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Water Mill

Primary School

Anything is possible

The Monk family

Members of this family were the first lock gate keepers for Harborne Reservoir when it was constructed in the early 1800s. They controlled the flow of water down to the mills such as Pebble Mill.


Later they started to build boats and to hire out boats for pleasure boating on the reservoir. This continued until the reservoir was drained in the 1950s. The family was very angry about it being drained and there was a big court case about it.


By 1920 they were building vans and carriages as well as boats and by the 1970s had turned the business intro a scrapyard where they dismantled old cars, vans and bikes.


They always lived in the same house, 245 Harborne Lane, which was demolished at about the same time as the scrapyard was sold and cleared in 2009.


There were many families named Monk in Birmingham in the 1900s and we traced some of them through the directories under the street, residents and commercial headings. A coal dealer named Monk had a business at the wharf (by Dock Bridge on Harborne Lane – recently rebuilt again) and there was also a haulier who lived on Selly Oak High St. We think these people were probably related. There were also Monks on Gibbins Rd and Weoley Park Rd.


There is a great deal more material about this family. A man called Monk from Australia even visited our school in about 2002 trying to trace them!


Alexis 2010


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Water Mill Primary School Water Mill Close, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6TS
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