Jewellery Quarter Festival
Admission, some free, some not
The first goldsmith in the quarter to be recorded was Roger Pemberton in 1553. During the 18th and 19th centuries as Birmingham prospered from the Industrial Revolution it developed into a large industrial town. A considerable trade developed in the manufacture of buttons, cap badges, pins and metal toys. The 1780 Birmingham Directory stated that there were 26 jewellers at this time and by the start of the 19th century there were around 12 jewellery manufacturing companies employing approximately 400 people.
As the jewellery trade developed around the Vyse St and Warstone lane area,the wealthy factory owners eventually developing the St Paul’s Church area into a leafy residential area adjacent to the main Jewellery Quarter. This area over the years became converted to workshops and factories as the district quickly developed.
The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter is now a designated conservation area with over 200 listed buildings and has been described by English Heritage as ‘a unique historic environment in England – a national treasure….a place of unique character’ and ‘jewellery and metalworking which does not seem to exist anywhere else in the world’. The quarter is now home to 500 jewellery related businesses,over 100 jewellery outlets, specialist outlets,bars, restaurants and has approximately 6000 residents.
As you can see form the link above the weekend was full of activities. I only attended the Saturday and managed to see only a small portion of what I wanted to see, this was due to the fact the times in the program were not that brilliant. The other bugbear was the fact that the program had some actives as free when they were not.
So I started my day at The Chocolate Quarter, which sells their own handmade chocolates. Here there was a demonstration on tempering chocolate which they then made into popping candy, very interesting plus I found out what I was doing wrong when adding bits to my chocolate. I also brought some chocolate to try.
Next was a talk ‘ Illustrated history of Birmingham Balti Bowl’ which was very interesting. The Balti originated in Birmingham in the 1970’s and was cooked by the Birmingham Pakistanis. Now the manufacturers of the Balti Bowl are trying to get it trademarked, so that only food cooked in the Birmingham made Balti Bowls can be called Balti.
I then went and did a bit of shopping at the Social Enterprise Pop-Up Market, before going to the Quartermasters for demos of jewellery making, and an exhibition of arts and crafts.
Next on my list was a tour of Key Hill Cemetery which was built in the 18oo’s there’s a lot of history to this cemetery so I will do a post all about the cemetery later.
I then went to see how good the free 3D models were, they weren’t free , for £25 you could have one of yourself. I didn’t.
The demos/talks/tour had been a lot longer than I was expecting which meant I had missed a lot of the other things I had wanted to see. I finished my day off by catching the end of three sixty brothers
Then I went back to Quartermasters and drew a dinosaur for their giant Jurassic landscape, not just for children as I was told.