Editorial note

A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7, the City of Birmingham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1964.

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, 'Editorial note', in A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7, the City of Birmingham, (London, 1964) pp. xv-xvi. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/warks/vol7/xv-xvi [accessed 19 May 2024].

. "Editorial note", in A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7, the City of Birmingham, (London, 1964) xv-xvi. British History Online, accessed May 19, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/warks/vol7/xv-xvi.

. "Editorial note", A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7, the City of Birmingham, (London, 1964). xv-xvi. British History Online. Web. 19 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/warks/vol7/xv-xvi.


When the history of Hemlingford Hundred was first planned in 1937 it was intended to include in it the history of Birmingham. Dr. R. A. Pelham accordingly gathered information for a comparatively short article on the city but the intervention of the Second World War and other circumstances made it impossible for him to finish it. His notes eventually proved useful in providing material for various sections and his help is gratefully acknowledged. In the end, in 1947, the history of the hundred was published without Birmingham as Volume IV of the Warwickshire History, and Birmingham was left, with Coventry and Warwick, to form a final, wholly urban, volume.

It was after this plan for a volume devoted to the three towns had already been framed that Professors Conrad Gill and Asa Briggs published their two-volume History of Birmingham (1951). This event suggested that it would be an advantage to replan the Victoria History of Birmingham completely so as to avoid too close a competition with a work that had so recently appeared. While it was plain that the Victoria History had to cover the history of the city as comprehensively as possible it seemed best to ensure that it would be weighted in favour of those topics on which the work of Gill and Briggs had touched somewhat lightly. In particular it was felt that in such sections as churches, schools, and charities, it should include much factual detail of a kind which would have been discordant with the plan of Gill and Briggs.

Various vicissitudes made work on the replanned history of Birmingham necessarily slow, and it was not until 1961 that expansion of the central staff of the History made it possible to intensify it. By that time the material had grown somewhat bulky and it was decided to devote a whole volume to Birmingham alone, leaving the histories of Coventry and Warwick to form a later volume.

The long period which it has taken to prepare the present volume, the fact that parts of Staffordshire and Worcestershire have now been incorporated in Birmingham, and that some aspects of the history of the city have already been touched upon in other volumes of the History, have created special difficulties. Accounts of the ancient parishes of King's Norton, Northfield, and Yardley, and of the parish of Quinton (in the ancient parish of Halesowen), now within the boundaries of the city, are contained in Volume III of the History of Worcestershire. Similarly there are accounts in Volume IV of the History of Warwickshire of those parts of the parishes of Castle Bromwich and Minworth, and of the ancient parishes of Sheldon and Solihull, which are also now in Birmingham. The church history of new ecclesiastical parishes formed in these areas, together with fresh details of older parish churches, has, however, been included in the present volume; as too have details of public education, and of Roman Catholic and Protestant nonconformist places of worship. Topographical accounts have, where appropriate, been included from the time when these districts became part of Birmingham, and in some cases the architectural history has been brought up to date. The histories of charities contained in the earlier volumes have not been added to. Other general sections in the present volume deal with the whole of the modern area of the city. Certain subjects, however, which form part of the history of Birmingham have been dealt with in principle in Volume II of the History of Warwickshire and for that reason are not to be found in this volume. They include the Hospital of St. Thomas, King Edward VI School, and King Edward VI High School.

Some Birmingham trades were dealt with individually in the chapter on the industries of Warwickshire in Volume II of the History of Warwickshire. The present volume has sought to complement what is said there by incorporating a comprehensive study of the economic development of Birmingham up to 1960. It has not, of course, always been possible to confine treatment of economic matters exactly to the administrative boundaries of the city.

The volume has been written over a long period and, it has been thought disproportionately laborious to bring all its sections up to the same date. The terminal date to which each section has been brought is indicated, where necessary, in the first footnote of the section concerned.

The history of a city of Birmingham's standing could not easily have been written without the kind co-operation of a great number of people, not all of whom can be thanked personally here. They include, the officers of several of the departments of Birmingham Corporation, especially the Education Department, the Public Works Department, the Central Statistical Office, the City Architect's Department, the Town Clerk's Department, and the Markets and Fairs Department. Particular mention must be made of the unstinted assistance in many directions given by Miss M. D. Norris, Mr. A. Andrews, and other members of the staff of the Birmingham Reference Library. Sincere thanks are due also to the Diocesan Registrar, the Librarian of the Council for the Care of Churches, the Secretary to the Archbishop of Birmingham, the Archivist to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and to ministers of religion and members of congregations of many denominations who supplied information for the section on religious history. Help from the Warwickshire County Record Office, the Archivist at Post Office Headquarters, the Librarian and other officers of the Ministry of Education, Dr. D. E. C. Eversley of Birmingham University, Mr. F. R. Barlow, Secretary of the Bournville Village Trust, Mr. and Mrs. B. W. Harley, formerly of Soho House, Handsworth, and the authors of various unpublished these cited in the footnotes to the text, is gratefully acknowledged. Finally, acknowledgement must be made to the corporations of the cities of Birmingham and Coventry and to the County Council of Warwickshire for their generous assistance towards the cost of publication.