Tag Archives: Birmingham Collection

New Year, New Additions

We haven’t updated you all for a while but we have some new additions to our Birmingham Collection printed bookstock. We hope you enjoy them!

New additions to our Birmingham Collection

New additions to our Birmingham Collection


1.Arthur, Valerie.
A History of Selly Oak Hospital. (2015).
BCOL 46.324 SEL, Level 4 & L 46.324 SEL, Level 5.

2.Cawood, Ian & Upton, Chris. (Ed.)
Joseph Chamberlain, International Statesman, National leader, Local Icon. (2016).
BCOL 78.1 CHA, Level 4 & L 78.1 CHA, Level 5.

3.Chinn, Carl & Dick, Malcolm.
Birmingham, The Workshop of the World. (2016).
BCOL 71 CHI, Level 4 & L 71 CHI, Level 5.

4.Coleman, Peter. (Ed.)
George Walton, 1796 – 1874. The Journal & Diary of a Rifleman of the 95th who fought at Waterloo. (2016).
BCOL 78.1 WAL, Level 4 & L 78.1 WAL, Level 5.

5.Gazey, Glynis.
Dear Wife ….. yours ‘til the end, Frank xxx. A Letter Journey Through World War 1. (2015).
L 78 HEF, Level 5

6.Hallam, David.
Challenging the Patriarchs : Women Candidates in the West Midlands for the 1918 General Election. (2015).
LF 76.8 HAL, Level 5.

7.Horizon Midlands.
Travel brochures and miscellaneous materials, c 1968 – c 1993.
Birmingham Trade Catalogue Collection

8.James, Pete.
Reference Works : The Library of Birmingham Photography Project. (2013).
BCOL 25.69, Level 4 & LF 25.69, Level 5.

9.Myers, Kevin.
Struggles for a Past. Irish and Afro – Caribbean Histories in England, 1951 – 2000. (2015).
L 21.85 MYE, Level 5.

10.Reekes, Andrew.
Speeches that Changed Britain : Oratory in Birmingham. (2016).
L 76.9 REE, Level 5.

11.Satre, Lowell, J.
Chocolate on Trial : Slavery, Politics & the Ethics of Business. (2005).
L 66.53 SAT, Level 5.

12.Sharp, Robert.
The Hoard and its History : Staffordshire’s Secrets Revealed. (2016).
BCOL 70.6 SHA, Level 4 & L 70.6 SHA, Level 5.

13.Thomas, Denise. (Ed.)
The Autobiography and Library of Thomas Hall B.D. (1610 – 1655). (2015).
L 78.1 HAL, Level 5.



August in the Garden

The Ladies' Flower-Garden of Ornamental Annuals JL58

The Ladies’ Flower-Garden of Ornamental Annuals [JL 58]

31 August 2016 marks the tercentenary of the baptism of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, (1716-1783) in Northumberland. That’s a long way from Birmingham, but there is a connection – Henry Gough, owner of Edgbaston Hall and Park, employed Brown to landscape his Park sixty years later in 1776.

No reference to this, however, has yet been found in manuscript collections at Archives & Collections. Edgbaston Park is now a private golf course, but to admire Brown’s landscape gardens near Birmingham you can venture to Charlecote, Coombe Abbey, Compton Verney or Warwick Castle in Warwickshire; Croome Court in Worcestershire and Trentham Gardens or Weston Park in Staffordshire.

There are numerous other records about gardens and gardening in Archives & Collections, and one of the most interesting is a special collection of the publications of Jane and John Claudius Loudon.

Jane Wells Webb (1807- 1858) was the daughter of Thomas Webb, manufacturer in Birmingham. Her family lived in Edgbaston until the death of her mother in 1819. She and her father then travelled to Europe for a year where she learned German, French and Italian, taking in the culture of those countries.

After their return to Birmingham they lived at Kitwell House, Bartley Green (now demolished), and Jane began to write. Her father died in 1824, after severe financial losses, and writing was to earn her a living. Her second publication, ‘The Mummy’, a pioneering work of early science fiction describing advances in technology, society and fashion was published anonymously in 1827. Jane said it was: “a strange, wild novel,….  in which I had laid the scene in the twenty-second century, and attempted to predict the state of improvement to which this country might possibly arrive…”. Continue reading

Deciphering Cryptography for Family Historians

Marriage indexes

Birmingham marriage page range tables

Do you often get puzzled, nay perplexed by family history research? If only it were as simple as when shown on the television and wouldn’t we all love a PA answering to our every whim for warming lattes and restorative brioche butties. You agonise, you fret, you convulse over whether great aunt June wasn’t really a member of the KGB because you can’t find any reference to her breathing on the GRO (General Register Office) index and what do all of these esoteric codes and hieroglyphics relating to a marriage in eighteen o’ dreadful actually mean. Well, discombobulate no longer, people of the genealogical fraternity because assistance is at hand, propulsive yet sophisticated like Bond himself in a vintage Aston Martin DB5.

