Open main menu


"Perry" means small, and is derived from the Latin parva (not "pear", as some sources claim) and "Barr" means "hill". The name probably relates to the adjacent Great Barr, including Barr Beacon, the area's tallest peak.


Memorial to PC Malcolm Walker

Perry Barr was originally two separate entities, both mentioned in the Domesday Book as 'Pirio'[2] and 'Barre'. Pirio is recorded as having an estimated population of 35 and Barre with an estimated population of 25. William FitzAnsculf is recorded as being the tenant in chief of both manors, and Drogo as the tenant. It is thought that the two manors may have been combined in the Early Middle Ages.

In 1874 Perry Barr established its own institute based on the model of the Birmingham and Midland Institute. Aston Villa opened their Wellington Road ground in Perry Barr in 1876, playing there until 1897. In 1878, Henry Irving became the president of the Perry Barr Institute and addressed members of the institute on 6 March 1878. His speech was reprinted in the 13 March release of Theatre and also reprinted onto pamphlets by the institute's members and sold for a sixpence to fund the construction of a new building for the institute.[3] It was converted into a Carnegie-funded library in September 1897. In early 2007, this library, ultimately known as Birchfield Community Library, was demolished, due to its dilapidated condition. A new building is to be commissioned. Another library in the area is Tower Hill Library.[4]

Perry Barr Urban District was an urban district in Staffordshire from 1894 until 1928 when it was largely incorporated into Birmingham, and thus also Warwickshire (this included an area which is now considered part of Great Barr). It then became part of the West Midlands in 1974 when Birmingham became a metropolitan borough in the county.

In 1903, Birmingham Crematorium, the City's first, was opened by Sir Henry Thompson, president of the Cremation Society, in Perry Barr at 389 Walsall Road. It has been privately owned, latterly by Dignity plc.[5] The Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorates the cremations there of 3 Commonwealth service personnel of World War I and 64 of World War II, besides a Czech soldier from the latter war.[6]

In the 1920s, Oscar Deutsch opened his first ever Odeon cinema here. The original cinema is now a conference venue, having also been a bingo hall. The 1920s Perry Barr Stadium on the Aldridge Road hosts greyhound racing and the Birmingham Brummies speedway team. It has a 500-seat capacity, and was refurbished in 2004. It is the former home of the Birchfield Harriers, whose badge, in Art Deco style, bas relief it still carries.[7] The Harriers now operate from nearby Alexander Stadium.

Aston Technical College (later North Birmingham Technical College) moved to a new site in Perry Barr in the late 1960s, and was incorporated into the creation of Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University) in 1971. Two of the college's buildings exist as part of the university's City North Campus, scheduled to close in 2018.

There is a mall-style shopping centre in the district known as "One Stop" Shopping Centre. This was built in the early 1990s, replacing a previous 1960s-era shopping centre. To facilitate the 1990s construction, a length of the River Tame was diverted and canalised. A Wetherspoons pub, the Arthur Robertson,[8] opened later is named after Arthur (known as "Archie") Robertson – Birchfield Harriers' first Olympic gold medallist (1908).[9]

A memorial to PC Malcolm Walker, of the West Midlands Police is situated outside shops on the city-bound side of Birchfield Road. He died on 4 October 2001, when his motorcycle was struck during a police pursuit.

The site of the former Perry Hall is now Perry Hall Park. Perry Park hosted the Birmingham Carnival in 2005.


Major roads in the ward and constituency include the M6 motorway and the A34. Bus routes operated by National Express West Midlands Perry Barr bus garage in the area include Nos 11A, 11C, 33, 46, 51, 54, 68A, 68C, 907, 934, 935, 937, 937A (evenings and Sundays), 952, 997, 997E (towardsPheasey).[10] [11] The A4040 and A34 roads cross at Perry Barr, the former carrying the Birmingham Outer Circle bus routes.

Route X51 runs through Perry Barr, but not stopping in Perry Barr. The nearest stop on the route is Walsall Road, Alexander Stadium before running non-stop to Birmingham City Centre.[12]

To the south-west of the ward is the Walsall line, part of the old Grand Junction Railway, which has two railway stations within the boundaries of the ward; Hamstead railway station and Perry Barr railway station. The latter, opened in 1837, is one of the oldest stations in the country to remain on its original site.

The Tame Valley Canal bisects the ward, with boats from Salford Junction, under Gravelly Hill Interchange climbing the 13-flight Perry Barr Locks towards Hamstead and on to Rushall Junction. There is a feeder reservoir, Perry Reservoir, in Perry Park.[13]

The River Tame passes through the area and is crossed by several bridges, including Perry Bridge, a scheduled ancient monument of 1711, on the line of the Roman Ryknild Street and its 1932 Art Deco replacement carrying the Aldridge Road. The old bridge appears on the badge of nearby Handsworth Grammar School.

