Dorridge is a large and affluent village in the West Midlands Borough of Solihull, England. Bordering the county of Warwickshire, the village has a population of approximately 7,800 people, and is encompassed within the electoral ward of Dorridge and Hockley Heath, whose population stood at 11,140 as of the 2011 census.
Dorridge is to the east of the M40 and the south of the M42 which, along with a small but important green belt area, separates Dorridge and its neighbours of Knowle and Bentley Heath from the greater urban area of Birmingham, with the town of Solihull encompassing the green-belt area. It falls in the Meriden Gap and historically was part of Warwickshire. Indeed, there are no major towns between Dorridge and Warwick. It is 125 metres (400 ft) above sea-level, located in the Midlands Plateau. Both Knowle and the sub-village of Bentley Heath are contiguous with Dorridge to the north and share its B93 postcode.
The village of Dorridge did not exist as a community until the mid-19th century, though it is mentioned as far back as the 15th century in the Westminster Muniments which recorded a place called 'Derrech'. It was just the name given to the ridge of land running westwards from Knowle (also then called 'Dorege'). The earliest evidence of settlement dates to the Bronze Age – an axe dated to 1300 BC was found in Norton Green. Cottages dating back to the 16th century exist in Mill Pool Lane. However, the lack of any significant road system until the arrival of the railway showed that there was no community there.
With the rise of Solihull, a road connecting to Hockley Heath became formed. Along this road, the Four Ashes (after which the recently developed estate was named) became a landmark – records show the trees being present in 1662 and marking the Parish boundary. They were also mapped in 1725 even in preference to some local buildings of note. The ashes still exist today near to the driving range, though they have been replaced several times since the earliest records. The Drum and Monkey existed from around 1860, though then it was known as The White Lion Inn.
In 1852 the railway was built by the Great Western Railway, originally in Brunel's preferred 7-foot gauge track. Dorridge railway station, which was originally called Knowle, and later Knowle and Dorridge, created the focal point for a new community. The Muntz family granted the land for the railway on condition that a station was built – perhaps less surprising on discovering that the Chairman of the Birmingham & Oxford Railway Company was P. H. Muntz, a relative. There is some folklore about the agreement that suggests that the railway was obliged to stop at Dorridge; however, with the affluent residents of Knowle and Dorridge, it was certainly a commercial practicality. Evidence of the popularity of the railway can be seen in that a "bus" service from the Greswolde Hotel in Knowle was provided in the early days of the railway at the cost of 6d. In its heyday, the train service ran between Lapworth and Birmingham with four tracks, but by the mid-1960s two tracks had been removed and traffic was declining. The link with London was revived in the 1990s as part of the privatisation of British Rail, initially with a single track running south of Banbury. Dual track working was reinstated and today in spite of being a village, Dorridge is still one of the stops on the express service.
The development of Dorridge is strongly linked to the Muntz family, who lived in nearby Umberslade Hall. The Muntz family were descendants of Philip Fredrick Muntz, an immigrant of the 18th century, who had left revolutionary France after settling there from Poland. Through industrial wealth, founded on a brass-making process for creating Muntz Metal, a form of brass used in shipbuilding, the family acquired a considerable estate in the area.
Dorridge was not considered a district in its own right until 1940. Around the start of the 19th century, much of what is now Knowle Wood Road, (was then Packwood Road) was farmland with just a few dwellings, similarly Avenue Road (which was then Warwick Road) had a handful of dwellings. By the 1930s the main Dorridge Triangle was properly established. Aside from the substantial family homes, there are a significant number of mansions, some of which, such as Parkfield near the park, have now been converted into flats.
During the 1930s, development slowed, and it was not until the 1950s that expansion gathered pace again. One of the earliest post-War developments was Kingscote Road, one of the few developments of semi-detached housing in the area, followed by the nearby Rodborough Road development in 1960.
There was a substantial development in the 1960s around the area christened by estate agents as the "Golden Triangle" – alluding to the expensive and desirable housing of the area bounded by Dorridge Road, Avenue Road and Knowle Wood Road. Even then the local press noted the high cost of housing, and that 2 and 3 car households were well above the national average. This area of housing has been noted as the most expensive in all of Dorridge and Knowle. This neighbourhood's proximity to the railway station has pushed property prices up much more than other areas of Dorridge. The population expanded rapidly: there were around 600 dwellings in 1955, which expanded to 1800 by the mid-1970s to somewhere above 2500 homes by the year 2000.
Whilst there is a history of locals taking a dim view of developers, a local developer, Mr Ford, gave the land which is now Dorridge Park to the community in 1965.
In the late 1990s another substantial development was built on former farmland in the area known as Four Ashes, behind the Porsche Centre Solihull, and the development of the Middlefield Hospital site occurred at a similar time.
The architecture is a reflection of this development — there are some fine buildings from the Victorian era all around the area. Over the years, each period has then added buildings of its style — Avenue Road, for example, has classic Art Deco houses with rounded metal-framed windows. Building sizes were restricted in the post-war era. Buildings in the 1960s, though of limited architectural merit, were built with large gardens; many owners have since imposed character on these houses. More modern developments have seen the move to build apartment-style blocks, though there have also been substantial houses built, often on the site of much smaller houses and at the expense of the large gardens that still characterise the area.
The railway station is on the line between London and Birmingham. Chiltern Railways have created an inter-city route out of the run-down remnants of what had become primarily a goods line. A London Midland route now terminates in Dorridge or Leamington Spa, from Birmingham.
Dorridge is neither urban nor a village. However, it sits right next to the Warwickshire countryside, with green fields being a short walk from the town centre.
It has a small shopping centre, a village hall, at least three churches and a number of schools. It has a substantial park bordering the countryside. There are a few small restaurants, and three pubs.
There are a number of notable residents who live here or very nearby, Jasper Carrott, The Office actress Lucy Davis, Sir Adrian Cadbury, Karren Brady former managing director of Birmingham City F.C, Steve Bruce, former manager of Birmingham City F.C, former England International Lee Hendrie, and Catriona Hamilton formerly lived here, alongside many other professional footballers and Musicians Bev Bevan, Harry Sutcliffe and Russell Leetch.
The data used is based on the B93 8 Postcode District. Some roads of Dorridge may lie in other postcode districts as other areas may reside in this postcode sector.
Due the small sample size, the data can become compromised due to fluctuating transaction levels or unusual transactions. As such, the data provided is for guidance only and must not be relied upon.
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