The Moorpool Estate in Bygone Days
Scans of photographs and postcards of the early days of the Moorpool Estate
Moor Pool's Olympic Torch
Did you know a Moor Pool resident designed an Olympic torch for the 1948 games?
With the 2012 Olympic Games only months away its interesting to recall a part Harborne and the Moor Pool Estate played in the 1948 XIV Olympics held in London. Besides the traditional sporting events which numbered 17, the Games also included art competitions. The Art Exhibition “Sport in Art " was opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, S.W.7, by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester on July 15th. The exhibition and the five art competitions were an integral part of the Olympic Games under the International Olympic Committee's regulations. A Fine Arts Committee comprising distinguished representatives from each of the several branches of art included in the Olympic Games was set up to make arrangements for the judging of the contests and the staging of the exhibition, which included many notable works which were not eligible for competition. It was in the ‘Applied Arts and Crafts’ sub-section of Painting and Graphic Art that Carless Avenue resident and noted silversmith Bernard Cuzner entered a design for an Olympic torch. The torch entitled ‘Silver Symbolic Torch’ was recorded in the official programme as achieving an Honourable Mention. This piece was commissioned by The Goldsmiths Company, the design comprising octagonal sides having chased panels of oak leaves and acorns and rose briars. Crowned leopards' heads decorated the base of the pierced and chased finial. The shaft was engraved. Bernard Cuzner born in Alcester in 1877 became an important figure in the history of silversmithing in Birmingham. Although originally he was apprenticed to his watchmaker father, on leaving school, he abandoned watchmaking after two years and went to work for a Birmingham Silver firm. Attending evening classes at the recently opened Vittoria Street School for jewellers and silversmiths under Robert Catterson Smith, who with Arthur Gaskin influenced his work during the early years. He began designing for Liberty's in about 1900 and various Liberty designs are attributed to him. In the year 1910 he was appointed head of the Metalwork Department at the Birmingham School of Art in Margaret Street a position he held until retirement in 1942. He was a passionate believer in the Arts and Crafts tradition of hand-working, and was greatly influenced by other Birmingham silversmiths such as Arthur Gaskin. He continued to work as a silversmith until his death in 1956.
1948 was the last time the Olympic art competitions were held, although since 1952, a non-competitive art and cultural festival has been associated with each Games. Picture of the torch courtesy of the Goldsmiths Company.
Planting the Willow Tree
Back in the early 1960's a group of children and adults planted the willow tree on the corner of Margaret Grove and Moor Pool Avenue. We don't have details of the date, or who was there, or why the tree was planted. If you can tell us more or identify those taking part please get in touch.