Broad Lane/Road was part of the high ground route through to Yardley church from Fox Hollies Road. The first development was three cottages on land owned since c. 1837 by Benjamin Cook Junior, son of a well-known brassfounder and inventor. These cottages were built between 1853 and 1855: they still stand but two of them are now together as number three. The 1861 census lists them together with the Warwick Road, although the 1860 directory does allocate them correctly. They were all occupied at the time by skilled craftsmen in the gun trade. Enoch Shufflebotham was a gun polisher, and two other family members were a gun polisher and a gun engraver. In another cottage was James Newton, a gun finisher, and in the third was William Hipkiss, a gun engraver. (The gun trade was also well represented on Sherbourne Road by some of its most senior members). The three cottages are shown as Lot 18 on the 1875 map below.
James Newton is not listed in 1864, but the other two are. In 1868 both appear again, but also seven new names. However the house names are not given. The 1871 census lists twenty properties, with two unoccupied. Sunnyside (number 11), Oak Cottage (number 13), Francis Villa (number 15), Foxhill Villas (numbers 29 and 31), either number 33 or 35, Albert House (number 37), Clarence Place (number 41 probably, with 43 unoccupied), number 45 (unoccupied), Buckingham Place (number 47), Buckingham House (number 49), and two more, which cannot easily be identified.
The sale catalogue map below, of 1875, make it possible to identify the twenty houses. Number 15 looks like several. The baker's/confectioner's/coffee house on the Westley Road corner is shown. The 1881 census lists twenty-six houses, with two unoccupied, plus St. Mary's church school, which opened in 1874.
The 1891 census lists twenty-nine properties. Other, tentative dates are Rose Cottage (number 5, 1872), Oscar House (number 7, 1881?), West View (number 9, 1881?), Penrhyn Villas (numbers 17 and 19, by 1896), Wye-Cliff Villas (numbers 21 and 23, by 1896), Oaknest (number 25), and Silverdale/Melverley (number 27, by 1896). The charming development of eight cottages first known as Poplar Avenue (Grove Avenue) appears in the 1901 census.
Dates for houses which appear to have been built in a similar style probably date from the same time: 33 and 35; 39 (The Hollies), 41 and 43 (both Clarence Place); 45, 47 and 49; 51 and 53 (Highland Villas, 1884?), and 55, 57, 59 and 61 (Laurel Villas). The last group is difficult to be sure about.
On the other side of road four houses are listed in 1908, but not in 1903: Maple Durham (number 14), The Cottage (number 16), Victoria Cottage/Sudburne/Stagboro (number 18), and Parkside (number 20). Then there is a nurseryman's business. The recreation ground was given as public parkland by Yardley Charity Trustees in 1898. The four houses were numbered 14 to 20 by the mid-1920s.
Numbers 2 to 12 were listed by 1927. Around 1935 a detached and two semis appeared, which were numbered 12 to 16, and 2 to 12 were renumbered as 18 to 28 to Westfield Road, and the four houses and what had become a builder's yard were numbered 32 and 40 to 46.
A gentleman named Lauritz Theodor Hiorth lived at number 31. For a long time described as a merchant, he eventually became the Vice-Consul for Norway. the house has a curious side extension, lower than the main building.
Numbers 5 to 11 were demolished by the early 1970s. Number 11 had been a dentist's surgery for half a century. Number 13 had become the Grange Social Club by 1949. Number 15 housed a builder's and then a glazing business from at the latest 1903. (In 2011 it was put up for sale. The site was cleared in 2017 after an arson attack: the authorities had confiscated the house and were trying to sell it. The response to that was quick. In 2018 the site was replaced by an apartment block, designed in a style sympathetic to its neighbours.) In 1967 Netherfield Gardens was built up, and new 5, 7 and 9 appeared. The Grange Social Club was rebuilt and extended. In 1973 numbers 59 and 61 were renamed Westgreen Court. In 1976 the coffee house was replaced by maisonettes (numbers 65 to 71). In 1982 numbers 2 to 10 were built. Numbers 1A to 1H date from 1985.
It is now possible to see the sequence of large-scale O.S. maps online at www.old-maps.co.uk. For this road enter the co-ordinates 411700 and 283180, and choose the 1:2,500 maps up until 1952-4 (there is no map at this scale for the 1930s). Use the enhanced zoom and the plus and minus buttons to change how close you wish to see the houses. The map can be dragged by using click and hold as normal.