Residents - Moor Pool History

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Residents Past and Present

Don Wright

Donald Wright was born on September 5th 1918 and lived in Harborne all his life. He lived in Greenfield Road and Victoria Road when he was growing up. On leaving school he entered the Birmingham Libraries as an assistant in the Old Central Library and remained with them until his death in October 1977, when he was Assistant City Librarian (Reference Services) at the Birmingham Central Library.

He served in the Army during the Second World War, for some of that time in Egypt and Palestine. On his return from Army service he returned to working in the Library.

He was Deputy Branch Librarian at Harborne from 1947 until 1951.

He had a real passion for Harborne and became the recognised authority on the history of Harborne. He was the author of 'An account of Harborne' and a brief guide to some sources of information in Harborne. He gave many night school talks on Harborne and walks along the High Street pointing out places of interest or giving anecdotes of particular stories that indicated the points he was trying to make. These proved very successful and went on for a number of years. He enjoyed researching into “Old Harborne and Old Harbornites” and this took up much of his time. He investigated the history of St Peter's Church and enjoyed anything connected with Harborne.
He lived on the Harborne Tenants (Moorpool Estate), first in The Square, then High Brow and then Moorpool Avenue. He was heavily involved with the collection scheme enabling residents to purchase shares if they became available.

He was an allotment holder, initially in War Lane, and on moving into the Estate he initially worked one in High Brow before moving to one adjacent to the house in Moorpool Avenue.

He was a keen cricketer and played in the Army and for the Libraries; he had a positive talent with many requests from others for him to join their team.

He was a gifted photographer and used to process his own pictures. Following his death, his collection of Harborne photographs has been given on loan to Harborne Public Library and it is still extensively used. It included local views, people and information on a variety of issues connected with the Harborne area. Many of the photographs of the High Street are a record of what Harborne used to look like, sadly no longer the village image. The little shops have in the main become expensive accommodation, cafes restaurants or taken over by the charity organisations. The individual shops, Barbers, Toy, Butchers, Ironmongers or Electrical outlets have long since disappeared from the High Street and the collection provide an insight into the way thing used to be.

His photography interests stretched far and wide and generally had a connection with issues with an attached historical context. He spent his first cycling holiday in Denmark in 1938, followed by a cycling tour of Germany in July 1939.  Sadly many pictures from here, what ever the content needed to be sent to help the war effort, not that he believed any of them has any real value. He always had his camera with him for family holidays and other excursions and so provided many happy memories. On passing his driving test he was able to widen his catchment area and continue to follow his interests. Many of these featured in his night school classes or the numerous other talks he was asked to give. These included other historical issues, such as the Gunpowder Plot

He developed his own pictures (black & white), all of which he carefully catalogued in numerous boxes, numbering (apart from the Harborne collection) some 8,000 in all.

Article courtesy of Steve Wright, Don Wright's son.

Bernard Lionel Cuzner
Moor Pool Resident
Nationality: British (English)
Born: 1877 – Alcester Warwickshire
Died: 1956
92 Carless Avenue Harborne Birmingham

The Olympic Torch
Designed by Bernard Cuzner
Date: 1948
This piece is hand-made in silver. The octagonal sides have chased panels of oak leaves and acorns and rose briars. Crowned leopards' heads decorate the base of the pierced and chased finial. The shaft is engraved.
Notes: Made for the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths to mark the fourteenth Olympiad held in London in 1948.

Awards in the Sport in Art Competition. The torch entitled ‘Silver Symbolic Torch’ was entered in the ‘Applied Arts and Crafts’ sub-section of Painting and Graphic Art being recorded in the official programme as achieving an Honourable Mention. The exhibition of the entries which comprised 5 art competitions and an integral part of the Olympic Games was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington.

Picture courtesy of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.

Bernard Cuzner was apprenticed to his watchmaker father on leaving school. However, he abandoned watchmaking after two years and went to work for a Birmingham Silver firm attending evening classes at the recently opened Vittoria Street School for jewellers and silversmiths under Robert Catterson Smith, who with Arthur Gaskin influenced his work during the early years. He began designing for Liberty's in about 1900 and various Liberty designs are attributed to him. He may also have been employed at some time by the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft. In the year 1910 he was appointed head of the Metalwork Department at the Birmingham School of Art in Margaret Street a position he held until retirement in 1942. He continued to work as a silversmith until his death in 1956.
Bernard Cuzner is an important figure in the history of silversmithing in Birmingham. Trained in the city's silver manufacturing industry and at the School for Jewellers and Silversmiths in Vittoria Street, he was the head of the Department of Metalwork at Birmingham School of Art in Margaret Street from 1910 until 1942. He was a passionate believer in the Arts and Crafts tradition of hand-working, and was greatly influenced by other Birmingham silversmiths such as Arthur Gaskin.

Art competitions were held as part of the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, Great Britain. Medals were awarded in five categories (architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture), for works inspired by sport-related themes.

The art exhibition was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 15 July to 14 August, and displayed works of art from 27 different countries. The literature competition attracted 44 entries, and the music competition had 36 entries.

The art competitions included multiple subcategories for each of the five artistic categories. The judges declined to award any medals for dramatic works in literature, and no gold medals in another five subcategories. Alex Diggelmann of Switzerland won both a silver medal and a bronze medal for two different entries in the applied arts and crafts subcategory, a feat unlikely to be duplicated in any event in the current Olympic program.

These would be the final Games in which art competitions were held, after being in the official programme for all Games since 1912. At a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in 1949, it was decided to hold art exhibitions instead, as it was judged illogical to permit professionals to compete in the art competitions but only amateurs were permitted to compete in sporting events. Since 1952, a non-competitive art and cultural festival has been associated with each Games.

Other residents have left their own reminders of their existence.
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