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I've worked in the Council House and the Library on a number of occasions.
There are various buildings behind those two and the Court Road access presents a fairly blank wall to the road, which made me think of that block in the first place, but I have never seen anything still there that made me think fire station.
My second my clue was that the google view shows a very new building so why wouldn't the old building also be a blank wall to the road.
The bell towers are very often fancy ventilators, so in that function they might have been essential in multi-bed wards. I think the house that the hospital grew from is the building with the chimney and a normal window and door frontage a bit further along the road.
There was a fire station at the rear of the police station on Court Rd, I think in fact it might have still been there within my living memory though I don't remember it. I do however remember the old Women's hospital and it was nothing like that is shown in the photo, unless the photo is the first of three, this postcard in fact shows the hospital I remember.
Phil, did you get that new shot from eBay? WOMENS HOSPITAL, SPARKHILL
Here's another one on Flickr Womens Hospital
Bill Dargue has a rather different view from 1931 Birmingham Hospital for Women
Here's what Bill Dargue has written.
In 1871 the Birmingham and Midland Hospital for Women was opened in the town with just eight beds. In 1878 it moved to a converted farmhouse opposite Yardley Council House on the Stratford Road with provision for 21 beds. Demand far outstripped this and in 1905 the new, purpose-built hospital opened on Showell Green Lane. The hospital was featured in an article in The British Journal of Nursing 13 June 1914:
A most charming hospital on the outskirts of Birmingham is the Birmingham and Midland Hospital for Women, Sparkhill, which, during the Matronship of Miss K. E. Richmond - which has extended over seventeen years - has increased its beds from about twenty to close on a hundred, and still the accommodation is insufficient for the needs of the city.
The hospital, which is set on the edge of the country, in Showell Green Lane, is a low, long handsome building, the main entrance to which, in the centre of the administration block, is supported on marble pillars, the name of the hospital being inscribed over the portico in bold relief. Beyond the hospital ‘proper' is the Nurses' Home ; but the Matron's office and sitting-room, as is right, are in the centre of the administration block, the former on the ground floor, the latter just over the main entrance.
At the time the hospital opened Showell Green was on the outer fringes of residential development. However, by the end of the 19th century the surrounding area was largely built up with housing and had become part of Sparkhill. After the closure of the hospital the site was redeveloped as a new mental health facility in 2008.
So, what exactly is all that wall in the very first photo, I'm thinking it isn't the hospital.
I have found two other possible views along Showell Green Lane, I fancy the second as it has the corner of a side road on the left.
Don't know what was on the right at the time of the original photo though. That's a job for map man.
In essence my later photo is a much poorer photo of the same building as your photo though it wasn't from Ebay, but whatever these are the buildings that I remember and to be quite frank I don't think my original shot is of the woman's hospital at all even when it was on Stratford Rd. It's not unusual for these photos to be misstated at all. In fact it's quite a common occurrence.
I think the problem is that there are so many local history books out now, mostly with the same limited range of photographs, that in the rush to get to print there is very little research and checking carried out.
If one author makes a mistake then they all will. The internet just amplifies the errors.
I reckon we can still identify the original buildings though, I believe they have been replaced by a small block of apartments called Lime Court. Maps and Kelly's may produce an answer.
I forgot to mention I have also worked in the baths, just days before it was closed, and the school, both in Sparkhill Park. The hospital sems to be the only place I haven't yet been invited into.
The original photo is dated 1922 by this time the new hospital in Showell Green Lane had been built. I thought that the photo might have been of Court Rd but it doesn't match the map. The thing is the photo shows the beginning of a curve in the road and there is no curve in Court Rd or Showell Green Rd at that point. I think it is another hospital entirely.
The houses on the left are a perfect match for the corner of Esme Road. It doesn't have to be a hospital though does it?
Perhaps it is somewhere with similar houses and that caused the photo to be mis-labeled
Re the fire station, OS map of 1903 shows the fire engine station quite clearly. Almost all of the buildings on the map are still there.
Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)
Against my idea of the Esme Road junction is the fact that the 1903 map shows ordinary houses on the site of the current block of flats.
Plot 878 lower down on the map looks like it might be the place but there is no road on the left. Although I may be fooling myself about that in the first place.
[[File:Sparkhill Park 1903 300.jpg|none|auto]]
As the photo itself only says 1922 Showell Green Lane, I don't know how the idea of it being the Women's Hospital arose. Unless the site where I found it stated that it was, In fact on careful study it looks more like a rear entrance to any of the larger houses that were commonplace on Showell Green Lane at that time.