Serving sourdough in Stirchley has made the owner of Loaf feel part of something bigger

Staying alive: The story of Stirchley, the ‘cool’ southside of Birmingham

Staying alive: The story of Stirchley, the ‘cool’ southside of Birmingham

Staying alive: The story of Stirchley, the ‘cool’ southside of Birmingham

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fter decades in the doldrums, overshadowed by its genteel neighbour Bournville, the south Birmingham district of Stirchley started to stir. A minor miracle was unfolding:  Stirchley was becoming cool.

Stirchley’s story is all the more remarkable because it didn’t seem to have any room to manoeuvre. Pressed hard up against the thrombosis throb of its Pershore Road pinch point, the suburb was struggling for breathing space – sometimes literally.  The single lane main road is a notorious hardened artery that ferries second city south-siders to and from the city each day.

But the suburb slipped this chokehold precisely because its confined space conferred an evolutionary advantage that kept its high street safe from predatory “chain-ification”: its shops were just too small and its parking too scarce. Rents stayed low and Stirchley remained  the place for independent traders to “roll the dice” and set up small, lifestyle businesses in its unloved shopfronts. It wasn’t long before Stirchley’s locally sourced independent scene started drawing people in.


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