I’ve lived in Stirchley for almost 30 years and I think that now is a good time to expose the wonders of this underrated and under-appreciated Birmingham suburb and, in Part 2, I’ll show you some of ‘My Stirchley’.
I was prompted to sing the praises of Stirchley when I learned of the ‘Love Stirchley More’ project that will reach fruition on 14th February and run for 3 days. The people involved in this project include:
Artists working to produce works across Stirchley for the festival include artist/designer Garry Jones specialising in carnival and community arts, Place Prospector Jayne Murray and artists working in the public realm Lizzy Bean and Jane Watt.
Inspired by this idea, I got out my camera to take a journey into this modern day ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ that is to be found along the Pershore Road here in Stirchley and I hope that you, dear Reader, enjoy the sights with me along the way.
The first sight (heading out of Town), recognisable to even those who haven’t been this way for a long while, is Stirchley Bowl (although I don’t think it is called that any more!).
I haven’t been bowling for sooo many years, but it still survives and now has a Fitness First gym attached.
Next we come to the mew mini park that was developed recently to better show off the entrance to Stirchley and make the businesses nearby more attractive.
Here we have a new bike shop, a T-Shirt printer, a clothes washing/ironing/repair service, a Chinese Takeaway (that does the best tasting Chinese curry in Birmingham), an Indian Takeaway and a computer games business.
Next door is the Perfection Snooker Club.
Next we encounter the first two Balti restaurants to appear in Stirchley; on the left is Yassers Tandoori (more of which in Part 2) and on the right is Balti Bazaar.
I’ve only been in here the once, but it still thrives after 20 years in business.
Next door is the Three Horseshoes pub, the first of two pubs in Stirchley along the Pershore Road.
Over the years I’ve lived in Stirchley, the Three Horseshoes has changed drastically from a welcoming local with lots of rooms into a somewhat soulless ‘beer barn’. For a while it operated almost like a suburban nightclub, with the attendant trouble, but I’m pleased to say that it is now trouble free. To see more of my thoughts on the Three Horseshoes visit my other blog, Pubs: Then & Now.
Across the roundabout we find a stalwart of the Stirchley landscape for well over 100 years (see photos and more info here) although it has been rebuilt several times.
As we continue past the Co-op Funeral Parlour along the Stirchley one way system (technically Hazelwell Street) there is the Stirchley Community Centre (and Indoor Bowls Centre) which is home to the monthly Stirchley Community Market (1st Tuesday of the month). At the end of the one way system is the British Oak pub, which I’ll discuss more fully in Part 2. All I’ll say now is that the British Oak is one of the best pubs in Birmingham!
As we rejoin the Pershore Road we pass a Ladbrokes, an Ironing Shop and Stirchley’s very own sausage manufacturer, Wolsey Sausage Company. Now we are getting into the myriad of interesting and different shops and businesses to be found in Stirchley.
The next surprising find is Drums International.
Does exactly what it says on the sign – provides new and used drums to buy (or hire) and all other drumming services that you might want! Next door is a kitchen/bathroom manufacturer (and there is another one just across the road!).
A bit further along we have our very own specialist watch and jewellery repair shop (sandwiched between a pizza takeaway and a lettings agent).
Inside it is a proper ‘old school’ watch repairers and the owner greets you with his magnifying glasses on before expertly replacing the battery in my watch.
On the other side of the road is the centre of what we all hope becomes a vibrant movement to regenerate Stirchley as a retail experience.
Occupying the premises previously used by the Billiards and Pool shop is the new Stirchley Stores and Loaf, a bakery and cookery school. This is an ethical, environmentally responsible project to produce and sell local goods.
A couple of doors further along is the home of the Belgian and Dutch Consulates! Opposite this is a Bed and Furniture shop and a Carpet emporium.
As we pass by the local primary school there are more small shops and the next one I want to highlight is the Tobacconist. In the current anti-smoking climate I wonder how much longer it can survive. I can’t remember seeing another tobacconist, anywhere, for many years now so this is somethingt of an endangered species!
Opposite here is a fine example of the second hand trade and recycling shops that populate this stretch of the Pershore Road.
We then go past the Vacuum Cleaner Clinic and even more delights before we get to the Stirchley off licence.
Over the years this has expanded quite a bit, presumably to accommodate the extra trade for the numerous Balti restaurants in Stirchley.
We’ve almost reached the end of our little trip through the heart of Stirchley. Up ahead on the left is the Ashtree Medical Centre (my doctor’s for the past 30 ish years) and next door is the (relatively) new Ashtree Pharmacy which is superbly convenient.
Finally, we reach the end of the main shopping centre of Stirchley, but there is still one more delight to reward our endeavour.
Yes! It’s a proper greengrocer! Again it is an ‘old school’ experience to shop here. This is my ‘go to’ shop for potatoes when I want to make good chips.
After this there is a Wickes and a Magnet store…and then it’s on to Cotteridge. I’ve not identified all of the places available in Stirchley because…well, we’d have been here all day…but I hope I’ve given you a flavour of what treasures can be found here and, hopefully, entice you to visit us here sometime soon. Stirchley awaits your interest and support. I can’t guarantee the weather will be as beautiful as in the pictures, but you will have an interesting and rewarding time as you discover the hidden treasures of this latter day ‘Aladdin’s Cave’.