No.1 daughter and Joe arrived at 2218 and after a chat and a cocoa it was to bed. This morning we managed to get them up and out by 1000, but only as far as the closest Weatherspoons for a full English to fuel the day. Next stop was the new Birmingham Library that had queues at the door ready for them to open at 1100. Joe had studied the building at University so wanted to see it in real life. We had a good look round at the gardens and Shakspeare Room at the top.
The vies from the Library of Old Turn Junction.
The view of Cambrian Wharf at the top of Farmer's Bridge Locks. We managed to get inside before the rain and have managed to miss the showers all day.
After leaving the library we headed for the Coffin Works by Farmer's Bridge Locks. We arrived about 1330 so had 30 mins to wait for our tour.
This is a time capsule museum. The business of Newman Brothers closed in 1990 and had been mothballed. It took 15 years from the Birmingham City Council buying the premises to it being opened. Miss Green the last owner wanted it to be preserved and so left everything she could in place. The building had to be emptied and cataloged and the the building repaired, cleaned and painted and brought up to modern standards. It has been opened about 18 months I think. This is the courtyard that once contained a acid dipping shed, a gas generator, and the loos.
Newman Bros. specialised in making funeral jewelry for undertakers. In this area tin plate had items stamped out using these drop hammers.
These are the dies that were at the bottom of the drop hammers that formed the shape. Carved out of steel by hand using chisels and then when the pattern is verified the steel is hardened.
The bench on the other side was covered with bits and pieces of the trade.
This tin plate polished breast plate shows Helen and Amy at their best!
The whole building was lit by gas light until the 1960, and even with the electric light it was quite dark inside. This swing presses were worked by women who could stamp out a profile evry few seconds.
When the company closed all the stock could have been sold but the owner kept enough to ensure that there was enough left to make an authentic presentation. All the boxes have items in them.
This hand hoist connected all three floors of the building.
There is also a shroud room where high end coffin cloths and shrouds were made. The company provided ornaments and shrouds etc for the funeral of Winston Churchill and it is thought Elizabeth the Queen Mother as the high quality item from Newman's were stockpiled by undertakers following their closure.
The tour takes an hour ans it well worth the £6 and is a very informative. Along with the Jewelry Quarter Museum you get a great insight into the workshops of the past. It is well recommended if you are passing through Brum on the canals. We stopped of at the Queens in Newhall Street and had an amble round the Jewelry Quarter to show our guests before heading back to the boat for tea and cake.
The Jewelry Quarter does not only provide rings and things!
Later we will head out to find a curry on Broad Street if we can continue to evade the showers.