ASTON

Aston was first mentioned in the Domesday book. In Medieval times the Church of St Peter and St Paul was built. It replaced an earlier church. It was built by J A Chatwin during the period of 1879 to 1890. In 1776 the 15th century tower and spire were partly rebuilt. They are the only survivors of the medieval building.

The ancient Parish of Aston was large and part of it was included in the borough of Birmingham in 1838. In 1892 a further part, Satley was added.

Aston was home to the popular Aston hippodrome and the Barton Arms public house, which still exists and retains many original features.  In 1892 the Gospel Hall on Park Lane was opened and it was demolished in the 1970s.  Located on Upper Thomas Street was a further meeting place the Ellen Knox Memorial Hall. This was situated next to the Midland Vinegar Brewery, which was built around 1877.

After the Second World War, Aston underwent large scale redevelopment. Part of it in the south of Aston was designated a renewal area with a new town to the west of this. This became “Newtown” a large estate, which consisted of 16 tower blocks. 5 of these have now been demolished.

Aston is home to Aston Villa Football Club. There are four Universities in Birmingham, Aston University being one of them. Since 1897 Aston Villa have played at Villa Park.  The Football Club has traditionally one of the largest grounds in England.  Apart from top flight football Aston Villa has staged many matches at club and international level. They have also been host to other sports and events including international level rugby league and rugby union.

Aston is made up of many terraced houses that were built around the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.  In the late 1960s some of these houses were demolished during the construction of the Aston Expressway, which links Birmingham city centre to the M6 motorway.

Like many inner city areas around the Country in the early 1980s, Aston was suffering from severe deprivation. The terraced housing had become outdated, with many lacking bathrooms and indoor toilets. They were generally suffering from decay due to a lack of maintenance. There was talk of the homes being demolished, but Birmingham City Council made money available for the houses to be modernised.

Many household names had their businesses in Aston including Ansells Brewery and HP Sauce. The area at Aston Cross has gone through many changes and is now home to the East End Foods distribution warehouse.  After Ansell’s Brewery closed the former employees  started the Aston Manor Brewery on Thimblemill Lane in 1982.

The area of Aston Cross was also home to the ATV Television Broadcaster from 1956 to 1968. The ATV office building later became the studios of radio stations BRMB and XTRA-AM. In the early 1990’s both stations moved to Broad Street in Birmingham. The original building is still called Radio House. BRMB was launched in February 1974, and was the UK’s fourth commercial radio station. During its time in Aston it was the most listened to radio station in the West Midlands.

The members of the successful heavy metal band Black Sabbath were all born and brought up in the Aston area. They are Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler.

A fine example of Jacobean architecture, Aston Hall is a Grade I listed Jacobean house located in Aston Park Birmingham. Designed by John Thorpe it was built between 1681 and 1635. Birmingham Corporation bought the house in 1864. It was the first historic country house to pass into municipal ownership. Today it is still owned by Birmingham City Council. Aston Hall underwent a major renovation which was completed in 2009 and being a community museum it is open to the public during the summer months.

 

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