Jewellery Quarter Heritage – Our Own History and What We Do Now
Jewellery Quarter Heritage was officially launched on 6th September 2012, to help preserve the many stories of the history of the Jewellery Quarter, not only on this web site but in a series of publications. Professor Carl Chinn has been our patron for the first 5 years and is keen to continue.
Our regular historical items are covered in The Hockley Flyer in the Heritage section every month since April 2013 (issue 334) when we realised our original intention of publishing an occasional JQ Heritage magazine was not going to happen. Strangely enough The Hockley Flyer is something of a historical item itself, having been published monthly for over 32 years. We also published a couple of books on the Quarter, one is still available, The Jewellery Quarter History and Guide 2nd edition (1st edition out of print). We have plans to shortly put into production the 3rd edition.
There have been many changes over the just first 5 years since launching JQ Heritage but sadly the website etc was rather neglected after being turned down for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, reason being that we did not want to ‘play’ with heritage as we are serious about it! Although the website was neglected, we have been very busy by fighting inappropriate developments, especially in the Industrial Middle and Golden Triangle of the Jewellery Quarter, at our own expense. Also in the background we have also been adding to our database of historical items and cataloguing them ready for publication in The Hockley Flyer, our forthcoming books, and a little of both. Anyway the website had now been re-designed and regular updates will be added from now on.
There is still a need for affordable workshops in the Jewellery Quarter despite what many developers might say, although in English Heritage’s own words “It’s not only the buildings that are at risk, but the way the Jewellers work.” The way jewellers work has mostly changed with technology, though. We were involved with a scheme for a number of affordable workshops but the scheme fell through when the building was sold after the owner sadly passed away.
The main people behind Jewellery Quarter Heritage are Marie and Mark Haddleton who have worked in the Jewellery Quarter for over a quarter of a century (Marie served on the Birmingham Conservation Advisory Committee for many years, representing the Jewellery Quarter), and they are occasionally sought out to help with pre-planning guidance, to guide architects and developers through the complicated Jewellery Quarter Conservation and Management Plan and Design Guide. In fact, we have produced many heritage reports for presentation to the Conservation Advisory Committee to accompany planning applications.
At present we are working closely with the Friends of Key Hill Cemetery and Warstone Lane Cemetery, and are hopeful to resurrect plans to restore a smallish garden known as the ‘Crimean War Memorial Garden’ situated at Sandpits, and to replace a commemorative interpretation plate, the original one having been stolen within hours of the garden been restored, when Icknield Street was made into a dual carriageway years ago.
Many of the original JQ plaques on important buildings fixed by URBED some thirty years ago, have gone missing, although one was recently restored on the Cemetery Lodge and it would be nice to see the others restored.
There is a noticeable lack of blue plaques; there are around 200 listed buildings and only eight blue plaques in the area, (might be less now as some buildings have been demolished and the plaques appear to have gone missing)
You can help by becoming a member of Jewellery Quarter Heritage or maybe make a small donation as the research for our heritage items in the Hockley Flyer include purchasing old rare books/photos etc which all cost money. Members also get discounts on items in our store etc.