An original spade used by Margaret Nettlefold to cut the first sod at the local Moor Pool Estate has been donated to the University of Birmingham’s heritage attraction, the Winterbourne House and Garden, by the current owner of the residue of the Estate, Grainger plc.

Set to take pride of place in Nettlefold’s former home, the spade will be displayed alongside other historical artefacts championing a great figure of Birmingham’s history. The Moor Pool Estate, Harborne, was founded in 1907 by Margaret’s husband John, the first chairman of the Birmingham Housing Committee, in an effort to improve the lives of city dwellers, and Winterbourne House was built to accommodate the burgeoning Nettlefold family.

John’s family made their fortune in screw manufacturing and local firm Guest, Keen and Nettlefold (GKN) can trace its origins to John’s business. The Moor Pool Estate was built to benefit local people, not just the workers of the firm and comprised of 500 low-cost, low-density houses, built to combat the dreadful housing conditions facing many inhabitants of the city at that time. It had the feel of a garden city – full of light and air – something which John and his supporters thought were crucial for healthy children and adults.

The team at Winterbourne are thrilled to welcome the spade to their collection. Curator Lee Hale explains:

“We are delighted to be able to display the spade after Grainger plc kindly donated it. The Moor Pool Estate features heavily in our ‘study’ exhibition room and this addition will be the icing on the cake for our collection.

“Now visitors to Winterbourne who are both familiar and unfamiliar with Moor Pool can learn more about the history of the estate and see the commemorative spade on display alongside many other items which bring the story of the family and their work to life.”

A formal presentation of the spade to representatives from Winterbourne will take place on Friday 8 April at 11am by representatives of Grainger Plc accompanied by Mr Rob Sutton, Chairman of Moor Pool Residents Association.

Notes to Editors

Photos of the donation ceremony, the spade and of the sod cutting in 1907 are available on request.

For more information please view or call 0121 414 3003.

Winterbourne Press Office

Anna Williams Tel: 0121 414 9113

Grainger plc Press Office

Kurt Mueller Tel. 075 84 235 088