Born in Birmingham: Maternity, Midwives and Infant Mortality 1914-24

Me Dad was born in Aston in Birmingham in 1922 and would have been one hundred 💯 years old in 2022…He worked and lived in Birmingham’s Gun Quarter and drank his wages in The Gunmakers Arms opposite where the Bracey’s lived in back to backs in Aston’s Gun Quarter in Little Shadwell St opposite the Gunmakers Arms. Les carried the sporting guns to #Birmingham Proof House near Curzon Street Station


Born in Birmingham: Maternity, Midwives and Infant Mortality 1914-24

Me Dad Leslie Charles Bracey was born in back to backs in Aston’s Gun Quarter in Little Shadwell St opposite Gunmakers Arms and near to the Birmingham Roman Catholic Cathedral St Chad’s Cathedral built by Augustus Pugin who had built the Houses of Parliament and the Palace of Westminster. Me Dad carried the Sporting guns made in the Gun Quarter to Birmingham Proof House near Curzon Street Station….Dad went to Summer Lane School and in 1940 volunteered for the RAF as an electrical engineer and Aircraftsman…..He always said to me that the RAF was like his University as he met so many people from different walks of life ….

The Iron Room

Image of two women with babies and small children. One small boy is sat in a basket on top of weighing scales.
From Birmingham Infants Health Society & School of Mothercraft 6th Annual Report [MS 4101].

Birmingham Heritage Week provides an ideal opportunity for The Friends of Birmingham Archives & Heritage (FoBAH) to finally showcase the results of their Born in Birmingham project (funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund) some 18 months later than expected.

The pop-up exhibition in the Wolfson Centre for Archival Research at the Library of Birmingham on Friday 17th September (1-4pm) will show the culmination of the research efforts of a team of volunteers who uncovered much about infant and women’s health and the pioneering work of those who worked in maternity services 100 years ago in Birmingham.

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Birmingham Heritage Week 2019 – a Retrospective!

#Birmingham #Heritage #Week 2019…..a retrospective

Please read my Birmingham and Black Country history heritage and sporting history blog at:


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This year we hosted two events here in the Archives & Collections Department at the Library of Birmingham. The first was a workshop on ‘How to research your Birmingham ancestors’, and was fully booked before August was out! In this beginners’ session, experienced members of the Archives team introduced a variety of our sources including maps, electoral and parish registers along with digital resources accessible via Ancestry Institution and software for accessing historic Birmingham newspapers online.

Focussing on these sources to begin with enabled those attending to make a start on building up their family tree!  If you are interested in starting your Family History we have a variety of sources to help you, and there is guidance online to get you started here:

We had some great feedback from those attending the session who said they would also like workshops focussing on one type of source like maps…

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Birmingham Heritage Week, 9th-19th September 2021!

#BrumisBrill #Birmingham #Heritage Week at the #Library of #Birmingham see some real #BrummaGEM pieces in the #Birmingham #Archives

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We’re very excited about being able to host events again here in Archives & Collections at the Library of Birmingham during this year’s Birmingham Heritage Week!

Birmingham Heritage Week is a city-wide festival that celebrates Birmingham’s rich and diverse heritage.

The BHW programme is packed with fascinating and varied events, all organised and delivered by local organisations and volunteers with a passion for Birmingham’s heritage and history.

During the 11-day festival you will be able to visit exhibitions, take part in walks and workshops, listen to talks or visit buildings that are not normally open to the public. Events will be in-person as well as online.

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Allotments or Gardens? I say potato…

#Birmingham @Edgbaston #CalthorpeEstate was managed for the Anstruther Gough-Calthorpe family by old #Birmingham Property Company: #NealeandAldridge founded in the #18th century in #Georgian times. I often wonder whether the company saved the fantastic #Archive of maps, plans, charts information and #Documents for posterity and for #Birmingham like the CalthorpeEstate Archive was saved in the Library of #Birmingham Archive was…..???? Keith Bracey AKA the Brummie Bard Birmingham poet writer historian and broadcaster on Sports Radio Birmingham Please read my Birmingham and Black Country history and heritage blog at

Allotments or Gardens? I say potato…

I worked for #Birmingham #Surveyors and #Property managers Neale & Aldridge from 1989 until 1994 when the then Consultant Surveyors and Property Consultants became Lambert Smith Hampton. Neale & Aldridge were founded in Birmingham in the 18th Century in the Georgian period and were probably friendly with the Edgbaston Property magnates the Anstruther Gough-Calthorpe family and managed their Edgbaston Estates and properties on their behalf……Neale &Aldridge when I worked at the partnership of Barry Ordish, David Price, Alan Causer and John Ankorn who managed the Callthorpe Estate as it was then known, had a treasure trove of maps, plans and documents in the basement of their 50 Newhall Street Head Office……I often wonder whether that Neale and Aldridge archive treasure trove was saved for posterity into the Library of #Birmingham #Archives or whether Lambert Smith Hampton just binned them and put them in a skip when they moved across the road to new offices at 30 Newhall St and in subsequent moves,… much so that as a former Neale and Aldridge/Lambert Smith Hampton employee I do not know where Lambert Smith Hampton, a name plucked from thin air by Palmer Capital the investment company owned by Ray Palmer the man who made the offer to the Neale and Aldridge Senior Partnership for their property management and Rating Valuation expertise with their sell out to the Palmer Capital Investment Company reliant on these experienced experts expertise to run the new Lambert Smith Hampton Property Consultants for 5 years from the day that the contract was signed on 1st April (April Fool’s Day…..typical of Barry Ordish the Senior Partner’s sense of humour!!!!)1989…..I hope that the Neale and Aldridge or Lambert Smith Hampton was saved for Birmingham in the Archives….? ???? Can anyone confirm that the Neale and Aldridge Archive was saved…? Keith Bracey AKA the Brummie Bard the Brummie poet writer historian and broadcaster on Sports Radio Birmingham Please read my Birmingham and Black Country history and heritage blog at

The Iron Room

There is much to be said about the benefits of the great outdoors on our physical and mental wellbeing. In honour of National Allotments Week which is the 9th to the 15th of August this year, I went digging around in our Allotments Source Guide to see if I could unearth some inspiration for this week’s blog.

What I found were a number of references to documents in the Calthorpe Edgbaston Estate Office Archive, which we usually just refer to as Calthorpe, or MS 2126. (The mere mention of the catalogue often makes us wilt as it’s very complex!) These are the papers of the Gough, later Gough-Calthorpe, family. The family originally purchased land in Edgbaston in 1717, and by 1827 ‘owned 85% of the total acreage of the parish’. This gave them significant authority within the parish to shape the growth of urban housing development and gardens…

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The Fundraising and Conservation of Harry Gem’s Scrapbook

@MajorGem invented #LawnTennis 👏 with his friend #Spanish merchant and trader @AugurioPerera @ 8 Ampton Road, a house called: ” Fairlight” on the extensive Lawn in the back garden of 8 Ampton Rd, @Edgbaston in 1858…..they called their #LawnTennis #game “Pelota” after the #Catalan game with the same name……that’s why #Birmingham NEVER GETS THE CREDIT for inventing the game of #Tennis…..@Wimbledon has and had NOTHING to do with the genesis of that quintessentially #English game of @LawnTennis @keithbracey