Protecting the Consumer and Servicing
the Trade with Independence and Integrity

First World War Centenary

An Adaptable Trade: The Jewellery Quarter at War

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.  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 Birmingham’s jewellery trade survived, retaining much of its former dominance.  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.

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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.

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Professor Carl Chinn and Laura Cox

This exhibition reveals the extraordinary sacrifices made by a generation of Birmingham people during  a period of massive change for a community and is well worth a visit.

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14th June 2014 - 27th June 2015 This exhibition explores how the industry adapted to wartime austerity, the impact on local people, and the vital role played by women.  Looking in detail at three prominent Jewellery Quarter firms, and illustrated with items loaned from family collections, it reveals the extraordinary sacrifices made by a generation of Birmingham people. Open Tuesday - Saturday 10.30am-5.00pm. Admission to the exhibition is free although charge applies for admission to museum and factory tour. Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, 75-80 Vyse Street, Hockley, Birmingham, B18 6HA 0121 348 8140

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ASSAY OFFICE STAFF IN UNIFORM

 

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