Local History

For a Quick Search for articles  – see the Index of Buildings and Places and the Moseley People page.
For maps see the Historical Maps of Moseley page.

The Society has an active and enthusiastic History Group which carries out research on local history topics and organises talks, walks and visits.  The Group has built up an extensive Collection of  archived and catalogued documents, photographs and artefacts relating to Moseley’s history, which are used in our research.  For more details, visit the About the History Group page and the Moseley History Collection page.  To contact us send an email to our new email address –  moseleyhistory@gmail.com(Please use this new address in future although any mail sent to our old Exchange address will be temporarily forwarded on.)  There are many opportunities for further interesting research and we welcome new volunteers.  To find out more or to join our group, click here.

Moseley Society History Talk online (by Zoom) 28 January 2021 – Register now

At 2.30 on Thursday 28th January the History Group will be giving an online talk by Zoom entitled ‘Spitfires & Universals’ commemorating the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord in World War 2. More details can be seen on the poster here  (click to view).  If you would like to join the event you need to register first by sending an email to rkt103@btinternet.com. You will receive a reply a few days before the event giving you the link to join the Zoom meeting and on the actual day you will merely need to click on that link to join.

The Society is of course unable to hold meetings in person during the Covid19 pandemic while the restrictions on public gatherings remain in force.  We plan to resume public meetings again when the situation changes and will send out further information in due course.
Click here to read the Moseley Society Programme Card for 2019-20. The Moseley Society Programme always includes several talks on a history theme.

Recent Additions to the website

New – Private Sydney Herbert Dawson and Private Eric Laurence Dawson were two brothers who lived at 89 Trafalgar Road, before emigrating to Canada to take up farming. When WW1 was declared they volunteered together for the Canadian Expeditionary Force and after training at Shorncliffe, England served in France but in different battalions albeit in the same region. They were killed within four days of each other in the final days of the Battle of the Somme in November 1916. They are commemorated on the WW1 memorial at the Calvary Church of God in Christ in Oxford Road, Moseley.  The collection of articles about men killed in WW1 who are commemorated on the St Mary’s War Memorial is now complete and can be accessed through the World War 1 Project page.

New – An article about Trooper Horace George Turner and his family describes the life and military career of Horace George Turner who was killed at Suvla Bay in August 1915 in the Gallipoli Campaign.  It also provides interesting detail about the lives of his father and brothers who were prominent West Midlands businessmen and holders of public office in the community. His younger brother Douglas once lived at St Agnes Road, Moseley.

New – A new article on Matthias Watts and Moseley Ware tells the story of a successful Moseley manufacturing and retail business with international connections.   Matthias Watts ran an Art Dealer’s and picture framing business in St Mary’s Row where he manufactured Moseley Ware, chromium plated photograph frames and mirrors for sale nationwide and internationally.  The History Group has several items in its Collection that have been kindly donated.

New – A new article on Sorrento House and Gardens illustrates the style of architecture favoured by affluent Victorian Moseley residents and the social life they enjoyed.  Two further articles tell the story of the development of Moseley in Victorian times with reference to (often amusing) reports in local newspapers and magazines.  See:
Victorian Moseley in the News  – Transport
Victorian Moseley in the News – Developments in Housing and Society

New – A full and comprehensive account has been added of the life of John Avins , a successful Birmingham businessman and notable philanthropist who lived at Highfield House, Church Road and made a significant contribution to Moseley life

New – Memories of growing up in Moseley 70 or more years ago, with references to Moseley C. of E. School, the Carnegie Boys Club and the Kingsway Cinema among other places, are described in two new articles on the Moseley Life and Memories page by Colin Precious and Robert Hitchman. There is also a new article by Jenny Hodder describing her memories of working as a midwife at Sorrento Maternity Hospital and another by Ann Flynn giving us her recollections of life as an orderly at Sorrento in a conversation with Linda Gresham along with two of her two of her poems about Sorrento.

New – Hugh Gibbons who grew up in Moseley has complied a very interesting and entertaining website which can be accessed here at www.just1.org.uk/moseley. The site includes articles about Hugh’s childhood, the bombing of his family home 71 School Road in World War 2, stories of his neighbours and reminiscences about Moseley (Rugby) Football Club at the Reddings.

New Acquisitions

Two copies of a  book of poetry by T Ewart Mitton, have been donated to our Collection.  It was recently republished at the instigation of Patrick Fuller, the great-grandson of Mabel Mitton, J.R.R. Tolkien’s sister.  See also the article on the wartime activities of Lieutenant T Ewart Mitton ,who was killed in December 1917.

The History Group has received a generous donation of seventeen books about the history of Birmingham with many references to Moseley including photographs. Click here for details of these new acquisitions.


Donation of bills and receipts

We have received a donation of bills and receipts from the 1940s-1960s for shops in Moseley and Kings Heath which belonged to Margaret Gilbert of School Road and which shed interesting insights on the period. For example there are many bills/receipts for George J Mason Ltd., Grocers & Provisions, a shop many of you might remember.

Along with these we have been given a Book of the Minutes of the National Council for Women Birmingham Branch for 1945-6 to 1954 which also contains lists of Officers of the Council.

We have catalogued these items, but we are looking for someone interested in doing some further research on them.




 The History Group is currently running a project on World War 1 and has started a new project on Wintersloe School   If you would like to join in or read more, visit our Projects  page.

The History of Moor Green Allotments web page, resulting from a previous History Group project, provides a link to the official booklet on the history of the allotments, a timeline and web articles showing how allotments developed over the past 250 years, together with an account of the 40th Anniversary Celebration Show at Moor Green Allotments on  3rd September with the Lord Mayor as guest of honour.

Blood’s Map of Birmingham and its Environs (1857) can be seen on the Historical Maps of Moseley page.


Try our Quiz!

This quiz was kindly prepared by Laurie Calcutt, who has put his time inside during the Covid-19 lock-down to good use. How well do you know Moseley and Kings Heath?
Try our Quiz here.  When you have finished it, you can check out the answers through a link on our Projects page.


The History of Moseley

Between 1850 and 1910 Moseley developed from a rural village centred around Moseley Hall and St Mary’s Church into a fashionable suburb with fine Victorian houses, many built in the arts and crafts style.  To read more see a Brief History of Moseley.

Articles on Moseley and its history have been organised under three pages:  Buildings and Businesses, Moseley People and Moseley Life and Memories.  Click to read more.