Local History

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

A Brief History of Moseley gives an introduction to Moseley’s past and more detailed articles are organised under  Buildings and Businesses, Moseley People and Moseley Life and Memories.  Interesting old maps including Blood’s Map of Birmingham and its Environs (1857) can be found under Historical Maps of Moseley.

History Group meetings 

Our next meeting will be on Thursday April 18th at 10.30 in the Moseley Exchange.

Visitors are always welcome but please contact us for details, to ask any questions or to find out more about the group’s activities.  There are many opportunities for further interesting research and we welcome new volunteers.  To find out more or to join our group, click hereTo contact us send an email to our email address –  moseleyhistory@gmail.com.

We are  currently carrying out a project on World War 2  (see here) and would love to hear from any relatives of men commemorated on the St Mary’s WW2 war memorial.  See here for further details.

The Society’s active and enthusiastic History Group 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.  For more details, visit the About the History Group page and the Moseley History Collection page.  If you would like to join in or read more, visit our Projects page.

The Society is restarting its Programme of face-to-face talks in February, after being restricted to occasional talks by Zoom during the Covid pandemic.  See further details here.

Recent Additions to the website

New – Lieutenant Geoffrey Hugh Hadley joined the Royal Warwickshire regiment and fought in several offensives in the Battle of the Somme before finally being taken prisoner on 14 March 1917 and sent to the Officers POW camp at Karlsruhe. The article contains detailed accounts of his life in the camp at Karlsruhe and interesting information about his subsequent life and family after the war.

Revised Article – The article on Staff Quartermaster Sergeant Maurice William Hobson, one of the men from Moseley commemorated on the St Mary’s WW1 war memorial, who was killed on 23 April 1917 pushing back Turkish forces in Egypt, has been updated.  This revised version  includes additional information from Jan Stewart regarding the family connections between the Hobson and Bach families. Maurice Hobson and Dr Edward Bach were close friends and did everything together. They both joined the Worcester Yeomanry where Edward spent his time looking after the horses. Edward’s sister, Elsie May, was unofficially engaged to Maurice.

Revised Article – The article on Private Joseph Leslie Collis, one of the first pupils at the newly opened Kings Norton Boys School in 1911, who joined the Dorsetshire Regiment in 1916 and was reported ‘missing’ on 16th May 1917 after an attack on the village of Roeux in the Battle of Arras when he was just nineteen years old, has been updated.  This is the result of a communication from the Lowenthal family, who had discovered a box of artefacts belonging to Joseph including photographs, medals, letters home and several other miscellaneous items. The Lowenthal family believes that, as Joseph was an only child, the box was given to his best friend Leonard Lowenthal (their grandfather) after Joseph’s mother died.

New The Lion who came to Tea tells the history of 169 Alcester Road, originally built and opened in 1898 as a working man’s social club, then later becoming a Carnegie Boys’ Club from 1934 to 2006 before being substantially restored in 2013 to create the premises of Guthrie and Ghani, a new haberdashery and fabric shop.

New –  A copy of a Birmingham Mail article from 4 April 2012 announcing the award from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2012 can be viewed on the The Collection web page

New – (Lilian) Daisy Murcott was a pioneer businesswoman, animal welfare champion and long-term Moseley resident whose story is told through a large collection of papers and documents preserved by Vinod Bhatia her co-executor and donated to the Society.  This article serves an introduction to a much larger document to follow shortly.

New –  Leslie Norton Rolason  was the grandson of William Rolason who set up a family jewellery business at 81 Vyse Street. He was killed in action on 26th September 1917 in the second phase of the Third Battle of Ypres.  His sister lived at 43 Russell Road, Moseley which accounts for his name appearing on the memorial at the former Baptist Church (now the Calvary Church of God in Christ).  The article also provides an interesting account of the Rolason Brothers’ jewellery business.

New – The types of shops and businesses occupying central Moseley in 1993 is shown in a Land Use Survey  by Sara Macfarlane carried out at that time, with photographs of the main shopping areas.

Revised – A revised article about Matthias Watts and Moseley Ware tells the story of Matthias Watts’ 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 at home and abroad. The latest article shows examples of Oil Tablets, a cheaper alternative to canvas.

New – Moseley Gentlemen’s Club describes the history of the Club (now The Village pub) and other social clubs in Moseley for both the wealthy and the working classes and both men and women.

New – Moseley Memories by Susan Smith (nee Bromilow) features memories of Moseley life, shops, schools and people, particularly in the St Agnes / Yardley Wood Road area where she grew up in 1950s/60s

New  Jane Barry had grandfathers who fought on opposing sides in the First World War, one British, one Prussian.  This article on my “My Two Grandfathers in WW1 researched by Jane Barry with assistance from the History Group, tells their story and answers the questions “Were they ever in direct conflict on the front line?” and “Did they ever meet?” With her husband Bill’s agreement, this article is published in tribute to Jane Barry following her untimely death in March 2022.

NewQueen Victoria’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees were commemorated by great celebrations and festivities in Moseley, described here.

New – As part of a new research project on local men killed in World War Two, this article tells the stories of the men whose names appear on Moseley WW2 memorials. To accompany it, photographs of the memorials to these men, taken by Peter Leadbetter, including several fine stained glass windows, can be found here.

New – Moseley National School, founded in 1828, was the first national school in Birmingham.  The article describes its foundation and subsequent development and the nature of the school life that its pupils would have experienced.

NewMary Ann Bladon was connected with Moseley National School over a period of 42 years first as a pupil, then as school mistress and headmistress.  An article by Helena Coney her great great grand daughter describes her life.

New – This article tells how Richard Cadbury and his family moved to Moseley Hall in 1884 and very much enjoyed the rural surroundings, as they still were then, playing a major part in the local community.

New –  An article here by Edwina Rees tells the story of the Development of the John Arnold estate which led to the building of Pitmaston and the development of Goodby Road.

New – Extracts from the personal Diary of Matthew Boulton (a Moseley resident not the well-known industrialist) give great insight into the social, cultural, religious, intellectual, military, agricultural and personal lifestyle of an affluent gentleman in mid 19th Century Moseley.

New – An article on Edward Holmes, the Moseley architect, gives a detailed account of the fortunes of the large family dynasty he created.

New – An article here on Domestic Stained Glass in Moseley  categorises the different styles of domestic stained glass windows found in Moseley and contains more than 100 photographs of windows from Moseley houses submitted by residents in response to a History Group project.  This follows the previous article on Stained Glass Art and Artists  by Janet Berry which describes schools, artists and manufacturers of stained glass in Victorian times with illustrated examples.

 

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.

At the end of 2020, the History Group produced a report of its activities during that year when, prevented by  Covid19 restrictions from meeting up in our usual venue, members continued to pursue their research from home. Read the 2020 Annual Report here.

New Acquisitions

Many thanks to Susan Smith (nee Bromilow) for donating letters, a building licence, a marriage order of service (1920), photographs of Yardley Wood Road, St Agnes’ Road and family and friends (1940s/50s), family history, information on local residents and her ‘’Moseley Memories’ article published here on our website, covering Moseley shops, places, people and schools.  An article detailing her memories of Moseley shops is published in B13.

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.

We have also 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.

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 (and not before!), you can look up the answers here.