The Moseley School of Art Association News Page



Membership of the Association and Attendance at the Annual Reunion

In order to streamline our systems, attendance at our Annual Reunions will only be available to subscribing members - those who pay the annual subscription of £17.50 in advance by standing order. Membership entitles the member to receive newsletters, attend our Annual Reunion and Exhibition of works by former students on the third Sunday in May each year (this year on the 21st. May) including lunch, and to vote on resolutions at the AGM held on the same day.

If you attended Moseley School of Art and would like to attend our reunion, please download and print the Standing Order mandate HERE and forward it without delay as it will not be possible to pay on the day.

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We are sad to announce at this festive time of year that former student Reginald Webb, who attended MSA 1954-57 passed away on the 15th December. Our condolences go out to his family at this sad time.

Further details regarding funeral arrangements will be posted here as they are received.



Christmas message from Brian and Val Bailey (USA)

Former MSA student Brian Bailey and his wife Val have sent us their best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Brian and Val, who live in Los Osos, California have been very generous in recent years, sponsoring the Brian Bailey cash prize for our annual exhibitions - a gesture for which we're very appreciative and grateful.

A lovely couple, they haven't enjoyed the best of health during 2016 so I'm sure that you'll want to wish them a happy and healthy New Year. Merry Christmas!

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2017 MSA Reunion and Exhibition of Works

Our 2017 Reunion and Exhibition will be held on Sunday, 21st. May 2017. The venue will be announced after Christmas, and we hope to see as many former pupils as possible from the 1930's, 1940's, 1950's, 1960's and 1970's for a warm, happy and meaningful reunion.

Our reunions are very well attended, and you'll receive a very warm welcome. - please tell all of your MSA friends and ask them to join you. Your husband, wife or partner will be welcome. We're aiming to make this reunion special and the higher the attendance, the greater the enjoyment. More news will be posted here after Christmas - please sign up to our Update Notification (below) so that you don't miss out on news from our website.

In the meantime, why not start preparing a work or two to enter in our open exhibition? Any medium, any number as long as it's not a work previously exhibited. No entry fee, just bring a means of displaying the work(s) e.g. easel etc. Cash prizes will be awarded for the best works.

We're always anxious to find 'new' contacts - if you haven't yet been in touch with us, or if you know someone else who attended our school, wherever they now live, please drop us a line at the link at the top of this page. We've established a worldwide network of former students and would like to add more - they aren't making any more of us!

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It is with sadness that we have received news from his friends that Roy Seeley, who attended Moseley School of Art from 1946-49 has passed away.

Roy's funeral will take place at 2pm on Thursday 22nd. December at the Robin Hood Crematorium, Solihull. We hope to receive further details before the event.

Roy had lived in Solihull for many years. Prior to retirement, he had worked in Commercial Art, especially in advertising and he was also a professional
photographer. He was a member of Solihull Art Society and had exhibited his work there over the years.

Roy was often very generous in sharing his artwork with others or giving others gifts of his work as a token of friendship, for example. He had a great appreciation for the beauty of buildings as well as the local area and scenery, especially features of the towns and villages of Warwickshire which were reflected in his work. During last year, Roy supported a local Residential Home by donating some of his framed prints to a raffle in aid of the Alzheimer's Society.

He had a number of creative interests, which included being a member of the Birmingham Midland Operatic Society. Roy was always very modest about his abilities but it seems that he enjoyed singing and dance very much. He also had a special way with cats and, over the years, a number of his Siamese cats lived well into older age. In retirement, Roy lived quietly, keeping his reflective nature and his own endearing brand of dry wit!

Roy always spoke very fondly of his time at the Moseley School of Art, and his tutors, friends and fellow students there. He kept photographs from his time at the school including a visual record of an outing to Elstree Film Studios with teachers and fellow students back in his final year at our school, 67 years ago.

Further details about the funeral will be uploaded here as we receive them.

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The Moseley School of Art 2017 Venice Reunion

Our 2016 Venice Reunion was a great success, and most of those who joined us have already booked to join us again in 2017.


The dates of our 2017 trip (3 Nights) are:

* Dep: 29th. June (Depart Birmingham Airport aboard the Moseley Art Special - Flight No. ZB5480 0715hrs.)

* 30th. June - Reunion Dinner at the Hotel Sant'Elena, Venice

* Dep: 2nd. July (Depart Marco Polo Airport Flight No. ZB5485 2200hrs.)

* The length of your stay can be extended by up to seven days at the same daily rate - you decide.

