Hi everyone! My name is Courtney and I'm the Soho Ambassador for the Collecting Birmingham project. For me, being able to research the area where my grandparents first moved to in the 50s and 60s as a volunteer is really exciting and an opportunity to not only discover more about Birmingham alongside the community but to also find out more about my own heritage. So far I've found out a few interesting facts about Soho and in particular Soho Road, which is the current focus of the Soho part of the project.
Quite fittingly I was first drawn to Soho House, which is just off Soho Road and one of Birmingham Museums’ nine sites. Built in 1761, it was the home of entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and the meeting place of the Lunar Society. It is fascinating to look at the developments and changes of Birmingham and then to remember that Soho House has been a constant in the ward. The location of this brilliant white building means that it's slightly hidden, out of sight from the main road but it is absolutely worth visiting to find out more.
Soho is definitely an area that flourishes with diversity and Soho Road captures this. With a variety of food shops, clothing stores and places of worship, it shows a community that comes together despite differences in culture or heritage. A popular building here is Handsworth Library which first opened on 1st May 1880! The history of the library itself, which can be found on the Library of Birmingham website, is equally as fascinating and exciting as the area surrounding it. As Soho Road is one of the main routes into the city centre, it's easy to hop on a bus and discover its stories for yourself.
Walking down Soho Road, you are welcomed by new and old buildings, familiar stores and one-of-a- kind boutiques and most of all, the bustling atmosphere of a culturally and historically rich Birmingham ward.
Do you have any memories of living in, working in or travelling through Soho? Or any stories or objects that may hold significance within the ward or to you personally? If you have a story or an object that you think the team might be at all interested in please get in touch with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0121 348 8283.
The Collecting Birmingham project has been generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.