Our History

The story of Allen’s Community Association really began with the building, in 1931, by the City of Birmingham, of a large estate of 2,161 houses in the vicinity of Allen’s Cross Farm at Northfield. At that time, huge municipal estates were being built by the Local Authorities on the outskirts of the large cities and the two largest in Birmingham were Kingstanding and Allen’s Cross. The housing being provided was a great improvement on that of the inner city slums from which most of the tenants were to come, but Local Authorities failed to provide any community or recreational facilities on these estates, apart from public houses, churches and schools. There were no public meeting rooms, no playing fields and no centres at which a community spirit could be built.

So a band of volunteers decided to form Community Associations with community halls on these two estates. Allen’s Cross residents can be very proud to have been associated with this pioneer movement, which, in the following twenty years was copied all over the country. This development took the interest of that great local public benefactor George Cadbury and thanks to his personal efforts and the help he received from the local community, the first Community Association in Birmingham and almost the first in the country was born in 1931 with a brick built hall situated in Tinkers Farm Road. The hall consisted of a large room with a stage, two committee rooms and toilets with a grass tennis court, small Bowling Green and an outside hut at its rear.

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Along with the social side, a sporting element soon developed and use was made of a field near Tessall Lane, under the shadow of the water tower belonging to the Rubery Hill Hospital, later they moved to vacant land towards the city which adjoined Merritt’s Brook, and which was later developed as a self-build co-operative at the southern end of Meadow Brook Road. This land was small and had a severe slope and for several years the local community sought a more permanent spot for sports. Mr Christopher Cadbury had been drawn into the movement by his father and he had the idea that if the Community Associations could have their own sports field, the sports clubs could cooperate with the various groups using the halls to support each other to their mutual benefit. The first of these playing fields was provided at Kingstanding on what had been a farmer’s potato field and the farmer became the first grounds-man. So successful did this prove that Mr Cadbury and others raised the money to lease 22 acres from Bournville Village Trust on a site on the other side of Shenley Lane. The field was opened in 1935, that year King George V and Queen Mary were celebrating the Silver Jubilee of their reign. Eventually, in 1937, work started on a clubhouse pavilion, provided by the Feeney Trust, tarmac tennis court and caretakers house, all of which were officially opened on 27th August 1938 by Mr George Cadbury.

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