The Hotel Sant'Elena
This year (2016), our rate at the Hotel Sant'Elena was 500 Euro per double room for the 3 days. For 2017, we've secured an offer for the 3 days of 555 Euro per room. The hotel has raised their nightly rate by 12% across the board, but our rate of 555 Euro is still a very good saving on the lowest quoted rate elsewhere of 700 Euro. Our Reunion Dinner will take place on the 30th. June - we'll enjoy a beautiful, sophisticated Italian dinner for which there will be a charge of approx. 38 Euro pp. These prices can only be guaranteed for a fixed term after which the normal commercial rates will apply.

Anyone wishing to stay for longer than the basic 3-day stay can calculate the fee for their stay by using a rate of 185 Euro per night (De Luxe Double) or 215 Euro (Junior Suite - best value). A reminder that this rate is per room for two persons, not per person, and includes an unlimited breakfast each day. These are GREAT prices - you could easily pay double at a comparable hotel on the island - there are many hotels in the Veneto region at a comparable rate, but the Sant'Elena is actually on the island of Venice, saving you the time- and energy-consuming necessity of sailing to the island and back each day.

To book: Go to and enter dates/ number of people. Enter discount code MOSELEY on the next page.

Monarch Airlines - The Moseley Art Special flies out from Birmingham at 0715: Flight No. ZB 5480 The prices are good if you book now, but PLEASE don't enter the actual dates when you carry out the initial date search on the Monarch site - their computer will pick up the interest and bump up the price automatically. Select instead dates close to yours and click 'variable dates' - you'll be shown a 'month' view - you can then book the actual dates you want.



Free Website Update Notification -

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We are very sad to announce that we've been informed by the representative of the 1957 leavers, Graham Willams, that former student Marguerite Tranter ('57) passed away peacefully on the 29th. October 2016 following a very short illness. Marguerite was a supporter of our Association reunions for a number of years.

Marguerite's funeral will take place at 11am on Friday 18th. November at Lodge Hill Cemetery, Weoley Park Rd., Birmingham B29 5AA. Attendance by family and friends is welcome, flowers from family only. Donations in lieu of floral tributes are welcome and will be passed to the Air Ambulance and the QE Hospital. Please check here again for any further details which may be posted.



Tony Williams ('61)

We're delighted to have received some images of great works by Tony Williams ('61) - they can be viewed HERE



Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Exhibition

Paul Bartlett, a prominent member of our Association, and other artists, many of them former students of the Moseley School of Art are taking part in an exhibition entitled "Baker to Bartlett: The Changing Face of RBSA Printmaking" - on at the RBSA until 12th. November 2016.

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A Reunion in New York!

We were delighted to hear from former student Eileen Huckett (Weaver), who now lives 300km north of Perth, Western Australia, telling us about a very special reunion of friends who, last June organised their own Moseley School of Art Reunion in New York!

The four friends, who left MSA in 1972, hadn't seen each other for up to 39 years, and three of them had special birthdays while they were there - they all turned 60 years young, and the fourth had her birthday just a month later.

The friends were Eileen Huckett, Eileen MacLean (Allen) who lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, and 'The Twins' Susan and Sandra (Riley) Mead, who live here in the UK.

Eileen wrote: "Well! It was the best time ever! The twins (Sandra and Susan) and I had seen one another spasmodically over the years but Eileen and I hadn't met up since we were 21 ( which was - gulp - 39 years ago). It was unforgettable. It was if no time had elapsed at all. We had a huge laugh together - it could not have been more perfect. The twins and I celebrated our 60th (another gulp!) while we were there. We've all arranged to meet again in 5 years time, if we can wait that long!"

It's fantastic to see that the spirit of our old school and the friendships formed there was celebrated by four old friends from three of the four corners of the world.

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Obituary - Phil Orchard

We've been informed that it was Phil's wish that he didn't want a funeral so, in accordance with his wishes, his nearest and dearest are planning a party to celebrate his life instead. A provisional date has been set of Saturday, 16th July at his home in Leeds, Yorkshire. All will be welcome but the organisers will probably have to ask for confirmation of numbers wishing to attend a little nearer the date. More details will be posted to our Facebook page when they become available.

Phil endured ill health for many years, and recently underwent a double lung transplant which appeared, initially, to have been very successful. Phil was cheerfully looking forward to a full recovery, but, unfortunately, luck didn't bring him that recovery and he passed away during the morning of Tuesday, 21st. June 2016.

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The Moseley School of Art 2016 Venice Reunion

It’s nearly time for us to depart for our reunion in Venice!

NB:  If you’re NOT travelling via Monarch flight ZB5480 from Birmingham on the 28th. June, please let me know so that I can advise you on transfers etc.

