The acquisition of the community facilities by Moor Pool Heritage Trust and the development of the Education programme at Moor Pool would not have been possible without the generous donations received from numerous individuals as well as grant giving organisations.
Huge thanks is given to the following funders:
The Elford Trust
The John Feeney Trust
Lillie Johnson Charitable Trust
Garfield Weston Foundation
Harry Payne Trust
Eric W Vincent Trust
C.B. and H.H Taylor 1984 Trust
Heritage Lottery Fund
A Tale of Two Philanthropists
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” (Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)
Moor Pool has been privileged to benefit from the support of two key philanthropists, separated by 100 years of history but united by similar values and visions: John Sutton Nettlefold & Bob Mitchell.
At the turn of the 20th century, Birmingham was facing the ‘best of times’ as the industrial revolution saw our city become a powerhouse of industrialisation and manufacturing. Yet, the living conditions and poor housing stock in the city meant that for many workers it was the ‘worst of times’ – poverty, poor health and limited life expectancy were the norm.
John Sutton Nettlefold was both a businessman and a visionary. He recognised that if Birmingham wanted to become an industrial powerhouse, it needed access to a substantial but healthy workforce. As a businessman, he realised that poor housing and quality of life in the slum areas (the “back-to-backs”) was hindering the potential of the city. As a Unitarian, he also had a strongly held commitment to improving the quality of people’s lives.
Nettlefold’s philanthropic vision for Moor Pool was to purchase 54 acres of land to develop as a Garden Suburb. The Estate would be run as a co-operative, whereby ordinary people would have a share in a healthy thriving community. In 1912, Nettlefold completed his vision and created the legacy that is now the Moor Pool Garden Suburb Estate.
Fast forward over 100 years to 2012, and Moor Pool found itself facing a crossroads. An opportunity to secure the future of the Estate for the Community presented itself as the key community assets of the Estate came up for sale – the best of times were beckoning! However, raising funds for the £325k price tag required to secure the assets presented a sizeable task – and the worst scenario would be loss of the assets to private ownership.
Bob Mitchell is a local Birmingham businessman – like Nettlefold, he is an industrialist and visionary. Bob became aware of the fundraising campaign launched by Moor Pool Heritage Trust and watched the efforts of the community to raise the necessary funds.
Recognising the scale of the target, Bob decided to quietly offer to support the campaign. Much like Nettlefold, Bob had been successful in his business enterprises, and felt his success could benefit others. Having accessed the facilities around Moor Pool when his children were growing up, Bob understood the role they played in the Moor Pool community. He wanted to help the campaign.
Quite simply, Bob Mitchell stepped forward and offered to bridge the gap in funding if the community fundraising and grant funding fell short. This generous philanthropic offer enabled Moor Pool Heritage Trust to secure the community assets on the Moor Pool Estate for community and public benefit going forward.
In 2014, Bob Mitchell picked up the baton to ensure that John Sutton Nettlefold’s legacy of a healthy thriving community, based around the Moor Pool Garden Suburb facilities will continue for generations to come. Without Bob’s generosity, the heritage – and heart – of Moor Pool would not be here today for the community and public to enjoy.
Our gratitude goes to both John Sutton Nettlefold and Bob Mitchell – both demonstrating the power of business, philanthropy and community working together.
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done..” (Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)