Last week my husband and I went to Jewellery Quarter Museum in Birmingham. We’ve been to the Jewellery Quarter before, but didn’t visit the museum until now. For anybody with a love for jewellery and history, this is the perfect place. The workshop looks exactly like it was in 1981, when everybody left and locked the door behind them.
The museum has an exhibition on two floors that can be seen in less than 30 minutes. The most interesting thing is the guided tour, that lasts 1 hour and is included in the entrance fee. It’s worth waiting for the tour, as it took us in the workshop and that is not open to the public as there are lots of things that can be dangerous. The guide told us many funny stories and a detailed presentation of the family that worked there, their employees and the life in the Jewellery Quarter.
There are a few jewellery pieces on display and they look so pretty.
This is a Vinaigrette box from 1837, designed by Nathaniel Mills. The Vinaigrette boxes had a sponge in them, underneath a grill. The sponge would have been soaked in nice smelling oils and were used by men and women whilst travelling because the streets smell bad.
Mr. Punch, having his dinner.
The top floor exhibition is about natural materials, ivory, feathers, metals, pearls.
Match boxes, better than the cardboard ones as these would keep the matches dry. They look beautiful, the display is filled with gorgeous pieces.
After seeing the exhibits, we’ve waited for the guide to start the tour. It was very interesting. I’ll share a few stories, but not too many, so it’s still fab if you want to visit the museum.
The white tiles were placed there so the light will bounce back in the workshop. As they were expensive, the tiles were placed only where they were needed and not the whole house.
The office where one of the sisters worked.
The toaster where one of the owners would make his breakfast. The cord looks bad, I don’t think it should have been used like that, but it was ok in the 80s.
On top of toast, he would have put Marmite or jam. According to the manufacturers, Marmite is still good to eat after all these years.
In the workshop there are so many tools they would have used to make jewellery.
The guide showed us a few techniques used in those days. Again, health&safety wasn’t an issue for them. It was fascinating to learn about their methods.
I think it is sad how the factory ended. The owners wanted to sell it, but nobody was buying, then they wanted to make it into a museum and the council wasn’t interested at that time. As none of the owners had children and all three of them were over 70 at that time, they closed the factory; locked the doors and left. After 10 years the house was transformed into a museum that we can now enjoy.
Have you been to Jewellery Quarter Museum?