In the family's Bartholomew's Pocket Atlas and Guide to Birmingham 1933
Price Two Shillings and Sixpence Net
Hugh1943  Moseley & Me
A collection of recollections by Hugh Gibbons in 2020
who was on
the spot, ahem,1939-58

Reminiscing the Reddings

Reconstructing No71 - et al
Who Was/Is My Neighbour?



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(wherever you're coming from)

Yes, that's me in September 1943 on my first day at school: today's Moseley CofE Primary, then still in its 1828 location at the north end of School Road. The apprehension is understandable. I'd not long been blitzed out of No 71 up the road. We still had to practise horrid horrid gas masks which are not like today's PPE. And, jeez, the toilets were outside, next to the air raid shelters. By contrast, that's me and Anne on the left, way south in Bracknell during lockdown in 2020. Like us, primary school children today will have good stories of their times to air and share right down the century. "Well, in my day we..." 

To give them an example, I've put together the personal recollections below. They're single-column PDFs to be easy to browse and dip into on-screen, whether tablet or laptop. You should find them easy reading and full of stories, people, surprises and smiles. The starting point was sharing the family write-up of 71 School Road with the current residents and Moseley Society. This led on to suggesting the robust story of The Reddings and Moseley Football Club. And there's also the surprising stories that developed out of researching one of our neighbours. 

The core resources have been not just my memory but two suitcases unusually full of family memorabilia 1890-2000 - documents, letters, certificates, diaries, photos, clippings. In addition, there's been wealth of online material - official documents and the public domain information on websites. And individuals have been helpful and encouraging (thanks!)

With best wishes for some happy browsing.

Hugh Gibbons during 2020
75 Qualitas, Roman Hill, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 7QG

  Reminiscing the Reddings  

Download the PDF for easy wandering  on a tablet or laptop
Whether you’re way into rugby, a distant onlooker like me, or anyone with an eye for fun with its sleeves rolled up, you should get some smiles in browsing these self-contained topic pages. And surprises. You may find yourself saying: I didn’t know that – whether about Birmingham pubs, that Irishman’s underpants, a war memorial in a 1963 phone book, or the jinks of The Commissar.

For well over a century, The Reddings was the home of Moseley Football Club, one of the leading rugby clubs in the country. The ground also hosted many other games including county championship, youth internationals, England trials, and invitation and touring sides. In 2000, the ground was sold and redeveloped into today's Twickenham and Harlequins Drives, and The Reddings play area.

Reminiscing the Reddings explores the history around the ground, the club, the people - and a lot more beside. The account is packed with stories, surprises, and laughs, drawing on personal memories, official census information, war memorials, rugby club and other websites, and press reports. It's been meticulously checked for authenticity, btw.

In a set of self-contained topic pages for easy reading,
it's available as a PDF for easy reading on a tablet or laptop, or passing around.
  Reconconstructing No71 - et al  
Download the PDF for easy wandering  through on a tablet or laptop

In November 1940, the Gibbons' household at 71 School Road was reconfigured by an aerial mine dropped short of Birmingham's industrial area. Mum Gibbons and children Paul, Bunny and Hugh were safe in the cellar; while Dad was away near Coventry that night.

The story was written up years later by Bunny as part of her detailed family history. It makes an unusually lively and informative story of the Moseley area at that time. And it goes far beyond - exploring her life as a wartime law student and as one of the elite boat crew in the WRNS. There's also the story of two other families - in Oxford Road and Olomouc, and accounts of life in Old Bilton and Rugby, Dad's Army, the weeks before WW2 and the one after Dunkirk, plus going bananas on VE Day!

To add to Bunny's personal write-up, information from family memorabilia links with official records of previous occupants and neighbours. 

The story is as a PDF for easy browsing on-screen or on paper.
Who Was/Is My Neighbour?  
A spin-off of Reconstructing No71, this is a very unusual set of stories - or miniparables.

Its focus is the poignant story of our neighbours - the family living next door at No73 in 1939. Coming from Manchester, Dr David Halpern, wife Judith and baby Peta age 1 must have met the Gibbons family in No71 - including me. David was killed while serving with the RAMC in Italy in 1944. The account explores their families' heritages, Manchester's medical school, treatment of aliens, the Holocaust, military medicine, and the uplifting story of the people of Assisi and its cyclists in 1943-4.

The account constantly gives examples of people being good neighbours - including HM The Queen with sponsoring leper children, the firemen of neutral Ireland crossing the order to help Belfast, and a priest's brave stand against inhumanity.

And the story has quite a twist. If you think Peta was an unusual name for our neighbour in Birmingham, how about Peto in Dublin...

Download the PDF for easy wandering  on a tablet or laptop
On the way Saturday Morning Shoot-outs at the Kingsway  

Before TV came along, the Kingsway Cinema was an important part of people's entertainment in the King Heath and Moseley area.  Opened in 1925, with over a thousand seats it was one of the many found right across Birmingham.

And on Saturday morning in the 1940s and early '50s, the Children's Club was packed for a cheerily mixed programme: cartoons, documentaries, comics, Westerns and the weekly serial.

Cinema-going at any time and day was very different from now.  This account compares and contrasts it as a little contribution to social and local history - and fun.

The account is almost ready, and will be available as a PDF for easy browsing.