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Alexander Sports Ground

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
The stadium was constructed in 1929 on a former power station ash tip. It was built for Birchfield Harriers athletics club. The Harriers badge carved by Bloye - a running stag - is still visible on the (now Perry Barr Greyhound) Stadium.

It was the venue used by Birchfield Cycling Club and the Sunbac Speedway Club dirt-track racing (speedway). Aston Villa Football Club teams also trained at the Stadium in the 1930s/40s.

It was requisitioned in WW2 and used by the Home Guard, as well as accommodating Italian prisoners of war; the last of these leaving in 1946 when the Harriers returned.

Floodlighting was installed for speedway events. The first floodlit athletics meeting in the UK was held in 1948 and floodlit horse jumping competitions were also held.

The Harriers moved to a newly built 'Alexander Stadium' in 1977 with the original venue renamed "Perry Barr Stadium".

Three 1939 images of Festival of Fitness displays at the grounds. Viv.

image.jpeg image.jpegimage.jpeg
 
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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
This is how I remember the stadium in the late 50s/early sixties. Viv.

image.jpeg
Birmngham Daily Gazette 26 July 1939
 

GDH

New Member
Does anyone know if any football matches were played at the Alexander Sports Ground (now the Perry Barr Stadium) during World War Two?

I have a newspaper cutting depicting a Czech football team meeting the Lord Mayor of Birmingham before a match against I.C.I Metals at the Alexander Ground, Perry Barr. I'm interested in finding out more about this game as my uncle played left back for the Czechs. Unfortunately I do not know the date or source of the publication. However, the Czech Army were based in Leamington Spa from Autumn 1940 until Spring 1942. It's also possible they also played games against other local teams.

Thanks in advance, Graham.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Welcome to the Forum, Graham.

Can you let us see the cutting, please?

Chris
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks, Graham.

As you probably know, the huge ICI Metals site was nearby. It's interesting that this match took place at this stadium, rather than at the ICI sports ground in Holford Drive. This suggest to me that it was a rather more important event than just another soccer match, and one where perhaps a much larger crowd than usual was expected.

I am hoping that one of our knowledgeable members might recognise the Lord Mayor. That would at least give us the approximate year.

The cutting is likely to be from The Birmingham Mail, of course. Let's hope it was not the only mention there of this event. Can any member unearth a separate report on the match? (Pedrocut??!)

Chris
 

GDH

New Member
Thank you both, Chris and Mikejee!

There are similarities between the two pictures of the Lord Mayors. A family member I spoke to today dated the article I posted to approx. 1942, but if that is Martineau in both pictures then it couldn't have been that late as I think he was Lord Mayor between 1940-41.

I noted that one article lists Kynochs F.C. and the other ICI Metals. Could there have been two games with different parts of the company, or is this just down to how different journalists reported the names of the teams?

It is interesting that although ICI Metals had a sports ground that they used the Alexander. I think I read somewhere that the games were used as morale boosters, to encourage people to stay fit and also to raise money for service charities caring for the war-wounded and their families. That may explain why they might have use the Alexander Sports Ground along the lines you suggest, Chris.

Graham
 

mw0njm.

Brummie Dude
I was thinking about the ground around where the dog track originally was on the other side of the road but I've probably got myself all mixed up!
Perry Barr Stadium
Perry Barr Stadium (also known as Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium) is the home track of the Birmingham Brummies, located on Aldridge Road in Perry Barr, Birmingham. The stadium was originally constructed for an athletics club, the Birchfield Harriers. Since then its facilities have also been used by the Birchfield Cycling Club and also Aston Villa Football Club, whose second and third teams would train at the stadium in the 1930s and 1940s.

During World War II the stadium was requisitioned by the government and used by the Home Guard. And it was soon after the conclusion of the war that Birmingham Brummies rode at the stadium for the first time. The club initially rode on a Saturday evening, which resulted in floodlights having to be added to the stadium.

now primarily being used for greyhound racing on both Friday and Saturday nights.
 
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Elmdon Boy

master brummie
In the early 1970s I used to attend Perry Barr Tech. From the upper classrooms you could see two stadiums, the one was in the vee of two roads which appeared to be just a running athletics stadium with a single grandstand, the other on the opposite side of the road behind a shopping area, which at the time was definitly a speedway stadium, Birmingham Brummies.
Which one is which, or did the Brummies ride at both in their history?
 

A Sparks

master brummie
I know the stadium between Walsall Road and Aldridge Road was definitely the Birchfield Harriers in the late 50's as I went to Birchfield Road Juniors and we had our school sports day in there one year.

Across the Birchfield / Walsall Road prior to the original Lynton Square shopping centre was the Greyhound Stadium and a large piece of ground belonging to the dog track, I think they used to excercise the greyhounds there and it was where Billy Smarts Circus used to come once a year.

I just can't remember now which track the speedway used at that time.
 

mw0njm.

Brummie Dude
I know the stadium between Walsall Road and Aldridge Road was definitely the Birchfield Harriers in the late 50's as I went to Birchfield Road Juniors and we had our school sports day in there one year.

Across the Birchfield / Walsall Road prior to the original Lynton Square shopping centre was the Greyhound Stadium and a large piece of ground belonging to the dog track, I think they used to excercise the greyhounds there and it was where Billy Smarts Circus used to come once a year.

I just can't remember now which track the speedway used at that time.
the same track
Birmingham Edwards Plumbing Brummies Speedway ...
 
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