Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rebooting Birches Green's Wikipedia page

Raised in Erdington, for the past 12 years i have lived in the part which has the suspiciously artificial sounding name of Birches Green. It does seem like a made-up name invented by developers to make a former grim industrial estate more appealing to home buyers though in fact the name has existed for some time. The Birches Green school were our rivals at Spring Lane back in the late 70s, so the name was at least that old!

I found Birches Green's Wikipedia article by chance, as usual found by looking for something else (something i do to a fine art). The article was a stub with very little information so i decided to use my historical research skills to fill the article out!

It was an enjoyable experience and by checking out a number of online historical resources, some newspaper archives, my collection of old Erdington maps and (of course) a VCH i was able to find out that the name Birches Green dates from the 17th century. Contrary to how i imagined the area was not named after a tree but instead it is thought the area was named after the Birch family who lived here in the early 1600s. Much of the information available on the area relates to Glenthorne Youth Treatment Centre which was a controversial "jail" for children. Still it beats having a gas works there.

I hope my expanded article proves more useful to people. There is room for improvement such as adding an image, though probably not a great deal extra information to add. I did find a story in the Daily Mirror archive of a dog barking in Birches Green in the 1930s causing a kerfuffle...

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