Local History

For a Quick Search for articles  – see the Index of Buildings and Places and the Moseley People page.  Old maps of Moseley can be found on 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.  For more details, visit the About the History Group page and the Moseley History Collection page.  The Group  is continually working on projects and is just finishing one on World War 1.   If you would like to join in or read more, visit our Projects page.

There are many opportunities for further interesting research and we welcome new volunteers.  To find out more or to join our group, click here.  To contact us send an email to our email address –  moseleyhistory@gmail.com.

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.

History Group Annual Report – Dec 2020

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

Recent Additions to the website

New –  Jim Hone has researched and written a considerable collection of articles about Moseley men who died fighting for their country but have no memorial here in Moseley in order that their bravery and sacrifice might not be forgotten.

New –  An article by Janet Berry on Moseley Quoits and Bowling Club  records the history of the club with photographs of players, cups and notices and provides information on other bowling clubs in Moseley.

New – In addition to the Annual Report (see above) other recent changes include a new page on Historical Maps of Moseley, an expansion of the Brief History of Moseley page and new articles on Boots the Chemist and the End of an Era (following its closure), Frederick Hallam Corn Merchant and Richard Roberts’ clock and jewellery business on the Buildings and Businesses page..

New – Private Sydney Herbert Dawson and Private Eric Laurence Dawson were two brothers from 89 Trafalgar Road who emigrated to Canada to take up farming. They served in France as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in different battalions but in the same region and 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 describes his life, military career and family history.  He was killed at Suvla Bay in August 1915 in the Gallipoli Campaign.

New – An 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.

New – Three articles describe the lifestyle, fashions and architectural tastes of Moseley in Victorian times.  See Sorrento House and Gardens ; Victorian Moseley in the News  – Transport and Victorian Moseley in the News – Developments in Housing and Society (with amusing extracts from local news papers and magazines)

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.

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.

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.   

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.