Kings Norton

Kings Norton

infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Kings Norton
latitude= 52.4072
longitude= -1.9272
map_type= West Midlands
population = 20,729 (2001 Population Census)
metropolitan_borough= Birmingham
metropolitan_county=West Midlands
region= West Midlands
constituency_westminster= Birmingham Selly Oak
constituency_westminster1=Birmingham Northfield
constituency_westminster2=Birmingham Hall Green
post_town= BIRMINGHAM|postcode_district = B38
postcode_area= B |dial_code= 0121
os_grid_reference= SP049788
Ambulance= West Midlands Ambulance Service

Kings Norton is an area of Birmingham, England. It is also a Birmingham City Council ward within the formal district of Northfield.


Kings Norton derives its name from the Norman period, meaning 'north farmland or settlement' belonging to or held by the king, when Kings Norton was part of the King's forest in the district of Bromsgrove, however the Domesday Book of 1086 records the village as 'Nortune', noting that even in Anglo-Saxon England immediately before the Norman Conquest, the land the village stood on was owned by the King. Kings Norton is now divided into several parts with the ancient centre, based around the village green, still intact.

Civil war

Kings Norton was the scene of a couple of minor episodes from the English Civil War. In the first of these, a force led by Prince Rupert of the Rhine, numbering some 300, was resting on Kings Norton Green. There, they were surprised by a smaller group led by Lord Willoughby of Parham. A skirmish took place, in which fifty of Prince Rupert's men were killed, and twenty were taken prisoner. The Parliamentarian force lost twenty men. This took place on the 17 October, 1642. In a later episode, Queen Henrietta Maria arrived in Kings Norton with an army of around 5,500 men that she had raised in Yorkshire. It is believed that she stayed the night in the Saracen's Head, while the army camped on land behind the church, now Kings Norton Park (giving rise to the modern road name "Camp Lane"). There is also a public house on this road named "The Camp Inn".

Markets and fairs

In 1616, King James granted permission to hold markets and fairs at Kings Norton. Both the original fairs and the market eventually fell into disuse. At some later date, a Mop Fair began to be held on the Green on the first Monday of October. A Mop Fair was a hiring fair where people would go looking for employment. After the decline of hiring fairs, the Mop became a village fête organised by the Round Table and raising money for local people. More recently, the Round Table handed over running the Mop to a commercial fun fair. A new Farmers' Market was set up in 2005, operating on The Green once a month.

Industrialisation and expansion

In 1796, the Birmingham and Worcester Canal was built through Kings Norton, linking Birmingham to the River Severn. This was linked to the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal by Kings Norton Junction, allowing access to Stratford-upon-Avon and, more significantly, the Grand Union Canal. Just beyond the junction is a rare example of a guillotine lock.

Kings Norton, along with many of the small towns near Birmingham, expanded considerably in the 19th century with a railway link into Birmingham passing by the new Bournville factory just to the north. Historically, Kings Norton had been part of Worcestershire, but from 1898, it was part of the King's Norton and Northfield urban district until added to Birmingham in 1911 by the Greater Birmingham Act.


During the 20th century, the area grew further with additional private and public housing. In October 1920, 25½ acres of land at Kings Norton (just below St Nicolas' Church) were purchased by the Birmingham Civic Society and afterwards presented to the city for the benefit of the citizens of Birmingham. The Society also designed and paid for the formal gardens, gates on the Pershore Road side and stone benches.

With the clearance of city centre slum housing, there was a pressing need for additional social housing in Birmingham. As part of this programme, the City Council built several new housing estates in Kings Norton, including the Wychall Farm and Pool Farm estates in the 1960s and the Primrose and Hawkesley estates in the 1970s. These new estates occupied land that had previously been open farmland, most notably the area known as the Three Estates (Pool Farm, Primrose and Hawkesley) which occupy land mostly to the east of the Birmingham and Worcester canal and the A441 Redditch Road.