Let me introduce you to the wonders of the GRO Birmingham Marriage page range tables complied by P.L. Loach with assistance from David Fall where credited –

  •  Marriages registered in the Aston Registration District,1837 – 1924.
  • Marriages registered in the Birmingham Registration District, 1837 – 1924.
  • Marriages registered in the Birmingham North Registration District, 1924 – 1932.
  • Marriages registered in the Birmingham South Registration District, 1924 – 1932.
  • Marriages registered in the Kings Norton Registration District, 1837 – 1924.
  • Marriages registered in the West Bromwich Registration District, 1837 – 1932 (includes some north west Birmingham suburbs).

Once you have located the entry for the marriage you seek via the GRO index (which is accessible to view free of charge in Archives & Collections Service via Ancestry) and as long as the event occurred in the period covered by the marriage page range tables as outlined above, you should in theory be able to highlight which church the service took place at, although there are some noticeable exceptions which are identified when inspecting the tables. The tables are primarily arranged in yearly order and then by quarter –  March, June, September and December. The final part of the puzzle you require is the page number from the GRO citation found on Ancestry and all being well, the magical algorithms of the page tables will calculate their way to a revelation of which church the service took place in. You are then at liberty to explore other related resources held in our collections which may lead you to a copy of the parish entry for the marriage.

Quick ReferenceThe page range tables are available to view in the Heritage Research Area’s  Quick Reference section located on Level 4 of the Library of Birmingham at any point during the course of our full service hours of 11 am  – 7 pm Monday & Tuesday and 11 am  – 5 pm Wednesday to Saturday.


Happy espionage every one!

Paul Taylor
Archives & Collections Coordinator


The following items have been added to the various bookstock collections housed in Archives & Collections  –

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What’s new on the shelves?

Birmingham Collection behind the scenes - titles not available on the open shelves can be requested from staff.

Birmingham Collection behind the scenes – titles not available on the open shelves can be requested from staff.

Yet more fascinating titles have been added to our collections. How to access them? BCOL items are freely available on the open shelves on floor 4 in our Heritage Research Area. All titles that are prefixed with one or two letters need to be requested in advance of a visit from library staff. With the exception of books in the Black History Collection (which is now available on floor 3) , all other publications are also accessible to view on floor 4.

1.Cadbury, Geraldine.
Young Offenders Yesterday and Today.
L 42.1 CAD

2.Chinn, Carl.
The Real Peaky Blinders. Billy Kimber, the Birmingham Gang and the Racecourse Wars of the 1920s.
BCOL 42.31

3.Dale, R.W.
Laws of Christ for Common Life.
L 18.1 DAL

4.Fahey, David(ed.)
E. Lawrence Levy and Muscular Judaism, 1851 – 1932.
L 78.1 LEV

5. Iqbal, Karamat.
Dear Birmingham : A Conversation with my Hometown.
BCOL 21.85 KAR

6.Limbrick, Gudrun.
A Great Day : Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Birmingham.
LF 21.7 LIM

7.Mills, Robert.
From Great Barr Chapel to St. Margaret’s Church : The Story of the Stained Glass Windows.
LP 14.93 MIL

8.Nadin – Snelling, Erica.
Matron At War : The Story of Katy Beaufoy (1869 – 1918).

9.Pringle, Marie.
Brasshouse Language Centre : A Vibrant & Imaginative Affair.
BCOL 48.36

10.Roberts, Stephen.
Dr J.A. Langford (1823 – 1903). A Self – Taught Working Man and the Sale of American Degrees in Victorian Britain.
LP 78.1 LAN

Continue reading

Read All About It!

Birmingham Collection in the Heritage Research Area, floor 4, Library of Birmingham

Birmingham Collection in the Heritage Research Area, floor 4, Library of Birmingham

A sumptuous listing of choice cuts recently added to the various printed book collections stored in Archives, Heritage & Photography service. Please feel free to contact us for further details of how to view materials and make your own suggestions for future acquisitions. ( Birmingham Collection titles are available on the open shelves in the Heritage Research Area on floor 4 of the Library of Birmingham.)


1. Abbott, Colin J.
Seventh Heaven : Aston Villa’s Victorious ’57 Cup Campaign
Published 2012
Birmingham Collection 25.14

2. Ashu, Frederick Ebot
New African Leaders. Contributions of Africans in Birmingham from 1950
Published 2012
Birmingham Collection 21.85 ASH

3. Bartley Green District History Group
History of Brick & Tile Making. 18th – 20th Century
Published 2010
LP 92.5 WEO

4. Beauchampe, Steve
Pool of Memories. A History of Moseley Road Baths.
Published 2013
Birmingham Collection 25.2

5. Brookes, Paul
Church of Saint Patrick’s C of E, Frank Street, 1896 – 1964
Published 2013
LF 15.26

6. Capper, Mary
A Memoir of Mary Capper, late of Birmingham , England. A Minister of the Society of Friends
Published 2013
L 78.1 CAP

7. Chinn, Carl
In Accord. A History of the Accord Group
Published 2012
Birmingham Collection 41.8

8. Clark, Urszula & Asprey, Esther
West Midlands English : Birmingham and the Black Country. Dialects of English
Published 2013
Birmingham Collection 51.9