As you know, Wendy and I have visited Venice each year for the last ten years, so, while we don’t know everything there is to know about the island and it’s treasures, we certainly know enough to help you to get the most from our Reunion trip. Whether you want to explore on your own or join us for all or any part of our flexible itinerary, you’re going to have a great trip.

We’ll all want to do and see different things during our three days but some will, I know, want to do things with Wendy and me, so we’ve put together an outline itinerary of things that Wendy and I will be doing – please feel free to join us or do your own thing. We don’t want you to feel restricted in any way from doing what you’d like to do.

Tuesday 28th. June:

Transfer from Marco Polo Airport direct to our hotel on Venice (approx. 20km.) via Water Taxi in groups of six or eight. Approximate charge 35 Euro pp. payable in cash at time.

Following check-in, unpack and comfort break:

     Purchase 3-day Vaporetto (Waterbus) Pass (unlimited walk-on walk-off)
     Vaporetto ride – Grand Canal
     Visit to the basilica of Santa Maria Della Salute
     Light lunch at local cafe
     Visit to St. Marks Square
     Visit to church of San Giorgio Maggiore and its Campagnile (belltower). Pay for elevator ride to top – fantastic views of island.
     Return to hotel in time for rest break before preparing for dinner at 7.30pm at Mario’s - a local fish restaurant, or restaurant of your   choice.

Wednesday 29th. June:    

Early Start – Breakfast / depart hotel at 7.45am

Gondola Ride (6 persons per gondola, negotiated best rate on day)

     Visit to St. Mark’s Square
     St. Mark’s Basilica (free entry, charge for optional extras)
     Light lunch
     L’Accademia Art Gallery
     Return to hotel at teatime to allow for rest break before preparing for Reunion Dinner at 7 for 7.30pm
     Reunion Dinner: Please see below *
Thursday 30th. June:         

Breakfast / depart hotel 8.30am

     Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace)
     Light lunch
     Whatever you fancy (Rialto Shopping Area / Murano Glass Factory Tour / Other Place of Interest)
     Dinner 7.30pm at restaurant TBD or restaurant of your choice
Friday 1st. July:                   

Breakfast / depart hotel at time to be confirmed

Transfer from hotel to Marco Polo Airport (approx. 20km.) via Water Taxi in groups of six or eight. Approximate charge 35 Euro pp. payable in cash at time.

* The Reunion Dinner: will take place at our hotel on Wednesday 29th. June, with us meeting in the garden with drinks from 5.30pm, sitting down for our dinner at 7pm for 7.30pm. The food at the hotel is very good. We’ve been offered a suggested menu choice of three dishes - meat, fish and vegetarian:

1. Meat Dish

Maltagliata Fresh Pasta
With Veal Ragout, Pecorino Cheese and Truffle Aroma

Irish Beef Cut
With Braised Radicchio, Balsamic Vinegar and Roasted Potatoes

Water and Coffee (Wine not included)

2. Fish Dish

Tomato Gazpacho
With Roasted Scallops and Wafer Parma Ham

Shi Drum
Mediterranean Sauce with Cherry Tomatoes, Capers and Olives

Water and Coffee (Wine not included)

3. Vegetarian Dish

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

With Mousse of Burrata Cheese

Potato Dumpling

With Vegetable Ragout and Smoked Ricotta

Water and Coffee (Wine not included)

Please remember to bring your essentials:

o Monarch booking printout
o Hotel booking printout
o Passport plus colour photocopy
o EHIC card
o Travel insurance certificate
o ATOL certificate printout (from your booking at Monarch website)
o Personal Meds
o Cash – Euro / Sterling
o Emergency Rainwear
o Shawls / scarves - Dress code for religious buildings is that women must cover shoulders and waist to knee
o Sun protection / Mosquito repellent / Electrical adaptors


It’s a good idea to download the Google map of Venice to your phone or tablet while here in the UK.

Tripadvisor has an excellent range of guides to Venice – worth checking them out before leaving.

We’ll meet at Birmingham Airport next Tuesday and we’ll stay together until we reach the Hotel Sant’Elena, Venice.

Questions? Just drop us a line at the email address link above.

We’re looking forward to seeing you for a super trip!

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Newton Stewart Community Hospital

We have received a very warm letter of gratitude from the management of the hospital for the cheque we forwarded on behalf of the members of the Moseley School of Art Association as a donation in memory of the highly respected former MSA teacher Dr. John Swift.



