The original Toll House was built in 1727 and tolls was collected from people passing from Staffordshire to Warwickshire. This was the original stagecoach route, it was used for this purpose until the road was by-passed in 1831.

The gates were removed in 1872 and the building was used as a girls’ private school .It was dis-turnpiked in 1879 when the new route along Birchfield Road and Walsall Road was opened. William Hutton (Birmingham’s first historian) said of the Old Hamstead /Walsall Road, ''It is rather below indifferent.’’

It was subsequently used as a grocers, then Ellis Travel and West Bromwich Building Society. Then Copec, Focus and Midland Heart Housing Offices took over with the changing needs of the area. Birmingham Asian Resource Centre took over in the 1990s. The Toll House was rebuilt in mock Tudor Style in 1874 and was heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement. It was known as Bendall’s Corner when two sisters ran it as a bakery.

The BARC has been the cornerstone of community activity since its inception in 1976 and it has pioneered the way and set the template for many other organisations to flourish in the city and across the Midlands. It has been a leading agency campaigning for the rights of newly arrived migrant communities. Anil arrived to the UK in 1963 from Kenya and describes himself as an ‘African’ first and foremost. Anil Bhalla is the Befriending Manager for the Birmingham Asian Resource Centre (BARC).

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