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HANDSWORTH ROAD NAMES

This is not a comprehensive list of every road in Handsworth but covers quite a few and the explanations are correct as far as we know!

ROADS WITH BOULTON, WATT AND MURDOCH(K) CONNECTIONS

BOULTON ROAD, PARK ROAD and PARK AVENUE

were all roads on the Boulton estate.
BRECON ROAD and RADNOR ROAD

are named after other Watt estates in Wales.
FOUNDRY ROAD

just over the border in Smethwick, was where Boulton & Watt had their foundry, which was later taken over by scale makers Avery.
GIBSON ROAD is named after Major Gibson-Watt, who added ‘Watt’ to his name after inheriting the Watt estates.
MURDOCK ROAD is named after Scottish engineer William Murdoch, who changed the last letter of his name to help the English pronounce it!
NORTH DRIVE and WEST DRIVE

were the two roads to James Watt’s home, Heathfield (Hall), which was demolished in the early 1920s.
SYCAMORE ROAD

was the road leading to Murdoch’s home, Sycamore House (sometimes called Sycamore Hill House).
TEWPARK ROAD

is named after the Oxfordshire estate, Tew Park, to which Boulton’s son, Matthew Robinson Boulton, moved.
THORNHILL ROAD

is named after Thornhill House, the home of Matthew Boulton’s only daughter, Ann(e).
UNION ROW

was so-called because workers at Boulton & Watt’s manufactory set up a shop there for the members which in effect became one of the first Co-ops.

ROADS NAMED AFTER FARMS (OR VICE VERSA)

CHERRY ORCHARD ROAD

On the site of Cherry Orchard Farm, a 15th century building demolished in the 1930s for the construction of a housing estate.
CRICK LANE

An ancient ‘dog leg’ right of way between Grove Lane and the parish church of St Mary’s. Crick Farm was built about 1709.
GROVE LANE

An old lane, leading from Soho Road to Church Lane, and formerly extending to Friary Road until Handsworth Theological College was built and that section was renamed College Road. Probably named after the farmhouse in the Grove, occupied from 1430 principally by successive members of the Hodgetts family, a well-known Handsworth family.
ROOKERY ROAD

Named after Rookery Farm which stood at the junction with Soho Road.
Formerly called Deadman’s Lane, supposedly because of a gibbet erected at the corner of Rookery Road and Oxhill Road.
STOCKWELL ROAD

Named after Stockwell Farm, said to have been built in 1570 and covering about seventeen acres towards the Oxhill Road end of Friary Road.

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