Photo By D J Norton


Halesowen Allotments - 29/1/56

Photo by Ken Morris
Halesowen Allotments, Jan 1956
Halesowen Allotments, Jan 1956
These two pictures of the allotments at Halesowen were taken by my father's friend, Ken Morris, who lived in the town.  Ken obviously knew that the allotment's days were numbered and the shops we now know as the Cornbow Centre would shortly replace them.

The pictures actually form a kind of panorama.  The left hand side of the top picture shows St John the Baptist church, a common reference point on many of the pictures below.  To the right there is a gasometer and this features on the left hand side of the lower picture.

Site of New Shops, Halesowen - 8/7/56

Site of new shops, Halesowen
Now this picture has got me thinking...  Was the redevelopment of Halesowen the trigger of my father's interest in recording changes such as those of Birmingham that commenced shortly afterwards?  If so, given the pictures taken by Ken above, maybe it's Ken we have to thank for giving him the idea!

Less than 6 months after Ken was recording the scene, work had commenced.  To the right of the picture, you can see some of the yellow construction vehicles.

Site of New Shops, Halesowen (Close up) - 8/7/56

Site of new shops, Halesowen
When zooming in on the picture above, I was taken by this section of the town, close to the church.  It looks like the idylic English village scene.

Site of New Shops, Halesowen, from Church - 8/7/56

Site of new shops from Church
OK, so how did my father get to climb the church tower for this picture!?  Thankfully, my mother came up with an explanation.  Apparently, Ken's father was the verger at the church.  Just goes to show it's not what you know, it's who you know...

The view is, I believe, looking towards the south east so the hills in the distance could well be Clent.  Note the remnants of the allotments to the right.

N View, Halesowen, from Church - 8/7/56

North view of Halesowen from Church
Now this one had me confused for a bit.  A north view would surely be towards Furnace Lane but none of the buildings fitted in with that.  Thankfully, the ever useful Google Maps helped solve this one as the two, large houses with double height bays seen on the right are still standing and are located in Whitehall Drive.  That makes the road that the Midland Red bus is about to head down Rumbow.  So, a more accurate description would be that the view was towards the north east.

Birmingham St, Halesowen - 8/7/56 & 25/8/12

Birmingham Street, July 1956
Birmingham Street, August 2012
I don't normally display pictures like this on the site but I wanted the two large pictures to be together to just see how dramatic the change is!  It's hard to believe that the A456 to Birmingham used to run where people now rest on benches slap bang in the middle of the town.

It's a shame that the attractive Lyttleton Arms has become the neglected Picks as I think it looked much better in red brick rather than painted.  Note how it has lost one of its chimeys too.

Summer Hill, Halesowen - 8/7/56

Summer Hill,  July 1956
Summer Hill, August 2012
The last view my father took on his visit in July 1956 is looking down Summer Hill to the town centre.  My view, taken 56 years later, shows how cars have overrun streets like this - what a difference!  A close up of the centre section of my father's picture is shown below.
Summer Hill, Halesowen 1956

If you remember Halesowen Railway station, you should check out the Halesowen Railway pages!