Our venues

Venues:

Photo bmag

World class museum in the heart of Birmingham city centre.

Chamberlain Square

Birmingham, B3 3DH

0121 348 8038

Directions
Photo thinktank

Award-winning science museum for fun-packed family days out.

Millennium Point, Curzon Street

Birmingham, B4 7XG

0121 348 8000

Directions
Photo aston

Explore the splendour of one of the last great houses built in the Jacobean style.

Trinity Road, Aston

Birmingham, B6 6JD

0121 348 8100

Directions
Photo blakesley

Discover a fine Tudor house and beautiful gardens just a few miles from the heart of the city.

Blakesley Road

Birmingham, B25 8RN

0121 348 8120

Directions
Photo jewellery

A perfectly preserved workshop in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter.

75-80 Vyse Street

Birmingham, B18 6HA

0121 348 8140

Directions
Photo sarehole

A 250 year old working watermill famous for its association with author J.R.R Tolkien.

Cole Bank Road

Birmingham, B13 0BD

0121 348 8160

Directions
Photo soho

Georgian home of the Birmingham industrialist, Matthew Boulton.

Soho Avenue (off Soho Road)

Birmingham, B18 5LB

0121 348 8150

Directions
Photo weoley

The ruins of an exquisite fortified manor house built 750 years ago.

Alwold Road

Birmingham, B29

0121 348 8160

Directions
Volunteers
19 Sep 2017

Volunteering with Birmingham Manufactures

Three hundred words (or so) on our week as Summer Research Assistants for the Birmingham Manufacturers Project.

Armed with subject files of photographs, a scanner, and an Apple Mac we set to work to see what exactly you could learn in just a week on the project.  Read More...

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12 Jun 2017

Birmingham Manufactures: What about Smethwick?

We all know that names are important, but identifying what we mean by ‘Birmingham’ for this project has proved a little tricky! At the start of the project we were unsure whether or not to include world-famous manufacturers that although not technically in Birmingham, have important connections to the city, and are well represented in the collection. Perhaps most perplexing of all was the problem of Smethwick. Although it is not part of Birmingham, many of the most important manufacturers in this region were either based in Smethwick or had premises there, and Smethwick-made goods are well represented in our collection. This blog post will identify a few examples that we’ve already come across as part of the project, and explore a little bit why the geographical division of manufactured goods is so difficult! 

Perhaps the most familiar to visitors of Thinktank will be the Smethwick Engine. The Smethwick Engine is the oldest working steam engine in the world, and is one of the highlights of our collection. The engine was made for pumping water up the locks on the Birmingham Canal, and was made at Soho Foundry, in Smethwick. Named after the site at which it originally stood, the Smethwick Engine has clear connections to manufacturing in nearby Birmingham. The Engine was manufactured for the famous Birmingham-ites Boulton & Watt, who founded the Soho Manufactory, a little over a mile away in Handsworth. Although Handsworth is now firmly within Birmingham’s borders, at the time of production, it actually lay in Staffordshire!  Read More...

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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...