Catalogue of the Midland Adult School Union archive now available

The Midland Adult School Union aided literacy at a time when many working folk were illiterate throughout Birmingham and the Black Country during the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Birmingham also played a major role in the spread of literacy across the globe with the manufacture of billions of pen nibs mostly in the Jewellery Quarter by men such as Joseph Gillott and William Mitchell whose firm British Pens in my home town of Bearwood only closed in the 1960’s.

The Iron Room

Following the completion of the Midland Adult School Union cataloguing project, generously funded by the Midland Adult School Union, the catalogue is now available to view on our online catalogue under the reference number MS 703.

The Midland Adult School Union was established by a Quaker book seller and publisher, Alderman William White (1820 – 1900) of Birmingham and John Blackham (1834 – 1930), a draper, book seller and publisher, of Hill Top, West Bromwich in 1884 to co-ordinate, support and develop the work which had been going on across the region since the 1860s to provide adult school classes in reading and writing, at a time when many working class adults were illiterate.

Covering the period 1864 to 2010, the collection contains records not only of the Midlands Adult School Union, and its sub-divisions, the Mid-Worcestershire Sub-Union, Smethwick Sub-Union, and Dudley Sub-Union, but also of a number of…

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