The Old Contemptibles – Birmingham

As the sun slips away for the evening it is fitting that we come across The Old Contemptibles public house in Birmingham.

The Old Contemptibles - Birmingham

The Old Contemptibles - Birmingham

Positioned at 176 Edmund Street, close to Snow Hill railway station in Birmingham, the pub honours First World War heroes.

The history of the nickname starts with the formation of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on the 22nd February 1939, by the British government .

This new army was to be sent to France in the event of war with Nazi Germany.

Two years later in 1914, recently created army led by General Sir John French, suffers heavy casualties when defending against a German advance at Mons, France.

Kaiser Wilhelm II had ordered his men to exterminate General French’s ‘contemptible little army‘. This order lead to the nickname that members of the British regular army became known by.

The Old Contemptibles Association was founded by Capt JP Danny, Royal Artillery on June 25th 1925

The Association had 178 branches in the UK & 14 overseas branches.

The Old Contemptibles – Birmingham

Local records show that the first pub on the site was known as the Adelphi Wine Vaults, which was built in the late 18th Century.

The Old Contemptibles badge

The Old Contemptibles medal also known as the Mons Star

In 1880 the site was redeveloped by William Hale and became the Albion Hotel.

Local ex-servicemen set up their own branch of the Old Contemptibles Association and the used to meet at the public house on Edmund Street.

Mitchells and Butlers renamed the pub “The Old Contemptible” in their honour in 1953.

A separate room within the pub was designed as part of restoration work in 2007 as a tribute to the First World War military campaigns in which the Old Contemptibles were involved.


  1. Jordan greenwood says:

    a question more than a comment does anybody have photographs or records of the local ex service men who set up this branch of the old contemptibles if so iam looking for an ex soldier who was awarded the mons star in the first world war and lived around birmingham his name is joseph llewellyn greenwood

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