It has been said that `Edgbaston begins where the trees begin.' This statement still holds true for this remarkable part of Birmingham, little more than a mile from the city centre, which began as a scattered medieval village and later became a garden suburb long before the concept became fashionable.
Though consciously developed as a spacious middle-class suburb, Edgbaston foreshadowed the much later Bournville in being closely controlled from the outset by a single family, whose conservationist concerns restricted commercial development, influenced the character of the housing and maintained a green, semi-rural environment.
Edgbaston still had working farms at the turn of the century and some of these, along with other aspects of the area's rural past, are shown in this collection. The district's remarkable architectural character is shown in detail, especially the numerous fine Victorian houses, many of which survive. Some of Edgbaston's mansions were social and political power-houses and their well-known occupants are often portrayed here.
The book also follows post-war developments towards a more mixed social and commercial character, as well as Edgbaston's important contributions to health, education, sport and leisure. Both the University of Birmingham and Cannon Hill Park are featured in detail.
This collection of over 200 photographs selected from the archives at Birmingham Central Library is the first full-length photographic record of Edgbaston. Through a wide range of images and informative captions it seeks to convey something of the area's rich and varied character, past and present.