Northmede was a Victorian house that stood in grounds between Station Road and Warwick Road, Solihull. Built in the mid-19th century as a private house, the building became Solihull Nursing Home in the early 20th century before being demolished in the late 1950s/early 1960s.
According to Charles Lines in Solihull (Britain in Old Photographs series), the house was built for local solicitor, Richard Samuel Chattock (1825-1906). Newspaper announcements of the birth of Richard Chattock’s son at Northmede on 14th August 1860 indicate that the family was in residence by this date.
On the 1861 census, Richard Chattock is recorded with his wife, Fanny, and their seven-month-old son, Arthur Prince Chattock (1860-1934), as living in Northmede Cottage, High Street, Solihull.
Although the house was situated close to Warwick Road, access was from Station Road, via a carriage drive adjacent to Sutton Grange.
It seems that the house was rented out, and it was advertised to let in 1890, described as a:
Delightful Country Residence, most pleasantly situated, three-quarters of a mile from Solihull Station ; three reception, seven bed rooms, bath rooms, and w.c. ; large and productive garden, tennis lawns, and paddock.Birmingham Daily Post, Saturday 11th October 1890
By 1898, it was the home of Edward Henry Pearce, lead and glass merchant, and his family. After the death of E. H. Pearce in January 1901, Northmede was let to Frederick Chesterfield Ryland (1857-1927), metal broker, from at least 1903 until at least 1911.
Northmede was advertised to let in 1916 with the following description:
Detached Residence; carriage drive, gardens and grounds; three reception, eight bed rooms, two large kitchens, bath room, lavatory, pantries, cellars, all large and lofty rooms; coach or motor house, stabling, harness and store rooms &c.; very desirable family residence, quiet and convenient for all purposes.Birmingham Daily Post, Saturday 29th April 1916
The Chattock family continued to own Northmede until at least the First World War, when the then owner, Hugh Chattock, loaned it to the war effort for use as the Needlework Branch of the North Warwickshire War Hospital Supply Depot.
By 1928, Northmede had become a private nursing home offering maternity and medical services under the management of Mrs Prescott, a trained medical and surgical nurse, as well as a certified midwife. A litter of Sealyham puppies was offered for sale in July 1928, by application to “Prescott, Northmede, Station Road, Solihull.” (Sheffield Independent, Saturday 28th July 1928).
Mrs Prescott would seem to be Gertrude Sarah Prescott (née Boylan) (1876-1962) who became a midwife after gaining a certificate from the London Obstetric Society (L.O.S.) in 1899. She was working as a hospital nurse at Prescot Union Workhouse, Whiston, Lancashire in 1901. She was entered onto the Midwives’ Roll in 1904 and was recorded as a “trained nurse” on the 1939 Register at her home in Marshall Lake Road, Solihull.
An article in the Birmingham Gazette, 14th July 1938, announced the bankruptcy of her son, Gregory Vincent Prescott (1905-2000), a motor dealer from Acocks Green, who was recorded as having moved to Solihull in 1934. It was said that, in September 1934, he set up Acocks Green Motor Co., which was not successful, and he was described as “promoting” Northmead [sic] Nursing Home Ltd in July 1935, which “also was not successful.”
By 1954, the nursing home had closed and Northmede’s loft and roof were badly damaged as a result of a “mystery fire” which took firemen four hours to bring under control in the early hours of Sunday 25th April 1954. The property was described as a “large, derelict and reputedly haunted house… between Warwick and Station Roads.” (Birmingham Gazette, 26th April 1954).
Northmede was first registered with the Land Registry in 1955, by Ravenseft Properties Ltd (London Gazette, 16th December 1955).
Ravenseft Properties submitted a planning application to Solihull Council to build shops on 2½ acres of land at the rear of Station Road, with rooftop parking spaces for 90 cars.
The site of Northmede is now occupied by the dual carriageway in front of Lode Lane car park, close to the roundabout with the B425 Warwick Road. The multi-storey car park opened in 1990 after work began in November 1988. It replaced a 1.5 acre pay and display surface car park behind shops in Station Road.
If you have any further information about Northmede, please let us know.
Library Specialist: Heritage & Local Studies