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Birmingham Riots


gone but not forgotten
One of the properties burnt down during the Priestley Riots of 1791,was Moseley Hall.
It belong to a John Taylor who with Mr Sampson Lloyd founded Lloyds Bank in the 1770's
At the time the old Moseley Hall origanally built in early 1700's was almost falling down ,so it could be said that Riots did him a favour.After the riots John Taylor made a claim for £12,670 9s 2d compensation for the damage to his two properties Moseley Hall and Bordesley Hall,he settled after a two year wait for £9,902 2s 0d.He then took on John Stanbridge of Warwick to rebuild Moseley Hall.The building took four years and was completed in 1797.John Taylor then used the house as a family home.In 1884 the house was  leased to Richard Cadbury,who, when the lease expired  brought the house off the Taylor family at a cost of £16,450 for the house and twenty-two acres of parkland. He later  moved to his new house at Uffculme ,and gave the Hall to the City to be used as a convalescent hospital for children.It was opened in 1892.It remained as a children's hospital for over seventy years.It was absorbed into the National Health Service on 5th July 1948,and closed as a children's hospital in 1967.I'm sure many will remember Moseley Hall Children's Hospital as the place were they had their tonsils removed ( me included).It then closed for eighteen months to enable a new three storey ward and service blocks to the west of the Old Hall to be built.When it was re-opened it became a geriatric hospital.Cadburys still retain the deeds on the property and it is  leased to the NHS for a peppercorn rent
I started work there in 1979 in the Estates Department,and left 26 years later.The Old Hall as it was known was a wonderfull old building and still retained some of the old fittings and plasterwork hidden behind modern plasterboarding,you were never sure what you would find when removing it.The external stonework walls were up to two foot thick and many of the load bearing walls in the basement were up to 4 foot.As the Old Hall is now a listed building all work carried out has to be done within many restrictions.The Estates Workshop was situated within a courtyard that had been the Stable Block in the 1796 rebuild.In the 1968 alterations the Old Hall which had been the Childrens Hospital, the building was converted to a admin block and all the old wards ,operating theatre and kitchens were coverted to offices.Now as a community hospital,it continues to provide a service to the people of Birmingham,a service that it has supplied for over 100 years.
I have taken most of this information from a booklet, which was sold as a fund raising scheme during 1992,its centennial year,as a hospital.
Over the years people came and went but the old hall remained just the same.



Thanks for that, Colin. Whereabout is Moseley Hall, I don't recognise it?

ChrisB :smiley6600:


gone but not forgotten
Moseley Hall Hospital main entrance is off the Alcester Road,between Reddings Road and Moseley village,by the Moseley Hall Dovecote
If you enter the post code B13 8JL into any of the map programmes,or Google Earth,it should come up .
The actual Hospital cannot be seen from the Alcester Road but parts can be seem from Salisbury Road or Amesbury Road.
A interesting point on Google Earth my Motor can be seen both at my home address and at the Hospital.
Thanks for your interest



A small bit which I know about the Brum Riots
The Birmingham riots of 1791 started when about eighty people held a dinner at hotel in Temple Row to commemorate the French Revolution (1789) which the people of Birmingham were opposed to and saw Dr Priestley as the major sympathiser.
A few streets away crowds were gathering at a local inn fuelled by ale and shouting the King forever, at around 8 o'clock on the night the mob was in a angry mood and started to attack the people leaving the Hotel in Temple St and trying to find Dr Priestley, and so the seeds of the riot was sown and the crowd went on the rampage looting and burning the Old and New Meeting house and going on to destroy Dr Priestley's house totally destroying his valuable library.
The next day tanked up by drink the rioters numbers swelled to over a Thousand, they began to attack Baskerville House and during the looting and burning seven people were burned to death in the cellar.
Hastily the Magistrates swore in as many constables as they could in a bid to restore law and orders and they were sent to Baskerville house were fierce fighting soon developed and the constables had to withdraw. The rioters went on to Bordesley Hall
which they soon burnt down after the family had escaped with their lives and valuables.
News of the riots soon spread and miners from the Black Country headed to Birmingham to join in the affray but where headed of by the military who had received reinforcements and order was soon restored.12 people were convicted of rioting and four sentenced to death. (only two were hung)
The leniency of the court soon became a standard joke and people began to say Nothing but a Birmingham Jury can save you


Thanks for that Cromwell. (Looks like all the judges in the land are copying the Brum judges of the time!)



I knowthese are not the riots being talked about but let me tell you anyway. In the 1980s riots I was a Hackney Carriage owner driver in Birmingham. On the first night, an Indian restaurant a group of us frequented gave me upon request, four large teapots full of coffee, a pile of polystyrene cups, a couple of bottles of milk and a bag of sugar. I went over Hockley flyover and was stopped by the Police. I told them my mission and they told me where the first group of riot police were. I gave them all a cup of coffee and they told me where the next group were. At some of the stops the Firemen were there also. I gave every group their coffee and took the equipment back to the restaurant. It was not a good way of doing things so I went Bournville Lane nick and had a chat. Next night after I had earned my money, Bourneville Lane gave me a 5gallons of tea and coffee and everything that went with it and I did my round again. I did that every night until the police were stood down. I did it because I felt sorry for the emergency services being stoned and attacked by those rioting. The only word of thanks I ever got was from a Daily Telegraph reporter who did not know where his car was parked. When he approached me I still had some tea and coffee to give out and I had him pouring it out for the police.


master brummie
two good sources
The priestley riots 1791 vivian bird isbn O 9514424 4 9
birmingham historian nos 12 and 13 both excellent and available at.£1-50 each add .£2.00 postage Can provide ordering details if required

Can I have the details of how to order these please?

