Prior to moving to The Reddings, in October 1883, Moseley played at three possibly four other venues, however, it is uncertain exactly where some of these grounds were and for what period they were used.
When a group of young Havelock Cricket Club cricketers decided, in October 1873, to form a football club one of their first problems would have been finding somewhere to play. The obvious solution would have been to use the cricket club’s ground in Trafalgar Road, Moseley, however, in those days of prolonged scrummaging the cricketers probably did not like the idea of having their turf churned up during the winter.
A field was therefore obtained in St. Paul’s Road, Balsall Heath though where exactly in the road this was situated is uncertain. At that time the Pickwick Cricket Club’s ground was in St. Paul’s Road but they would probably not have welcomed the footballers for the same reason as their colleagues at Havelock. Contemporary maps do, however, show another field adjacent to Pickwick’s ground, which may well have been where the Havelock Football Club took up residence. This field was situated close to the modern junction between St. Paul’s Road and Woodfield Road next to the railway embankment.
Interestingly and also confusingly Birmingham City Council, in recent years, has laid out a small park in St. Paul’s Road called Pickwick Park but this is at the opposite end of the road from where the cricket ground was situated.
Another confusing fact is that in most accounts of Moseley Football Club’s history this first ground is referred to as St. Paul’s Road, Camp Hill even though it is actually in Balsall Heath and is some distance from Camp Hill. Confusion may have arisen because the local railway station, which was nearby, was called Camp Hill & Balsall Heath.
Havelock Football Club remained in St. Paul’s Road for the whole of the 1873/74 season but it is not certain where the club’s home was during the following season, its first under the name of Moseley Football Club. This uncertainly is because in those days football, of both codes, received scant coverage in the local press and when Moseley were mentioned their home ground was simply referred to as ‘Balsall Heath.’
There is no doubt about the club’s home ground in 1875/76 because the lists of forthcoming football fixtures published in the Birmingham Daily Gazette describe the ground as ‘adjoining Camp Hill Station.’ This was the station mentioned above and should not be confused with Camp Hill goods station which was further up the line immediately behind Stratford Place.
Maps of the time, although not naming the ground, clearly show an enclosure adjacent to the station on the southern corner of Highgate Road and Moseley Road. The position of the ground would have been a great advantage when trying to arrange fixtures with visiting teams as the main entrance to the station was on the opposite or northern corner of the two roads.
This seems to have remained Moseley’s home until 1878/79 although once again it is difficult to be certain because after 1875/76 the local newspapers referred to the club’s home ground as either ‘Balsall Heath’ or simply ‘the Moseley ground.’ It may be that there was no reason to describe the exact situation of the ground in the fixture lists because everybody knew where it was!
By the 1878/79 season Moseley had definitely moved to a new ground because the Birmingham Daily Gazette now listed games as taking place at Oxford Road, Moseley. Having described itself as Moseley Football Club for the previous four seasons the club was now finally playing in Moseley. Yet again the situation of the ground in Oxford Road is unclear and on this occasion contemporary maps are of no assistance.
During the following season the fixture lists once again show Moseley home games as taking place at Oxford Road. Thereafter the situation again becomes unclear as without fail newspaper reports of home games simply record the matches as taking place ‘at Moseley.’
In an article in Rugby Football in 1923 the ground used immediately prior to The Reddings was ambiguously described as being ‘to the front of Moseley Hall, in Alcester Road, on the opposite side to the present Reddings area.’ Depending on how one interprets that description it could refer to Oxford Road or to a ground on the other side of what was later Reddings Road.
There are a number of points to be made about the above description. Firstly, it can be read as meaning either that Moseley Hall was in Alcester Road or that the rugby ground was. Secondly, prior to the building up of the area the whole of that side of Alcester Road was known as the Reddings or Riddings and not just the area where Moseley played from 1883.
Thirdly, if the club did in fact play on a field on the other side of what became Reddings Road it would, like The Reddings ground, have been part of the Taylor Estate therefore what would have been the reason for moving a few hundred yards to another part of the Estate. Lastly, if the club did move from Oxford Road to a new ground there was absolutely no mention in the local press, which would presumably have been necessary to inform spectators of where the games were taking place.
Therefore, on the balance of probabilities it would seem that Moseley moved from Oxford Road directly to The Reddings and that the ground in front of Moseley Hall is something of a ‘red herring.’
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