New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter

Posted March 25th, 2010 by Birmingham Conservation Trust with No Comments
Image of one of the buildings in the Jewellery Quarter, the Argent Centre

Image of one of the buildings in the Jewellery Quarter, the Argent Centre - - image by kate&drew on flickr

For over 200 years the Jewellery Quarter has been synonymous with jewellery and silverware production. The jewellery industry emerged from the decline of the buckle, toys and button trades which provided skilled labour that could easily be employed in the jewellery trade, along with the gold rushes from California and Australia.

Today, many of the traditional trades are still being carried out using 19th century tools and machinery within Victorian premises, which include houses converted into industrial use, purpose built workshops and factories.

For three years English Heritage undertook an in depth survey into the Jewellery Quarter and produced The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter: An Architectural Survey of the Manufactories by John Cattell, Sheila Ely and Barry Jones which identified the Jewellery Quarter as one of the last surviving industrial quarters in Europe. The book provides an excellent insight into the Jewellery Quarter, detailing through the use of photographs, historic plans and maps the evolution of the quarter, the transformation of domestic premises into industrial use, the processes involved in making jewellery, as well as how the quarter looks today and a gazetteer of the most important buildings in the area which includes the Newman Brothers factory.

This is an ideal book for anyone with an interest in understanding the industrial past of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

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