Kings Norton derives its name from the Norman period, meaning 'north farmland or settlement' belonging to or held by the king, when Kings Norton was part of the King's forest in the district of Bromsgrove, however the Domesday Book of 1086 records the village as 'Nortune', noting that even in Anglo-Saxon England immediately before the Norman Conquest, the land the village stood on was owned by the King. Kings Norton is now divided into several parts with the ancient centre, based around the village green, still intact.
In 1796, the Birmingham and Worcester Canal was built through Kings Norton, linking Birmingham to the River Severn. This was linked to the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal by Kings Norton Junction, allowing access to Stratford-upon-Avon and, more significantly, the Grand Union Canal. Just beyond the junction is a rare example of a guillotine lock.
Kings Norton, along with many of the small towns near Birmingham, expanded considerably in the 19th century with a railway link into Birmingham passing by the new Bournville factory just to the north. Historically, Kings Norton had been part of Worcestershire, but from 1898, it was part of the King's Norton and Northfield urban district until added to Birmingham in 1911 by the Greater Birmingham Act.
During the 20th century, the area grew further with additional private and public housing. In October 1920, 25½ acres of land at Kings Norton (just below St Nicolas' Church) were purchased by the Birmingham Civic Society and afterwards presented to the city for the benefit of the citizens of Birmingham. The Society also designed and paid for the formal gardens, gates on the Pershore Road side and stone benches.
With the clearance of city centre slum housing, there was a pressing need for additional social housing in Birmingham. As part of this programme, the City Council built several new housing estates in Kings Norton, including the Wychall Farm and Pool Farm estates in the 1960s and the Primrose and Hawkesley estates in the 1970s. These new estates occupied land that had previously been open farmland, most notably the area known as the Three Estates (Pool Farm, Primrose and Hawkesley) which occupy land mostly to the east of the Birmingham and Worcester canal and the A441 Redditch Road.
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