3 Jul 2015
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Walsall Local History Centre

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Historical Landmarks

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 thegn Wulfhelm.

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 inhabitants.

Contact Information
For further information on Walsall Local History Centre please contact :-
Centre Manager
Walsall Local History Centre
Essex Street, Walsall WS2 7AS, U.K.
Tel : (U.K.) 01922 721305- (International) +44 1922 721305
Fax: (U.K.) 01922 634954 - (International) +44 1922 634954
E-mail:  General Information: localhistorycentre@walsall.gov.uk
Last modified: 16 September 2004