By the turn of the twentieth century Small Heath and Sparkbrook, two adjacent inner city districts of Birmingham, had been transformed from a rural environment to an urban one. Two vibrant shopping areas had evolved surrounded by Victorian properties of working class back-to-backs and middle class terrace housing on the Coventry Road, Small Heath and Stratford Road, Sparkbrook. Birmingham City FC dominates the city end of Small Heath whereas Small Heath Park at the other end also attracts visitors to the only major green space in this area. However the most historical and oldest building, The Farm, can still be found in Sparkbrook. Unlike other inner-city areas no large scale redevelopment has taken place in either district leaving a mixture of modern and as-built properties in both areas.
Ted Rudge is a well-known local figure in the area. He has recently completed a dissertation at Birmingham University under another well-known man - Carl Chinn. Ted's deep interest in Birmingham inspires him to devote much of his time to local history. He has previously written a book about Birmingham Gypsy culture, and is an ardent supporter of the Black Patch Park campaign (based in Winson Green/Smethick). He lives in Shirley with his wife, and runs a Winson Green website. Keith Clenton was born, raised and educated in Small Heath. He is an avid collector of Birmingham memorabilia and regularly photographs changing Birmingham scenes and events to add to his personal collection of Birmingham photographs.