20th century

In 1903, when the bridge over the River Cole was replaced, steam trams, and then electric trams from 1904, extended the existing route from and to Birmingham as far as the Swan pub. Decisive change came in 1911, when Yardley Rural District Council lost its battle to stay outside Birmingham, and those who had left the city found themselves in it again. The scene was now set for a major transformation and a huge increase in population.

Extensive council estates and swathes of private housing covered the area. More industry came to Hay Mills, including famous names like Bakelite and Wilmot Breeden. Electric trams came to Stuarts Road from 1928 via a new road, Bordesley Green East. Trolleybuses replaced trams, and were in turn ousted by motorbuses.

Cinemas and a number of pubs have come and gone, and even a heliport for flights to Elmdon and London made a brief appearance on Heybarnes Recreation Ground just over the river from 1951 to 1952.

Two developments connected with road-widening have produced the greatest changes since 1960. The 1965 to 1967 underpass works at the Swan cut South Yardley in two, and the new Swan pub built nearby has since also disappeared, removing the famous focal point. To add to this, in 1984 to 1985 one side of the Coventry Road through Hay Mills was swept away as the highway was turned into a rather hazardous combination of motorway width and frequent traffic lights.

Curiously, all this modernisation was balanced by a new policy on Conservation Areas: in 1969 Yardley Village became one of the first in the city. In 1976, through traffic was banned, and the Village was recategorised as "Outstanding". When you recall that widening and straightening of the road through the Village were considered in the post-1918 Town Planning Scheme, the survival of the Village is fortunate indeed.

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