Place:Kings Norton, Worcestershire, England

Watchers
NameKings Norton
Alt namesKings-Nortonsource: Family History Library Catalog
King's Nortonsource: alternate spelling
TypeUrban district
Coordinates52.407°N 1.927°W
Located inWorcestershire, England     ( - 1911)
Also located inWarwickshire, England     (1911 - 1974)
West Midlands, England     (1974 - )
See alsoHalfshire (hundred), Worcestershire, Englandhundred of which the parish was a part
Kings Norton Rural, Worcestershire, Englandrural district of which it was part 1894-1898
Birmingham, Warwickshire, Englandcity into which it was absorbed in 1911
source: Family History Library Catalog


Kings Norton (sometime King's Norton) has been part of Birmingham, England since 1911. Prior to that time it was in Worcestershire.

Kings Norton was a large parish located south of the city of Birmingham and included the separate ecclesiastical parishes of Moseley, King's Heath and Wythall. In 1901 King's Norton covered an area of 11,726 acres, of which 112 acres were covered with water, 1,251 were arable land, 7,810 pasture and 37½ woods. In 1894 Balsall Heath, formerly part of Kings Norton, was formed into a separate civil parish. It is now a part of Birmingham.

In 1911 the Birmingham Extension Act was passed and the greater part of Kings Norton was absorbed into Birmingham. This included Moseley but not Wythall which was made into a separate civil parish in 1911 and remained in Worcestershire until 1974.

While in Worcestershire Kings Norton loaned its name to a rural district which existed from 1894 until 1898 and an urban district, consisting of the same three parishes of Kings Norton, Beoley and Northfield, which was responsible for the government of the area from 1898 until 1911. Beoley is still in Worcestershire, but Northfield became part of Birmingham with Kings Norton. Some responsibilties of local administration were in the hands of Birmingham during the period 1898-1911.

British History Online provides the following geographical description of Kings Norton from the Victoria County History, A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published in 1913:

"The parish is watered by the River Rea, the Bournville River and the River Cole, which last divides it from Warwickshire on the east. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal and the Stratfordon-Avon Canal, which joins it to the north-east of King's Norton village, are fed by two reservoirs on the River Rea. The chief roads are the main road between Birmingham and Alcester and Icknield or Rycknield Street, (fn. 4) the Roman road which joins the same places. These run almost parallel, the first passing through Moseley, King's Heath and Wythall Heath, the second through Stirchley Street and Walker's Heath.
"The ground is hilly, being 400 ft. above the ordnance datum on the banks of the Rea, and varying from that to a height of about 600 ft. near Weatheroak Hill. The trade, and consequently the population, of the parish have increased enormously during the last century. Thus in 1831 the population was 3,977, while in 1891 it had increased to 17,750 and in 1901 to 35,790. The most populous parts are Moseley and King's Health, which are the nearest to Birmingham. The chief manufactures are paper, metal and ammunition, gun-barrels and screws. Cadbury's cocoa and chocolate are made at the Bournville factory near Stirchley Street.
"King's Norton is rapidly developing the monotonous appearance inseparable from the suburbs of a large town, though the older portion near the church still retains something of its original character. The houses are here grouped about a green stretching almost the length of the village, with the church standing in a large churchyard at the north-west corner."

Facts from the above article have been used to write the brief political history of Kings Norton that introduce this page. The Victoria County History continues with description of the various manors which existed in the parish and the families which inhabited them.

The chocolate and weaponry production described above forged the growth of Birmingham during the 20th century.

Research Tips

  • Ordnance Survey Maps of England and Wales - Revised: Worcestershire illustrates the parish boundaries of Worcestershire when rural districts were still in existence and before the West Midlands came into being. The map publication year is 1931. The map blows up to show all the parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets. Maps in this series are now downloadable for personal use.
  • British History Online has a collection of local maps from the Ordnance Survey 1883-1893. Rural areas are included, but these may be especially useful for investigation the suburbs of large towns.
  • GENUKI makes a great many suggestions as to other websites with worthwhile information about Worcestershire as well as leading to a collection of 19th century descriptions of each of the ecclesiastical parishes.
  • The Midlands Historical Data project produces searchable facsimile copies of old local history books and directories of interest to genealogists. It specialises in the three counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire, working closely with libraries, archives and family history societies in the area. Digital images are made freely available to participating organisations to improve public access. Free search index on its web-site to all its books. In many cases payment will be required to see the extract.
  1. organization charts of the hierarchies of parishes within hundreds, registration districts and rural and urban districts of the 20th century
  2. excerpts from a gazetteer of circa 1870 outlining individual towns and parishes
  3. reviews of population through the time period 1800-1960
  • More local sources can often be found by referring to "What Links Here" in the column on the left.