Come on in!

Inside the Library of Birmingham

It’s been a long time coming but after packing up and moving 1.5 million books, 24 kilometres of archival collections and 2 million photographs we’ve finally opened up our doors!

We’ve been closed for 9 months but hopefully the wait will have been worth it – from today you can come in and use the Archive, Heritage and Photography Collections, stroll out on the terrace, visit the gallery space to see our major new exhibition Reference Works and relax in the Heritage Lounge.

For you eager archives researchers I’m afraid it’s another week before the Wolfson Centre opens for business on Monday 9th September – we anticipate being very busy in the first few weeks so please bear with us at this time.  If you are planning to access our archive collections don’t forget you’ll need to make an appointment first (email archives.appointments@birmingham.gov.uk).  Don’t forget that the library opening hours will be a little different to normal in the first couple of weeks.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Rachel MacGregor

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4 responses to “Come on in!

  1. Is there a Film Archive at the new Library of Birmingham? If there is could it be named after Birmingham Grammar School Boy Sir Michael Balcon?

    Balcon was head of The Ealing Studios, which produced cinema classics such as ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’, ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’, ‘Passport to Pimlico’ and ‘The Blue Lamp’……….Balcon used the name of his old school George Dixon for his ‘Everyman Copper’ PC George Dixon in ‘The Blue Lamp’ where Dixon is shot dead by a petty East End hoodlum played by Rank Starlet Dirk Bogarde…….

    Miraculously PC Dixon was reincarnated in BBC TV’s first ‘Police Procedural’: ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ which was a feature of the Black and White BBC TV schedules from the late 1950’s until the early 1970’s when Jack Warner, who played PC George Dixon, became too old to play a beat policeman…….

    His catchphrase uttered at the start of every show: ‘Evenin’ All’ has gone down in TV folklore.

    Balcon’s grandson Daniel Day-Lewis continues the family film tradition by becoming the first actor to win 3 ‘Best Actor’ Oscars for his portrayal of American President Abraham Lincoln in the film ‘Lincoln’ in 2013.

    • We have a mediatheque suite, (http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/article/knowledge/knowledgeanddiscovery), in association with the British Film Institute, which gives an opportunity to watch local films footage from Birmingham and the West Midlands. Birmingham can certainly be justly proud of our film heritage.

      • But what about recognising Sir Michael Balcon’s cinema and film contribution to Birmingham and British Life as Head of the Ealing Studios and the founder of BAFTA and the British Film Instiute, after which your excellent BFI Mediatheque (which I have visited) is named. As a Birmingham born and raised Film Mogul who rivalled those of the great Hollywood Studios at the time surely Balcon deserves more recognition as a Birmingham Grammar School Boy at my Old School George Dixon Grammar School for Boys in City Road, Edgbaston, where the young Michael Balcon was a pupil from when the school opened in 1906 until he left in 1913. He even named his ‘Everyman Copper’ character PC George Dixon after his old school in his Ealing Film: ‘The Blue Lamp’ of 1949……where PC Dixon is shot by a young East End hoodlum played by Dirk Bogarde……and miraculously reincarnated for the first ‘Police Procedural’: ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ a staple of the BBCTV Black and White Saturday tea-time TV schedules throughout the 50’s, 60’s and into the 70’s when Jack Warner, the actor playing the by then Sergeant George Dixon became too old to convincingly play a beat copper……Why Dixon’s catch-phrase: ‘Evenin’ All’ has gone down in TV folklore…….Balcon needs celebrating in Birmingham!

  2. Reblogged this on keithbracey and commented:
    Sir Michael Balcon, a Birmingham Grammar Schoolboy needs celebrating more in his home City of Birmingham

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