Great excitement today! Scaffolding has appeared all over the former Moseley Rd. School of Art building. This can only mean that Moseley Muslim Community Association (MMCA) has at last achieved success with its decades-long fund-raising campaign to restore one of Balsall Heath’s (and Birmingham’s) most important heritage buildings.
The Art School – distinguished by being about the only one of its kind if the country – was built in 1900. Thus it is (just) Victorian – as against the Baths, which took so long to come about that they are Edwardian. The architect was Wiliiam Bidlake, a famous practitioner of the Arts and Crafts style, and the building was awarded Grade 2* listed status in 1980. Like the Baths, it has been on the list of buildings at risk for many years, because of the gradual deterioration of much of the facade, roof and interior features. The MMCA have undertaken as many repairs as they have been able with slender resources, but very substantial amounts of work remain to be done.
The building closed as a school in the 1970’s, being out of keeping with then government and Local Authority policy requiring comprehensive education. For three-quarters of a century it had provided young people from 11 upwards with a specialist education in arts and crafts – many of them going on to distinguished careers and sometimes fame. The former pupils’ association is still active and will be keenly interested in the progress of the restoration as they themselves have also been campaigning for many years.. (More from us soon when further information is available. Ed.)