Earlswood- The Scarborough of the Midlands

With the coming of the railways and better roads and buses, access to the country for day trips became possible, and from the 1900’s and into the late 30’s Earlswood became a major tourist destination for the working people of nearby Birmingham. Posters advertised Earlswood as the “Scarborough of the Midlands”, (Nine miles from Birmingham through Shirley ).

The Reservoir Hotel was the centre of a booming tourist industry in Earlswood. It advertised

“To pleasure seekers this hotel offers special attractions being surrounded by picturesque country and having extensive lakes attached well stocked with fish. The best accommodation will be found here for private and family parties. The hotel having been re-furnished and provided with every comfort”.

The area around The Lakes and Reservoir Hotel became the centre of a booming tourist industry in Earlswood, and as cycling also became popular the numbers grew.

Tea Rooms and shops soon opened as the local people cashed in on the tourism.

There was a large boat house on Engine House Lake where you could hire a boat. It had tea rooms and gardens. A family lived there for years but unfortunately the boat house was burnt down many years ago and only the legs are left sticking out of the water.

Earlswood Lakes became so popular that in 1935 a railway station was built especially for the tourist and called the Lakes Halt.

Most summer weekends and Bank holidays were busy and profitable times for Earlswood’s pubs and tea rooms. Some times drunken revellers brought havoc to a peaceful rural community. Fights were commonplace, with people so drunk that they could not find their way home, and waking up in the street the next day very much the worst for wear.

Written by Roy Willmott, Chairman of the Parish Council