From Tudor times until the latter half of the 19th Century, Moseley was a small Worcestershire village centred round St Mary’s church and the current village green, surrounded by farms and estates. The church and the buildings between it and the Bulls Head are the oldest buildings in Moseley and the Bulls Head is the oldest pub site (although the current building is Victorian). To find out more about the history of St Mary’s and St Anne’s churches see the heritage section of the Moseley Benefice website.
Historically Moseley Hall was the most significant building in the village and its estate occupied the western side of Alcester Road in the village and stretched as far as Cannon Hill Park. The original hall was home to the Grevis family and was situated close to the present-day Victoria Parade. The current Hall was built in the mid 18th century but was burnt out in the Priestley Riots of 1791. It was subsequently rebuilt and extended in 1792-6 and the estate was redesigned as parkland with advice from Humphry Repton, the landscape gardener. One of the owners of the Hall, John Taylor was a co-founder of Lloyd’s Bank. Its last owner Richard Cadbury gave the Hall to the City for use as a children’s hospital and it subsequently became part of the NHS (as it is today). To read more see Moseley Hall and its Former Estate (produced for Heritage Open Day 2015), a History of Moseley Hall and The History of Moseley Hall & Dovecote. See also Richard Cadbury’s memories of his family life at Moseley Hall. The bases of the original pillars of the gateway to the Park were uncovered during pavement excavations, which revealed their exact location – see the article on the Original entrance to Moseley Hall and Park.
In the second half of the 19th century much of the estate of Moseley Hall was sold off for residential development. Apart from the Hall, two buildings survive from the original 18th Century estate – The Dovecote (and adjacent Cowhouse) and The Icehouse. Click on the links to read more. Further recommended reading is an article by John McCann which explains the history of dovecotes and their true purpose (click to read). Part of the parkland was rescued from development by a group of public spirited residents and survives today as Moseley Park and Pool (click to visit the website). The history of the park is described in a self-guided Moseley Park & Pool Walk (click to read more).
In addition to the above, Moseley is fortunate to have many listed buildings, which are described in a booklet published by the History Group in 1995, ‘The Listed Buildings of Moseley’. Click to see a photo gallery of Moseley’s Listed Buildings. To read articles on two of these listed buildings, Fivelands House and Spring Hill College / Moseley Grammar School click here.
Moseley is fortunate in having the benefit if two conservation areas – Moseley Conservation Area and St Agnes Conservation Area. A description with photographs of some of the buildings in the latter area can be found in a Walk through the St.Agnes Conservation Area by Roy Cockel.
The history of 11 Park Road, once a Jewish Synagogue and now the Birmingham Buddhist centre is described in the Local History Newsletter February 2013 and that of Sycamore House, 13 Park Road, formerly a Boys’ (and later Girls’) Home in Newsletter December 2012. Click to view.
The history of Wintersloe School is told in an article by Jan Berry and Jan Stewart (click to read) and we are fortunate to have in our ‘Collection’ a range of materials from Wintersloe School donated to us by a past member of the History Group and a pupil at the school, George Sproston. See the Projects page for more details.
Shops and Businesses
An article giving an overview of Moseley Businesses & Ghost Signs is available in the form of a self-guided walk. The article describes former businesses that have since disappeared and points out ‘ghost signs’ (evidence of former businesses in the form of painted advertisements, other signage and emblems) that are still visible. The article was updated in January 2017 to include details of the newly revealed ghost sign for Shufflebotham’s in Woodbridge Road and the ghost signs for the Birmingham Municipal Bank above Select & Save in Alcester Road.
The History of Moseley Pubs is described in the form of a guided walk.
The type and variety of shops in Moseley Village has changed dramatically over the course of the past century. The following three lists enable comparisons to be drawn on a building by building basis between the occupancy of shops in 1907, 1981 and 2017.
The Parade in Moseley Village is a document created by I Begum which shows the occupants during the 20th century of the shops in that parade. Also available are images of shops and bills from the 1890s for services provided by Moseley businesses and adverts taken from the pages of the ‘Moseley & Kings Heath Journal 1906’ . Click to view.
Earlier than that, Trade Directory Descriptions of Moseley reflect the development of Moseley during the mid 19th Century.
The Moseley Society Local History Group has many items related to Meteor Garage, latterly Meteor Ford, which was a Moseley landmark. (Click to view).
An 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.
An article on the W H Smith’s Building gives details of the premises once occupied by W. H. Smith and explains the origin of the inscription above the shop front (click to view).
Britannic Assurance used to have its headquarters at Moor Green and the story of its life and times there is described in articles in its in-house magazines which were kindly donated to the History Group. See ‘Britannic Magazines: Moor Green House and Estate’, for a summary of these articles including some on Moor Green House and Estate. For further information visit the Britannic Assurance Magazines project page . (Click to read).
The history of 169 Alcester Road, currently Guthrie and Ghani and previously the Carnegie Boys’ Club connected with the Cadbury family is explained in Local History Newsletter May 2013. Photographs of Shufflebotham’s ‘Now and Then’ appear in Newsletter March 2013. (Click to view)