Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteGreater Birmingham Union


Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteGreater Birmingham Union


The New Birmingham Union

Birmingham, Aston and Kings Norton were amalgamated to form the Greater Birmingham Poor Law Union.

Having secured its own Act in 1783 Birmingham formed in effect a separate union and remained a single parish union throughout the 19th century. 76 In 1910 the Birmingham Union was amalgamated with those of Aston, Kings Norton and Northfield and part of Solihull. 77 Thereafter the County Borough Council appointed the overseers, who became almost identical with the members of the finance committee. 78 Under the Local Government Act of 1929 79 the administration of the poor laws was wholly transferred to the County Borough.

The Corporation became responsible for the administration of public assistance and of sixteen institutions containing 6,000 patients. Seven of these institutions, including the Birmingham Infirmary, known as Western House, with 1,878 patients,37 and Erdington House with 1,807 patients, were to be administered by the new Public Assistance Committee, and six, including Dudley Road Hospital (the Infirmary Hospital) with 884 patients, and Selly Oak Hospital with 550 patients, by the Public Health, Maternity and Welfare Committee, becoming general and not poor law Hospitals. The medical, health, and welfare services of Birmingham were radically reconstructed by the National Health Service and National Insurance Acts of 1946 and the National Assistance Act of 1948.

76 St Martin's and St Philip's were not separated for poor law purposes.
77 L.G.B. Prov. Order (1910) Conf. Act (No. 13), 1&2 Geo. V, c.36 (local act).
78 Briggs, Hist. Birm. 340
79 19 & 20 Geo. V, c.17.
37 Renamed the Summerfield Hospital, 1954: B.R.L. Scrapbooks: Hospitals.
Quoted from the Victoria County History, Warwickshire, volume 7,
page 323, by permission of the General Editor.

The Union Offices were located on Edmund Street, Birmingham, and the Board of Guardians met there each third Wednesday of each month. The Clerk and Solicitor to the Guardians was Sir James Curtis K.B.E. 

Institutions within the Greater Birmingham Union in 1925
The House, Western Road
The House, Erdington
The House, Selly Oak
Hospital, Dudley Road
Hospital, Selly Oak
Cottage Homes, Marston Green
Cottage Homes, Fentham Road, Erdington
Children's Homes, Shenley Fields, Northfield
Monyhull Colony, Kings Heath
Working Boys Home, 205 Vauxhall Road
Girls' Home, Riversdale, 238 Bristol Road, Edgbaston
Receiving Home, Summer Hill Terrace
Convalescent Homes, Wassell Grove, Hagley and Oaklands, Droitwich.

Copyright Rossbret 1999-2005. All rights reserved.

If you have any information or photographs that you can add to this site, please email

Page updated March 12, 2008