News & blog

Get the lowdown on all of the latest news and activities for My Route.

01st June 2015

Sampad presents the My Route Exhibition Trail: 13 June – 10 July 2015

New photography by the internationally-respected artist Vanley Burke will form the major focus of Sampad South Asian Arts’ free My Route exhibition trail, opening on Saturday 13 June and continuing until Friday 10 July 2015.

Blown up to 3 metres high, the 11 images of Stratford Road residents will be placed on Stratford Road Baptist Church and the former Hubb Community Arts Centre building (adjacent to the Aldi car park in Sparkbrook). They are accompanied by short audio clips housed in purpose-built units designed by pioneering artist Brian Duffy, best known for his work with the Modified Toy Orchestra.

The free My Route exhibition trail aims to paint a picture of what it is to live and work on Stratford Road, giving an insight into the rich social history of the area. Stratford Road has long been an arrival point for new migrants arriving in Birmingham, many of whom have settled and become important members of the community.

The photographs include Harish Wara, who came to Birmingham in the 1970s from East Africa. Harry set up Monique Tailoring in the 1980s and has been selling fine menswear to local residents ever since. He is also Chair of the Shree Ram Mandir on Walford Road and now lives in Hall Green.

Also featured is Jossett Lynch, who arrived in Birmingham with her husband from Jamaica in the 1960s. Jossett became a school teacher when it was extremely rare to see Black women in professional jobs; her husband founded one of the first home-based churches in Birmingham to serve the African-Caribbean community.

My Route exhibition curator Tasawar Bashir says

“This exhibition is the highlight of 18-months of research into what it has meant to live on Birmingham’s Stratford Road. Since the Second World War, Stratford Road has been home to people from Ireland, Pakistan, India, the Caribbean and, more recently, North Africa and the Middle East. Their stories are fascinating but until now have been untold; personal stories of the challenges and triumphs of setting up home, starting businesses and raising families in a new country.

These beautiful new photographs by Vanley Burke pay tribute to the many people who have contributed to our research. My hope is that residents and visitors alike will explore the road and the exhibition, finding out snippets of history as they go. They may come to view Stratford Road in a different way and appreciate the amazing riches of this part of the city.”

Reyahn King, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands adds

“The fruits of 18 months’ research will be given a high profile launch, thanks to the heritage trail and various displays providing people with a fascinating insight into the diverse communities that have lived and worked around Stratford Road. I have been particularly inspired by the way this project has brought together people of different backgrounds with a shared interest in heritage.”

The photography installation is accompanied by a series of associated exhibitions and events on and around Stratford Road:

  • An interactive digital touchtable map of Stratford Road will be positioned at the Bordesley Centre for two weeks and then in Hall Green Library for two weeks. People can play with the map to find out hidden histories of Stratford Road.
  • Hall Green Library will also host an exhibition detailing life on Stratford Road during the Second World War
  • St Agatha’s Church – a major landmark on Stratford Road – opens its doors for tours, an exhibition and refreshments. Their impressive organ will be played on Saturday afternoons for everyone to enjoy.
  • Sarehole Mill will tell the story of trade and industry along Stratford Road in a visual exhibition
  • Dr David Richardson will lead Heritage trail walking tours along Stratford Road

The My Route exhibition is the highlight of an 18-month project by Sampad researching the social history of Stratford Road. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Sampad has used a dedicated team of volunteers and researchers to interview local residents and undertake archival research to unearth the area’s hidden histories from the past 70 years. The findings form the basis of a new archive, to be housed at the Library of Birmingham, and educational resources.

Full My Route Listings

You can download the full listings here: Sampad My Route – Full listings for Exhibition Trail or just read on!

Please note that all aspects of the My Route Exhibition Trail are FREE. Please just refer to the opening times below and turn up! We would appreciate it if you could book your free place on the Heritage walking tours in advance if possible, just so that we can get an idea of numbers.

The My Route Exhibition (FREE)

Saturday 13 June to Friday 10 July 2015.

Outdoor exhibition of photography by Vanley Burke and sound pods by Brian Duffy at Stratford Road Baptist Church and the former Hubb Community Arts Centre building (adjacent to the Aldi car park in Sparkbrook).

Stratford Road interactive digital map (FREE)

Play with the interactive map and find out hidden histories of Stratford Road:

Saturday 13 June – Thursday 25 June (10am-6pm)
Muath Trust at the Bordesley Centre, Stratford Road, B11 1AR

Friday 26 June – Friday 10 June.
Hall Green Library. See website for opening times.


Hall Green during World War II at Hall Green Library (FREE)

Saturday 13 June to Friday 10 July 2015

Exhibition detailing life in Hall Green during World War Two. See website for opening times.

St Agatha’s Church and Organ Recitals (FREE)

Saturdays 13 June, 20 June, 27 June, 4 July, 10 July (12pm to 3pm).

Open for tours, an exhibition and refreshments every Saturday. Organ recitals at 2pm each Saturday.

Sarehole Mill: Changing trade and Industry along Stratford Road (FREE)

Saturday 13 June to Sunday 5 July, Noon-4pm, Saturdays/Sundays only

This visual exhibition will show the change in trade and industry in Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Hall Green from the 1940s to the present day, reflecting how these areas changed from manufacturing industries – machinery, motorcycles, pins and screws – to the vivid landscape of food, textiles and other consumer industries that occupy the road today.

The exhibition will be available to view at Sarehole Mill’s education room, at weekends from noon to 4pm.

Heritage trail walking tours (FREE)

Wednesday 17 June, Saturday 20 June & Saturday 4 July.

Dr David Richardson discusses the history of Stratford Road with special walking tours. Three tours per day as follows:

  • Hall Green, 10am – 12pm (meeting at Robin Hood Island)
  • Sparkhill, 1pm to 3pm (meeting at the Stratford Road entrance to the Shire Country Park, by the River Cole bridge)
  • Sparkbrook, 4pm to 6pm (meeting outside the former President restaurant at the Stratford Road-Warwick Road junction).

To book a FREE place, please call 0121 446 3272 or see the Events section.

Although Dr David Richardson’s heritage trail walking tours for My Route have now ended, you may want to do your own walk around the area. You can download My Route’s FREE Stratford Road Heritage Trail guide, containing maps and information about some of the area’s key landmarks here:

Download My Route Stratford Road Heritage Trail FOR WEB (3mB)


For general enquiries about the My Route Exhibition Trail, please call Sampad on 0121 446 3260. If you have a media enquiry, please contact Helen Stallard on 0774 033 9604 or

About My Route

My Route is an 18-month community heritage project led by Sampad and supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is researching and documenting the history around Stratford Road from the 1940s to the present day.

Working in partnership with Birmingham Archives, Sampad have trained volunteers in heritage research skills, using oral histories, factual data collection and public donations to uncover the unique history of Stratford Road.

A series of free culture and heritage activities will be delivered during 2014 and 2015. My Route will create valuable and lasting public resources including a new archive about the history of the road, a publication, exhibition and interactive map.

About Sampad South Asian Arts

Since 1990, Sampad has been a leading cultural organisation helping to establish South Asian arts within mainstream culture in Birmingham and across the UK.  Through production, promotion, performances, advocacy, education and outreach activity, using the diverse artforms originating from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Sampad nurtures and supports British Asian arts and communities.




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