Icknield St. Sch
Nelson St. Sch.
Clark St. Sch.
Raddle Barn Sch.
Steward St. Sch.
Oldbury Sc.
West Smethwick MVC


                                                                                               CHOIR HISTORY SITE

                   Midland Adult School Union

                          Male Voice Choir

                          Challenge Shield                       Click on Shield to enlarge

     Presented by  Barrow Cadbury & his wife Geraldine Southall          

                            To the Adult School Union 1910

                The Shield states: "Held For One Year By The Winners

        At The First Annual Music Festival Presented By B. & G.S.C. April 1910" 

Towards the end of the 19th century Quakers, such as Cadbury, founded the Early Morning Adult Schools, offering the opportunity for adults to acquire that education missed when they were younger. In the 1840s Joseph Sturge set up an adult class in Severn Street, (Severn Street British School) (see also below) led by members of the Society of Friends. Following the success of this movement further activities were included - painting, leatherwork and music. "Several Mayors and Lord Mayors of the City acknowledged that their fitness for the office had greatly increased by the part which they had taken in Adult School work. The most famous of these was Joseph Chamberlain. After moving to Birmingham in the 1860s, he became a teacher at the Early Morning School attached to the Church of the Messiah (founded by George Dawson) in Broad Street. When he became a national figure ("Brummagem Joe" as he was later nicknamed), his busy career as a politician did not prevent him from keeping in touch with many his Adult School associates. In 1910, membership of the Midland Adult School Union had reached a peak of 25,195."   ***

N.B. Midland Adult School Union Minute Books. Birmingham City Library Archive Department

Extracts from MS 272/I/5         Minute Book, 1884 – 1895    “….Midland Adult School Union formed Feb Thurs 14th 1884 at a meeting at Severn St. School.

Lancasterian School, Severn Street, 1809. Contemporary print From: British History Online. Not known if this is the school that Joseph Sturge started the Adult Class.

Information of Severn St. School state;

Choirs:  The first choir would be Reuben Heaton,s Class 1. Choirs existed in Y.P.M., * Gooch St. & other meetings. * Believed to be “Young People’s Meeting” my italics.

Priory Women’s Choir started 1896, successful for 40 years. Conductor Henry Moore,

Nelson Street Male Voice Choir, founded by the same conductor about the same time.

Many other choirs started, Icknield Street, Clarke Street, Raddlebarn Road, Bearwood, Gooch St. mixed and others. Adult School Choral Society 1910.

Midland Adult School Choir Competition was very popular for many years.

Adult School Choirs were successful in the Midland Musical Competition Festivals. Some choirs still in existence.

Gooch Street Choir is now the Midland Music Makers


 George Cadbury

George Cadbury and Bournville Trust

Cadbury Adult School Union

Cadbury Adult School Union 2

Barrow Cadbury Trust Heritage Plaques

The Winners.(complete list. See Choir Web pages for individual details)

Note 1946/47 (Raddle Barn) & 1950/51 (Icknield) only one shield each is used.



ADULT SCHOOL UNION SHIELD           Won                            Year                Conductor

Icknield Street Early Morning School                Yes                              1910                Alan. W. Norton

                                                                        No(2nd)                        1934               (Harold) H. Winters

                                                                        Yes                              1935                H. H. Winters

                                                                        Yes                              1936                H.H. Winters

                                                                        Yes                              1937                H.H. Winters

                                                                        Yes                              1938                H.H. Winters

                                                                        Yes                              1940                H.H. Winters

                                                                        No(2nd)                       1934                H.H. Winters

                                                                        Yes                              1950                H.H. Winters

                                                                        Yes                              1951                H.H. Winters

                                                                         Yes                             1952                H.H. Winters

                                                                         Yes                             1953                A. Sewell

Clarke Street                                                  Yes                              1913               H.J. Lewis

**** 1916 Notation on shield states                 Yes                              1914                H.J. Lewis

            “The only entrants                                 Yes                              1915                H.J. Lewis

            83 Marks Awarded”                            Yes                              1916                H.J. Lewis N.B. ****

                                                                        Yes                              1923                H.J. Lewis

                                                                        Yes                              1929                H.J. Lewis

                                                                        Yes                              1930                H.J. Lewis

Nelson Street                                                 Yes                              1921                C.R. Dean

                                                                        Yes                              1922                C.R. Dean

                                                                        Yes                              1924                C.R. Dean

                                                                        Yes                              1927                C.R. Dean

                                                                        Yes                              1928                C.R. Dean

                                                                        Yes                              1931                C.R. Dean

                                                                        Yes                              1932                C.R. Dean

                                                                        Yes                              1934                C.R. Dean

                                                                        Yes                              1945                C.R. Dean

Raddle Barn (Now Bournville Pheonix)       Yes                              1926                Len Hunt

Yes                              1933                Len Hunt

                                                                        Yes                              1946                E.T. Baldwin

                                                                        Yes                              1947                E.T. Baldwin

Steward Street                                               Yes                              1925                A.H. Phelps

Oldbury                                                           Yes                              1911                T. Appleby Matthews

Yes                              1912                T. Appleby Matthews

West Smethwick (Now Warley)                    Yes                              1955                W. O. Jones

                                                                        Yes                              1956                W. O. Jones


The preceeding were the winners but who were the other entrants. Other schools with male voice choirs were;

Farm Street, (search on "Farm Street hall" (I have music overstamped by this choir)

Questions to be resolved;

Where were the festivals held?

The first was in the Central Hall, April 2nd 1910 Corporation St.

The one Circa 1946 was held at Moseley Rd Institute  ***

(search on "Moseley Road institute"

Where was the Challenge Shield manufactured and when?


Would any kind reader let me have any details, emails preferable, or written information, photos (they will be looked after & returned), of the schools here mentioned but with particular links to the choirs and the shield.

Where photos are used I may have given acknowledgements but some are in the public domain or taken by myself. I will remove without question any that are deemed to be copyright.

                                                        Thank you, contact details at bottom of page.

*** Source "Adult Schools In The Midlands 1845 - 1995"   Michael Hinson

*** Source "Adult Schools In The Midlands 1845 - 1995"   Michael Hinson

                          updated 4/09/08


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