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Explore the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter



To return to the start of the walk by public transport, turn left out of the museum. After a couple of hundred yards you will see the Jewellery Quarter Station on the right, from where you can take either a train or a metro to Snow Hill Station in the city centre. Both trains and metros run about every ten minutes. If you take the train you will need to buy a ticket before you get on; in the case of the metro you pay the conductor on the tram. On leaving Snow Hill Station, walk straight across the street outside (Colmore Row) and through the Great Western Arcade. Cross a street and keep straight on through the North Western Arcade. At the end of the arcade you are in Corporation Street. Turn right and walk to the second pelican crossing. This is where we started.

To walk back to the starting point takes about twenty minutes by a direct route. Turn left out of the museum and walk right along Vyse Street. At the Chamberlain clock, keep straight on along Frederick Street. When you reach the crossroads with the Argent Centre on the right and the Victoria Works on the left, turn left into Graham Street. Follow the road round to the right as it becomes Newhall Street. Keep straight on up to and over the summit (Colmore Row) and down the other side (Bennett’s Hill), noting the blue plaque outside No 11 (right-hand side, towards the bottom) which marks the birthplace of the renowned pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones. When you get to the T-junction at the bottom of the hill you are in New Street. Turn left and walk to the pelican crossing, which is where we started. (Hint: if you are heading for New Street Station, at the bottom of Bennett’s Hill keep straight on through the Piccadilly Arcade, noting the lovely painted ceiling. At the far end of the arcade two streets meet at an acute angle. Cross them both and turn right. The ‘side entrance’ to the station is fifty yards along, on the left.)








Shop till you drop

There are over a hundred shops in the Jewellery Quarter, mostly in the area of Vyse Street, Warstone Lane, Augusta Street and the streets immediately off.


Much as we have meandered around, there is quite a lot of the Jewellery Quarter that we haven’t seen. There are also two pavement trails, in Newhall Street / Graham Street, and Frederick Street / Newhall Hill, which you might like to follow. You can get free maps of the Jewellery Quarter and leaflets describing the pavement trails from the museum, the museum cafe, or the information kiosk near the Chamberlain clock.

Visit Soho House

Soho House is Matthew Boulton's former home. An elegant eighteenth century house, it has been decorated and furnished to look very much as it was in Matthew Boulton's time, containing  quite a lot of Matthew Boulton's own furniture and, in many rooms, wallpapers and carpets that replicate Matthew Boulton's own. It is interesting not only for its connections with Matthew Boulton and the Lunar Society (you can visit the very room in which they met) but also for the advanced features that Matthew Boulton installed, including a steam heated bath, and ducted warm air central heating. There is also a display of replicas of Joseph Priestley's experimental equipment, and many beautiful artifacts made at the Soho Manufactory. Like the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Soho House is open from April to October, Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am - 4.00pm (closed Mondays except Bank Holidays).

Soho House is about ten minutes' walk from the museum. Turn right out of the museum, go to the traffic lights and turn left. After a short distance you come to the start of a flyover. Continue following the pavement down the slope, with the flyover on your right. Keep straight on at the bottom of the hill, noting that the Hockley Brook, which powered the Soho Manufactory, passes under here and the Manufactory was just a short distance away to the left. A little way beyond the end of the flyover turn left into Soho Avenue. Soho House is a short distance along, on the left.

Visit St Mary’s, Handsworth

Being the resting place of James Watt, Matthew Boulton and William Murdock, St Mary's Handsworth has been described as 'the Westminster Abbey of the Industrial Revolution'. There are memorials to all three men inside the church. 

St Mary's is quite a walk from the museum, so best take a bus. Turn right out of the museum and right again at the traffic lights. There is a bus stop quite close by. You need to catch a No 16 bus (frequent service; pay the driver on entry; they don't give change). After passing a flyover the bus turns right off the main road into Hamstead Road. About a mile further on there is a park on the left. The church is also on the left, a little before the end of the park. The bus goes right past the church.

Visit the Soho Foundry

The Soho Foundry was Boulton & Watt's purpose-built steam engine building works, which was opened in 1796. You can see the site of this historic works, and something of the original buildings, but bear in mind that for the last hundred years or so it has been the premises of W & T Avery, manufacturers of weighing scales. As such it has undergone considerable change and although it says 'Soho Foundry' on the wall, the building you see is not the original one. Nevertheless, parts of the original foundry do survive, including a row of workers' cottages which you can see from the street outside. (There are other remains but you would need to gain access to see them.) 

To get there, turn left out of the museum and walk along to the Chamberlain clock. Cross both Vyse Street and Warstone Lane and take a No 101 bus from outside the Fryer Tuck chip shop (destination Handsworth Oxhill Road; frequent service; pay the driver on entry; no change given). Alight at Birmingham Prison, where the bus takes a right turn from Lodge Road into Handsworth New Road. Walk along Foundry Road, which is opposite Lodge Road, go under the railway and turn right into Wellington Street and then first left into Foundry Lane and the Soho Foundry is a little way along on the left. (This is only a few minutes' walk from the bus.)





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© 2001, 2003, 2004 Bob Miles