Dozens of Moseley residents were evacuated after an unexploded First World War artillery shell was discovered lying in a garage by a family, who kept it for ten days before raising the alarm.
Sophie Isaac and her husband Nick had recently bought the five bedroom house in Wake Green Road and were carrying out renovations, when they stumbled across the device.
The 42-year-old mum-of-two said: “My husband was clearing out the garage and saw the 30cm high shell underneath a dusty workbench.
“It was covered in tatty rags and looked like it had been there for years.
“We weren’t too concerned it would blow up, because we thought it if was going to go off, it would have done so a long time ago.”
Sophie said they knew they would have to report the device to police but were worried the effect it would have on a nearby St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School.
The family posed for pictures with the bomb and Nick tried to “clean it up” with a wire brush in the few days it was at their home.
Sophie said: “Obviously we knew we’d eventually have to report it to the police. But we were concerned the school would have been evacuated and so waited until half term.”
Once police were told about the find, a Bomb Disposal Unit was sent to assess whether it was a danger.
Up to ten homes were evacuated and Wake Green Road, as far as the junction with Springfield Road and College Road, was cordoned off for safety reasons.
Residents were unable to return home for three hours.
Sophie said the house belonged to a Dr Gordon, an ophthalmologist at Selly Oak hospital who died just over a year ago. He is believed to have inherited the house from his father and lived there alone for around 45 years.
“He only used a few of the rooms. A lot of the house was left in it’s original state. We’ve found all kinds of strange items like an old beekeepers hat and a life jacket.”
Sophie and her two children, Thomas, aged ten, and seven-year-old Grace, waited before bomb experts gave them the all clear.
“We were told it was a First World War shell dating around 1915 and that it was still active.
“We wanted a house with a bit of character and I suppose that’s what we’ve got.”
Neighbours said they were “shocked” but not too alarmed by the discovery. Am Saraar was in Wolverhampton when he was alerted about the evacuation by his daughter Shabana.
“I didn’t feel any danger. We were pleased that the operation was well organised and that police had the safety of residents as priority,” he said.
The device was safely disposed of later. A Bomb Disposal spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
* A few months ago, an unexploded WWII grenade was dug up by workmen in Edgbaston. A bomb squad carried out a controlled explosion which has left a 2ft-wide crater in a football pitch at the Pavilion’s Club.