Places of Worship
St Saviours Church. St Saviours Road, B8 1DB
In 1850 the Church of England anticipated the spiritual needs of the growing population of Saltley and built its first parish church in the area. It was consecrated with the name, Saint Saviour, meaning Holy Saviour. This 800 seater, neo gothic building cost £6,000. Five hundred pounds of this was donated by Joseph Wright, the area’s largest employer, a grant of £300 was given by the Church Commission and the rest was funded by Lord Norton. The church prospered and it was recorded that there were occasions when there were not enough seats!
Lord Norton’s son, Father James Adderley, was the vicar of St. Saviour’s from 1908. He gave up his wealthy life style and chose to live and work among the working class and poor of Saltley.
During the 1960’s the congregation of St. Saviour’s began to include people from the Caribbean who were moving into the area to work in the many factories.
In August 2014 the vicar of St. Saviour’s is also the vicar of St. Mark’s Church in Washwood Heath which was originally a daughter church of St. Saviour’s. Despite his many commitments traditional Mass, with incense, is sung every Sunday morning, and a shorter Mass is spoken on Tuesday mornings and Wednesday evenings. There is a Sunday School and social activities are supported by the congregation.
Zia ul Quran Masjid. St Saviours Road, B8 1ER
When looking at the Zia ul Quran Organisation it’s very easy to forget the humble beginnings and equally overlook the hard work and dedication it has taken in establishing a place of worship for the growing Muslim Community of Alum Rock.
The original Zia ul Quran Masjid was established in 1973 at 220 St Saviours Road, situated over the road from the current Masjid location. In 1974, the adjoining property, 218 St Saviours Road was also purchased with the aim of converting both properties into one masjid.
With a continually growing congregation, a decision on further expansion was again taken in the 1980’s. This led to the opening of the now existing masjid in 1989. The continuing development and expansion of the masjid and its facilities was and has been a direct result of the hard work and dedication of the masjids committee members, many of whom had newly arrived in the UK, spoke little or no English and had little financial backing. Despite these obstacles the committee worked tirelessly and with harmony to build what is now one of the main places of worship for the Muslim community in and around Saltley.
Emmanuel Church. 253 alum Rock ,B8 3BJ
The land on which the church is built was donated by Lord Norton. When enough money had been raised to build a church Lord Norton himself laid the foundation stone on April 18th 1914. During the 1950’s congregations of more than 200 people were not uncommon and the church had flourishing youth organizations. The building survived two world wars but by the 1970’s the walls on the east side of the church began to lean outwards and the leaks in the roof became so bad that often the prayer desk had to be moved to avoid the Minister being rained on. The £3,000 raised by the congregation was supplemented by Birmingham City Council and a new building was consecrated in 1980. This building, which still stands, was a base for Christian worship and social projects including an after school club for children whose parents were working and a lunch club for retired people. The community projects came to an end in 2002. Currently morning worship is held every Sunday at 10.15 and a Bible study group meet each Wednesday at 10.30.
Our Lady of the Rosary Church. Bridge Rd, B8 3BB
In 1914 Belgian refugees arrived in Birmingham. As there was no Catholic church in Saltley, a Belgian priest, Fr. Durieun, said Mass in a room above Barclays Bank at the corner of Washwood Heath and Alum Rock Road. Funds were collected for a large army hut on ‘’the Black Patch’’ and Mass was then said there by Fr. Gateley, the first rector.
During the following years several priests came and went until 1930 and the arrival of Fr. Power who set himself the task of building a church. Presbytery and school. Work began in 1931 and a very special foundation stone, the Sacred Stone from Nazareth, was found. Fr. Power obtained this by approaching the Holy Land and getting permission from both the Franciscan Guardian of Nazareth and the Mufti of Jerusalem. The church and Presbytery were opened in 1932 the primary school and the secondary school were opened in 1937.
On 18th November 1940 65 firebombs were dropped around the building and later that month the school and presbytery were also hit. On 5th December a 1000lb. bomb destroyed the side of the church and two 500lb. bombs hit the front. To add to the damage a land mine ruined the north side and with it the Sacred Heart window. During 1942 on the anniversary of the last bombing rebuilding began, in April 1943 the roof was finally completed and in May the first Mass of the newly built church was said. The present primary school building was opened in 1958 following public demand for a Catholic school in Saltley. In 2012 more than 400 non Christian children attended the school.
