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20th century

In 1900, the police station had a staff of ten, with a local court for licensing and for rating appeals. The fire station, established in 1886, had eight men. There was also a flourishing social life, much of it taking place at the Institute, with cricket, tennis, football and bowling clubs, choral groups and the inevitable Temperance Society.

The 1901 census tells us that 9 year old JRR Tolkien was living at 86 Westfield Road, Kings Heath, with his mother Mabel and brother Hilary, aged 7.

At the turn of the century, Kings Heath was still growing and prosperous, with many residents hoping for independence from Kings Norton. Local pride was shown in 1906 in the planting of 228 trees along the Alcester Road, 'for the welfare and betterment of the district' and paid for by public donations. Ambitions for independence were however doomed, and in 1911 Birmingham acquired Kings Heath under the Greater Birmingham Scheme. Birmingham already supplied its gas and water and proceeded to develop Kings Heath as a residential suburb for people from its overcrowded and unhealthy slums. Farms disappeared under private and municipal estates but the ancient open spaces at Billesley Common and Cocks Moor have been partly preserved.