This fine example of a 15th Century Cruck-built house is the headquarters of the Handsworth Historical Society.
A profile of the building together with some of its history can be found on the ‘Old Town Hall’ page on this site. We have a large collection of photographs of old Handsworth and will try to respond to email requests for specific individual ones.
HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY
On 20 February 1952, a group of like-minded people met to promote the history of Handsworth, and from this meeting Handsworth Historical Society was formed, its objects being to promote and encourage the study of local history, together with collecting and preserving relevant items.
Over the years many important items have indeed been collected, including a tracing of Handsworth Tithe Map of 1841 (measuring about 8.5ft x 12ft) and a 1794 map, both with their schedules of landowners and tenants. There are also many local directories, photographs, newspapers and historical artefacts, plus information on St Mary’s Parish Church, the Lunar Society, etc, all of which are available for viewing.
The Society is privileged to have been the steward of half of Handsworth Old Town Hall since 1978, the other half still being occupied. This Grade 2 listed building is situated at 20 Slack Lane, Handsworth, and is a very good example of a cruck-framed building which is believed to date back to 1460, during Henry VI’s reign. Our use of the building was arranged only with a great deal of help from the late Alderman Fred Hall, and the Society paid just a peppercorn rent to Birmingham City Council for many years. Sadly this is no longer the case and a market rent is now payable.
Now over sixty years old, the Society has about 130 members, and holds eight speaker meetings at a nearby venue and one outing a year. The Old Town Hall is open once or twice a month and hosts some events organised by Handsworth Wood Residents’ Association. The Society is represented on Birmingham Heritage Forum, provides displays at local history fairs and attempts to deal with family/ local history enquiries received by letter/’phone/website. We also welcome groups from schools, U3As, etc, by appointment.