Sport in the AreaEdit

Aston Manor Cricket Club are situated in Perry Barr, as to is the international athletics stadium Alexander Stadium. These are located on Church Road just by Perry Park. The Hub on Holford Drive is home to Continental Star F.C. as well as Continental Star Cricket and Tennis clubs and Aston Amateur Boxing Club.[14]


The Perry Barr ward is part of the Birmingham, Perry Barr parliamentary constituency. Following boundary changes in 2004, the eastern edge of the ward follows the M6 motorway from Spaghetti Junction near to junction 7 at Great Barr, including parts of the communities of Witton, Aston, Perry Barr and Great Barr.

Since 2004, the three councillors representing Perry Barr on Birmingham City Council have been Ray Hassall, Karen Hamilton and Jon Hunt, all of them Liberal Democrats. Hassall was elected in 1990, Hunt in 2003 and Hamilton in 2004. Hamilton became the first black councillor elected for the ward. In a 2017 by-election, Morriam Jan, elected as a Liberal Democrat, became the first councillor of South Asian origin elected for the ward.

Prior to 1990, the ward had a strong tendency towards the Conservative Party. No single party held all the seats in the ward between 1990 and 2004. The Liberal Democrats took a clean sweep at the 2004 Council Elections in which all seats were contested, but only after three recounts. In 2006, Hamilton increased her personal majority from 31 to more than 1,500 and the party went on to win every election in the ward until boundary changes in 2018.

The ward had Labour representation for a period, from 1995 till 2004 following the election of Mike Leddy (1995–2003), along with the defection of Ron Whitehouse from the Liberal Democrats to The Labour Party (2000–2004).

In the 2018 elections the ward is reduced in size to two councillors and parts of the former Aston ward, included in 2004, are returned to a new Aston ward. The new Perry Barr ward includes Witton Cemetery and the Moor Lane Sports Ground.

Election winnersEdit

  • 1986 – Conservative
  • 1987 – Conservative
  • 1988 – Conservative
  • 1990 – Liberal Democrat
  • 1991 – Liberal Democrat
  • 1992 – Conservative
  • 1994 – Liberal Democrat
  • 1995 – Labour
  • 1996 – Liberal Democrat
  • 1998 – Liberal Democrat
  • 1999 – Labour
  • 2000 – Liberal Democrat (defected to Labour within 12 months)
  • 2002 – Liberal Democrat
  • 2003 – Liberal Democrat
  • 2004 – 3 x Liberal Democrat (following boundary changes)
  • 2006 – Liberal Democrat - Karen Hamilton
  • 2007 – Liberal Democrat - Jon Hunt
  • 2008 – Liberal Democrat - Ray Hassall
  • 2010 – Liberal Democrat - Karen Hamilton
  • 2011 – Liberal Democrat - Jon Hunt
  • 2012 – Liberal Democrat - Ray Hassall
  • 2014 – Liberal Democrat - Karen Trench (previously Hamilton)
  • 2015 – Liberal Democrat - Jon Hunt
  • 2016 - Liberal Democrat - Ray Hassall (deceased March 2017)
  • 2017 (by-election) – Liberal Democrat - Morriam Jan
  • 2018 - 2 x Liberal Democrat (following boundary changes) - Jon Hunt & Morriam Jan[15]

Demographics and notable residentsEdit

The 2001 Population Census recorded that 22,704 people were living in Perry Barr. 28.2% (6,410) of the ward's population was represented by ethnic minorities, compared with 29.6% for Birmingham in general.

British musician Steve Winwood was a choirboy at St John's Church of England parish church in Perry Barr.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Birmingham Ward population 2011". Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  2. ^ Perry in the Domesday Book. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  3. ^ Richards, Jeffrey (2007). Sir Henry Irving: A Victorian Actor and His World. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 86. ISBN 1-85285-591-6.
  4. ^ Council, Birmingham City. "Tower Hill Library".
  5. ^ "Birmingham Crematorium | Dignity Crematoria Ltd".
  6. ^ "Cemetery".
  7. ^ Public Sculpture of Birmingham, George T. Noszlopy, Liverpool University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-85323-682-8
  8. ^ "The Arthur Robertson | Pub in Birmingham - J D Wetherspoon".
  9. ^ Philpotts, Chris (8 October 2010). "Pub runs with hero's reputation for unexpected triumphs". Great Barr Observer. Birmingham: Central Independent News & Media Ltd. pp. 4–5.
  10. ^ "Local National Express West Midlands".
  11. ^[day]=&tab=
  12. ^[day]=&tab=
  13. ^ Nicholson waterways Guide 2 – Severn, Avon and Birmingham, Collins, 2006 ISBN 978-0-00-721110-4
  14. ^ "Our Clubs". Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Local government election results May 2018". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  16. ^ ""Steve Winwood: English Soul," BBC4, broadcast 25 February 2011". BBC. Retrieved 29 September 2014.

External linksEdit