hawe Green, it took its name from a medieval family. Their moated hall stood at the junction of School Road and Fox Hollies Road near to the common pasture or green.
The word 'hawe' probably comes from the medieval word haga meaning 'hedge, enclosure, or enclosed land'. The family had taken their surname from this well used place name.
Their original home, Hawe Hall was later known as Hall Green Hall and was a timber-framed dwelling that was extended in Tudor times and also in the 18th century.
Often described as a leafy suburb of Birmingham it is located about five miles South of the City Centre and borders with Spark Brook, Tyseley, Acocks Green, Shirley, Olton and Moseley.
Although primarily a residential area, Hall Green has a long association with manufacturing and retailing with a thriving parade on the Stratford Road, the South Birmingham College and several long established pubs in the area.
Hall Green has evolved from a rural backwater into one of the most desirable places to live in Birmingham, offering affordable status in relatively pleasant surroundings. The attention of locals to the quality of life and to conservation have played a significant part in this.
Traces of the past are often in name only and there are some examples of medieval names still used. Greet Mill, Bromhale and Six Weyes all go back to at least the fourteenth century. Sarehole Mill, Four Ways, Busmere, Swartmore Laine, Hawes House and Hawe Green were all mentioned in sixteenth century documents along with other locations. Hawe House became the Hall, and Hawe Green became known as Hall Green. Adjacent to the Hall, the Church of the Ascension (then the Job Marston Chapel) was built in 1703. This area was the traditional centre of Hall Green and was supplemented in late Victorian times by a group of houses known as the Hamlet. Hall Green has effectively lost its centre and no longer has one, although the Stratford Road is probably seen as a very elongated one!
The process of urbanisation in Hall Green was rather interesting. A high proportion of private housing was constructed without the ostentatious characteristic of inter-war municipal estates. Many green spaces were left enclosed behind the new roads that were being constructed.
The Hall Green Residents Association of 1925 was the first in the country and sought to minimise the loss of mature trees during the construction process. It has continued to address conservation issues vigorously. A high quality of life was assured in Hall Green by the considerable amount of money that was spent on infrastructure. Since the Second World War more intensive development has been a threat to this green suburb. Larger houses and industrial premises have been demolished and replaced by collections of small townhouses or flats, and nurseries, sports grounds, unused areas behind gardens and gardens have been targets for developers looking to cash in.
One of the most attractive areas in the whole City is on the edge of Hall Green: known as the River Cole valley. The City has been sympathetic with early plans to retain the valley as a green corridor. The River Cole and Chinn Brook Conservation Group still pursues this objective very effectively today. There is a continuous walkway from Solihull Lodge to the Ackers and beyond.
Hall Green's history is not just about urbanisation, it also has a rich and interesting industrial past. Originally this was made up of smithies and mills, some of which ground blades or rolled metal. More recent industrial activity was also there ahead of the houses.
Early Ordnance Survey maps show a building in the fields named the Robin Hood Works. This became Newey Goodman who manufactured 'smallwares' and employed over a thousand people.
A small chocolate factory was built before the First World War in Webb Lane, which went on to make electric vehicles and fork lift trucks in particular.
Aldis Brothers had a factory built on a green field site in 1914 in Sarehole Road, and made signalling lamps that were famous around the globe.
Velocette, one of the great names in British motorcycling had their factory in York Road.
Most of these industrial sites have been replaced by residential property and today there are just a few rows of workshops left, and York Road still has a factory.
Hall Green has been a home to comedian Tony Hancock, who lived at 41 Southam Road until the age of three (the house contains a plaque commemorating this), racing commentator Murray Walker, who was born at 214 Reddings Lane (which is now a dentist), Nigel Mansell, who though born in Upton-upon-Severn spent most of his childhood and early adult years in the area and most famously J. R. R. Tolkien, who lived near Sarehole Mill, Birmingham's only working water mill.
Birmingham.gov - local history information
Cole Valley Girl - personal memories of Hall Green
William Dargue - an A-Z history of Birmingham places
AGHS - Images of old Hall Green
Local History Online - societies in the West Midlands
Wikipedia - Hall Green
Visitor UK - Towns and Villages around Solihull
Job Marston Centre - Community Resources