Jewellery Quarter People’s Archive

A three-year £2million Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) project is searching for people to share their memories of living and working in the Jewellery Quarter.

Commencing earlier this year, the Jewellery Quarter Townscape Heritage (JQTH) project began raising awareness of an area within the Jewellery Quarter’s ‘Industrial Middle’*. Historically a mixed industrial and residential area, many of the buildings remain today, housing traditional manufacturing alongside new enterprises.

As part of the activity programme, the JQTH wants to document a community that has evolved over generations. Individuals are needed for their contributions to build the Jewellery Quarter People’s Archive. Officially launching next year, the digital archive will preserve and make accessible personal experiences and historical materials relating to the area.

As part of Birmingham Heritage Week earlier this month, the JQTH team hosted events for local people to share their stories. The second round of events will take place on Saturday 6 October and Sunday 7 October between 10am and 4pm at The Hive Café and Bakery and Wednesday 10 October between 2pm and 8pm at Rose Villa Tavern.

Local photographer Inès Elsa Dalal will capture portraits of participants and any photographs, letters and historic newspaper cuttings they bring to the event.

Kate O’Connor, JQTH Activities Manager, said: “The Jewellery Quarter played an instrumental role in the lives of many generations. We want as many people with a deep connection to come forward and share their memories for a digital archive that will be accessible for current and future generations. “We particularly want to hear from women, including those who worked in manufacturing and industrial jobs. To date, we have heard some fascinating stories including memories from a former employee of the iconic J W Evans silver factory.”

Complementing the activity programme, the JQTH project also aims to bring a series of shortlisted historic buildings back into use through offering restoration grants to local property owners.

Managed by the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust (JQDT), the JQTH aims to regenerate the area, to halt and reverse the decline of the historic townscape by creating attractive, vibrant and interesting places where in the future people will want to live, work and invest.

Philip Davis, JQDT Chairman, commented: “As part of the Jewellery Quarter Townscape Heritage programme there are many exciting activities taking place alongside the restoration of the shortlisted buildings. These will inspire communities to learn more about their local heritage, attract new visitors and build awareness of conservation issues ensuring that the great legacy of the Jewellery Quarter and its unique history lives on.”