The Late Dr. John Swift

John passed away on Friday, 20th. May 2016 at Newton Stewart Community Hospital, a short distance from his home at Garlieston, Dumfries and Galloway. The cause of his passing was Bronchial Pneumonia, although he had suffered frailty for some time having grieved over the death of his wife, Jacquie on the 23rd. January 2013.

John's funeral service took place at 12pm on Wednesday the 1st. June at Roucan Loch Crematorium, Collin, Dumfries & Galloway, DG1 4JF.

If anyone would like to make a donation in memory of John, please send cheques made payable to ''Newton Stewart Endowments', ref. Dr. John Swift 20.05.16 to Marcus at John's former home address:

Seaside House, 2 South Street, Garlieston, Newton Stewart DG8 8BH

Given the contribution that Dr. Swift made to our school and the early development of the Moseley School of Art Association, a donation of £100.00 was made in gratitude on behalf of the subscribing members of the Association in lieu of a floral tribute.

Having agreed to write a eulogy for John Swift's funeral, I thought it more appropriate that someone who had actually been taught by John should write the eulogy on behalf of ALL former students, rather than just the members of the Association.

I invited Dave Allen to do this, knowing how highly he regarded John as a teacher, and his eulogy, together with many others, was duly read out at the service by Marcus, John's eldest son. The eulogy (reproduced below) was very well received. Marcus has described the funeral as a hard but excellent day, with a number of people reciting poetry and personal tributes from friends and former colleagues.

Marcus asked that the family's gratitude be passed to Dave and the other contributors, also for the donation to John's chosen charity (above) by members of the Moseley School of Art Association.

Eulogy for Dr. John Swift by Dave Allen:

"John Swift, teacher and Head of Arts and Crafts at Moseley Art School, Birmingham, and subsequently Emeritus Professor of Art Education at The University of Central England, was a man who’s work impacted many lives. I am writing as one of those individuals, but I hope this resonates with many others who knew him.

John Swift was a maverick. If that sounds like a disrespectful thing to say, it is not.

Maverick, noun:
"An unorthodox or independent-minded person. Synonyms: individualist, nonconformist, free spirit, unorthodox person, unconventional person, original, trendsetter, bohemian…".

When he taught you it felt like you were being taught by a bloke, a great bloke, who had found himself teaching. He spoke with great authority and gravitas about Art and the arts, without adopting the conventions of most teachers and he didn’t react like most teachers would. There’s a certain amount of acting in teaching and students know this. Yet we were confronted by a man who didn’t seem to be acting. And, far from following a conventional teacher-actor approach he seemed to think from first principles on just about everything. We hung on his every word. My first reaction when I heard of his recent passing was blurted out on social media:

“It wasn’t just that he was funny, drank his whisky, smoked his Gauloises and was a generally great bloke that I liked John Swift. Like Robert Hughes, he talked about Art in a direct and no nonsense way, an intellectual we were lucky enough to have as Art teacher and head of Art at Moseley Art School. A massive role model.”

Others said:

“Expressing a three dimensional form on a flat picture plane possessed him and he passed this onto us.” (Phil Orchard)

“I always remember his odd socks!” (Deborah Dormer)

“Monthly crits at school with John swift were an institution. All art work was pinned up around his big room to the left of the main staircase. He allowed us students to be casual for this, as if for some ordeal. We were allowed to sit on the desks for the plenary discussion. A characteristic little cough and a swing of the leg could indicate that he was not going to be very complimentary about the homework done for the for the crit. You always got good advice about your work and it was usually spot on. He was a plain speaking, fair minded thoroughly decent guy.” (Cate Hadley)

“He turned a blind eye to us being in the pub at lunch times.” (Dave Mattock)

“Although we were an art school, most of my early music education was through John. Rounds (Viva la Musicaaaaaah) and the odd madrigal.” (Ross Moore)

“I loved listening to tales of his life in Sheffield I remember him telling us about the steel mills and how if anyone fell in the vats of molten steel they would be pushed under. Gruesome, but a great diversion when you're supposed to be working!” (Antonia Ajao Burrows)

“Due to the teachings of John Swift somewhere between applied art, history of art and art theory a switch turned on in my brain and the whole world exploded: a great gift he bestowed on me and many others.” (Maria Cataldo)

“He introduced me and many others to folk music at MSA and the Jug of Punch Folk Club in Digbeth.” (Dave Mattock)

“My memory is that he was the first person to show that it’s possible to have a passion for painting. He also allowed us to think outside the confines and restraints of traditional work and be "cool". I always wanted to be Bryan Ferry. My brother always wanted to be John Swift. He showed a sense of relaxation, always had a roll up on the go; the first teacher that you could call John rather than Sir. Our group used to spend most of the theory lessons counting his little cough after each sentence.” (Rob Allen)

His unique approach combined with a huge intellect is a compelling combination. Moseley Art School was already on the map of pioneering teaching methods, as seen in the work of Marion Richardson, and John Swift was perfectly suited to MSA environment. He told me that he would not teach us to pass the
exam, but to be good at Art: he was right – the exam grades and success of students is the stuff of legend.

