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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham

Located in Hockley, Birmingham, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is one of the key tourist attractions in the city. It is the starting point of the self-guided walking tour of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.


I had heard much about this museum, before I actually visited it so I was pretty excited when we actually visited it while in Birmingham. The museum is indeed like a time capsule. When Smith & Pepper, a family-run gold jewellery business, decided to shut shop in 1981, they did not clear out. Instead they just shut the shop and walked away! So the appearance of the jewellery workshop is pretty much the same way it was left in 1981 - tools and books are still lying on the benches, old account books are left as it is, there was even a cup of tea from 1981. Everything was abandoned when the owners locked the door and that is how it is even today.





The museum also tells the interesting story of the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham - the jewellery manufacturing, the industrial history and life back then in Birmingham. Though the museum is called the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, there is not much jewellery on display rather it is jewellery making machines, pulleys, and other equipment. The guides are very knowledgeable and know their subject well. Our guide was excellent and showed our group around the workshop and even demonstrated some bits in a very entertaining way. This was the highlight of the tour as it brought the tour to life. We could imagine or rather see how things would have been back then in 80s. Some of the old manufacturing techniques are still in use today, the guide mentioned. It was a very delightful and informative tour of the workshop. Everything was setup and untouched and I felt that the workers might come back any time and get started with their work :)













The museum itself is interesting and there a few exhibits for you to browse and enjoy. If you are visiting Birmingham and are interested in learning about how the jewellery business worked in the 80s or want to get an idea of how the people worked and lived then this guided tour is not to be missed. The staff are excellent and there is a small gift shop as well with some decently priced gifts.




Highlights of the museum include:
- The one hour guided tour with live demonstrations at the jeweller’s bench.
- The large collection of original tools, machinery and stamps in the workshop.
- The museum shop with a range of locally made jewellery.

Overall, this small but interesting museum is well worth a visit. You can easily spend a couple of hours here.

Location, Opening Times and Entry:

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
75-80 Vyse Street,
Hockley,
Birmingham B18 6HA
Phone: +44 (0)121 554 3598

Tuesday to Saturday 10.30am to 5.00pm
Closed on Sundays and Mondays (except Bank Holiday Mondays)

Tour of the Smith and Pepper factory and the galleries are charged.
Entry to the shop, cafe and the temporary exhibition is free.
Adults £5.00, Concessions £4.00.
Children under 16 go free.
 

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1 comment :

  1. The museum looks really nice and interesting perfect to spend a day with kids.

    ReplyDelete

 
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