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.

The History Group now meets on Fridays from 11.00 am

The History Group have now resumed their weekly meetings at the All Services Club but these now take place on Friday mornings from 11.00 am onwards, due to post-pandemic changes in the opening hours of the All Services Club.    Visitors are always welcome but it is helpful if you can let us know that you are intending to come and what your areas of interest are, so that we can agree a time when you can meet up with people who are best able to help.

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.  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.

Online talk on 5th October on ‘Photography in Moseley’

There will be a further online talk for members on Tuesday 5th October at 2.30 pm when Gill Binnie will present “Instant History? Using photographs as evidence of Moseley’s past”. Moseley History Group member Gill Binnie will discuss how historical photographs of Moseley can inform us about past life in this area.  If you would like to attend all you need to do is to email rkt103@btinternet.com and we will send you the Zoom link; then on the day itself you merely need to click on the Zoom link to join the meeting.

The Society has been unable to hold meetings in person while Covid restrictions are in force but we plan to resume them again when the situation allows.  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 – December 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 – The article describes the life and times of Edith Blackwell Holden, artist and illustrator and author of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, which became popular when published 57 years after her death in 1977.  It offers an interesting perspective of Victorian family life.

New – A major article has been added on Wintersloe School, a middle-class private school which operated at 17 Wake Green Road from 1896 to 1931.  The article describes the rather spartan curriculum and ethos of the school under its only headmaster, Howard Fisher, and the impact on it of World War I and changes in societal aspirations and attitudes over time and has been enriched by extracts from 20 years of Wintersloe School magazines and other donated memorabilia in our Collection, the personal memories and archives of Howard Fisher’s family and contributions from two former pupils, Gordon Sproston and J.P. Stevenson. 

NewAn article on the Blackwells of Chantry Road describes the lives of Althans Blackwell and his wives Agnes and Alice and children Sybil and Eric and gives an insight into middle-class society in Victorian times.  A second article on a Victorian Middle-Class Garden describes their garden at Brackley Dene as an example of the Victorian gardening ethos.

New – New articles have been added about two men commemorated on the WW1 War Memorial at the Calvary Church of God in Christ.  They are Private Wilfred Roy Bartley, who having made a full recovery from Trench Foot contracted on the Somme from serving eleven days in water-logged trenches, was subsequently killed at Passchendaele in July 1917 and Lance Corporal Edward Elwy Jones who was killed in September 1916 in action on the Somme.

New –  Stained glass was a significant and popular feature of Victorian architecture, religious, secular and domestic. A comprehensive article on Stained Glass Art and Artists here by Janet Berry describes schools, artists and manufacturers of stained glass that flourished in Birmingham in Victorian times with illustrated examples of their work in Moseley and elsewhere.

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.

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.