Admire the elegant home of industrial pioneer Matthew Boulton, who lived in Soho House from 1766 to 1809. He moved to Soho House so he could be near his business. Originally a small farmhouse, over the next 50 years he had many alterations and improvements done to make it an elegant and fashionable country home. Matthew Boulton was very keen on new inventions. Soho House is probably the first house in England to have a central heating system installed since Roman times. In addition he had a vast steam heated bath installed and indoor flushing toilets. Within the House there are displays of silver, coins and ormolu produced in the Soho Manufactory, which was one of the world’s first factories.
Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) is one of the most important historic figures associated with the city of Birmingham. During his lifetime Boulton was a world-famous figure, but since the twentieth century his name has been largely overshadowed by that of his business partner, James Watt. But without Boulton’s entrepreneurial vision, drive and ambition it is unlikely that Watt would have fulfilled his potential as an engineer and inventor. Boulton’s work as well as Watt’s pushed the technological boundaries of his time and led directly to Britain occupying centre-stage as the world’s first industrial nation, something which has shaped our lives ever since.
On 2nd November 2011, in recognition of their advancements in engineering and coinage, Boulton and Watt were immortalised by the Bank of England on the fifty pound note. In October 2014 a memorial was dedicated to Matthew Boulton at Westminster Abbey.