England travel guide




Birmingham Travel Guide

Jewellery Quarter

Birmingham's long-established Jewellery Quarter lies just to the northwest of the city centre, about half a mile from Colmore Row via Newhall Street. Buckle-makers and toy-makers first colonized the area in the 1750s, opening the way for hundreds of silversmiths, jewellers and goldsmiths. There are still around five hundred jewellery-related companies in the district with most of the jewellery shops concentrated along Vittoria Street and the adjacent Frederick Street and Warstone Lane. The prime attraction hereabouts is the engrossing Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, 75-79 Vyse St (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm; Sat 11am-5pm; 2.50), a short walk north of the Frederick Street/Warstone Lane intersection. It is built around a factory that has remained virtually unchanged since the 1950s, though it was in use until 1980. A visitor centre starts proceedings, detailing the growth and decline of the trade in Birmingham, but it's the old factory that steals the show. Here, the atmosphere and conditions of the old works are superbly re-created - the jewellers were wedged into tiny, hot and noisy spaces to churn out hundreds of earrings, brooches and rings. Their modern counterparts use the old machines to show how some of the most common designs were produced.

From the museum, it's a couple of minutes' walk back along Vyse Street to the Jewellery Quarter train station and metro stop, on the Snow Hill line.

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