KNOWLE LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
The courtyard, with a new modern porch entrance.
The authentically designed Elizabethan knot garden at the rear of the building.
Knowle Library (Chester House)
Knowle Library, known by many as Chester House, was originally a small farm and is
the oldest building in High Street. The south end, nearest the church, dates from
about 1400, the north end from about 1500. The lovely timber-
The two wings could have been the homes of craftsmen or those of similar status. The ground floors may have been uses as shops or workshops, with drop down counters and living accommodation on the first floor. In 1801 Chester House was purchased by the Kimbell family, who ran a small dairy farm until they sold it in 1913. It became a carrier's business until about 1920, when the house was bought by Mr. Albert Pickering, who changed to antiques in the 1930s. This how many people remember Chester House. Mr. Pickering’s intriguing collection of goods outside the shop were a great source of curiosity for children, for whom Mr. Pickering did not have much time: he usually rushed out of the shop in a great rage as soon as he saw them. In fairness, adult customers have quite different recollections.
The Pickerings sold Chester House to Solihull Council in 1970, by which time it was beginning to collapse. Many people remember it propped up in the early 1970s to prevent its toppling into the road. The back became very overgrown. It was beautifully restored and converted to the public library in 1975. It won a Civic Trust award and is a showpiece for visiting councillors from all over the country. A modern porch entrance in an attractive courtyard was added behind the frontage, and an authentically designed Elizabethan knot garden planted at the rear. The name 'Chester House' first appears in 1881, but its origins remain a mystery.
Chester House, c. 1910, with the rendering still in place.
As an antiques shop.
Propped up to prevent its collapsing into High Street in the 1970s.
In 1978, beautifully restored as the public library.
|The Guild House|
|The Red Lion|
|Paterson Court (Old School)|
|Milverton Farm (Petrol Station)|
|Kixley Lane Cottages|
|Far End & The Cottage|
|Milverton House & Milverton Crescent|
|Berrow Cottage Homes|
|Knowle Library (Chester House)|
|Greswolde Arms Hotel|
|Grimshaw Hall 1560 - 1765|
|Grimshaw Hall After 1765|
|Malthouse Row (Nos 19 to 25)|
|The Wilson Arms|
|Knowle Lodge (Knowle Surgery)|
|The Olde House|
|Knowle Picture Playhouse (Johnsons Cars)|