One of his last publications was An Illustrated History of Moseley School of Art: Art Education in Birmingham 1800-1975 (2004), a project had wanted to undertake when approached by Graeme Collins of The Moseley School of Art Association.

Through my years at Art College I still referred to him as much as to my lecturers, taking my work to his house and getting private ‘crits’. And then we’d often have a drink and a long conversation into the night. This was typical of him. He stayed in touch with his students and attended their degree shows, even after he had moved into the world of academia.

“He encouraged me in my love of Renaissance art and was totally self-effacing when I spoke to him in recent years about the book on MSA's history! He clearly remembered me after 35 years. A lovely human being.” (Susie Venable)

I’ve been teaching for a long time now, and still, when pondering an issue, I ask myself what would John Swift have thought about this? Not everybody has the opportunity to touch the lives of so many others, and not many are capable of doing it in the way John Swift did: an artist, an intellectual and a maverick".

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2016 Reunion and Exhibition of Works - Update

Additional Exhibition Prize We are delighted to announce that former student BRIAN BAILEY ('46) and his wife Valerie have once again very generously donated $150 to the Association to be used as an additional prize in our exhibition this Sunday. Both Brian and Valerie have had health problems recently and I'm sure that all our members will join us in thanking them for their generosity, and wishing them a speedy recovery. Brian is pictured (left) at his recent Reunion attendance.

Thanks to all who are helping to make our 2016 Reunion & Exhibition special! We now have 14 exhibitors bringing works including former teachers Bob Ashby, Barbara Faulkner (Woodward) and our former Exhibitions Secretary Pam Headford (Gilbert). We already have a great attendance pre-registered and it's going to be a meeting to remember. Thanks go to all those members around the country and around the world who have wished us success and have forwarded their apologies for not being able to attend - a full update on proceedings following the meeting will be posted as always.

2016 Reunion and Exhibition of Works - Final Call!

FINAL CALL for the Annual Reunion this Sunday at Kings Heath Cricket Club, 247 Alcester Rd South, Birmingham B14 6DT this coming Sunday, 15th. May 2016.

We have to get the final order to the caterers by 6pm this Friday. If you haven't yet confirmed your intention to attend, it's essential that you PLEASE PRE-REGISTER so that security badges may be prepared and the catering order arranged - failure to pre-register could result in long waits. Please email your pre-registration HERE stating your full name, years attended MSA and the full name of the person attending with you.

Admission is for Members Only - your subscription fee may be paid at the door and will entitle you to admission and lunch for yourself and one other person. If you have any doubts as to your eligibility for membership, just email us.

The doors will open at 10am, and coffee and biscuits will be available. Our (brief) AGM will commence at 11am and our super lunch will be served at 1pm. The bar will be open from 12.00. We already have a great attendance pre-registered, and we're looking forward to a very full day filled with friendship and happiness among our members.

Everyone attending will receive a Moseley Art School keyfob, and copies of Professor John Swift's 'History of the Moseley School of Art' will be available at the specially discounted price of £12 to members (one copy only per member). Payment of your membership subscription of £17.50 entitles you to free admission and a sumptuous lunch for yourself and one guest. You can pay at the door by cash or credit card.

You'll be in good company - there'll be former pupils present from every era of the school, and there are no strangers . . . only friends you have yet to meet.

We're also likely to have our highest ever number of exhibits thanks to our hardworking Exhibition Coordinators Cate Hadley and Jan Williams. It's going to be a great day! We look forward to seeing YOU at Kings Heath Cricket Club for a very happy day full of renewed friendships and happy memories of our old school, no matter what years you attended.

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You can contact us here:







The Moseley School of Art Association is an association formed to:

Promote and maintain, through exhibitions, reunions and other means personal contact between all former pupils and staff members of the Moseley Secondary School of Art, Moseley Road, Birmingham B12 England

Promote the activities of members who are active in any of the fields of art and the crafts, by means of publicity, sponsorship and procurement of artist materials at discounted rates




© Graeme Llewellyn Collins 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

No part of this website may be reproduced, transmitted or stored in a file retrieval system without obtaining prior explicit permission from the author, who retains intellectual copyright..




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