Bringing History to Life!

By Deborah Broomfield

The Ladypool Road Trail uniquely takes participants back in time and tells the story of this area through role play bringing history live!

The historical guided tour is performed by The Birmingham History Theatre Company and The Balsall Heath Historical Society.

I was fortunate to be on this tour as a Still Walking volunteer and I’m amused and enthralled by the commitment and knowledge of those acting, especially as this was a particularly warm day!

Travelling through time from the 1800s through to 2005, I met Anthony Pratt, the inventor of Cluedo and Mrs Charley whose husband William Charley built the Brighton hotel in c1900. Motorcycle champion, Howard Davies was born on the Ladypool Road in 1925 and I was entertained with his exploits too! We also were brought back to the First World War and introduced to the landlord of the Clifton Pub in 1914. Coming up to date, the current significance of the Ladypool Road as the Balti Triangle is also recognised.

Anyone interested in local history would love to be on this tour with a difference.  There is a rumour that they may be taking this to the stage. I can’t wait!

More info about The Balsall Heath Historical Society can be found here or on Facebook.

Photos and words by Deborah Broomfield who can be contact via Twitter

All American Menu at Rose Villa Tavern

By Deborah Broomfield

I recently had the privilege of being invited to a tasting of the new menu at Rose Villa Tavern by Birmingham Favourites

The menu has an American feel, with generous helpings and tastes and  influences from the different  States of America. This is in part being due to the influence of the new Head Chef who has spent there and the new menu shows a depth of flavour that illustrates some of what American food is about. Some of the exciting dishes are spicy and tangy and the menu is not just for the carnivores among us; vegetarians are also catered for!

I was one of a fairly substantial group of people who were treated to samples. I arrived a little later so did not sample all the choices but the dishes that I did experience left me pleasantly full which left me to conclude that normal size dishes will be generous and provide good value for money!

The surprise of the evening were the battered pickles spears. This dish may not sound appetising but the batter was flavoursome and the texture of the pickles was crispy and not soggy as I envisaged.

I sampled two types of hot dog the Chicago Hotdog topped with sauerkraut and yellow mustard and the New York. The beef hot dogs are of a great quality and my favourite turned out to be the Chicago - without the sauerkraut! There's also the Ohio and Arizona hotdogs which both have a “chilli kick” to them. The menu on the whole appears to have a lot of cheese as an ingredient but hey, it’s American diner food!

There are also sharing dishes on the menu which include Nachos Grande  plus the Sloppy Joe burger,which was apparently Evis’s favourite sandwich; ground beef cooked slowly with tomatoes and spices and topped with cheese. Unfortunately I didn’t taste this one but just describing it makes me feel like tasting it!

The range of burgers representing different states include the Philly and I sampled the RVT Mush 'n' Swiss - without dressings.

I had a really nice conversation with the Head Chef and came looking for feedback. I happened to mention that I had not tasted the chicken wings. He was really great and went and brought me some to try even though the sampling session was officially over! They were Buffalo wings New York style deep fried in herbs and spices with a hot sauce and blue cheese dressing.

I had a good American round trip in the Rose Villa Tavern and I have booked to do it again!

By Deborah Broomfield who can be contact via Twitter

More info on Rose Villa Tavern here or contact via @RoseVillaTavern

Lozells and Handsworth Heritage Trail

By Deborah Broomfield As a long term resident of Handsworth in Birmingham. I decided that I wanted to give something back to the area so I became a volunteer tour guide for the Lozells and Handsworth Heritage Trail. I am aware of the many attractive and diverse facets of Handsworth but was very pleasantly surprised when I took part in the trail as a participant.

The trail, which is sponsored by Legacy West Midlands, highlights the importance of Handsworth and Lozells to the development and contribution of innovation to the area’s Industrial Revolution. It’s great to know that all the tour guides are volunteers who have a connection and affection for Lozells and Handsworth either as residents or through their working lives.

The tour features many highlights and surprises such as Soho House which was the home of Mathew Boulton and the beautiful St Mary`s convent in Lozells designed by August Pugin; a great architect of his day. Famous figures from the sporting world also have a connection with Handsworth and trail participants will learn more about these as well as about the great industrialist James Watt, who lived and undertook much of his work within the area.

Tour guides will take participants to St Mary`s Church, known as the Westminster Abbey of the Industrial Revolution. In addition, discover Handsworth Park, situated next to St Mary`s and celebrated for its significance in providing pleasure and therapy to Handsworth residents from the 1800s to the present day. A true success story.

Trail participants are able to see sites of interest and learn about the historical significance of the Lozells area too – all there to be discovered. The whole trail is well researched and delivered with enthusiasm, a love for the area and a high level of local knowledge. It's well worth attending!

For further details contact Aftab Rahman 0121 523- 0580 or

By Deborah Broomfield who can be contact via Twitter