Tag Archives: Birmingham History

The Old Meeting House

MS 1061-2-5-1

Copy of a sketch of Bull St. Quaker Meeting House (3rd building from the left) in 1702, n.d. [Ref MS 1061/2/5/1]

It is thought that a small Quaker community established in Birmingham in the 1650s. Initially meetings for worship were held in private houses but in 1661 a house and garden were bought in New Hall Lane for use as a meeting house and burial ground. New Hall Lane became known as Bull Lane (and later Monmouth Street) and was located at the end of what is now Colmore Row. The meeting house was located roughly where the entrance to the Great Western Arcade is today. Unfortunately, no plan of the meeting house has survived in the Central Area Meeting Archives deposited here, but there is a plan of the graveyard, drawn by the banker Charles Lloyd (1748 – 1828), with a key containing a list of names of those buried there.

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Plan of the Friends’ graveyard in Bull Lane drawn by Charles Lloyd, n.d. [Ref SF (2014-213) 1262]

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Key to the plan of the Friends’ graveyard in Bull Lane, compiled by Charles Lloyd, n.d. [Ref SF (2014-213) 1262]

The meeting house on Monmouth St. needed frequent repairs, so in 1702, it was decided to build a new meeting house, paid for by members of the meeting. This was on Bull St., on the site of where the current meeting house entrance gates now stand. Land behind the meeting house was used as a burial ground.  Continue reading

LGBT History Month 2017

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February 2017 marks LGBT History Month. The archive of the project Gay Birmingham Remembered (MS 2788) held here at the Library of Birmingham contains material relating to the history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans people in the city. The focus of the project was to collect material and memories from Birmingham citizens about gay life. The project culminated in the transfer of the records to the Library so that gay people’s lives in the city could be documented for the future and made available.

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Badges from the Gay Birmingham Remembered collection. [MS 2788]

As well as the colourful campaign badges featured in the photograph above, a number of LGBT newspapers and newsletters circulated in the West Midlands in the 1980s and 1990s feature in the archive. In the Pink: West Midlands free Lesbian and Gay newspaper is one of these and we hold copies dating from late 1980s. The newsletters are important because they record developments in the history of LGBT rights and are a reminder that legislation and attitudes taken for granted now were by no means commonplace in the 1980s.

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In the Pink from the collection of Gay Birmingham Remembered [MS 2788]

Here are some snapshots from the newsletters:

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

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.

BLACK HISTORY COLLECTION Continue reading

Wish you were there?

Horizons Midlands holiday brochure winter 1975-6

Horizon Midlands holiday brochure, winter 1975-6

Now the weather turns chillier, why not cushion yourself in the eventide glow of a Mediterranean clime? How much will this cost me I hear you chime, not a penny dear reader when you experience all that the more climatically forgiving realms of this continent have to offer by perusing a copy of a Horizon Midlands brochure.

The Archives & Collections service recently received a donation of historic brochures and literature from an employee of Horizon Midlands which was an independent travel agents based in Birmingham from the late 1960s through to the early 1990s. The donation, which has been added to our Birmingham trade catalogue collection, also includes a series of annual reports and accounts for the company covering the period from 1975 – 1986 along with paperwork detailing a proposed joint venture with Bass PLC in 1985 amongst other documents. The company appears to have been based originally at 214 Broad Street and ended its days not too far away at 4 Broadway, Five Ways.

Horizons Midlands

Horizon Midlands map of holiday destinations

Continue reading

It’s nearly time to Explore Your Archives

Orange ExploredExplore Your Archive week 2016 is nearly upon us! A joint campaign run by the National Archives and the Archives and Records Association, Explore Your Archive runs from 19 – 27 November and aims to promote and encourage the use of local archive services across the UK. For events across the country, why not visit www.exploreyourarchive.org to learn what’s going on near you.

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Part of an engine from Boulton and Watt – see the full item on display at our exhibition.

Here at Archives and Collections at the Library of Birmingham, we are having another pop-up exhibition following the great success of last year! This year we are Making an Exhibition out of our Researchers and we have had a great response with items already nominated including a letter from Winston Churchill and a drawing of a Boulton and Watt Engine! There is still time (just about!) to nominate an item and you can download the nomination form here.

So why not come along to our exhibition on Saturday, 19th November in the Wolfson Centre on Level 4. The exhibition will be open 1pm – 4pm and you can find details online on the Library of Birmingham events page.

We will look forward to seeing you!

150 years of Our Libraries (a.k.a. 155 years, 6 months and 22 days of Our Libraries.)

First things first: “150 years” is something of a miscalculation. The first public library (the Northern District Lending library, based in rented premises on Constitution Hill) opened 3rd April 1861 (a Wednesday, fact fans), hence the alternative title of this blog 155 years, 6 months and 22 days of our libraries.  The 150 years refers to the sesquicentennial of Birmingham Reference library, which opened on the 26th October 1866, the same day as the laying of the foundation stone at Gosta Green and the opening of Deritend library.

City Librarian’s desk, [L53.31 Photographs: Central Public and Commercial Libraries in Birmingham]

With that pedantry out of the way: what’s happened in those 155 years, 6 months and 22 days?  Well, the aim of this blog is to provide a recap of the events of the last 150 odd years to record notable events, the opening dates of branch and community libraries and other odd titbits of information.  I will say that there is a great deal more I could, and would like to, add to this timeline but the constraints of time see this very much as a potted history.

Like some kind of history-blog sommelier, I would suggest you pair this timeline with the gallery of images from our collections to be found here as many of the places and events mentioned below can be found depicted in the photos/drawings in the online gallery. Continue reading

We are five years old!!!

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By chance, we recently found an album of images of the old Reference Library including images of the Iron Room, the inspiration for our name.

On Monday, 24th October, The Iron Room turns 5 years old!!!

Our very first blog post on the Pageant of Birmingham was published on 24th October 2011 and to this day is still holding steady as the 4th most looked at post!

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Image from the gallery of the Iron Room [L53.31 Photographs: Central Public and Commercial Libraries in Birmingham}

 

To celebrate our 200th blog, 200 and Counting! back in December 2014, we had a look back at some of our favourite articles and the weird and wonderful items that we found in our collections and wanted to share with you.

The Iron Room is celebrating Our Libraries week so we are posting this a little early but we thought you might be interested in a few statistics from a wonderful 5 years…

 

  • Number of posts: 316
  • Top blog post: Birmingham Burial Records with 2610 views
  • Number of comments: 334
  • Most active day for comments: 26th September 2013
  • Best views ever in a day: 643 on 31st December 2012
  • Number of visitors: 42,000

We are still going strong with a jam-packed line up of articles to see out the year, not forgetting our 2016 Explore Your Archives campaign which we are launching with an exhibition on Saturday 19th November, and would love you to get involved with!

Thank you for supporting our blog and we hope that you continue to share in our love of our collections and the history of the amazing City of Birmingham.

From all the team behind the Iron Room.