Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Entertainment & Arts

Europe, United Kingdom, West Midlands

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is a museum at Vyse Street in Hockley, Birmingham, England. It is a Community Museum, that is branch museum, of the Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery. For over 80 years the family-run firm of Smith & Pepper produced jewellery from the factory that is now the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. When the elderly proprietors of the Smith & Pepper jewellery manufacturing firm decided to retire in 1981 they simply ceased trading and locked the door. Tools were left strewn on benches; grubby overalls were hung on the coat hooks; and dirty teacups were abandoned alongside jars of marmite and jam on the shelf. In the eighty years before its closure, little changed with the working practices or equipment used within the family-owned business. The Museum has preserved the "time capsule" workshop, and also tells the story of the 200 year old Jewellery Quarter and the ancient craft skills still practised in the workshop that make this area the centre of the British jewellery industry. In 2008, it was named as the third best free tourist attraction in Europe by TripAdvisor, behind the Pantheon in Rome and the National Gallery in London.