C.B. ADDERLEY

Two men bearing the same name were lords of Saltley for 158 years. Charles Bowyer Adderley, K.C.M.G., first Lord Norton (1878), lived from 1814 to 1905. We are not here concerned with his career as Member of Parliament and Minister, but with his works in Saltley. During his long lifetime Birmingham became a borough and a city (1838-89), while Saltley changed from a sparsely-peopled rural manor to a small but densely-built industrial suburb, and from a part of a large civil parish to a Local Board District, briefly to an Urban District, and then to a City Ward. Adderley succeeded his great-uncle and namesake (who had rebuilt Hams Hall in 1760) when he was only 12, coming into his inheritance nine years later. His misfortune - even more his family's, since he was so often away - was that his home lay within a great 1oop (ham) of the Tame, whence its name: the river was to become foully polluted by raw sewage from the Black Country and Birmingham during the century. (See below).

Robert Rawlinson's report on the condition of Birmingham in 1848 suggested that public parks be provided. Adderley decided to donate a park to the town, and had a triangular piece of Saltley demesne, eight acres of the Moat Brook valley east of the Great Moat, laid out. After his offer of this to the Borough Council had been ignored for a year, Adderley opened it and managed it privately (1855). Ten years later, when it was clear that the open countryside was being pushed rapidly farther and farther away from the grim courts and alleys of central Birmingham, the Council leased Adderley Park for 999 years at a rent of five shillings per annum - if asked for. Its owner thereupon built a public library and museum beside the arched entrance. He had been among those who urged the Borough to acquire Aston Hall and Park, and made a donation towards the cost (1864).

Meanwhile he had been able to obtain enparishment for Saltley before it had a church: two years later he built St. Saviour's, with the help of £500 from Joseph Wright (see below). That was in 1850, and in 1852 Adderley opened St. Peter's College for 30 Anglican student teachers on a piece of his land at Over Saltley. The church, in Perpendicular style, was erected to the east of Hall Farm on the valley side: it seated 800, and was intended to be the focus of life in the village that Adderley planned. In later years he added the church tower and built the Reformatory on the Fordrough, later called the Norton Boys' Home.

Saltley was duly laid out in wide, straight streets, and the terraces beside them were well built. They are regarded as slums a century later, but conformed to the best standards for artisans' dwellings in their day. Whitacre Lodge, part of the Hams Estate, was sold by Lord Norton in 1879, for the building of Shustoke Reservoir: this 80-acre lake was to be the largest single source of water for Birmingham until the Elan/Claerwen scheme was completed. After the improvement of Adderley Park (see below), Norton gave an additional acre of land to it. After his years of active work and benefaction for local churches, Norton must have been greatly pleased in his last year to see the enthronement of the first Bishop of Birmingham. The Norton heirs sold Hams Hall, which had been restored after a disastrous fire, and it was removed and rebuilt on a site near Cirencester, where it still stands as Bledisloe Lodge. The Hall Estate was purchased by Birmingham Corporation in the 1920s for their electricity generating station, since taken over by the Central Electricity Generating Board.


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