Internet marketing consultant Shamus Mahmood’s fast-moving high tech world has not prevented his spotting a precious link with an age when communication was a great deal more leisurely.
And the evidence, which he has presented to the Moseleians Association, not only fills a gap in its records of the school going back 90 years but is now one of the most important and most mysteriously sourced additions to its archive.
The heavily-bound item Shamus persuaded an old friend and another former pupil of Moseley School to part with is the original Admissions Register, still in good condition, of all pupils joining the school from the time it opened in 1923 until 1928.
Written in old fashioned pen and ink in a clear, stylish hand, the numerous pages of the volume list names, addresses, age, home situation and learning performance of several hundred students admitted to the school in its early years and even records the occasional boy leaving due to misbehaviour or family circumstances.
We can visualise Lt Col EH Robinson, as headmaster, perusing the entries as he sought to build up the reputation of the school and asking staff to record yet another assessment of boys who were to become some of the best educated in the city.
Shamus, a pupil from 1983-89, is unable to throw any light on where the tome has lain, or when it first disappeared from the school and to where, although one theory is that during WW2 it may have been placed outside the building and never been returned.
He says he was both excited and mystified when, on his usual week-end return to Birmingham from his work in London, he met a a personal solicitor friend of long-standing and ex-Moseley pupil, who said he had something in the cellar of his home which might be of interest.
“I’ve been sworn not to give his name but he indicated he had had this for several years, having acquired it from another person, who in turn had received it from another,” said Shamus. “It came completely out of the blue and eventually I persuaded him that if he would allow me to have the book I would see it found its way back to the right people.”
Shamus immediately sent a late-night text to retired teacher Rod Ling, who he knew to be a fellow member of the Association and arrangements were made to hand over the treasured discovery to chairman and archive team leader Richard Cobb.
In thanking Shamus, Richard said: “It is an amazing artefact which takes us back to the beginnings of the school in a way few other documents in our collection are able to do. It will be displayed in pride of place. We just wonder if anyone at the school in that period reading this is able to get in touch.”