News Story

Birmingham Museums Trust helped residents of a street in Birmingham curate a museum about the hidden history of their ‘ordinary’ road.

The Trust was asked by Uplands TV to help residents with their museum for the new More4 series Tony Robinson’s Museum of Us.

Each week, Tony goes to a different road in the UK where locals will uncover the stories of its past and co-curate a unique pop-up museum. Birmingham Museums collaborated with Uplands TV and freelance designer Lucy Malone on the pop-up exhibition with generous support from The Space using public funding from Arts Council England.

The Birmingham street featured in the four-part series is Somerset Road in Handsworth. A place full of rich and diverse histories, with links to war-torn Poland in WW2 and connections with Birmingham's famed Jewellery Quarter.

Presenter Tony Robinson is sitting in a living room with Mavis. The room is full of photos and ornaments.
Mavis is a retired midwife, originally from Jamaica. Her ‘grip’ – the suitcase that she brought to England as a 12-year-old – featured in the exhibition.

Gathering material from their own lives and uncovering the untold stories of their street, residents work with the talented design team to transform their ideas into a unique and personal pop-up museum ­– all in the space of just seven days.

Keen to discover more about the occupations of the past residents on her Handsworth street, resident Kanika visits the Museum of The Jewellery Quarter to get a glimpse of what working life was like for Birmingham’s renowned jewellery makers in the 1900s. Her research became the basis for a specially made jewellery bench exhibit.

Sara Wajid, joint CEO of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “We are so proud to have played a role in such a great TV show with so many inspiring stories. Thank you to Channel 4 and Uplands TV for helping to find the untold stories of Somerset Road.”

“If you watched the show, we'd love to hear your thoughts. And, if you missed it, you can still watch it on All4 catch-up service.”

Museum of Us starts on More4 on Monday 17th October at 9pm in Bristol. The Birmingham episode airs on 24th October.

Tony is standing next to Alicja who is sitting in an armchair. They are in her living room.
Alicja is Somerset Road’s oldest resident. An entire exhibit about her life featured in the pop-up museum.