The first joint Birmingham Assay Office and Centre for West Midlands History day school took place on Saturday, 23rd June at the University of Birmingham and was a huge success. It is hoped that the event will take place annually. A range of speakers from the academic, heritage and jewellery and silver smithing communities spoke about the history of the Jewellery Quarter, its vibrancy today and its challenges for the future. The day was introduced by Dr Malcolm Dick, who is Director of the Centre for West Midlands History. Jez Collins from Birmingham City University gave a fascinating talk on the history of the Quarterâs involvement in the Birmingham popular music scene, including a look at the pubs, nightclubs and people in and around the area that helped put Birmingham on the musical map. Sally Hoban, who is the Birmingham Assay Officeâs Heritage and Training Officer, spoke about the Officeâs history and future, whilst Dr Connie Wan from the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) talked about how the RBSA has supported artists in the past and how it works with contemporary designers today.
Silversmith Steven Millington discussed how his company, L.J.Millington, has had to adapt to the needs of an ever changing business environment to ensure its survival, whilst Jack Kirby from Birminghamâs Thinktank Museum gave a fascinating presentation about how the Jewellery Quarter will be represented in the new âWe Made Itâ exhibition which is currently under development and is sponsored by the Assay Office. Sally Hoban commented: âHere at the Birmingham Assay Office, we are actively seeking to develop our links with the heritage community in Birmingham through events such as this. Feedback from the day has been extremely positive and we are looking forward to organising a similar event again next year.â