t’s always good to see Balsall Heath, its people and organisations get some good publicity. The broadcast about the zero carbon house, on Radio 4 was splendid recognition of a most unusual house design. Unfortunately, the presenter chose to say it was amazing to find such a thing in Balsall Heath ‘of all places’. In the context,he seemed to think our neighbourhood was not a likely environment for ‘radical’ measures.
It’s true the area has had its problems – more than its fair share in fact. However, Balsall Heath also SOLVED its own problems – by using radical and innovatory methods across the whole community. So the Street Watch organisation rid the area of prostitution and all the associated crime and vice, which most people thought could never be done. In a smaller way, the Balsall Heath Farm which we write about this week is also a pretty radical establishment to find in a run-down part of the inner city. The innovations of yesterday, today and tomorrow follow in the footsteps of the people who built Balsall Heath – as we show on the front page, they didn’t just have a secondary school. They had a School of Art. The whole stretch of Moseley Rd. from the old tram depot to the Friends’ Institute a mile away shows how much thought and different kinds of enterprise went into buildings for leisure, for learning and for commerce.
Then as now, the neighbourhood continues to create ambitious enterprises, invent new services and build or restore elegant buildings. Overcoming profound disadvantage is a struggle and calls for help from allies as well as strength in the community. So it’s the right place Mr. Goldberg, and the right time.