Fairfield, 20 Dudley Park Road, Acocks Green

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Date:1973 - 2004 (c.)

Description:This children’s home has been located on two different sites. The first Fairfield opened in 1973 at 20 Dudley Park Road, Acocks Green. In 2004, it moved to Erdington.

The Dudley Park Road Fairfield had 10 beds and both girls and boys were in residence.

How one former resident remembers Fairfield - she went to Fairfield when it opened in 1973 and stayed until she was 16 in about 1981:

“There were 10 children living there when I was there. Meg and Derek Walker ran it but they were living there with their own children – obviously their priority was their own children. It was a lovely big detached house with a cellar. On the ground floor were two big rooms at the front of the house. One was the sitting room and the other one was a staff room where they had the filing cabinets and the phones and all of that. There was the dining room and a little place where you put your coats and your shoes. There was the kitchen and just before you went into the kitchen there was the room with the washing machine and these big cupboards – because they used to bulk order all the food. There was a little courtyard and you’d go out into the garden and attached to the garden at the very end was what we called The Woods. That was left empty and we used to climb over and go in there and that was really good fun. It got developed and they built houses on it before I left but we used it for a good few years – playing tag and that sort of stuff. And then there was a downstairs toilet.

“You went upstairs to a great big landing and upstairs again and that was the staff flat and they had a two-bedroom flat up there. On the middle floor there was the girls’ room, the boys’ room, two single rooms, a staff bedroom and then there were two toilets, a bathroom and a shower so it was quite big. There were these speaker things on the wall and we used to think the staff could hear us – it was really weird.

“Towards the end of my time there, it changed status so that they were getting kids in who had more problematic behaviour – all the homes had different grades.”

Prior to being a children’s home, 20 Dudley Park Road, was ‘the first municipal home in the country for deaf and blind people’. It was opened as such on 13th June 1952. According to the Birmingham Mail of 13th June 1953 'among the special features designed to ease the residents' difficulties is a 'telescopic radio' which has no trailing wires. Each resident carries an individual amplifier, which may be operated in any part of the house or garden.' It may have been speakers from this system which were seen on the walls of the one in the 1970s.

Before being a home for people who were deaf and blind, the building was used as a war-time hostel.

By early 2010, the building on Dudley Park Road had been demolished.

In 2004 Fairfield children's home (with its name) was moved to a purpose-built unit in Erdington to accommodate 8 children. The new Fairfield was built on the site of Southview, one of the homes in the Erdington Cottage Homes complex.

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Image: Publicity photograph taken for the Children's Committee, Birmingham City Council 1967. The Birmingham Children's Homes project has no photograph of Fairfield children's home at this stage.
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Source: This history was compiled by the Birmingham Children's Homes Project, an initiative to explore Birmingham City Council-run children’s homes between 1949 and 1990.