Birchfield Harriers’ first meeting was held at the Aston Lower Grounds, adjacent to what is now Villa Park, in the 1920’s the club had saved enough money to build their own stadium in Perry Barr, the original Alexander Stadium being named after W W Alexander who had devoted his life to the early development of the club, and it was completed in 1927 to celebrate the club’s 50th Jubilee.
The land purchased in Perry Barr was previously a rubbish tip, which was convenient as it had a supply of cinders which were used as the base of the new track. Over the years it saw some impressive performances, including the first sub 5 minute mile by a woman, Birchfield’s Diane Leather in 1954.
The old Alexander Stadium was used for a variety of sports and was even used as a POW camp in WW2. Eventually as other stadium’s started to install synthetic tracks, a decision was made to negotiate with the city council and work together on a project for a new stadium. A stadium that one day might host global events. Hence the move to Perry Park. The old stadium is now home to Greyhound racing, so if you pass it now and wonder why the animal on the foundation stone is a Stag and not a Greyhound, you should know now.
We’re now entering exciting times ahead, as the Stadium is now being transformed for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Here's some pictures of how the stadium development is progressing. I think you’ll agree it's looking very impressive.
It will host the opening and closing ceremonies and some of the world’s top athletes will be on show, including we hope many of own Birchfield Harriers.
Once the stadium is complete we’ll be back hosting our regular Diamond League events, the British Championships and other important meetings such as the English Schools.
Birchfield will continue to have exclusive rights to train at the stadium on Tuesday and Thursday nights, plus hosting home fixtures, once the stadium is completed.