From Pleasure Park to Villa Park

History of Aston Hall and Villa Park

Notes from 19th Century Birmingham

 

Lower Ground

Aston Hall was built in the early seventeenth century by Sir Thomas Holte. Two hundred years later, on the death of Dowager Lady Holte, the 1,530 acre estate was put up for auction and purchased by Warwick bankers, Greenaway, Greaves and Whitehead on July 10th, 1817. They subsequently parcelled up the land and sold it on in suitable lots. James Watt Jnr. bought the Hall, part of what was known as the Upper Grounds of the estate, while a Mr H.G. Quilter bought up the Lower Grounds.

The thirty-one acres bought by Quilter became known locally as the Aston Lower Grounds, and he used the land to establish a popular pleasure gardens with fishponds. Over time, these extended to include a hotel (now The Holte pub), a skating rink and sports ground. In 1879 a large aquarium was opened to the public, Showell’s described it:

The principal room has…

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