Last year I received an email from a society member that arrived too late to include in Oracle 28. However, as promised I have included it in this issue and I hope that some of our members will be able to unearth some information about Pax Hall.
Hoping that you and Iris are both well. I have been making enquiries re. Pax Hall and its history, with the help of a mutual friend, Jean Hughes, but alas I have learned nothing new. Therefore here is the article that we discussed the last time that we spoke.
I have enjoyed reading the Quinton Oracle for some time and over the years I have hoped that somebody would write an article about Pax Hall and its history. I have seen only one photograph of the place, which was taken from the unflattering west side of the building, showing an ugly kitchen extension.
The house gave one the impression of being an old manor house as it was built in that same long low design, with the rooms in a row leading into one another.
It is difficult to calculate the size of the garden after so many years have passed by, but I remember that it was large, perhaps two, three or even four acres. A fairly high brick wall enclosed the garden and one entered the drive through a pair of large, ornate, iron gates, decorated with gold leaf or gold coloured metal and fronting onto Ridgeacre Road. The south end of the garden, beyond the wall, was a nursery where trees and shrubs were cultivated. I do not know who owned it.
My grandparents, Masters and their six children came to live in the fire-service house in Quinton village in 1908, when it was a small Worcestershire village. Three more children were born to them there. At that time a family named Huzziefreak lived in Pax Hall. It was believed that the family had previously lived in India.
At the back of the house there was an Indian style, wooden, unglazed veranda facing south. On warm summer nights the Huzziefreak family would sleep outside on the veranda in the open air. I believe that it was supposed to be good for ones health to sleep out under the stars in those days. I recall seeing photographs of sanatoriums where patients with tuberculosis were in beds on similar verandas.
When my mother, Doris Masters, was a little girl, she worked during her school lunch break delivering bread around the village. One of her calls was to Pax Hall, where she delivered bread to Miss Huzziefreak and her brother. She told me that the Huzziefreaks seemed shy and “kept themselves to themselves.”
In the 1930's and 1940's when I was a small child, my grandparents were semi-retired and ran the small Ansells Outdoor on the corner of Bissell Street and High Street. I remember meeting Miss Huzziefreak whilst I was staying there. She used to come to the Outdoor to buy lemonade. She was well spoken and reserved and stood very erect, with her shoulders back. She smiled but did not look at you when she spoke. The Quinton people used to treat her as if she was an aristocrat.
I do not know what happened to Miss Huzziefreak, whether she left Quinton or died at Pax Hall, I have been unable to find out.
During the early 1950's a local businessman, Jim Parkes, purchased Pax Hall. He had a small factory in Bissell Street and around this time owned a large, noisy, American car.
Prior to the purchase of Pax Hall, Mr Parkes, his wife and his son Robert, lived in “Nailers Cottage,” situated on the corner of High Street and Ridgeacre Road. In the back garden was a sunken yard, which could be filled with water. Robert had a rubber dinghy and was able to sail in it across the flooded yard, much to the envy of the other village children, especially on hot summer days. He attended the Village Church School in Quinton and was one of my classmates until he transferred as a boarder to the Sebright School in Wolverley.
Before Mr. And Mrs. Parkes purchased and improved Nailers Cottage we children used to call it “the witches house.” We would run past the then shabby cottage as fast as we could, in case the witch came out to chase us. We did not really know who lived there at that time. The cottage may even have been empty. The village witch lived elsewhere.
The Parkes family and their pet dogs lived in Pax Hall for some years. One of their dogs was named, “Pudsie,” because it was always leaving puddles around the house.
Sadly, Robert Parkes was killed in a road accident, I think. Mrs.Parkes, once a cheery, jolly woman became very ill and she died. Jim Parkes left Quinton to run a country pub in Shropshire.
The next people to live in Pax Hall, that I knew, were Jack and Jessie Sadler. The Saddlers had two small children, Nigel and Chequita and a large, gentle Boxer dog named “Bingo.” Jack was a businessman and his wife; Jessie was a glamorous, chic lady. They were fond of entertaining and we had some good times there. My memories of the house are of huge, blazing fires, heavy beams, thick rugs and comfortable sofas. It was an idyllic place to bring up a young family. Not very long before they moved away in the 1960's another baby boy was born.
When the Saddler family had gone away, we wondered who would be buying Pax Hall, then, to our horror, it was demolished!
It seemed to happen very suddenly. This was followed by the coming of the Quinton Expressway, which came screaming through this peaceful place on its way to the M5 motorway link to Hagley Road West.
Beauty spots dear to so many of us were ruined. Who of you remember Watery Lane and the hay meadows and cornfields that surrounded it, the allotments, the nursery, Wiggins Sports ground, Stoney Lane and the Scout Hut, the Vicarage and its beautiful garden. Many a young couple had their Wedding photographs taken there on the Vicars lawn. Pax Hall and its lovely garden lie somewhere beneath this link road. Ridgeacre Road was sliced into two and an ugly metal footbridge was erected to join the two halves. A wealth of mature, beautiful trees and ancient pathways were destroyed. Thus the peace, beauty and character of the region was sacrificed and lost forever.
It would interest many people to learn about the history of Pax Hall. Does anybody know anything about it and its origins?
Ed’s comment- I have spoken to Charlotte on several occasions and she has shared her memories of Quinton with us. Like Charlotte I too would love to learn more about Pax Hall. Are there any photographs other that the one that Charlotte mentions, which appears in Andrew Maxam’s “Postcards of Quinton”?
Recently I visited Birmingham Library Sixth Floor – ‘Local Studies’. I examined all of the Kelly’s Directories from 1911 that were available, after Annexation in 1909.
The occupants of Pax Hall were listed as follows:-
No listing occurs after 1967/8 due to demolition (one presumes).
CAN ANYONE ELSE HELP? PLEASE RING 0121-422-1792 WITH ANY INFORMATION
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