History of the Moor Pool Estate

The Moor Pool Estate was the vision of John Sutton Nettlefold, Chair of the Housing Committee in Birmingham. The architects who built the estate were Martin & Martin, who built around 500 houses over 54 acres between 1907 and 1912, the Hall itself completed in 1910. John Sutton Nettlefold became a key figure in the history of public housing in Birmingham, signalling the growing emergence of local government in the town planning process. 

john sutton nettlefold

“It is fortunately becoming more and more recognised every day that open spaces are necessary to the health of the town, as streets are to its traffic.” J S Nettlefold, 1908.

The estate has about 6 different property types but these are then also seperated further, under-going a wide variety of different treatments to add variety to the street. It would have been so easy to have built each house of the same type with the same format but instead houses side by side can be quite different. All of the houses were designed in the Arts and Crafts style, these buildings often included sculpture and carved or tiled decoration. Another defining feature of this style of architecture was an interest in the vernacular. Architects chose to use traditional styles and local materials to construct houses that would not conflict with their surroundings, but at the same time be original and contemporary for the time. 

An example of one of the designs: Moor Pool House type 4L

The Estate was designed around the existing pool with the heart of the estate centered round the Circle which is the location of the shops, Moor Pool Hall, Skittle Alley, Snooker Hall, community shops, fishing pond and allotments. Community facilities were always a fundamental element in the design of the Estate and as well as the institute, the nearby Moor Pool tennis courts and adjacent bowling green were built.

 It was initially a co-partnership housing scheme run by Harborne Tenants Ltd and tenants could buy shares with the intention that they would eventually manage the estate themselves as co-owners. The estate is now a designated conservation area.

“There must be better houses, more air, more gardens, and more spaces for playgrounds for children.” Dr Gore, 26th October 1907.

In his opening address at the sod cutting ceremony on the 26th October 1907, Dr William Gore said:

“They were perfectly conscious that the housing problem lay at the very root of social reform. There must be better houses, more room, more gardens and more open spaces for the children. The Harborne Tenants aspired to provide houses under these conditions within the means of workmen and artisans........These houses were to be suitable for bringing up healthy children and healthy men and women. It would be an example of town-planning........They had set an example of what could be done in the way of town planning on a voluntary basis. They were going to make an Edgbaston for the less wealthy class on that spot”.

Further information on the history of Moor Pool can be found in the following documents and links:

 Founding of Harborne Tenants - Extracts from the original prospectuses 1907-1909


More on the history of Moor Pool ...COMING SOON!