Watt 2019: April

It is the bicententenary of the death of Scottish and by association Birmingham engineering genius James Watt….here is an insight into Watt’s reading habits from the archives held at the Library of #Birmingham…..

The Iron Room

2019 marks the bicentenary of the death of James Watt, improver of the steam engine and partner of Matthew Boulton in the engine businesses at Soho, Handsworth. There will be many events commemorating this during the year, in Birmingham and Scotland, and information about these can be found on the James Watt 2019 website.

To help celebrate the richness of the archive of the James Watt and Family Papers [MS 3219], held in Archives and Collections, Library of Birmingham, there will be a monthly blog on a Watt related subject.

Reading with the Watt family

As I was gathering books to take to my reading group last week, I started to wonder what might exist in the Watt family papers to shed light on the reading habits of James Watt and family.

We can learn a little about the reading of the younger members of the Watt family, as the…

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One a Penny, Two a Penny…Easter at Purus Bakeries!

#Birmingham #Easter at Purus Bakeries…..not cross guns at al

The Iron Room

Purus Bakeries logo from a cake box, n.d. [MS 2645/4/6] Collection reference MS 2645 is comprised of two boxes of material from the Purus Bakeries Ltd., which was a bakery located in Handsworth, founded in 1899, and which ran for over fifty years in the hands of the Innes family.

Photograph of an Easter window display, 1930s [MS 2645/4/4] Items of particular interest in the collection are the two bakery journals, which note details on the periods of high production for the bakeries at Christmas and Easter.

In 1939, it seems they had an issue with sales, when ‘the catalogue’ (of egg designs, I presume) was taken out of the premises, and this prompted a series of odd orders. (I wouldn’t have wanted to be ‘No. 12’ that year.) They also investigated Easter novelties—a chicken pen? (I can’t make up my mind if they mean ink pens with chickens on…

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