Past Campaigns and Activities

Past Campaigns and Activities

Over the years there have been successful campaigns in support of the Society's aims. These include preservation of Harborne Municipal Golf Course (twice!); conservation of The Field House in Harborne Park Road, now a residential home for the elderly; conservation of Greenfield House, the residence of David Cox the nineteenth century water colour artist; opposing the demolition of The Clock Tower in High Street, the former school and now an Adult Education Centre; preservation of the railway bridge in Park Hill Road as Harborne's last surviving link with the former branch railway which finally closed in 1963; opposing proposals for a dual three-lane highway through the centre of Harborne; securing the Local and National Listing of buildings and the sympathetic re-use of Listed buildings e.g. former Fire Station in Rose Road and the Harborne Institute in Station Road; and opposing the opening of the then thirteenth public house in the High Street and its immediate environs.

Of course, campaigns have not always met with success, the demolition and redevelopment of the old Police Station and the Georgian houses at Prince's Corner being regrettable examples.

Traffic problems have always been a major issue for the Society and on occasions detailed proposals for improvement have been submitted to the City Council. The Society responds directly to any City Council traffic management initiatives. Matters surrounding street furniture, road signs, litter, graffiti, Tree Preservation Orders, tree planting and general environmental concerns are a permanent feature of the Society's activities. Several 'Green Up' initiatives have been undertaken.

In the last few years planning issues have become of increasing concern to local residents and this has been reflected in the Society's work. The Technical Sub-Committee considers every Planning Application for Harborne and, where appropriate, objections, comments or expressions of support are made. The Society is seen by the City Council as an effective voice for Harborne and developers are often recommended to consult with the Society on significant proposals before a Planning Application is formally submitted. The Society participates in the reviews of the Unitary Development Plan, particularly emphasising the need to support the maintenance of Harborne as a principal district shopping centre.

From the outset the Society has each year organised a full programme of events for members, principally centred on a wide-ranging programme of talks by invited speakers. Over the years, visits, photographic competitions and competitions for local school children, usually based on local history or environmental topics, have been organised.

The Society has jointly with other organisations, such as the Harborne Cricket Club and Rotary, organised carnivals and fetes, including the 1991 event to commemorate the centenary of Harborne becoming part of Birmingham.

In 1980 the Society erected and part funded a memorial to Dr. Hugh Morton, a local G.P. with a lifetime of service to Harborne. There is commemorative plaque and bench at the front of The Clock Tower Adult Education Centre. A commemorative tablet was also provided in Grove Park in 1983 to record that Thomas Attwood, the political reformer and one of Birmingham's first two Members of Parliament lived at The Grove' for 23 years.

In 1998 the Society established and funded 'The Madeline Aston Local History Collection' at Harborne Library in memory of a founding member and former Chairman of the Society. The collection of reference books forms part of the Local History Section.

Art and craft exhibitions have been staged, the first in 1962. They were revived in 1989 as part of the City Council's centenary celebrations and an art exhibition is now usually held on a biennial basis.

Since the national Heritage Open Days were initiated in 1995, the Society has participated every year, usually by arranging a guided walk around part of Harborne.

Early in 2000 the Society launched a campaign to secure the modernisation of Harborne Library, including the installation of a lift.  The Society also suggested that the adjoining Council owned shop premises should be converted to form a new street level entrance and reception.  Originally built as a Masonic Hall in 1879, the building was converted to a public lending library in 1892.   It took over six years to achieve our objective but the reopening of the “new” Library on 10th July, 2006, brought a happy and successful conclusion to the Society's campaign. 

The appointment of a Village Centre Manager in February 2007 is the successful outcome of the Society's campaign launched at a public meeting held in July 2005 to consider the decline of Harborne High Street

In 2007 the Society funded the cost of the permanent display at the Harborne Library of the historic Harborne Railway Signal Box nameplate together with associated photographs.

The Harborne Society first started campaigning for the designation of Greenfield Road as a new Conservation Area as far back as 1989.  The City Council was supportive of the idea and formally added it to the list of future schemes as well as including it in the Birmingham Plan.  After repeated representations Greenfield Road was given Conservation Area Status in 2010

The Society publishes a Newsletter for its members, currently three times a year. As a service to the local community over 8,000 copies of the summer edition are distributed by members throughout the whole of Harborne.