Colonisation of the Jewellery Quarter – Early 1800s

Robert Thomas was a cabinet maker living on the slope above Graham Street, who avoided the cost of a separate workshop simply by converting an outhouse in his garden for his carpentry. His neighbour William Davis used his own scullery to make saddle nails.

By 1820 the entire district had been colonised by small entrepreneurs who had quit their workshops in the crowded streets, built during the early Colmore estate development, and who had started production in their own homes. Once enough capital had been amassed the manufacturer moved his family out to Handsworth or Hockley and sub-divided his original home into workshops for renting by those craftsmen who could not afford their own property.

By the time of Victoria’s accession in 1837, the town end of the present Jewellery Quarter was largely given over to steel toy makers, jewellers, goldsmiths, gunsmiths, japanners, button manufacturers and metal workers of all descriptions.

Source: Brum Trail 6 K Hughes 1994

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