Monday, 7 March 2011


Dear Reader,

Thank you for visiting this site.

Selly Oak Park is a public park, first awarded Green Flag status in 2013, situated on Gibbins Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, in the West Midlands of England, UK.  Its near neighbours include the University of Birmingahm and the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and its northern boundary is the line of the former, currently dry, Dudley No. 2 Canal, also known as the Lapal Canal.  The Park is one of the older parks in the City of Birmingham, set in 33.27 acres (13.2453 hectares) of land which was once part of Weoley Park Farm.  It contains a range of play equipment, including a zip wire and climbing frame, many tree-lined footpaths, wood sculptures and nature feature interpretation boards.  One notable feature is the stump of the old "Selly Oak" which was placed in the park in 1909 when the oak tree in Oak Tree Lane was felled.

There is a useful aerial view of the park on the Birmingham Open Spaces Forum website:

My interest in Selly Oak Park arises from the fact that my great grandfather, Josiah Thomas Horton, was the first Park-keeper at Selly Oak and lived in the Park Lodge in Gibbins Road from 1899 until he retired in 1928; he had started work at the Park in 1898 when, as a gardener, he was transferred from the newly opened Queen's Park, Harborne to help lay down another new park.

Selly Oak Park soon after it was laid out - so maybe 1902?
Notice the Park-keeper (Josiah Thomas Horton) - with, perhaps, four of his thirteen children.
Photograph kindly contributed by John Skinner.


The Lodge at the Gibbins Road entrance to Selly Oak Park
(Picture taken during the Selly Oak Festival in the Park on 26 June 2010,
by Ian Nash, a grandson of the first Park-keeper, Josiah Horton)

As I started to read about the Park I discovered that there was a wealth of information publicly available, but it was scattered in dusty archives which were not immediately obvious or accessible.

I have gathered all the information that I can find, and brought it together in this group of linked pages. The complete history is presented in decade "chapters" - they are listed in the column on the top right hand side of this page. Within each decade chapter I have made a brief summary of the key facts, which I present as the "Historical Overview". That Overview is supported by detailed information, clippings from various sources, which I have put on a "Clippings" page for each year. When you get to the decade chapters, the clippings pages are listed a little lower in the column on the right hand side of the page again. There are also links to the relevant year clippings at the end of each section as you read through each Overview. You should be able to go out to any chapter, or clippings page, and then return by using the links on the side bar or the "back" button at the top left of your screen.

I hope this compendium will prove a useful resource in the local community.

The earlier part of the history has been published in my book:-

A web search for "Selly Oak Park" will produce many references. I have chosen to include only those that I feel contribute a substantial piece of the history - and here apologise to any who may feel their contribution should have been included (you could always write to me and persuade me otherwise!)


I wish to acknowledge the help I have received whilst gathering this information, particularly from:-
  • the staff of the Archive and Heritage Section (at the Central Library, Birmingham up until September 2013 and, after their relocation, at the new Library of Birmingham), for access to Council minutes, press reports, photographs, etc.;
  • the staff of the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeological Service, The Hive, Worcester, for access to Worcestershire County Council minutes;
  • the staff of Birmingham City Council, for access to records - Simon Cooper, retired Parks Area Manager; David Fletcher, Assistant Property Manager; and Patricia Bacciochi, Muniments.
  • John Skinner, a grandson of Josiah Thomas Horton, the first Park-keeper, for contributing several early photographs of the Park.

The Friends of Selly Oak Park have also been very supportive and encouraging.

Any of the photographs posted on these pages can be enlarged by clicking or double clicking on them.  To return to the blog page just click the return button on the top left of the screen.

This is ongoing research, so please return from time to time to "catch up" with progress. There will be changes as I learn and record new findings. Each page is marked at the beginning to show when it was last updated.

I may have missed things. If you have information, records, photographs, memories - indeed anything relevant - and for any year (1896 through to the present) - I shall be very grateful if you would share it with me. My contact details are included in the bar at the bottom of each page.

If you would like to see photographs of the Park as it is now, then please go to the Friends' website, by clicking here. When you are there you will find a link which will bring you back here when you are ready.

So, please now scroll back to the top of this page and choose a decade from the top right hand column there, and enjoy your time "in the Park" .....................
Ken Pugh
Acocks Green,
Birmingham, UK

May 2013

(Post last updated 17 March 2017)