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Small Heath Railway Station 1970s
Small Heath Railway Station sign

Small Heath Railway Station

Serving the multi-cultural suburbs of Small Heath and a little further away, Sparkbrook


Small Heath is situated in South East Birmingham and has existed since Roman times. The area is close to the main route between Coventry and Birmingham and so was probably used by drovers transporting animals to and from the two cities and the livestock markets within each.


The Coventry Road itself was first recorded in 1226, leading from the Digbeth crossing of the River Rea. At this time, Birmingham was a medieval market town, whilst Coventry was a significant city of national importance. In 1799 what is today known as the Grand Union Canal opened. In 1852, the opening of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Birmingham and Oxford Junction Railway took place; both go through Small Heath's area.


The railway station opened in 1863 and was known as Small Heath and Sparkbrook on the Great Western Railway’s mainline between London Paddington and Birkenhead (Liverpool). The station has four platforms with only two in use as these are the only two that can provide access to and from Birmingham Moor Street and Snow Hill stations.


Members of Holy Trinity Cricket Club, Bordesley, had formed the Small Heath Alliance Football Club in 1875 to keep fit over the winter. After playing in Bordesley and Sparkbrook, in 1877, they moved to what became called the Muntz Street stadium. Eventually, the ground proved too small for the football club's needs. The club built a new stadium nearer the city centre, St Andrews, which continues today as the home of 'the Blues' being Birmingham City Football Club.


The 'Peaky Blinders' criminal gang were founded in Small Heath, possibly by a man named Thomas Mucklow. The gang's activities took place between the end of the 19th century until the early 1900s' Six series of a BBC drama was loosely based upon the gang.

By the outbreak of World War II, BSA Guns Ltd, adjacent to Small Heath Railway Station, was the only factory producing rifles in the UK.  BSA Guns Ltd was also making the 303 browning machine gun for the Air Ministry. Browning production was to peak at 16,390 per month by March 1942.


Following the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk in May 1940. As the only rifle producer in Britain, BSA had to step up to the mark, and the workforce voluntarily went onto a seven-day week. BSA also stepped up motorcycle production from 500 to 1,000 machines per week, which meant a finished machine coming off the production line every 5 minutes. Bombing raids by the Luftwaffe were to cost the lives of 53 BSA employees as well as over 50 residents that lived nearby in Sparkbrook and Small Heath.


In the 1970s and early 1980s, industrial decline took its toll, with many manufacturing businesses closing.




Sparkbrook is home to the famous Balti Triangle. Ackers Trust.

Small Heath Railway Station, Golden Hillock Road, Small Heath, Birmingham B10 0DP

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