The oldest building in the village is St Mary’s church. A brief history of St Mary’s can be found on the Brief History of Moseley page. 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.
Moseley Hall would originally have been the most dominant building in the village. Owned by John Taylor and his family it was burnt out by royalist mobs during the Priestley Riots in 1791 and subsequently rebuilt in 1792-6 and its estate redesigned as parkland with advice from Humphry Repton, the landscape gardener. A brief history of Moseley Hall can be found on the Brief History of Moseley page. For more detail 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.
Apart from the Hall, two buildings survive from the original 18th Century Moseley Hall 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). Although most of the estate was sold off for development during the 19th Century, 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 has 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.
Estates and Roads
Moseley is fortunate in having the benefit of 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.
All of the large estates were eventually sold off for housing and other development. 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.
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.
Victoria Parade was built in 1900 along the boundary of the Moseley Hall estate. The Parade in Moseley Village is a document created by I Begum which lists the occupants of the shops in that parade during the 20th Century.
The changing nature of shops in Moseley over the past 100 years is demonstrated by Moseley Shops Lists which record the occupancy of shops in Moseley Village in 1907,1981 and 2017 respectively and in a Land Use Survey carried out in 1993 by Sara Macfarlane with photographs of the main shopping areas.
Boots the Chemists occupied the shop on the corner of Victoria Parade and Salisbury Road for more than 100 years until it closed in 2020. A collection of documents on Boots the Chemist here includes old photographs of Boots with its original elaborate architectural features before the shop front was unfortunately ‘modernised’, as well as newspaper cuttings and advertisements documenting the history of the business. End of an Era describes personal memories of visits to Boots in the 1950s and Boots’ Library reflects on the pleasures of the lending library on the first floor. Boots however was not the first occupant of that site; it was originally the premises of Frederick Hallam, Corn Merchant and Grocer. The Boots article above includes documents relating to Frederick Hallam and an article here by Helena Bladon Coney, a descendant of Frederick Hallam, tells the history of his business and his family.
The building at the end of Victoria Parade next to the entrance to Moseley Park & Pool was once occupied by W H Smith. An article on the W H Smith’s Building gives further details and explains the origin of the inscription above the shop front.
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 at home and abroad, examples of which can be found in the History Group’s Collection. A recently updated article on Matthias Watts and Moseley Ware tells the story of this successful Moseley manufacturing and retail business.
Richard Roberts ran a clock maker’s and jeweller’s business on a site now occupied by the Cooperative supermarket. An article on Richard Roberts includes photographs and bills from the shop.
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. (See also article in Newsletter May 2013 ).
Photographs of the highly regarded delicatessen and grocer’s Shufflebotham’s can be found in the Local History Newsletter March 2013.
Trade Directory Descriptions of Moseley reflect the development of Moseley during the mid 19th Century. Further evidence of the variety of Moseley businesses from the 1890s onwards is provided by images of shops and bills and adverts taken from the pages of the ‘Moseley & Kings Heath Journal 1906’ .
The Moseley Society Local History Group has many items related to Meteor Garage, latterly Meteor Ford, which was a Moseley landmark. (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).
Schools and Hospitals
A major article on Wintersloe School, a middle-class private school which operated at 17 Wake Green Road from 1896 to 1931, 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. The article has been enriched by extracts from 20 years of Wintersloe School magazines and other donated memorabilia in our Collection (for more details see our Collections page), the personal memories and archives of Howard Fisher’s family and contributions from two former pupils, Gordon Sproston and J.P. Stevenson. Also available is a brief history of Wintersloe School by Jan Berry and Jan Stewart. There is also a picture of a Kodak Camera belonging to Bronwen Fisher, daughter of Howard and Amy Kate Fisher of Wintersloe School that was discovered by a photographer and collector, Lenny Hall, in New York.
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. Mary 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.
The history of ‘Sorrento’ in Wake Green Road is described as a private house which subsequently became Sorrento Maternity Hospital where innovative treatments were developed by the obstetrician Dr. Victoria Mary Crosse.
Local History Newsletter articles refer to the histories of the following buildings: 11 Park Road, once a Jewish Synagogue and now the Birmingham Buddhist centre (see the Newsletter February 2013); Sycamore House, 13 Park Road, formerly a Boys’ (and later Girls’) Home (see Newsletter December 2012) .
Stained Glass in Moseley
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.
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.