UK Housing Wiki

Two tower blocks on the Bromford Bridge estate, Bromford, Birmingham. View from the M6 north-bound.

Bromford is a housing complex in north-east Birmingham just south of the M6 motorway. The M6 is elevated and named the Bromford Viaduct, incidentally being the longest stretch of bridge in England. Bromford was built before the M6 motorway was constructed on the site of the old Bromford racecourse. The complex was built in 3 stages and hence is divided into 3 estates.

The Bromford Bridge estate, Bromford, Birmingham. View from M6 south-bound.

The Firs Estate was the first to be built by 1959 with 5 tower blocks right next to the Tame River on the site of old ponds that had been drained and leveled. Further up on much higher ground to the south, the Upper Firs was constructed with 5 more tower blocks, also being completed by 1959. The last estate Bromford Bridge was constructed directly to the west of the Firs Estate in the 1960s, and stretches westward for 1 mile, being fairly narrow but also containing 10 larger tower blocks.

Large electricity transmitter lines and pylons scale through the estate along with the elevated M6 motorway, creating quite a unique setting. Castle Vale is directly to the north-east just under the M6 highway and over the Tame River and busy railway tracks. Up until the late 1990s there were 54 tower blocks very close to a 1 mile stretch of the M6, with Bromford being on the south-side and Castle Vale being on the north-side of the motorway, almost creating a corridor through 2 large high rise estates.

The Firs Estate and Bromford Bridge estate, Bromford, Birmingham. View from Castle Bromwich looking west towards Aston. The electricty pylons are just being constructed. Nechells Power Station cooling towers on the horizon. The M6 is yet to be built. Fort Dunlop and Erdington are on the right as is Castle Vale which is just out of view.

Since the late 1990s however Castle Vale was almost completely demolished such was the sheer volume of crime there and hopelessness for law-abiding residents. Soon after in 2001 the Firs Estate was bull-dozed because of similar problems along with rising damp and subsidence and has been wasteland ever since. In 2005 the Upper Firs also fell to the wrecking ball and so did one single tower block from the Bromford Bridge estate that was situated very close to the M6 motorway and Firs Estate.

In 2011 two more tower blocks were gradually demolished, leaving a surreal sight for motorists travelling along the motorway as the two tower looked like a large object had smashed through the side of them. Two more of the larger grey & dark red tower blocks are expected to be bull-dozed in the near future. As of 2015 there are 7 tower blocks still standing on Bromford.

Shard End is just to the south-east which had 9 tower blocks and further on south-east on the Chester Road is the Chelmsley Wood complex which had 51 tower blocks. To the south were the 14 tower blocks in Stechford and to the south-west 5 more tower blocks in Washwood Heath / Ward End / Overpool estate. Erdington to the north had dozens of tower blocks in numerous estates while Aston to the west had 67 council-owned tower blocks.

Bromford tower blocks[]

Bromford Bridge - 10 tower blocks

Firs Estate - 5 tower blocks

Upper Firs - 5 tower blocks