The Birmingham suburb of Harborne doesn’t shout about its attractions for home owners.
Such behaviour would be deemed far too brash for the inhabitants of this charming city district. And in any case, Harborne hardly needs to sell itself.
Nestling up against Edgbaston, Harborne has none of the pretensions – or less desirable enclaves – of its well-heeled neighbour.
Not for nothing is Harborne affectionately known as The Village. A genteel, unhurried atmosphere pervades the streets of lovingly restored Victorian terraces, Georgian townhouses and discreet gentlemen’s villas.
Harborne is home to writers, academics, surgeons, lawyers and senior account partners.
It also provides a divine setting for the Bishop of Birmingham, whose official residence is at Bishop’s Croft, not far from the former home of the city’s first MP, Thomas Attwood, who lived for many years at The Grove.
Modern-day Harborne enjoys a growing reputation as the city’s media village; it is the place to be for journalists and bustling PR executives as they escape the workday pressures.
It’s not difficult to see why Harborne has such a hold on aspiring professionals. Situated only two miles from the city centre, it is possible to pop in for a concert, a show or a meal and be back home in ten minutes, traffic permitting.
And with the cost of city centre parking being a consideration for commuters, workers living in Harborne are spoiled for choice with regular bus services connecting to the central employment districts such as Brindleyplace and Colmore Row’s commercial property and financial services hub.
The village streets display their fair share of Chelsea Tractors but some workers might find they don’t actually need a car, living as they do within easy walking distance of both the campus of Birmingham University and the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust, major employers in this area.
The NHS trust, which runs the Queen Elizabeth, Selly Oak and QE Psychiatric hospitals, is building the city’s new £559 million super-hospital.
It can only mean that B17 addresses will become increasingly sought after with consultants and doctors vying for prestige properties.
In fact, Harborne has recently nudged its way into the bracket of £1 million homes. A settlement at Harborne is recorded in The Domesday Book: "Horeborne. There is land for one plough. Robert holds it."
If he was still around today, Robert would be a very wealthy man indeed. Over the last three months, the average property in the suburb has sold for £210,494.
The spelling of Harborne has altered over the centuries and explanations for the name are plentiful, ranging from "boundary brook" to "high brow" (incidentally a road in the Moorpool area) and, perhaps unfortunately, "dirty brook".
The "village" today maintains an air of detachment from the city, unsurprising when one considers Harborne did not finally lose its independence until 1890 when it was annexed to the city of Birmingham.
In return, the local people were given a new library and the modern-day building has just undergone a much-needed 21st century renovation.
Harborne’s historic associations include the defunct Chad Valley toy factory – now home to specialist industrial workshops – and the trail of the old branch railway, a victim of the Beeching cuts, provides a tree-lined walkway which is popular with joggers and dog walkers.
Sports enthusiasts are spoiled for choice. Harborne has its own cricket, hockey and municipal golf clubs while Edgbaston Lawn Tennis and Archery Club, the oldest tennis club in the world, is on the border.
The Priory Club, host to the DFS Classic women’s tennis tournament, is five minutes’ drive away in Edgbaston while Harborne itself has two community tennis clubs on the Moorpool estate.
Although it is only a short cab ride from the city centre, Harborne is a flourishing night-time destination in its own right.
There is a terrific range of pubs along the High Street, providing watering holes for students and members of the local glitterati.
One local stalwart, The White Swan, has recently undergone a make-over as a trendy gastropub. There district has a choice of evening dining options, including French, Italian, Thai, Chinese and Indian cuisine, many of which provide good value fixed-price lunches too.
The Green Man pub, on the main approach from the city centre, was formerly the home of the local Gooseberry Growers Society during the 19th century, its members' finest moment arriving in 1875 when they exhibited "the largest berry in all England". History does not recall what happened to "Bobby".
The local community’s love of cultivation persists with a plethora of extremely popular and well-tended allotment sites in this leafy district.
Harborne’s semi-rural feel is reflected in the fact that the West Midland Bird Club is based at the nature reserve.
Food lovers are well catered for with specialist delicatessens, wine shops, supermarkets and Birmingham’s award-winning best butcher, Brown’s in Lonsdale Road.
A new addition to the gastro-trail is the High Street’s new farmers’ market, which is held on the second Saturday of each month.
The market was launched in September, following a campaign by the Harborne Society and the local traders’ association.
All in all, it makes Harborne a mouth-watering place to live.