Carey Hall was founded in 1912 for the training of female missionaries of the Baptist Zenana Mission (later Baptist Missionary Society), London Missionary Society, and the Women's Missionary Association of the Presbyterian Church of England. Previously these organisations sent candidates to colleges run by other Christian denominations but they could not always secure the places needed. The idea of a joint training college emerged in 1906 but it was not until after the World Missionary Conference of 1910, at which the importance of adequate training was highlighted, that the three societies committed to establishing their own college and a committee was set up to oversee the project. In 1911 Christina Irvine was appointed as the college's first Principal and it was decided that the college should be based in Selly Oak alongside existing Christian and missionary colleges. The committee treasurer, Emily Kemp, provided the B.M.S. with a house known as 'Park Mount' on Weoley Park Road which was renamed Carey Hall (after the Baptist missionary William Carey) and adapted for use as a missionary training hostel. The college was funded by student fees, grants from the sponsoring societies, subscriptions and donations.
Carey Hall opened in September 1912 with ten students and two members of staff (the Principal and Vice Principal). The two year course consisted of central lectures - often shared with other Selly Oak Colleges - on theology, church history, and the principles and practice of mission, alongside seminars and practical work in local churches and community groups. Timetables were arranged individually to suit each student's needs. In September 1913 Carey Hall had 17 students, by 1919 there were 34. As well as candidates from the three sponsoring organisations the college was training students from other missionary societies and missionaries on furlough who came for refresher courses. In 1918 Carey Hall appointed a third member of staff and in 1919 began renting a house known as 'the Annexe' for extra accommodation.
However the 1920s was a period of financial anxiety for Carey Hall, which reported a deficit in its annual accounts each year. The college was paying more towards the central lecture programme since becoming a founding member of the Selly Oak Colleges Council in 1918; living costs were high and the supporting missionary societies were experiencing financial difficulties. Student numbers averaged about 25 per term. In 1922 the staff and committee reviewed the college's position: they decided to renew efforts to recruit students, reaching out to those training for church work in the UK, and made fresh appeals for subscriptions and donations to the Endowment Fund. In 1925 the college held its first Commemoration Day, at which visitors were invited to the college and encouraged to donate money towards its work.
Christina Irvine retired in 1933 and Catherine Mackinnon became the college's second Principal. In 1931-32 Carey Hall reported a positive balance in the annual accounts for the first time since 1918, due to an increase in the number of students. Throughout the 1930s the college finances varied according to student numbers (which fluctuated from 18-32 per term), but saw a general improvement on the previous decade. Students often stayed for only one or two terms which made planning difficult and the college urged missionary societies to extend training where possible. When there were spare places, accommodation was let to students at Birmingham University and other Selly Oak Colleges, and the college was used as a conference centre to create an additional source of income.
In 1938 the Committee decided to build a new wing which would be more cost effective than renting the Annexe. £3000 of the £7500 target was raised but plans were put on hold due to the war. In 1939 and 1940 student numbers were about 20 per term, dropping to 15 in 1941 and 1942. Student fees were increased and the college supplemented its income by letting the Annexe to the CMS Women's College which had been evacuated from Chislehurst. Once the CMS left in 1941 Carey Hall gave up the lease to save money. After the government released intending missionaries from war service in 1943 student numbers began to rise again.
In September 1945 Catherine Mackinnon resigned and Rev. Gwenyth Hubble took the position of Principal. With the increase in student numbers (an average of 39 per term in 1946/47) tutors began running seminars instead of giving individual tuition and Carey Hall took out another lease on the Annexe until money could be raised for the new wing, which now cost £20,000. The new wing opened in March 1952 and in August 1954 the college was incorporated so that it could own property and investments rather than these being held by trustees. From September 1955 the college began training Baptist Union Deaconesses and in the late 1950s students averaged around 40 per term.
In 1960 Gwenyth Hubble resigned the Principalship which was taken up by Agnes Piggott, previously senior tutor at the college. In the early 1960s Carey Hall and St Andrew's College began discussing the possibility of training male and female missionaries together, an idea supported by many missionary societies. The two colleges decided to sell their current premises in order to build a united missionary training centre on the Selly Oak campus. However the sale of Carey Hall was blocked by Selly Oak Colleges Council and in 1962 the plans for a new building were abandoned due to lack of funds. In 1964, following further discussions about integrated training, Carey Hall suggested that its current buildings could be extended and used as the base for the united training centre. This plan was adopted and in September 1966 St Andrew's College and Carey Hall merged to create St Andrew's Hall.
Source: Carey Hall publications