The Domesday Book confirms that Selly Oak existed in Saxon times. The Roman Roads associated with Metchley Fort and King's Norton indicate its early significance as a centre of communications. An archaeological excavation of the lime kilns in Goodman's Yard showed the crucial and important role it played during the industrial revolution. It had a pre-Victorian chemical industry and tannery that developed alongside the construction of the canals.Either side of the Bristol Road were major metal works, enamel and paint industries, cycle and gun trades, and machine tool makers. The area was attractive to Quakers whose philanthropy is shown by the few remaining Victorian buildings, parks, library, and swimming baths. The canals are still busy but now with leisure craft and joggers. The major regeneration programme proposed by Sainsbury's will transform both the retail and community provision.
Wendy Pearson has spent most of her life in Birmingham or the Black Country. One of her main interests is photography and had become a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society in 1997. She is currently a member of English Heritage, and worked for some years as a guide for the National Trust. She currently runs two afternoon local history groups for people who are reluctant to go out during the dark winter evenings but who wish to discuss and explore the history of their neighbourhood.