9. Clawley, Alan
Batsford’s Birmingham Then & Now
Published 2013
Birmingham Collection 85.4 CLA

10. Collins, Anthony
Alderman John Bowen J.P., ‘Honest John’
Published 2014
LP 78.1 BOW

11. Debney, Jean
Jewels of Our City. Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter
Published 2013
Birmingham Collection 67.1

12. Dickinson, H. W.
The Partnership of James Watt and Matthew Boulton
Published 2011
Birmingham Collection 65.225

13. Griffiths, Ann
A History of the Ellis Family. The Sorrento Connection
Published 2013
Birmingham Collection 77.2 ELL

14. Grimley, Terry
Symphony Hall. A Dream Realised
Published 2012
Birmingham Collection 55.51 GRI

15. Harris, Helen D.
Helen Hart. Founder of Women’s Suffrage in Australia
Published 2009
Birmingham Collection 78.1 HAR

16. Hodder, Michael
The Archaeology of Sutton Park
Published 2013
Birmingham Collection 27.3

17. Horton, Charles & Le Vack, Dale
Stretcher Bearer. Fighting for life in the trenches
Published 2013
Birmingham Collection 78.1 HOR

18. Jones, Ian
The Local Church and Generational Change in Birmingham, 1945 – 2000
Published in 2012
L 10 JON

19. Limbrick, Gudrun
The Children of the Homes. A Century of Erdington Cottage Homes.
Published 2012
Birmingham Collection 41.31 LIM

20. Limbrick, Gudrun
Deeds of Love. The Story of Sir Josiah Mason’s Orphanage & School
Published 2013
Birmingham Collection 41.31

Continue reading

Trade catalogue collection

Three trade cataloge covers

Trade catalogue covers – Ensign Lamps, 1934 (Ref: LS 10/E/312/1), Butterfields Limited – Levis 1926 Motor Cycles (Ref: LS 10/B/634/1) and The Burman Sheep Shearer trade pamphlet, dated 1917 (Ref: LS 10/B/569/1)

This blog post is concerned with the trade catalogue collection held in the Archives & Heritage section of Birmingham Central Library. The collection reflects the wide and varied industrial heritage of the city and surrounding periphery.

 We have trade catalogues, brochures, pamphlets and ephemera spanning from the 19th – 21st century; early local patents from 1722 – 1866; local trade business cards from the 18th century and local company reports from the mid 20th century.

Our huge collection typically consists of material from well known established local companies such as B.S.A, G.K.N, G.E.C, W.T Avery, Cadburys, Chance Brothers, Dunlop, Webley and Scott, Lucas Clapshaw & Cleeve Limited, Tonks (Birmingham) Limited, Ingall, Parsons, Clive & Co, Robert Mansell & Son, Bullpitt & Son (Swan Houseware), Belliss & Morcom, Benton & Stone, British Resisting Heat Glass Company, Burman and Sons, Huxley Barton & Sons, Levis Motorcycles, Dale Forty & Co. W.T French & Son Ltd, Eley Brothers, Thomas Fattorini, Fisher & Ludlow, Lee Longlands, Austin Motors, Barrows Stores Limited, Jones & Willis, Clement Heeley, Hockley Chemical Company. Ltd, Hoskins, James Neale & Sons, Charles Obsorne, Parker Winder & Achurch, Rudge Cycle Co. Limited, William Cooper & Son, Samuel Booth plus many more.

Trade card from Edward Jones, chandelier manufacturer

Edward Jones – Manufacturer Of The Patent Safety Lamps & Lantern, etc, Trade Card no. 591

The Birmingham Collection, our principal printed bookstock collection providing an account of the cultural and historic development of the city, contains texts on specific local businesses plus histories of particular trades associated with the area.

The trade catalogue collection is a valuable cultural asset and to protect it from damage or loss, holdings are served via a controlled environment in our archival searchroom which adheres to conditions of access found at archival record offices.

Letters patent for Breech-lodaing Fire-arms, &c.

Early local patent from 1865 for Joseph Rock Cooper, Gun Manufacturer.

The trade catalogue collection still receives gifts and donations made chiefly by the public who contact us from far and wide across the globe, reinforcing Birmingham’s once proud status as ‘Workshop of the World’.

Staff are currently engaged in creating an online presence for the trade catalogue collection via our archival catalogue system, CalmView which can be located via the new Library of Birmingham website at and it is hoped some entries will be accessible in this format come the opening in September 2013.

page 17 from Yates and Sons, silver plate list of prices

Yates and Sons Silver Plate List of Prices trade catalogue, dated 1872

To accompany our trade catalogues , we retain local trade directories such as The Sketchley Birmingham Directory of 1767, which is one of the oldest surviving trade directories for the city. However, the Kelly’s trade directory series running from 1878 – 1974 is the most popular resource used by our service users. Other miscellaneous trade directories titles held in Archives & Heritage Service include: Pigot, Bisset, Grand National, Bailey Western And Midland, Holden’s  Triennial, Wrighton and Webb, Slater’s, Hulley’s, Morris and Co, Shadler’s, White’s, Post Office, Corporation, Harrison and Harrod and Co.

Thank you, Al Barrett.