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Birmingham Icknield Male Voice
The history of the oldest choir in Birmingham. 1900 - 2007
the beginning was the song and the song was good”. I make no apologies
paraphrasing the bible. Song and music has been the bedrock of ancient
civilisations and religions up until the present day. When mankind had a
celebration or commiseration, chanting & dancing were integral. From the cave
dwellers worshipping the animals of the forest to the Plain Song of Pope
Gregory, evolving into the more sophistication performances we enjoy today.
The Choir evolved from the Adult Schools Movement.
Ceasing in 2010
The adult school movement started in the late 1790s and grew
from small beginnings to be a major influence in education. In the early
days it was probably to encourage people to read the bible, and as a significant number were illiterate this was broadened to include
education in more diverse ways for the “Working Man” Women were not considered to be worth spending the time being educated,
a view that was due to change! The movement spread especially in Wales and Scotland.
Birmingham unfortunately cannot lay claim to founding the first Adult School
but Nottingham is perceived as the first by William Singleton who was a
Methodist and Samuel Fox a Quaker, so
named it is said “they trembled in the sight of God.”
in Birmingham it should be noted that
and William White – were instrumental in leading the way with Adult schools.
THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (Quakers)
set up an
adult class in Severn Street, (Severn
Street British School)
also below) led by members of the
Society of Friends.
evening classes in arithmetic,
geography and grammar.Other activities
were included - painting, leatherwork and music.
In 1895 a medallion was
issued to commemorate it's 50th Anniversary.
Lancasterian School, Severn Street, 1809. Contemporary print From:
Not known if this is the school
that Joseph Sturge started the Adult Class.
social reformers such as
Robert William Dale, and
George Cadbury brought together the links of those in society
that desperately needed help. A sort of social “cats
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.
most famous of these was
Joseph Chamberlain. After moving toBirmingham 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
Adult School associates.
the Icknield – Newtown Early Morning Schools were founded. Also in this year;
The Birmingham Reference Library on 26th October was
Lord Austin born was born
Penfold Hexagonal; Known as the 'New Standard
Letter Box' designed by J.W. Penfold and built by Cochrane in Birmingham;
Examples of these can be seen in Pulteney Street, and Laura Place, Bath;
Cadbury Brothers in 1866 saw a turning point for the company with the
introduction of a process for pressing the cocoa butter from the cocoa
beans. This not only enabled Cadbury Brothers to produce pure cocoa essence,
but a plentiful supply of cocoa butter remaining was also used to make new
kinds of eating chocolate.
Mint in Icknield Street was founded.
For a considerable time, the Cadbury family were prominent both in the life of
the city of Birmingham, also in the Religious
Society of Friends (Quakers). It was considered that John Cadbury, the founder
of the Cadburys,
active for many years in the temperance society. Alcohol was perceived
by him to increase poverty among
the working people. With his
Cadbury, b 1838 – 1923 who was a teacher in the adult school movement
they taught hundreds of men to
read and write between 1849 and 1911.
Where the Choir Started;
It is claimed
that the naming of Icknield Street is not proven. Some sources ascribe it to
William Hutton in the
19th century who was the person who wrote the
first History of Birmingham in 1783.
Icknield Street Map
Icknield Street School Listed
Photo acknowledgement Mac Joseph "Old Ladywood"
The school is now a Sikh temple and has suffered a fire in recent
years but has now been repaired.
Buildings at Risk
Buildings at Risk 2
opened in 1883 (J.H.
Chamberlain's death), as Icknield Street Board School. It became a secondary modern in
1945. In the 1960s it had over 950 pupils, believed to have closed in the 1970s. It is one of
Martin and Chamberlain's Board Schools -
more, and is listed Grade II,
and they built another 40 of them around the city, also
NELSON STREET, and
OOZELLS STREET. They were built with certain
aims in mind, e.g. healthy ventilation and that is why they had towers, to allow
air circulation, as the classrooms show here.
ART CLASS, and
INTERIOR VIEW. Martin built in red brick with terracotta decorations in a
Venetian Gothic style and used decorative tiles with foliage motifs, as also can
be seen at the
Birmingham Institute of
Art and Design in Margaret Street,
J H Chamberlain, is buried at
Key Hill Cemetery. (as
Chamberlain no relation), they also extended the Grand
and designed the original
1879 Central Library
which was demolished in 1974. John
Henry Chamberlain had formed a partnership with William Martin in 1864 and they
became the leading gothic architects in Birmingham. Their offices were located
in the Christ Church buildings (now demolished) at the top of New Street, close
to the Town Hall and Council Buildings in Victoria Square.
Chamberlain was also responsible for scores of
Birmingham buildings including
Spring Hill Library,
just up the road, and Joseph Chamberlain's home
Highbury Hall, as well as the
Chamberlain Memorial Fountain.
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.
On the email link below, please click and edit. This is to
Birmingham Icknield MVC
Phone No. 07985041167
Webmaster: Icknield Choir History
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