Tag Archives: Birmingham Collection

Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution by Priya Satia

For Black History Month, this week’s blog post is a review of a recent addition to our holdings:  Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution by Priya Satia published this year by Duckworth Overlook.

At the heart of this studious discourse rests an argument which provides a new appraisal of the forces which drove Britain’s place at the forefront of the industrial revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The central premise of the tome is that the real cause of economic and imperial expansion was due to an exceedingly lucrative military contracting the production of guns and other weaponry which kept the nation in an almost constant state of production and warfare. This revisionist view of the genesis of the industrial revolution places conflict and Britain’s global expansionist desires very much at the forefront of the country’s change to an industrialised nation.

The book is thoroughly researched as evidenced by the extensive footnotes and bibliography, but it also contains an emotional core – in the preface the author describes how a family conflict over a bequeathment heightened to a standoff which involved a gun and the ease with which the trigger can easily be pulled. From this episode the author expands upon and explores further some of the legacy issues brought about by British colonial expansion in the Indian Sub  – Continent which may have contributed as factors in the family turmoil.

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New Year, New Additions

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

The following is a list of selected highlights of additions to our printed bookstock collections since December 2016, we hope you enjoy!


1. Ed. Archer – Parre, Caroline & Dick, Malcolm.
John Baskerville, Art and Industry of the Enlightenment. (2017).
BCOL 87.1 BAS, Level 4 and L 78.1 BAS, Level 5.

2. Armstrong, Eric.
Birmingham’s War : Voices of the Second World War. (2016).
BCOL 75.8 ARM, Level 4 & L 75.8 ARM, level 5.

3. Brazier, Corinne & Rice, Steve.
A Fair Cop : Celebrating 100 years of policewomen in the West Midlands. (2017).
L 42.21 BRA, Level 5.

4. Carter, Terry.
Birmingham in the Great War : Mobilisation & Recruitment, the first eighteenth months of the war. (2016).
BCOL 75.7, Level 4 & L 75.7 CAR, Level 5.

5. Dicks, Brian & Gardner, Andrew.
Edwardian Enterprises : The Untold Origins of Midland Red. (2017).
LF 47.63 MID, Level 5.

6. Flack, Fenella.
God’s Back Garden : A History of Immanuel Church, Kings Norton, Birmingham. (2014).
BCOL 14.57, Level 4 & L 14.57, Level 5.

7. Goodman, Ruth. Helping Britain Prosper.
From industrial revolution to digital revolution. A social history of Britain and Lloyds Bank. (2015).
LF 63.21 LLO, Level 5.

8. Hewston, Norman.
A History of Moseley Village. (2009).
Moseley  – Birmingham Collection, Level 4 and L 92.1, Level 5.

9. Hill, Lewis. (ed) Kirk, Pauline.
Thinking of You Always – The Letters of Cpl. Hill, 1941 – 1945. (2016).
L 78.1 HIL, Level 5.

10. Library of Birmingham Discovery Season Brochure. (2013).
LP 53.31, Level 5.

11. Meads, Catherine & Pennant, Mary & McManus, James & Bayliss, Sue.
A systematic review of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health in the West Midlands region of the UK compared to published UK research. (2009).
LF 22.85 MEA, Level 5.

12. Mussett, Nigel. J., (Compiled by).
George Albert Ravenhill, VC. (2017).
LP 78.1 RAV, Level 5.

13. Pieper, Antje. Music and the Making of Middle – Class Culture.
A Comparative History of Nineteenth – Century Leipzig and Birmingham. (2008).
L 55.5, Level 5.

14. Phillips, Jess.
Everywoman – One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth. (2017).
BCOL 78.1 PHI, Level 4 and L 78.1 PHI, Level 5.

15. Reid, Adam.
The Chemical Activities of the Lunar Society, c 1765 – 1800. (2004).
LF 50.6, Level 5.

16. Reekes, Andrew.
Two Titans, One City : Joseph Chamberlain and George Cadbury. (2017).
L 78 REE, Level 5.

17. Rennie, Paul.
Safety First : Vintage Posters from RoSPA’s archive. (2015).
LF 45.62, Level 5.

18. Roberts, Stephen.
Joseph Gillott and Four Other Birmingham Manufacturers, 1784 – 1892. (2016).
BCOL 64.1, Level 4 & L 64.1 ROB, Level 5.

19. Roberts, Stephen.
Birmingham 1889 : One Year in a Victorian City. (2017).
BCOL 73.4 ROB, Level 4 &  L 73.4 ROB, Level 5.

20. Robson, Geoff.
Dark Satanic Mills :  Religion and Irreligion in Birmingham and the Black Country. (2002).
L 10 ROB, Level 5.

21. Rudge, Ted & Clenton, Keith.
Changing Nechells. (2015).
Nechells – Birmingham Collection, Level 4 and L 91.4, Level 5.

22. Slater, Terry.
‘The Pride of the Place’ : The Cathedral Church of St. Philip, Birmingham, 1715 – 2015. (2016).
BCOL 14.13 SLA, Level 4 & L 14.13 SLA, Level 5.

23. Smith, Douglas H.
From Tramways to Trenches : The story of the men of Birmingham Corporation Tramways who gave their lives in the First World War. (2014).
LP 47.621, level 5.

24. Swani, Balwant K.
Hello England. (2017).
BCOL 78.1 SWA, Level 4 and  L 78.1 SWA, Level 5.

25. Woods, Gary, W.
Out & About : Mapping LGBT Lives in Birmingham. (September 2011).
LP 22.85 WOO, Level 5.

26. Walters, Graham.
Sir William Mills and the Standard Golf Company, 1895 – 1939. (2016).
LF 25.16 WAL, Level 5. Continue reading

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

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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

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