Mason's Orphanage

Erdington, Birmingham


Josiah Mason made his fortune from making pen nibs in central Birmingham and then gave most of his fortune to building and running an orphanage in North Birmingham.

A massive building, it could house some 400 children and included a school that was one of the best in the area.

A print of this image is available from
our Photo Shop ref CCH 179

The Orphanage opened in 1868 and closed in the 1960s and was demolished in 1964 to make way for a large number of houses.

Deeds of Love


The first history of

Sir Josian Mason's Orphanage

  based on the memories of children

who lived there.


What was it really like to live there?

Why did Josiah build it?

Why was it so different from other

Victorian orphanages?







A boy's story of living in the Orphanage


John Mutlow was Boy 31 - the number given to him when he went in Josiah Mason's Orohanage in 1938.


These memories, written when he was in his 90s, tell the story of John's time there

- the food, the sports, the staff, the mischief, and the War raging outside.




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Sir Josiah Mason's School


We have been sent this 1936 school photograph which was found rolled up and forgotten. We also have a colourised below - in three sections. Many thanks are due to Andrew for doing this for us.





When children left Mason's Orphanage in its earlier years, each was given a little book entitled 'Parting Words' which gave some spiritual and some practical advice and reassured the children that


"Now that you are leaving your old house,

I hope that you will not imagine that our interest in you will cease".


Pat Evans has th copy that was given to her Great Uncle Henry Hutchings in 1904 and has very kindly photographed it for this site.




As far as I am aware, any existing older records are now held in Birmingham Archives based in The Library of Birmingham. You can contact the Archives through this (external) link 


To find details of your time in care and case files, download this form and include details of when you were in the Orphanage Subject Access Request form Send this to 


Birmingham City Council

Corporate Information Governance Team

PO Box 16366


B2 2YY




Please also see details of your rights in terms of accessing records by visiting this page.