Sorrento was a large house on Wake Green Road, Moseley, probably built by William Adams (1857-1911). Adams was the Midlands Director of the Midlands Assurance Company and a well-known philanthropist. The house was named after his favourite resort in Italy where he apparently spent his honeymoon. In 1911, shortly before his death, he opened it as an institution for the poor and needy. The house was put up for sale during the First World War and bought by Neville Chamberlain in 1916 as a convalescent home for severely disabled soldiers. Thanks to Colin at http://www.bhamb14.co.uk/ for the photo above.
Birmingham City Council acquired the building in 1929 as a maternity home for poor local women and had about 20 beds, including a pioneering premature baby unit, by the early 1930s. The Premature Baby Unit was established by Dr Mary Crosse and continued to operate as a Centre of Excellence and training until the hospital closed. The hospital also had successful Milk Bank, where nursing mothers donated breast milk for the use of others. The hospital became part of the NHS in 1948 and grew into a maternity hospital with 80 beds and up to 2,500 deliveries a year. This expansion was assisted by the purchase of additional houses in Wake Green Road and Anderton Park Road, the latter remaining but in an increasingly dilapidated condition and the subject of my visit today. Sorrento closed in March 1993; the main building was demolished and Sorrento Court, a housing complex for older people, is now on the site.
The former Milk Bank and Ante-Natal Clinic premises in Anderton Park Road survive but in an increasingly derelict condition. Former local Councillor, Martin Mullaney, recalls, somewhat incredulously, that the City Council abandoned a scheme from 2009, to purchase the houses and return them to residential use.
The houses were comprehensively ‘explored’ by @Bubblehead in 2009.
Update April 2016:
After years of neglect, the former Anderton Park Road annexe houses are now being demolished:
Perhaps it was not viable to restore the properties to living accommodation or may be the owners received a better offer but I do hope that we will see some sort of affordable housing on the site, but as yet I can find no trace of any planning application.
I visited the site recently and these old houses have indeed now been demolished and the site cleared. We await further developments!