Louisa Anne Ryland was born in 1814, the daughter of Samuel Ryland of The Laurels, Hagley Road, Edgbaston. The Ryland family is first recorded in Birmingham in the 18th century and made its money in the first instance from the wire-drawing industry. Louisa Ryland became a millionairess on the death of her father and put her money to good use by means of numerous benefactions and charitable donations, the one for she is best remembered perhaps being the creation of Cannon Hill Park which she gave to Birmingham in 1873. Victoria Park, Small Heath, was a subsequent donation, in 1879. This was the pattern of her life, except that she preferred to give anonymously, being adamant in particular that Cannon Hill Park should not be called Ryland Park. She died at the age of 75 in 1889, by which time the value of her property was reputed to be around £2,000,000. Hospitals and churches feature heavily among the institutions that were beneficiaries of her will.
Many people from the Lee Bank/ Edgbaston area covered by this website will have happy memories of Cannon Hill Park.
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