The Community of St. John the Divine. Saint John’s House, 652 Alum Rock Road, B8 3NS
The Community of St. John the Divine is an Anglican Religious Community. ‘’Within the ethos of healing, wholeness and reconciliation, we exercise a ministry of hospitality for people to come for times of rest, retreat and renewal and to share in the life and worship of the Community. We seek to offer a ministry of spiritual accompaniment and pastoral care and to respond to the needs of the poor and marginalized’’.
The building now known as St. John’s House was originally Treaford Hall; William Ward sold the estates of Treaford Hall in 1850. The manor house stood on the north side of Alum Rock Road. In 1911 the house, known as the Moat House because it had a moat, became a convent of the Angelical Society of the Incarnation of the Eternal Son, which ran boys’ orphanages.
The sisters of The Community of St. John the Divine founded the first school of modern nursing in Britain in London in 1857. In 1976 The Mother House moved to Birmingham. Since 1996 all the sisters have been in Birmingham. The sisters continue to provide a service of hospitality, spiritual and pastoral care and amongst their other duties are currently offering food parcels to those who need them and a weekly ‘’Place of Welcome’, drop-in centre helping people facing isolation and loneliness build new relationships and contribute to the community.
Saltley Methodist Church. 140 Alum Rock Road, B8 1 HU
In the 1880’s Saltley was little more than a village in the Parish of Aston with a smithy and a few small shops. The only public buildings were St. Saviours Church and Saltley College, a Church of England Teacher Training College. As new houses were built Mr. John Morley, a preacher from Nechells, started a worshipping fellowship and a Sunday school. It opened on May 13th 1888 in the recreation room of Metropolitan Railway Carriage and Wagon Works, (The Met). A permanent place for the congregation was opened in 1893, but it was too small so it was extended and opened in 1905 as the building that can be seen now. The new building cost £4,500 and could seat 1000 people. The old part of the building continued to be used for Sunday school and for evening activities. During the week Birmingham Education Committee used this space as school premises. Like many other churches in Alum Rock, it was a social centre as well as a place for worship. The church organized The Brotherhood, a social group for men, and The Sisterhood for women, there was a mixed choir and a drama group with Boy Scouts and Girl Guides for the younger members of the congregation. The Sunday school had an annual outing, often to the sea-side, by special chartered train from Saltley Station in order to cope with the large number of children and their families. During the 60’s more and more people owned a car, so the organized outings eventually stopped. More and more people had a television and gradually some of the social activities died out. Currently morning worship is held every Sunday at 10.30, the sewing group, lead by a trained sewing teacher, meet on three days each week, Alum Rock Elders Support provides day care and a mens’ group meet each afternoon and evening for social activities. The premises are used by the local M.P., Liam Byrne, for his monthly advice bureau and ‘’Life in U.K.’’ which helps with teaching English. The church also welcomes local schools to share Easter and Christmas celebrations.
St Mary and St. John, now Pentecostal city Mission, 12, Naseby Rd. B8 3HE
This was originally St. John’s mission room in Couchman Road, an overflow from St. Saviour’s. A site was acquired for a permanent church in 1913 and its’ parish boundaries were taken from St. Saviour’s, St. Mark’s, Washwood Heath and St. Margaret’s, Ward End. This would indicate that the number of people attending the three churches warranted a new building to accommodate them all. The new church, built in brown brick was consecrated in 1935.
By 2010 the social mix of the area had changed a great deal and the vast majority of people who lived near the church were not Christian. Like many churches in the area at this time, the congregation was made up largely of people who used to live locally but now travelled to services. Local Authority cut-backs resulted in the closure of the pensioners support group that used the large meeting hall at the back of the church. For a while the church stood empty.
The church was re-opened in 2013 by The Pentecostal City Mission Church, often known as Birmingham City Mission. There are Sunday Services at 10.30, 11.30 and 6.30 and weekly meetings aimed at Prayer and Fasting and Missionary work and a Young Peoples Group.
Mohammedi Masjid. 24-36 Hartopp Road, B8 1TE.
Saltley Baptist Church. 53-55 George Arthur Road, B8 1LN.
Shahjalal Jami Masjid. 1-3 Ralph Road, B8 1NA.
Farooq-e-Azam Masjid. 74 College Road, B8 3TB