It was originally named Bell Lane and was renamed for the Orphanage, which Josiah Mason built there in 1860 to a design by J.R. Botham. Mason also built almshouses adjacent to the orphanage in 1858. The orphanage consisted of a 250 foot tower, famously scaled by Sir Benjamin Stone to take photographs of the panoramic views over Erdington. The orphanage was formally opened by Mason in 1869 and extended in 1876. The Orphanage building was demolished in 1964, in the mid 20th century, when Victorian architecture was generally not highly valued and Anti-Victorianism was influential. The trustees thought the orphanage was, "out dated and expensive to maintain." The tower was demolished by replacing the stones at the base with wooden posts which were then ignited. The site was sold for housing.
At the end of Orphanage Road nearest to central Erdington there are plans under discussion for a large new supermarket.
The Story of Erdington - From Sleepy Hamlet to Thriving Suburb, Douglas V. Jones, 1989, Westwood Press (ISBN 0-948025-05-0)