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).