Wednesday, 25 September 2013

City of Flowers - Wednesday 25th September 2013

I must say that Birmingham has really made an effort with its floral decorations. They line bridges, lamp posts, traffic islands, streets and entrances to gardens making a wonderfully colourful city. Here are just a few examples.
In the grounds of the Cathedral there is a floral tribute to the Lunar Society. The Society was a dinner club and informal learned society of prominent figures in the Midlands Enlightenment, including industrialists, natural philosophers and intellectuals, who met regularly between 1765 and 1813 in Birmingham. At first called the Lunar Circle, "Lunar Society" became the formal name by 1775. The name arose because the society would meet during the full moon, as the extra light made the journey home easier and safer in the absence of street lighting. .
We are moored just behind the new Library in Cambrian Wharf which is also at the top of the Farmers Flight of Locks and opposite the C&RT offices.
The three striking buildings of different ages. In the distance, Baskerville House built in 1936, in the foreground the Repertory Theatre built in 1971 and the new Library opened in 2013 whilst they are all different architecture they some how manage to compliment one another.
On the other side of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal is Brindley Place with is water feature and central cafe.
This morning we took the Metro tram to the Jewellery Quarter to visit the Jewellery Museum as June had never been there. For more than 80 years Smith and Pepper produced jewellery from this workshop, which was founded in 1899. It closed down in 1981 and was found 9 years later just as it was left when it closed. It looked as though they had just walked out for the night and left paperwork on the desk and tools on the benches.
Even the electric fire with the multi plugs in one socket were left in place. Any company doing this today would be shot.Image0577
In the workshop there were 1000’s of dies and tools for stamping out the bracelets and jewellery they made.
Equip 1
Even the Jewellers work bench where 7 men worked was left in tact.
Jewellers bench
These Drop Stamping presses were used by one man lifting heavy weights by rope to let them drop and stamp the gold until the owners mechanised them with an overhead belt drive.
The polishing machines were operated by women and the air and gold burnishing were sucked down into the basement where the gold was filtered and recovered.  Gold was too expensive to let any go to waste. Male workers were not allowed to have turn ups or wear Brillcream to avoid any gold being taken out of the premises.
The guided tour lasted an hour and we spent another 45 minutes exploring the galleries on the 1st and 2nd floors.
The bull in the Bull Ring Centre is celebrating its 10th Birthday and has been given a special bow.
Today is the day when the Canal Floating Market Boats are arriving and by this evening most of them had arrived with products ranging from rope fenders to decorative canal art items.IMG_3978
Even the Hotel Boats, Snipe and Taurus had come into town so everywhere is getting busy for the weekend, lets hope the weather remains dry for them.


  1. We thought the jewellery museum was wonderful, one of our best days we've had on our tour.

  2. Hi Ian and Karen
    It is a great place to visit and I still enjoyed it even though I have been previously.