Friends of Birmingham Archives and Heritage

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Friends of Birmingham Archives and Heritage Promoting and supporting the work of Birmingham Archives and Heritage

The Friends of Birmingham Archives and Heritage (FoBAH) was set up to promote and support the work of Birmingham Archives and Heritage, in making their historical collections available to as wide an audience as possible. Members are able to attend meetings, talks, visits, social events and other activities relating to Birmingham history. As well as the events listed, other events with dates to be

confirmed will include: a guided tour of the upcoming 'Children's Lives' exhibition (BM&AG, opening March 2012); and a 'walk through Birmingham's history' guided walk around the city centre.


St. Bartholomew’s church in Masshouse Lane taken in 1937. The church was opened in 1749 and demolished in 1943 after being damaged in an air raid in 1942. The site was cleared for use as a car park. Ref: WK/B11/5736


. Last week saw the unveiling of a portrait to Birmingham’s first Black councillor, Bert Carless -
Here’s Councillor Carless in a Birmingham Post article dated 1 August 1998 at the time he was awarded an OBE


In June 1876 Louisa Ryland gave the then town of Birmingham 43 acres of land by Coventry Road in Small Heath along with £4,000 to convert it from agricultural land to become what is now known as Small Heath Park.

Information and plan taken from: 'Birmingham Parks and Pleasure Grounds: their Cost, Areas and Maintenance' Bath and Parks Committee, 1892, Ref: L 27.3 BIR


. Salt & Son Ltd specialised in making artificial limbs. The company’s first premises appears to have been at Bull Street in the 1860s. This image is taken from a trade catalogue when the business was based at Cherry Street. Ref – LS 10/S/8


- This week we bring you 'A Brummie in the Family' by Vanessa Morgan - offering approaches to researching your Birmingham family and local history. Ref: L 77.3


in 1831 J H Chamberlain was born. He designed many significant civic and private buildings in Brum including our wonderful, free to visit, Shakespeare Memorial Room which was restored and rebuilt as part of


Today is the start of Refugee Week, a festival of art and culture which ‘celebrates the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.’ We thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look at some of the resources we hold which you can use for researching the experiences and contributions of refugees who have come to Birmingham.

Follow this link for the Refugee Week website

Read more here:

Image: War Refugees’ Committee (Birmingham Branch) Leaflet showing refugee children from the Belgian School, 1918 [LF 21.86 / 531707 p.48]


Apparently Monday was !? Although, unfortunately, no feline friends visited the library, we do have memorabilia from the in our current pop-up exhibition on Level 4. Ref: MS 4209/3/5.


Birmingham Small Arms and Metal Co., based in Small Heath originally started as a gunmaker, in 1880 they expanded by starting to manufacture bicycles such as this "Delta Double Driver" advertised for sale in 'The Bicycle Road Book' from 1881 [our ref L65.44]


Today on our blog we celebrate the achievements of Birmingham's Lisa Clayton (now Lisa Lyttelton, Dowager Viscountess Cobham) who in 1995 was the first British woman to sail, solo, around the world without stopping.

Paul our coordinator turns to our Local Studies collections to find out more

Image: 2 volumes from our Birmingham Biography Newscuttings Collection available by request from Level 4, Library of Birmingham


We’re running a feature on after last week’s front page of the Birmingham Gazette. Here’s the ‘dummy issue’ of the Birmingham Planet – the city’s first colour weekly newspaper published between September 1963 – June 1967


Looking at lost Birmingham factories was operating from the Toledo Works, Charlotte Street from 1853 having previously being located in Bartholomew Street. Their swords won a prize at the 1851 Great Exhibition. Ref – The New Illustrated Directory (1858) LF 06


. Not sure if we’ve brought you a photo of Curzon Street Station before so here it is snapped in 1932 in all its grandeur. Do hope that replacement bus service came along pretty quickly. Ref – Curzon Street & Station 17


Established in 1899 the Kings Heath Horse Show Society held a regular Whit-Monday show and competition. Initially at Highbury Hall and then land purchased at Alcester Lanes End. Ref : KH Horse Show Programme, May 1926, LF 25.41.


The Shri Geeta Bhawan Hindu Temple, Heathfield Road, Handsworth taken somewhere between the 1990s and 2000s. One of the first Hindu temples to be opened in the West Midlands in 1969. Ref - WK/B11/7833


Susan Whyman’s recent biography of William Hutton who wrote Birmingham’s first official history published in 1783. Find out more by reading our review: Reference L 78.1 WHY


Anyone notice the signpost above the doorway saying A + B 1764 on this photo from August 1932. 'A.B.' denotes the location of the house, situated right on the parish border of Aston and Birmingham. WK/B11/425


. It’s now 210 years since the institute for deaf children moved into premises in Church Road, Edgbaston in 1814. Here’s a bucolic illustration of the institute to celebrate WK/E1/494


Remember when Brum hosted the Eurovision way back in 1998 - that’s the last time we hosted on the back of a win. Dana International, Sir Tel and Ulrika. Reference - LF 55.3 Good luck to all. Royaume – Uni, Douze Points?


Improvement Scheme photograph (Number 87A) of the Old Square taken sometime between 1871 – 74. According to the 1872 Post Office Directory of Birmingham, establishments included the Stork Hotel, Miss Augusta and Elizabeth Lane’s Ladies School and the Birmingham Homoeopathic Hospital and Dispensary


To celebrate, we’re highlighting resources to help your research. Bisset’s 1800 Poetic Survey Round Birmingham is one of the earliest examples of a trade directory. Read about directories Trade Directories


- Double portrait of Emma Pollard, c 1890. Emma had been a pupil and teacher at St. Clements School, Saltley. She became a missionary with her husband, Sam Pollard and sailed for China in 1887. [MS 4564 St. Clements School - Photo 69]


. Another task we managed to complete during the Search Room Closed Week was putting our Birmingham newscutting volumes into a more manageable order. Find out more about the collection -


. The Victoria Works was opened in 1840 and chiefly employed young women in the manufacturing of steel pen nibs making Gillott an extremely wealthy man. Reference - New Illustrated Directory (1856), LF 06



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Our Story

The Friends of Birmingham Archives and Heritage (FoBAH) was set up to promote and support the work of Birmingham Archives and Heritage, in making their historical collections available to as wide an audience as possible. Members are able to attend meetings, talks, visits, social events and other activities relating to Birmingham history.