The heart of the community

From: 'Smethwick: Churches', A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17.


        The parochial hall of St. Hilda in Rathbone Road, Warley Woods, was licensed for divine service in 1907 and a conventional district assigned to it. The area lay within the parish of Christ Church, the Quinton (formerly in Halesowen, Worcs., now in Birmingham).   In 1930 a statutory district was formed. The patronage of the perpetual curacy was vested in the Crown and the Bishop of Birmingham alternately under the terms of the New Parishes Act of 1843; in 1934 it passed by exchange entirely to the bishop. Also in 1934 part of the endowment of Harborne benefice was transferred to St. Hilda's. Under the Act of 1843, the district was made a parish on the consecration of a new church in 1940. The living became a vicarage and has remained in the patronage of the bishop. A house in Abbey Road was bought in 1929 as a temporary residence for the minister, and in 1939 a house in Lightwoods Hill was rented. In 1959 a house was bought in Pitcairn Road pending the erection of a vicarage house, which was built beside the new church in 1960.  The church of St. Hilda was built in 1938-40 in Abbey Road on the Oldbury side of the boundary. Designed by E. F. Reynolds, it is a brick building with Byzantine features, notably a plan which suggests a Greek cross; there is a shallow tower over the entrance. With the opening of the new St. Hilda's, the former church became the parish hall but was sold in 1961.


        The architect of our church, Edwin Francis Reynolds (1875-1949) also designed several local churches including St. Gabriel’s Weoley Castle, All Saints Four Oaks and St. Germain’s Edgbaston.

     He also designed pubs including The Abbey in Abbey Road and ‘The Baldwin’ and ‘The Maggies’ in Hall Green.

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