Category Archives: History

Blaze at Pype Hayes Hall stables

Firefighters from Erdington dealt with a blaze in the stables at Pype Hayes Hall last night. Fire engines arrived at the scene at around 6.30pm yesterday (Wednesday) evening. The main building of the 17th Century Pype Hayes Hall was not damaged.
The roof of the stable buildings has suffered extensive damage. The area surrounding the wooden stable buildings has now been fenced off. A spokesperson for the fire brigade says that they suspect it was an arson attack. Fire officers have had to deal with several similar incidents at this property in the recent past, he said.

The day DJ Liz did the biz, and ended with a chuckle: 107.5 Switch Radio recalls the occasion Her Majesty broadcast on Castle Vale’s radio station

Her Majesty The Queen, recording her message to Castle Vale, in 1998

Fourteen years ago Her Majesty the Queen broadcast a message for Castle Vale on Vale FM, based in Topcliffe House.
The Queen was visiting Birmingham in 1998, and paid a visit to Castle Vale where she recorded a message, in the old library in Turnhouse Road, for local broadcast on Vale FM. The Prince’s Trust had donated £12,000 towards the setting up of the radio station.
The pictures of the day made the national newspapers, television and radio.
Station Manager Neil Hollins supervised the recording on a pair of microphones in the old library building.
That old library has since been replaced by Spitfire House; Vale FM has been replaced by 107.5 Switch Radio, which is playing the recording of the Queen’s message as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
At the end of the message, Neil Hollins can be heard to say: “Thank you very much… that’s a take…” following which Her Majesty gave the briefest of royal chuckles.
Click here to hear the Queen’s broadcast (from Headline Media archives)Queen message 1998

Pype Hayes Hall taken off auction list

Pype Hayes Hall will not be up for sale at the March auctions run by CP Bigwood at Villa Park. The 17th Century listed building has failed to find a bidder at the last two events. A Council spokesperson said they have taken the property off the list, but are still considering all options, including a future sale, or community use.
The Council say they will consider ‘viable’ options, and may re-think the conditions of sale, which demanded that any buyer must refurbish the property and bring it back fully into use within two years. These restrictions may have deterred potential buyers from making a bid.
The auctioneer at the last auction in December said that he would have accepted a bid of £250,000 for the property. This had dropped from a minimum price of £400,000 at the September auction.

Pype Hayes: Haunted Hall up for auction

Pype Hayes Hall, now unused and thought by some locals to be haunted, is up for auction tomorrow.
The 17th century building, originally the home of the Bagot family, has been owned by the Council since the 1920s and used as a children’s home, and more recently as council offices.

Hospice history display

A display celebrating the 100th anniversary of the John Taylor Hospice has opened at Castle Vale Library. The display also acknowledges support from various organisations and individuals in Castle Vale.

Spitfire Museum planned for Millennium Point

Spitfire Island and the Jaguar factory in Castle Vale, former construction site of the WWII fighter plane - photo by Clive Edwards

A museum celebrating the World War II fighter plane, the Spitfire, built in Castle Vale, is being planned for Millennium point in Birmingham. Businessman Neil Maybury hopes that it could be up and running within two years.

Call for old photos and memories

Local residents are invited to bring their personal memories and mementoes of old times to Spitfire House tomorrow (Saturday 14th February) as part of the Down Your Way project being run by ‘Sound it Out’, an organisation that is aiming to make music from community history.
The event runs from 1pm-4pm, with the music session running from 2-4pm.
Organisers will be keen to see and hear photos, objects and stories that could be used in an exhibition of Vale’s history, for later in 2009.
More information is available from Nicola Briggs on 0121 772 8655.

Trace your family history course: start times

The Beginners’ class for Trace Your Family History starting in the Library at Spitfire House in the High Street on 4th February runs from 11.30 – 1.30.
The Intermediates’ class on 14th February runs from 2-4pm.
These times have been amended from the ones reported in Vale Mail.

St Gerards 40th Birthday appeal

Did you attend St Gerard’s Junior and Infant school in the 1960s ? Patricia Henderson would like your photographs and memorabilia (school reports?) for the St Gerard’s School 40th birthday celebration on 23rd April. Call Patricia on 0121 464 2613. 

Spitfire House – no name change

spitfire-house-plaque.jpgSpitfire house – the name stays

Rumours that Spitfire House is to be renamed have been quashed by Sutton Coldfield College’s Vice Principal, Brian Williams. Sutton Coldfield College is likely to change its name if the proposed merger with Matthew Boulton College goes through. Sutton College, in recent years, has merged with Josiah Mason College and with North Birmingham College. A further merger in the coming months is very likely, in which case a name reflecting the geographical catchment area of the college will be looked for. But Campus names, such as Spitfire House, will not change.

Fears that the Vale centrepiece building was to be rechristened surfaced when the College turned down a request to instal a giant model of a Spitfire, one third the size of an original WWII Spitfire, in the foyer of the buidling. Brian Williams told Vale Mail: “We have said no to this request because we have concerns about the size of the model, about its cleaning and maintenance, and the cost of the installation. I am happy to discuss with residents the reasons for our reservations, and our health and safety worries. The door is still open on this one.”

The model, painstakingly pieced together from original Spitfire designs by an enthusiast in Streetly, took three years to make and has recently been donated to the Astral Centre. Bob Brueton, Astral’s boss, is keen to have the model set up in Spitifire House as acknowledgement that Castle Vale is built on the site where Spitfires were originally constructed and tested.