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.