Arthur Henry Foster
About the Trust
The Trust owes its start to Mr. Foster who died on 14th November 1928. He was a well-known solicitor, senior partner in the firm of Foster, Pettitt & Simcox (now merged with a larger Birmingham firm). Mr. Foster was a wealthy man - a bachelor - and his Will was proved in January 1929 at the, then, huge sum of £145,000 net.
At his death, Mr. Foster lived at "The Moorlands", Green Road and, apart from other property in Birmingham, his Sarehole Estate not only included his home but all the land from Green Road south to Cole Bank Road and including Sarehole Mill, a recreation ground bequeathed to the City of Birmingham, the house known as "Millmead" and all the land and houses in Gracewell Road, up to and including Wake Green Road to the West. He also built and owned the 6 houses known as "Gracewell Cottages" (256-266 Wake Green Road) now converted into 12 flats, with what was then a large orchard and stabling to the rear. J.R.R.Tolkien and his family lived at 264 Wake Green Road from 1896-1900.
Mr Foster’s nephew and partner, Mr. G.A.C. Pettitt, was the principal executor and first chairman of the Trust and the principal beneficiary. Mr Foster left his e executors with full authority to apply or amend his instructions for the foundation of the Trust. He left a maximum sum of £30,000 (reduced to £18,000) and sufficient land for the erection of the Homes, which comprised, in effect, what is now occupied by the 16 bungalows, Trust Office and main warden's house. The Trust was set up on the basis of the building of Homes for indigent or necessitous spinster or widowed ladies and also in putting "Gracewell Cottages" in repair for such use.