Lightwoods House in the south of Smethwick near the Harborne boundary took its name from the tract of woodland in the area. The house is said to have been built by Jonathan Grundy in 1791, but a brick in the wall immediately east of the entrance porch is inscribed ‘Jonathan Grundy, June 19, 1780’. Grundy, the eldest son of Jonathan Grundy of Wigston Parva (Leics.), is the first known occupant of Lightwoods House and lived there until his death in 1803. His widow Hannah lived there until her death in 1815, and their daughter, also Hannah, lived in the house until she died unmarried in 1829.
The house and its land then passed to Jonathan Grundy’s niece Eliza, the wife of Henry Goodrich Willett. In 1842 Willett, whose wife had died in 1837, owned 38 a. of land in Smethwick; most of his estate lay immediately around the house, but part was between the present Bearwood, Waterloo, and Grange Roads. Willett lived at Lightwoods House until his death in 1857. His nephew, Captain H. J. Willett, occupied the house for a few months after his uncle’s death, but in 1858 it was leased to George Caleb Adkins, a local soap manufacturer. Adkins bought the house with some land from Willett’s trustees in 1865 and lived there until his death in 1887.
In 1902, on the death of Caleb Adkins, apparently his son, Lightwoods House with its 16-acre park was put up for sale, and it seemed likely that the house would be demolished and the land used for housing. Mainly through the efforts of A. M. Chance, however, the house and park were bought for the public. In October 1902 the committee which had raised the purchase money handed over the property to Birmingham corporation as a public park. About the same time other land was added bringing the boundary to Adkins Lane and Galton Road, and further subscriptions enabled the committee to buy more land in 1905. A feature of the park is the garden, opened in 1915, which contains specimens of the plants mentioned by Shakespeare. Since the opening of Lightwoods Park the house has at various times accommodated a public library, public refreshment rooms, and rooms for the Sons of Rest. In 1971 it was converted into studios and offices by the lessees, John Hardman & Co. Ltd., stained-glass artists. They vacated the building in 2008 and it has fallen in to quite a poor state of repair since then.