The Birmingham Medical Mission

An image of the Christmas appeal leaflet for the Birmingham Medical Mission

(Ref: MS 4038/3/1/2)

Birmingham Archives and Heritage has recently come into possession of a collection of records relating to the Birmingham Medical Mission, a philanthropic charity devoted to the spiritual and medical wellbeing of the city. The Mission opened its doors to the urban poor in 1875 and continued to provide medical care for the community until the advent of the NHS in 1948. The Mission carried on its charitable works throughout the twentieth century until its functions were absorbed by the Kitts Green Evangelical Church.

For most of its history the Mission was based in Floodgate Street where its staff used a combination of religious education and free healthcare to combat the social ills of the day, namely drink.

The papers in this collection were accumulated by Dr. Horace Bagster Wilson, Medical Superintendent of the Mission from 1899 to the early 1930s. Among the most interesting of the material is a report (MS 4038/2/1/1) by Mission observers of the disorderedly activities of the patrons of six Birmingham public houses.

The findings of this report were used to support Dr Wilson’s appeals to the Licensing Bench against the licensing of additional public houses in the city. Further information about these appeals can be found under MS 4038/2/2. Those interested in the history of pubs or temperance in Birmingham would no doubt find these papers of great interest.

In addition to the records found in MS 4038, BA&H also holds the annual reports of the Mission from 1875 to 1989 under the reference L41.2 as well as a number of other published articles and reports pertaining to the Mission (for full details see catalogue MS 4038).

Kevin Roberts

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3 responses to “The Birmingham Medical Mission

  1. Pingback: The Gangs of Digbeth | The Iron Room

  2. when was the name of medical mission changed to kittsgreen evangelical church

    • Thank you for your question. According to Kitts Green Church the official name of the charity is still Birmingham Medical Mission. The Mission moved to Kitts Green in 1938. For more information about the history of the Mission, please see go to our on-line catalogue and search for MS 4038 which is the reference for the Birmingham Medical Mission collection.

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