Places of interest

St Nicolas' Church dates from the 13th century, and the spire dates from the 15th century. [cite book|author=Douglas Hickman|title=Birmingham|year=1970|publisher=Studio Vista Limited] In addition, the Green contains three later medieval building from the 15th century, the Old Grammar School, the Saracen's Head. In the summer of 2004, two of these ancient buildings were the winners of the BBC's "Restoration" competition and were awarded over £3 million towards the cost of major refurbishment. In 2006, planning permission was granted for the restoration of these buildings, and work started.


Modern Kings Norton lies on the A441 Pershore Road South which runs between Birmingham and Redditch to the south. It also has a railway station on the Cross-City Line. The line of Icknield or Ryknild Street, a Roman road running northwards from Alcester via Metchley Fort in Edgbaston towards Sutton Coldfield and beyond, can be traced through the eastern edge of the district.

Buses run from the Birmingham city centre regularly throughout the day, these numbers are 45 and 47. 49 also runs on a 20 minute service from Solihull and Northfield.


Kings Norton is home to the world-famous glass manufacturers Triplex (now part of Pilkington).


A number of redevelopment projects have proved necessary because of the deteriorating quality of the social housing in Kings Norton.

In 1999, the Pool Farm, Primrose and Hawkesley housing estates, collectively known as the 'Three Estates', were awarded a regeneration grant as part of the government's New Deal for the Community programme (NDC). The award of £50 million is designed to run over ten years. Unlike earlier government regeneration programmes, NDC is able to focus on issues such as health and employment as well as on housing. Following considerable consultation, a major rebuild of the estates is planned. [ [ 3 Estates: New Deal Projects] ]

A major redevelopment of the Wychall Farm estate in the west of Kings Norton was started in 2001. The previous housing was built using a system build approach that had exceeded its projected life-span. Bromford Housing Association have led the redevelopment. [ [ Bromford Housing Group] ]

A large, new, private housing estate has also been built on the site of the former Monyhull Hall Hospital, just outside the boundary of Kings Norton ward.

Famous residents

*The Revd W.V. Awdry, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, was a curate at King’s Norton from late 1940 to 1946
*Roxbee Cox, Baron Kings Norton, aeronautical engineer
*George Dawson, Non-Conformist Preacher and advocate of the Civic Gospel
*Thomas Hall, Non-Conformist Preacher, pamphleteer, author of 'The loathsomeness of long hair", appointed to Kings Norton Parish in 1629
*Mick Harris musician, best known for drumming in Napalm Death in 1985-1991; also engaded in a number of side-projects musically varying from jazz, death-grind to ambient industrial
*Alan Napier actor, best known for playing the butler Alfred in the 1960s Batman television series
*Alan Nunn May a physicist and a Russian spy was born and lived the early part of his life in Kings Norton
*Enoch Powell moved to 52 Woodlands Park Road, Kings Norton with his parents at the age of six in 1918. He lived here until 1930 when he went to Cambridge University.


Kings Norton is a ward of Birmingham City Council, a metropolitan unitary authority. Three councillors are elected for Kings Norton; since the local government elections in May 2007 these are Barbara Wood (Conservative), and Geoff and Margaret Sutton (Conservative).

Kings Norton became part of Northfield district in 2006, having formerly been part of Selly Oak. In 2004, the ward boundary was changed as part of city-wide boundary alterations overseen by the Boundary Commission. This saw the addition of a small area of the Birmingham, Hall Green constituency in the east of the ward, and a small area of the Birmingham, Northfield constituency at the south of the ward in the West Heath area.

Most of the Kings Norton ward is represented by Birmingham, Selly Oak MP Lynne Jones, though at the next election the ward will be transferred in its entirety to the Birmingham, Northfield seat. Owing to the boundary changes, until the next general election, residents of the ward may be represented by one of three MPs - Lynne Jones, Steve McCabe, or Richard Burden - depending on where they live.

Kings Norton ward has adopted a Ward Support Officer with the current holder of the title being Bob Barr.


External links

* [ Birmingham City Council: Kings Norton Ward]
* [ Birmingham City Council "History of Kings Norton"]
* [ Kings Norton Team Parish]
* [ Historic Kings Norton]

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