A jewel of a museum

Home / history / A jewel of a museum

Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton img_20161006_124712282-01 Museum of the Jewellery Quarter - Clive Hilton Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton img_20161006_130643565-01-01 Museum of Jewellery, Birmingham - Clive Hilton

I took some students to the Museum of Jewellery in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter. It is an amazing place. Having been in the business of manufacturing jewellery for nearly a hundred years, it finally closed its doors as it stood on its last working day in the mid 1980s. It’s as though the workers have just popped out for a moment. There’s even jars of jam and Marmite sitting undisturbed on a cupboard in the office. It’s a remarkably atmospheric place and there is something to fascinate the eye and mind at every turn. In the electroplating alchove, where lethal chemicals are used as part of the plating process, there is a kettle and tea making facitlities sitting alongside open containers of acids. Apparently, the woman who worked in this place daily for more than fifty years went onto to work in another factory doing similar work well into her eighties! Everywhere one looks there are little touches that signal the presence of lives that once inhabited this place. From kettles on a furnace through to hand-written work records and bills, while the work benches have pictures of the workers who once sat there and created glittering jewellery in the dirt and gloom.