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Percy Shurmer

Phil

Retired Layabout
This story about Tony Hazell, Percy's grandson appears in todays Mail.

Phil

THEY were known as the city’s Little Sparrows.
For more than 35 years, poverty-stricken children living in Birmingham were treated to an annual Christmas party by their local MP, Percy Shurmer.
Decades on from the last festive treat in 1957, Percy’s grandson Tony Hazell has continued a family tradition of doing good deeds by helping out pupils at the school bearing the politician’s name.
An entire class of kids at Percy Shurmer School in Balsall Heath are tuning up for free ukulele lessons as part of a trust fund set up by Mr Hazell.
The generous gift was unveiled as pupils and past and present gathered at the primary school for its annual Percy Shurmer day celebration, which is held to mark the anniversary of the Sparkbrook MP’s birth.
Tony, a retired professor who is currently chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said: “My grandfather did a lot for the people of Birmingham and it is remarkable that so many people remember him.
“This find was set up for the school to use every year as they see fit, but my grandfather loved music and set up marching bands so I think this is very fitting indeed.
“He was a very special role model and I am proud to call him my grandfather.”
Mr Shurmer, who was 71 when he died in 1959, was regarded as a major benefactor of the poor and working classes as a Labour MP for Sparkbrook, a seat he held from 1945 until his death.
His generosity began with his election to the city council in 1921, when he held the first of his Christmas parties at Birmingham Town Hall for deprived children.
Up to 1,500 youngsters, who became known as Percy Shurmer’s Little Sparrows, packed the hall to be entertained by stars such as Max Bygraves.
The first party was funded with cash left over from his council election expenses and, when it became clear more money was needed, Mr Shurmer donned fancy dress and went out collecting with a barrel organ.
The school’s celebrations, held on what would have been Mr Shurmer’s 121st birthday, were also attended by some of Percy’s Little Sparrows, who are now pensioners.
Teacher Angela Lane said: “Percy Shurmer made a difference to the lives of people in Birmingham, especially children, so Tony is carrying on that tradition and we are extremely grateful for that.”
 
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Phil

Retired Layabout
Carolina

Percy was obviously on one of his fund raising door to door drives which he would do every year to raise money for his Christmas party for his sparrows. Sometimes he would dress up and push a barrel organ accompanied by a monkey. He didn't care who he accosted in the street as long as they handed over some money.

Phil
 

Phil

Retired Layabout
Here we have Percy again in 1957 conducting his sparrows at a Town Hall Party.

Percy and Sparrows (1).jpg
 
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Astonian

gone but not forgotten
Hi Phil
Many thanks for down loading that info, of course I do have a great interest in Percy and I hope you do not mind I will down load
It my my collection that's brilliant you have seen it. My thread and of course Carolina,s picture was also brilliant which I have down loaded
The info, you have given me is beyond beggars. Believe as yes I agree. They should ha e put a stature up of him
Many thanks Phil, Alan,,,,,,
 

farmerdave

master brummie
I grew up in Hall Green and much of the time I was there Aubrey Jones was the MP (from 1950-1965). Apparently, the constituency of Birmingham Hall Green was newly formed only in 1950. I therefore wonder how the area of Hall Green, in terms of voting, was split before this time and whether Percy Shurmer was also MP for part of Hall Green before 1950? Dave
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Does the first image of the Market Hall show the edge/plinth of the clock on the extreme left-hand side ? Think the photo is from the 1940s. At first I thought it was the edge of the fountain, but the fountain would have been removed by this time and, in any case it's in the wrong position. You can also see (I think) cables in the trough. Image of the clock itself is attached for ref. Viv.

image.jpeg
 

Attachments

Phil

Retired Layabout
Viv

I don't think the structure you indicate is Percy's clock as it was located above the offices which I think are located to the left of your photo. The structure you indicate is obviously positioned on the floor, this is purely supposition on my part as I really do not know where the offices were located. Perhaps if we have a poster who remembers the market hall before the war they will remember where the offices were located.

I'll go and replace my missing images now.
 

Phil

Retired Layabout
Here are a couple more photos of the celebrations at the Percy Shurmer School when the blue plaque was presented on June 5th 2009. Tony Hazel.JPG Blue Plaque.jpg img099.jpg
 

Phil

Retired Layabout
A couple more images I have found since starting this thread, the first one is another Sparrows party at the town hall sorry I don't know the date. The second one is The Birmingham Tigers and the Slough Flyers in 1951 at a local black patch that looks like Alfred Street Sparkbrook to me.

Percy's Sparrows.jpg Erdington Birmingham Tigers & Slough Flyers 1951.jpg
 

Phil

Retired Layabout
A couple of photos with connections to Percy Shurmer, the first on being another image of the Deritend & St Martins Girls band and another image of the Market Hall clock whilst still located at the Imperial Arcade in Dale End.

Deritend & St Martins Band.jpg Percy Shurmer Clock 3.jpg
 

Phil

Retired Layabout
This image of Percy was taken on the steps of Birmingham town hall in 1955 on the eve of his last election win before his death in 1959,

Percy Shurmer Wins Election 1955.jpg
 

Phil

Retired Layabout
My last couple of images for now, the first one shows Percy on the campaign trail, even then he didn't forget his sparrows as can be seen by the election pamphlets in one hand and the collection box in the other. The second one shows him on a visit to the Birmingham Mail & Post in 1951

Vote for Percy.jpg City New Street Percy Shurmer at the Post & Mail 1948.jpg
 
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Phil

Retired Layabout
I recently came across this photo of "Percy's" clock which looks very much like it is in situ in the Market Hall. It's a pity it is not of better quality.

Parcy Shurmers Clock.jpg
 
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Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
its not that bad phil and i would agree that the great mans clock is in situ...

lyn
 

Phil

Retired Layabout
I've always said that I didn't think I had a photo of Percy's clock after it had been moved to the market hall except the rather poor image that I recently posted. So imagine my surprise when looking through my collection for something else I came across this one with the clock as large as life on the left of the photo. Pity it's not a better image.

City Bull Ring Market Hall Interior.JPG
 
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