- Walsall Worthies
Streetly and the Sutton Park Line
Streetly takes its name from the Ryknield Street, a Roman
road, the line of which can still be followed in Sutton Park. The earliest
written record of the name Streetly is found in an Anglo-Saxon Charter dated
959 when an estate at Great Barr and Easton (Little Aston) was granted to
In medieval times the district was still largely forest, part of the Earl of
Warwick's Chase of Sutton with a Manor House on Manor Hill in Sutton
Coldfield. By the 13th century charcoal burners had cleared much of the
original forest, hence the name 'The Colefield'. The land was left as heath
and marshland. Much of the area which then formed part of Great Barr Common
was enclosed in 1795 at the behest of local landowners including Sir Joseph
Scott of the Nether Hall, Great Barr, and Mrs. E. Foley of Great Barr Hall.
The land so enclosed was divided and let as 9 farms.
In 1872, an Act was passed for the building of a Walsall Wolverhampton &
Midland Junction Railway. This line, absorbed by the Midland Railway in
1874, became better known as the Sutton Park line. It was built to connect
with three other lines at Ryecroft and from there to the Wolverhampton &
Walsall Railway. The line was also intended to link to the Birmingham to
Derby main line.
Streetly railway station,
early 20th century
Local people opposed the new Midland Railway line's
passing through Sutton Park, which had been given to Sutton Coldfield by
Bishop Vesey in 1528. After much argument and planning, the line, costing
£400,000 (instead of the projected £175,000) opened on 1st July 1879 with
stations at Penns, Sutton Coldfield, Sutton Park, Streetly and Aldridge.
Streetly Station was at the corner of Foley Road and Thornhill Road, and
like the stations at Penns and Aldridge had a standardised building on the
'up' platform to Birmingham. Styled like two large cottages, the building
included the booking office and ladies' waiting room. A small brick shelter
and a Signal Box stood on the 'down' platform.
The high point of the twilight years of the Sutton Park
line came in 1957, when in August Sutton Park hosted the Scout Movement's
'World Jubilee Jamboree', with special trains arriving from 29th July and
the event itself taking place between 1st - 12th August. The Jamboree was
also open to the public, and there was a special Sutton Park local
steam-hauled service, with an hourly all-stations service between Birmingham
New Street and Walsall, and an all stations Sutton Park - Walsall - Dudley
service every two hours.
Sadly, after the last scouts left on 14th August, the line entered a long
period of neglect, and it was finally closed at the height of the Beeching
era of railway cuts in January 1965. Streetly Station itself was later
converted into a garage workshop and was about to be demolished in 1996.
Development of the district started in and around Streetly Lane and Foley
Road. A church and a school were built in Foley Road in 1908. Until 1914
housing development was limited to the area between Thornhill Road and the
Chester Road. Between 1918 and 1939, housing development continued in the
same area. Blackwood Road was cut through farm land in the 1920's. Much of
the area remained relatively rural in character until after 1945. The
Methodist Chapel in Blackwood Road, St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church, the
Clinic and the Library in Blackwood Road date from the period 1960-1970 as
does much of the housing stock which is privately owned.
Whilst still retaining much open space, Streetly, a once sparsely populated
rural area, has grown today into a residential suburb of some 21,000