The Moseley School of Art Association



Edwin 'Moggy' Mason

Former Teacher


"I was born, like everyone else at a very early age in 1923; so yes, you can now work out my age. I was christened at Moseley as 'MOGGY' in 1946 - a name that I have been pleased to have ever since, until my grand children called me OPA. 
After flying with the R.A.F., I had a year to complete to gain my degree, after which I came to Moseley as a raw young teacher and stayed for sixteen years, enjoying every single minute. As you can imagine, I saw many staff changes; I could list them all and give my opinion of each of them but I will resist the temptation, and possible libel actions.
Many events stick in my mind. I wonder if you are you old enough to remember that the church next door had been bombed during the war ? No, I didn’t do it; I wasn’t that bad at flying. There were still some wooden beams spanning across the nave. Two Irish navvies sat on a beam and proceeded to saw one away. Yes they failed to notice that they sat the wrong side of the saw cut! They fell to their deaths during one of our school assemblies.
Do you remember the annual school plays, the entertainments we put on, the fashion shows?  I particularly remember Mrs. Bates, iron lady of the school canteen, who kept us all in order. She was a treasure.
Trams used to run past the school, clanking and making an awful noise. They took them away and ripped up the tram lines. It was only after they were ripped up that they remembered that they had left some vehicles in the depot by Trafalgar Road !!
I put pin-up boards on the walls and in the entrance hall. The head would not give me any money for wall plugs so I used new pencils instead which cost a lot more! We were then able to have an annual exhibition of our work. I was allowed £1.50 for decoration for the first show ! Later things became a bit more plentiful. I managed to lower the ceiling in the main art room with decorative panels. 

Talking of exhibitions, were you one of those who came with us to the 1951 Festival of Britain? That was some show. Then came the school visit to the Brussels International Exhibition. It was the first time that a school had flown abroad and we had to get special consent from the Birmingham Education Committee. I went round many travel agents to get a reasonable quote. In the end, after several saw the potential for publicity of running such a venture I got a wonderful price of £11-5p which included air fare, transport to and from the airport, and entrance to the Exhibition. BBC television filmed the outing.
The Viscount aircraft was introduced to take the public from Birmingham to London.  I knew that it held 54 passengers and thought that it couldn’t possibly be full every morning, so was able to negotiate a special price. I was allowed to take 15 students with me to London at a cost of 50p each, return. We did this several times. Arriving in London, we had a tour of Heathrow by bus, for free, and then took the tube to Westminster, and walked round all the usual sights. We went by boat to the Tower of London, then walked back to Westminster, took the tube to Heathrow and flew home. Meals included, it cost less than £1. None of the other passengers knew that we only paid 50p since we were treated as normal paying fares. We included visits to various exhibitions. Happy days!
The metalwork department produced a small silver cup. No one ever asked where the silver came from. Then we where asked to produce several silver trophies by the Education Committee. The first cup was made by Geoffrey Whiles who later became the Principal of Vittoria Street School of Silversmithing. Many students became well known artists. Some may remember Frank Shipway who went on to be a well known conductor and composer.    
'O' levels came at last to Moseley. ‘Socials’ every month during the winter months. One for the first and second years, followed by another for the third years. Happy days! I remember you all if not by name but in my mind and heart. Good wishes for the future.



( It is hoped that Moggy will allow me to obtain from him many more of his memories so that they may be uploaded - the above is Moggy's own first attempt at using a computer - not bad for a first attempt at the age of 83 ! Graeme Collins )              







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 12 England- promote the restoration and continued maintenance of the Moseley School of Art building, and

- to 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 discount rates

© Graeme Llewellyn Collins 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

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The Moseley School of Art Association 2003















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