An Account of the Celebrated Manufactory at Birmingham known as Soho

A history of Matthew Boulton’s Soho Manufactory, on Handsworth Heath in Birmingham…the first “factory” in the world and not far from Boulton’s home Soho House in Handsworth where meetings of Boulton’s Lunar Society were held.

Notes from 19th Century Birmingham

Soho Manufactory

Soho is the name of a hill in the county of Stafford, about two miles from Birmingham; which, a very few years ago, was a barren heath, on the bleak summit of which stood a naked hut, the habitation of a warrener.

In 1803, several regional English newspapers published a short, though detailed,  history of the Soho Manufactory which had been built to accommodate the expanding buckle making business of Birmingham entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and his partner John Fothergill. The manufactory was built on leased land measuring some 13 acres, and was not quite as abandoned as the newspaper quote suggested. There was a mill on the land – and of course water was vital for steam – along with a house which had been built around a decade earlier and would become home to Mr and Mrs Boulton, as well as the regular meeting place for the likes of…

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5 things you didn’t know about prefabs

#Birmingham had many fine examples of prefab housing but like another utilitarian form of Brummie housing the back to back housing of courts built for the Industrial workers of a growing city Birmingham’ s prefab only have one example left in Wake Green Road on the border between Moseley and Hall Green which is now a museum

The Historic England Blog

“Prefabs” were temporary homes built in the factory at the close of the Second World War.

They were built to rehouse those who had lost their homes during the Blitz or servicemen coming back from the war and their young families. More than 156,000 were erected in no time all over the country in 1946 and 1947.

Prefab expert and author of our latest book ‘Prefabs: A social and architectural history’, Elisabeth Blanchet takes us through 5 things you may not already know: 

1. They were not slums

Prefabulous, post-war prefabricated homes in the UK A Uni-seco prefab on the Excalibur Estate, 2003 © Elisabeth Blanchet

To some people prefabs were and still are synonymous with tin boxes, cardboard houses or slums. Well, they are wrong! Prefabs were planned as early as 1942, three years before the end of the Second World War and in March 1944 when D-Day hadn’t even happened, Winston Churchill declared in a speech:…

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Birmingham in final three for Channel 4

Birmingham makes final three along with Manchester and Leeds for new regional HQ for Channel 4

Leader of Birmingham

Channel 4 (C4) has announced today (Monday 23/7) that the West Midlands has made the final stage of the pitch process to host its new national HQ.

The broadcaster has selected Birmingham along with Greater Manchester & Leeds as the three final locations for its new home, as it looks to expand its presence outside of the capital.

The headquarters will consist of a new studio, a base for daily programmes, a new digital production unit and offices, creating hundreds of jobs across all areas of C4’s business, and enhancing the region’s reputation as place for creative companies to grow.

The West Midlands will also be in the running to host one of C4’s new regional, creative hubs, should its bid for the…

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A glimpse into the history of the Indian Subcontinent

The Library of Birmingham holds many important documents including this “Life of Gandhi” the “Father of modern India”

The Iron Room

Photograph of Gandhi and title page in Mahatma: Life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi by Dinanath Gopal Tendulkar (Ref 954.03 GAN)

The Library of Birmingham has a large collection of books in the Black History Collection relating to the history of the Indian Subcontinent, including the South Asian countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The majority of the materials are held in Archives & Collections. An initial open access area for this collection is near the map cabinets within the Heritage Research Area, where customers can read the books as reference material. Further books from this collection can be requested for reference from the “stacks”.

The collections policy underpinning the purpose of the Black History Collection can be found by clicking here. Built up over a number of years, the collection consists of many rare books, covering a broad range of subjects such as the births of…

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Heritage Research Area familiarisation session

Archives and Heritage familiarisationn session at the Library of Birmingham on August 1st

The Iron Room

Following on from the great success of our previous  events, Archives & Collections are now offering another chance to get to know the sources available in our Heritage Research Area on level 4 of the Library of Birmingham.

At this free event, staff will guide you through our resources such as maps, electoral and parish registers as well as digital resources on Ancestry Institution and software for reading local newspapers.

Spaces are limited to 12 people per session and booking is essential. Please email or speak with a member of staff on level 4 to make a reservation.

Wednesday 1 August 2018, 11 am – 1 pm.

Please note this session is not aimed at answering specific genealogical enquiries.

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Colmore food fair

Colmore Food Festival……Birmingham’s finest chefs showcase their skills in the Central Business District around Colmore Row…….From Glynn Purnell to Adam’s Restaurant where else can Brummies find the finest dining at 4 quid a throw…….? #BrumIsBrill


Once again it’s that time of year. Time to enjoy Michelin star quality food for only £4.00 , time to enjoy the award winning Colmore food fair.

There is a reason this is the most popular food fair in Birmingham. That’s because it’s a terrific food fair.

All dishes cost £4.00 and the list of wonderful establishments that are there to offer us their fantastic food just keeps growing. This years new additions were Adams restaurant and loki Wine.

As well as terrific food, drinks and sunshine, celebrity guests giving chats and demonstrations and live music we had a bubble lady, a brass band and giant pigeons. This is all free and alway well attended.

We arrived shortly after opening, which was 11.00 and we were there before 11.30 as we really, really wanted to get a portion of Adams Crab salad, and it was well worth arriving early for…

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