Local History

Earlswood is known today for its picturesque Lakes where visitors enjoy the walks and wildlife, fishing and sailing. The lakes were constructed between 1822 and 1823. Following the construction of the Birmingham to Stratford Canal in 1793, it soon became apparent that with the increased traffic of boats using the canal, the water levels could not be maintained, especially with the number of lock gates opening and shutting. The lakes were constructed to provide a reservoir for topping up the lakes. The Lakes were fed by local streams. The Engine house was built at the top of Valley Road on the corner with Wood Lane and opposite the Red Lion Inn. A Boulton & Watt type of steam beam engine was installed to pump water through a feeder to the canal. The engine worked constantly until the 1930s when it was replaced by an electric pumping system. The wooden fencing round the lakes were put in place in the late 19th century after an accident one foggy night when the carriers cart fell into the lake. The horse and a passenger were drowned.

         By the end of the 19th century visitors were flocking to Earlswood on Bank Holiday Mondays to enjoy the entertainments. Pubs and Tea Rooms were open and bikes were hired out for those who wanted to explore the lanes. By 1906 the Mount Pleasure Ground opened at Cheswick Green with lovely garden walks, a fairground, Afternoon Teas, Tennis, Bowling, Donkey Rides, Music and Dancing. Evening entertainments and concerts were a feature in the Ballroom and Concert Hall. Horse drawn buses ran regularly from Birmingham. Earlswood soon became known as the “Scarborough of the Midlands”. The Pleasure Ground closed in 1914 at the start of WWI and never re-opened.

© Earlswood Museum 2014