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Old Science Museum. Newhall Street


master brummie
Thread combined to another thread and some posts regarding the thinktank placed in new thread.

Does anyone know which year Elkingtons closed down and the science museum opened? I know the Birmingham Mail printed photos of Elkingtons closing,(I think they moved to Bloxwich) and would like to know what year please.
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From a web page.

144 Newhall Street

Located between Birmingham City Centre and the Jewellery Quarter this significant heritage site is bordered by Newhall Street, Charlotte Street & the Fazeley Canal.
In the 19th Century the Elkington electro plating Manufactory was world renowned and provided cutlery to the Titanic. In the 1950s Birmingham's Museum of Science & Industry set up home here and became a favourite destination for nearly three generations of families.
The site was vacated in 1999 with many exhibits transferring to Thinktank at Millennium Point and the Black Country Museum.

And another page

From 1951 to 1997 the Museum of Science & Industry was open to the public in Newhall Street. Artefacts and entire collections relating to the history and development of science and technology and to local industry were acquired. The exhibits range from a mainline locomotive to the smallest size of mapping pen nib and from machines to be found in the home to specialised scientific instruments. The collections have been given designated status because of their national importance, particularly machine tools and production machinery. Many artefacts were received with sample products and documentation, which provide an excellent resource for interpreting our manufacturing heritage.
From 2001 a number of important objects have been displayed at Thinktank, Birmingham’s Science Museum. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery later established the Museum Collections Centre to provide access to the stored collections and a resource for research and learning. Along with Archive and Reference Library, the collections are available for research by appointment.
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master brummie
Was there an article in an old issue of the Brummagen? seem to remember reading something around the time the site was closing as the Science Museum

Dave M

Pheasey Born Bumper
The Science Museum was definitely in Newhall St in the 50s, spent a lot of time there instead of school Fun times

Phil Price

master brummie
A grand place to learn about our heritage. I spent many a happy day there. It was fascinating. I can't bring myself to go to the new museum on Eastside.


master brummie
Hi Lynn,great photo,first one I've seen with Elkingtons on the wall, as I've said in a previous thread on the subject, my dad worked at Elkingtons from 1930 until its closure in the 50s, there is a photo in existence of all the employees prior to its closure, but I've never been able to find it.

Big Gee

master brummie
I loved the old Science Museum, and spent hours and hours there. In particular, I liked the cars and the aircraft, but everything in that place was interesting. I haven't been to the new one and probably never will, but folks I know who have visited say it's a massive disappointment. Change for the sake of change, seems to me. Or is it that science and technology just don't rate very highly in this modern world?

Big Gee


master brummie
Phil and Big Gee, the Eastside museum is a real let down, no atmosphere and all the old stuff crammed into one small area, no getting on the tram to ring the bell any more :(
Not sure that science and technology don't rate, just think they are not made much of, my son loves his computer and gaming boxes, but he's also fascinated by how things work and the way things were made, just so few places now to show him that are hands on. He loved Blists Hill in Telford because a lot of the workshops were happy to show him tools and equipment and let him hold them - think we were lucky it was quiet when we went. He has been brought up with carpentry tools with dad, so can handle them well!

Big Gee

master brummie
Sue, what you say just confirms what I'd heard about Eastside. But so long as there are places like Blists Hill and Ironbridge, then all is not lost.

It's also good to know that your son takes an interest in practical things, but I kind of get the impression these days that he's in a minority. A lot of people - and not just young people - don't seem to have much interest in, or care about, how things are made and how they work. I was a little ****** when I was young for taking things apart to see how they worked, including my dad's precious blow-lamp which we never did get working properly again....he never let me forget that, but at least I had a healthy curiosity (not the expression he used!)

Anyway, I don't think I'll bother visiting Eastside.

Big Gee


master brummie
I was getting excited then, thought there was a new science museum I hadnt heard about. Never heard that area called Eastside before.

Think Tank or whatever its called isnt a patch on the old Science Museum. I attended an open day at the depot in Cato St last summer, couldnt help but recognise some of the stuff from when I was a kid and used to spend hours in the old one. are they doing any more days like that ?

I took my daughter with me, she thought it was great, all that stuff just laid out in an almost random fashion. Every bit as enjoyable as the much larger Science Museum in that london which she persuaded me to take her to, which is by the way well worth a visit.


master brummie
The old "Science Museum" was where I first used a telephone. You could talk to your mate and see how it worked!!


As I've said before, I was the archivist at the Science Museum before I left to start a family (no maternity leave in those days!), and I'm sure that Norman Bertenshaw, the director, whose 'baby' the museum was, would be spinning in his grave to see how his beloved collections have been split up. His dream was to see the Elkington building extended and updated, and the canal arm behind it incorporated to include an old narrow boat. The Science Museum was always treated as the poor relation of the Museum and Art Gallery and was always at the back of the queue for available funding.

dek carr

gone but not forgotten
As a boy I had little interest in the culture of the Art Gallery give me the Mechanics of the Science Museum any time.I,m sure most of the boys of the 40s-60s felt the same.This has to be one of the greatest losses we have had to endure in this city I would have loved to have been able to take my grandchildren there and shown them the things I grew up with. Dek


Super Moderator
This has to be one of the greatest losses we have had to endure in this city

Absolutely, the old museum was a gem; I would spend hours there, there was so much to see and do.

They would play the organ near the entrance; the gas engine was always running, along with the Amos beam engine, the uniflow engine. We would arrive promptly on the house to watch the Corless mill engine run for 5minutes each hour.

There were buttons to press all over the place. I loved the sciencesection with the Fox and hen game, the telephones….

You can understand why all of Birmingham’s museums have hada steady decline in visitor numbers over the last twenty years, with the alternativesoffered by the living museums where you still can press button and ring trambells and immerse yourself in the past.

The impression I formed with Think Tank is, just because they are not interested in our proud industrial past, it does not mean everyone else is not interested either.