Brandwood History

First recorded as Brander End in 1587, this place name has its origins in the Old English word brende meaning ‘burnt’. This area of east of the River Rea lies on heavy clay whose natural cover was dense oak forest. In the early Middle Ages woodland was deliberately burned to create clearings for farmland, a process not lightly undertaken. Mature trees are not easy to burn and very difficult to uproot. Furthermore, not only was woodland a valuable resource, but steep fines could be imposed on any who burnt another’s trees. Burning may also, of course, have been the result of an accidental or natural occurrence such as lightning.

Around the junction of Brandwood Road and Dawberry Fields Road were fields known as ‘Blacklands’. These were named by later settlers who recognised that the soil was blacker here than the virgin earth, because the land had been previously cultivated. It is possible that these were fields of the Roman period abandonned at the time of the downfall of the Roman Empire. If that is the case, it may be that the tree cover was younger and not so dense and thus more easily burnt.

The tiny hamlet at Brandwood End was on Brandwood Road near its junction with Broad Lane. This was an entirely rural area until after the end of World War 1 when housing development, largely private, spread outwards from Kings Heath.

Brandwood House in Dawberry Fields Road is first found in the records in 1638 but it is likely to be of older foundation. A large house in neo-classical style built on a high prominence and set in extensive grounds, it was owned by the Gem family who had legal interests in Birmingham. In 1890 the house was bought by G F Lyndon who was in the tool-making business. With many alterations and additions the building was used as a golf clubhouse in the early 20th century, served as the Automobile Association HQ from 1936. In 1967 Brandwood House became the Regional Headquarters of the 202 (Midlands) General Hospital Royal Army Medical Corps (Volunteer) was born and came into being on the 1st Apr 1967 in Kings Heath. The field hospital based here may be sent anywhere in the world to be set up in tents or existing buildings to provide secondary medical care to soldiers in the field.

Local Resident Andy Underscore is  mapping out the entirety of the Parish of Kings Norton (of which Moseley, Kings Heath, Stirchley, Cotteridge were all part of before they became part of Birmingham). His website is https://andyunderscore.com/maps/