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30 Mar 2017

Birmingham Manufactures Project; The School of Jewellery

Although Birmingham is famously known as the City of a Thousand Trades, one trade shines particularly brightly in its history and self-identity - and not only because of its association with precious metals. That trade is, of course, the jewellery trade. 

The beginnings of Birmingham’s jewellery trade lie in its history as a metal working town and with the production of steel and silver buckles, buttons, and trinkets in the eighteenth century.  Read More...

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5 Dec 2016

Introduction to Birmingham Manufactures

Greetings from the Birmingham Manufactures camp! We are a brand new project funded by Arts Council England's Designation Development Fund  to increase knowledge and documentation on the wonderful manufacturing history of Birmingham, aka ‘The City of a Thousand Trades’. Both Tessa Chynoweth (Research Assistant) and I (Sophie Misson, Documentation Assistant) will be giving regular blog post to give insight into what we’re doing and all of the exciting objects we come across.

Manufacturing and industry are central to Birmingham’s history; shaping individual lives and the geography of the city as much as the reputation of the place. Although Birmingham’s history as a centre of industrial production (particularly of metalwork) goes back to the medieval period, Birmingham achieved global significance through its leading role in the economic, social and political changes associated with the Industrial Revolution. Birmingham Museums owe much to this industrial heritage. Not only was the museum collection designed to inspire the local artisan population and raise the quality and design of workmanship in Birmingham, but was itself the product of investment of local manufacturing firms – most notably, perhaps, Richard and George Tangye, Birmingham-based engineers whose philanthropy was an important aspect of the instigation of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery as well as the School of Art. Read More...