This is absolutely fascinating reading!!

James Fitzpatrick

asv a result of doing a project for my OU studies last year I researched Victoria Square and the Town hall as places contributing to the identities of brum's people. amongst the stuff in a picture of the TH (circ 1801) with the windows broken as a result of rioting due to a person (would need to look name up) being present in a meeting at the TH who had I think sympathiised with the French peoples revolution.
If it not on the site anywhere, I could find it at home and post?


On page 1 of this thread it says the History by Hutton is available to download from the Birmingham Mainsite, but I can't find the link. Has it been taken off now or can I just now see it for looking at it (as usual!)?



master brummie
I know some members are aware of the Internet Archive but may not know of a very readable account of Victorian life and the Chartists Riots in Birmingham. Sorry I dont to links but all the information is as follows.
Internet Archive>Texts> Birmingham>Personal Recollections of Birmingham and Birmingham Men by Edwards, Eliezer 1815 to 1891.
I have not read all of it but if you like the Dickens school of writing it is a cracking read.Hope this helps someone along the way.


Super Moderator
Staff member
It's the anniversary of the Priestley Riots of 1791. An an extract from earlier post #10 for those who want to know more Viv

Riots. From Showells Dictionary of Birmingham 1888
In times past the Brums had a bad name for rioting, and when the list is looked over many may think it not undeserved. In July, 1715, the Old Meeting House was destroyed in a riot. In 1737 the nail-makers from Worcestershire marched into this town and forced the ironmongers to sign a paper allowing an advance in prices. Some bigoted brutes got up an anti-Methodist movement in 1751, which culminated in a general riot on Oct. 19, the pulpit and seats being taken out of the meeting-house and burnt. The history of "the Birmingham Riots" of 1791 is world-known, and there is no necessity to repeat the disgraceful tale. The damage was estimated at *‚*£60,000; the sufferers recovered only *‚*£27,000, On Oct. 24, 1793, caused by the enforced collection of the rates levied to pay damages done in riots of 1791. Two more lives lost. June 22, 1795. on account of scarcity of food and the high prices thereof. Soldiers called out, and they gave two unfortunates leaden food enough to kill them. May 28, 1810, two women fell out over the price of some potatoes, others joined in and a scrimmage ensued. Constables came and men mauled them, and the result of the unruly wagging of those two women's tongues was a riot, which lasted four days. Three men were sentenced to grow potatoes at Botany Bay the rest of their lives. March 22, 1813, the chapels in Bond Street, Belmont Row, and Ladywell Walk, with the Jews Synagogue in Severn Street, were damaged by a riotous mob. The Jabet Riots in 1816 were primarily caused by the proprietor of Jabet's Herald publishing an address showing that "a man, wife, and six children could live on 6s. a week." Some cheap food was presented to the printer in the shape of potatoes, with which his windows were smashed. Claims for damages arising out of the Chartist riots of 1839 were made to the amount of *‚*£16,283, of which *‚*£15,027 were allowed, and rates were made on the Hundred of Hemlingford for *‚*£20,000 to cover the same and the expenses attendant thereon. It was a curious coincidence that the rioters of 1839 should have chosen July the 15th for their fiery pranks, the roughs of 1791 having on the same day of the same month, burnt Hutton's and other houses. At the Warwick Assizes, Aug. 8, 1839, Jeremiah Howell, Francis Roberts, and John Jones were sentenced to be hung, Thomas Aston had sentence of death recorded against him, and 13 other hot-heads were ordered various terms of imprisonment, for taking part in the mischief. At Snow Hill Flour Mills, June 29, 1847, arising out of the seizure of sundry short weights. The "Murphy Riots" commenced on Sunday, June 16, 1867, when William Murphy, the Anti-Papal lecturer, delivered his first oration. The police had to clear Carrs Lane with their cutlasses, and Park Street was nearly demolished. An Irishman who threatened Morris Roberts in his public-house was shot by him on the 17th, and the act was declared to be justifiable. There was a disgraceful row (which may well be classed under this heading) at St. Alban's Church, Oct. 13, 1867, in consequence of some ecclesiastical excommunicatory proceedings. The Navigation Street riot of roughs, in which Police-officers Lines and Fletcher were stabbed, took place March 7, 1875. Lines died on the 24th, and was buried at Aston the 29th. The sum of *‚*£840 14s. was gathered to support his wife and daughter. The Assizes, held in the following July, may be called "the Roughs' Reprisals," as one was sentenced to death, four to penal servitude for life, six to fifteen years each (three of them were flogged as well), one to ten years, one to seven years, and four to five years each. A Conservative "demonstration" held at the Lower Grounds, October 13th, 1884, was broken into and disturbed by Liberals, who held a meeting outside and then breached the walls, spoilt the fireworks, and added another to the long list of Birmingham riots.

Showells Dictionary and a History by Hutton is available free to download......... Links via the Birmingham mainsite


Staff member
good images viv..i know that the fox and grapes park st was involved in these riots..the first image could be the fox but no way of being certain..



master brummie
Just been reading this thread again. Poor old Priestley. After 14th July 1791 the rioters proceeded to Priestley's home, Fairhill at Sparkbrook, pillaged it and burnt it to the ground. Moseley Hall followed on 16 July.

What isn't so well known is that after Joseph Priestley had made his escape from Fair Hill he stayed at Wake Green House [on Wake Green Rd] the home of his friend Thomas Hawkes. However, his stay was short-lived as this house too was wrecked!