As we are now reaching the end of Movember, there should be a fine army of men with fabulous moustaches making a statement in support of men’s health issues. Inspired by this, we have found what we hope are some equally fantastic images from our collections.
Edward Ansell J.P. and Chairman of the Governors of the Blue Coat School. c.1910.
The Governors of the Blue Coat School, Harborne Hill, Edgbaston. c.1910.
T. H. Ash J.P. and Chairman of the Governors of the Blue Coat School. c.1910.
Villagers smoking pipes at Astley, Warwickshire. The gentleman on the right is believed to have been the village postmaster. 1896.
It is easy to imagine any of these people playing the characters in The Moustache Movement: An Original Farce which was first performed at the Royal Adelphi Theatre on Thursday, 30th March 1854. [MS 2899/1/1/2/BroughR] A vivid image springs to mind of all the characters in the play who, unsurprisingly, all had moustaches which were increasingly preposterous. I particularly liked the image of the Butcher – as the curtain rises he was seen caressing his moustache and using the suet on his tray as cosmetique! It’s a shame they didn’t include illustrations!
Ironwork surrounding the Library of Birmingham, representing local industry
Launched just ten weeks ago and already having welcomed half a million visitors, the Library of Birmingham is rightly proud of its services. Much popular attention has focused on the distinctive architecture, the visitor experience offered by the terraces, Shakespeare Memorial Room and the ‘added value’ services: Gallery, Mediatheque and much, much more.
The Library (LoB) is also providing access to its world class collections for research. Such research can take many forms and is available to our entire range of visitors, from first time users of all ages to experienced investigators following structured academic or professional research programmes. I could highlight any number of collections which may be consulted, but taking my cue from LoB’s ‘Rings of Steel’, I will concentrate on our industrial collections.
Winfield Rolling Mills Ltd. Birmingham [MS 322/169]
The ‘Rings of Steel’ on the Library’s façade provide an iconic brand for LoB. They derive from and represent Birmingham’s proud industrial heritage, which literally underpins the Library: it is built on the site of Winfield’s Brass-works, which was powered by a Boulton & Watt steam engine. Today, the Library holds the records of the Winfield Company and Boulton & Watt, as well as very many other manufacturing concerns associated with Birmingham. A selected list is provided below and this very rich resource supports diverse research agendas. Historians of technology and economic, social and business historians find such resources invaluable, as do family and local historians. Researchers of the ‘here and now’ also find inspiration in these collections for art, design and other creative subjects. Continue reading
View of the Hall of Memory from Broad Street, Birmingham. 1931. [MS 2724/2/B/4611]
Most people would associate the sale of red poppies in Birmingham with the Royal British Legion. However, the Legion was not the only organisation involved in this charitable work. In 1921 at the behest of Birmingham’s Lord Mayor, William Adlington Cadbury, a new organisation was formed to promote, coordinate and administer the sale of red poppies in Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield.
The Birmingham Ex-Services Appeals Committee worked in collaboration with the Legion to organise the Poppy Appeal as well as to distribute grants to other ex-services organisations including the Lord Kitchener Memorial Home, the Regular Forces Employment Association, the South African War Veterans Association, the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen Families Association (SSAFA) and the Royal British Legion.
For over eighty years The Birmingham Ex-Services Appeals Committee played a major role in the Birmingham Poppy Appeal until 2004/2005 when its functions were absorbed by the Legion. The Birmingham Ex-Services Appeals Committee was formally deregistered by the Charity Commission on 09 August 2011 bringing an end to its valuable, and often overlooked, contribution to charity in Birmingham.
The records of the Birmingham Ex-Services Appeals Committee were kindly deposited with Birmingham Archives, Heritage and Photography in 2012. They can now be viewed in the Wolfson Centre for Archival Research at the Library of Birmingham.
Kevin Roberts, Archivist
Regular readers of our blog may remember that we have had archivist Gary Collins working with us on the archive of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in preparation for their centenary celebrations. Now that the Rep has reopened after their refurbishment this work has transformed into a great exhibition in the Rep Foyer.
Hidden in a series of intriguing cases are several drawers housing some of the treasures of the Rep archive including a miniature stage set, programmes and early costume designs. These tell the story of the company over the last 100 years.
You can also start an audio trail which will take you around the city whilst hearing founder Barry Jackson talk.
My favourite exhibit is the amazing tree sculpture which you cannot miss. It has faces of many of the people who have been part of the success of the Rep over its life so far. It is quite fun spotting some of the more familiar faces.
Now that we share a foyer it is easy to visit the exhibition and I would recommend popping along if you are visiting us. Or if the weather is making you feel like staying in you can see a lot of online here .
If you would like to know more about the Rep and it’s archive you can hear Collections Curator Sian Roberts talking at the Library next Tuesday 12.30 – 1.30. Places are free but we recommend you reserve a space through the Box Office.
Kathryn Hall Events & Marketing Assistant
Peter Stanford and Dhani Prem are amongst two Birmingham figures honoured in the new release of Birmingham entries of the Dictionary of National Biography now available in the Library of Birmingham and from elsewhere using a Birmingham Library card (http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/elibrary) .
Peter Stanford (1860-1909) was born into slavery in the American state of Virginia and came to England in 1883, originally to raise funds for his church in Canada. However he stayed in England, eventually moving to Small Heath, Birmingham in 1888 and following his marriage to a Smethwick woman, settled as minister of Hope Street Chapel in Highgate, Birmingham. His book “From Bondage To Liberty”, published in 1889, gives an account of his journey from slavery to freedom and is available on request in Birmingham Archives, Heritage and Photography (ref L78.1).
Dhani Prem (1904-1979) was an Indian-born Birmingham GP and political campaigner. After qualifying at Edinburgh University and Kings College Hospital in London, Prem moved with his family to Birmingham in 1939 experiencing the growth of Indian and other ethnic communities in the war and post war period. Throughout the 1950′s and 1960′s Prem campaigned tirelessly to support new communities, fight racism and combat discrimination. Into the 1970′s he continued to campaign for boycotting tours of South Africa in sport, supporting Ugandan Asians and many other organisations, working tirelessly for equality for all.
Other stories will be highlighted in today’s launch event (Monday 28th October) in the Library of Birmingham Studio Theatre at 6.30pm – free and no need to book. Speakers include Dr. Lawrence Goldman from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Dr Chris Upton, Professor Peter Marsh and Dr Sian Roberts.