The impact that the Great War had on the ever changing face of the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter has been brought to life by a new exhibition at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. Â Just a week before the centenary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, which finally sparked the onset of World War I, the Museum has created an exhibition to demonstrate the impact the war had on the Quarter. Thousands of workers enlisted, leaving vacancies to be filled by women for the first time. Manufacturers turned some of their production to war armaments ranging from components for grenades to swords, while still making some jewellery and silverware. Despite this by 1918 200 firms had closed and employee numbers halved - and yet Birminghamâs jewellery trade survived, retaining much of its former dominance.Â Disabled soldiers returning from the war were welcomed onto new training courses at the School of Jewellery, supported by the Birmingham Jewellery and Silversmiths Association.
The exhibition contains items loaned by prominent Jewellery Quarter firms and also a collage created by the Year 7 pupils of Perry Beeches II who had the benefit of the inspirational Professor Carl Chinn who had obviously brought history to life for them, judging by their contributions to the launch event which was very well attended.
Professor Carl Chinn and Laura Cox
This exhibition reveals the extraordinary sacrifices made by a generation of Birmingham people duringÂ a period of massive change for a community and is well worth a visit.
ASSAY OFFICE STAFF IN UNIFORM
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