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20th century

This middle class quality of life was not to last for long after Yardley, of which Acocks Green was a part, was absorbed into Birmingham in 1911. Trams came to Broad Road from 1916, and to the Green from 1922. The city was desperate for land for housing, and in a few years from the mid-1920s half of Acocks Green was built on with municipal housing. Not only was much of the rural landscape obliterated, but a social upheaval resulted, with many newcomers sensing that they were not welcome, and many existing residents moving out elsewhere. Acocks Green acquired the name of Snobs Green or Snobs Paradise for some! However, the increase in population brought an increase in commerce, and Acocks Green grew into a major shopping district with over two hundred shops. Churches were extended, they built meeting rooms and halls, and their activities mushroomed. The centre of Acocks Green was remodelled in 1932, and a large island incorporating the tram terminus was created. After the trams finished, the island was grassed over, and this now sixty-six year old island became the 'Green', to fuel local people's sense of continued village life within the city.

Since the war, this sense of belonging to a strong local community has been gradually eroded, particularly as the shopping facilities have declined. Even as late as the 1960s, many people identified with small very local shopping areas, where they could get most of their purchases. The huge increase in traffic has made walking round local shops much less pleasant, and people have come to prefer other ways of buying things. Some aspects of local social life have also declined, for example life centred on the churches. Even some of the pubs have gone, and a number of large houses, sports grounds and green spaces have been replaced by higher density housing. One might think that a mature suburb such has Acocks Green has undergone most of the change it can. This is far from the truth. The evidence around us is that change is continuing at a surprising rate. If we were to come back not far into the new Millennium, we might well find that a lot of what we take for granted now will have disappeared.

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