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The Pen Room Fredrick Street

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Rod

Guest
I took this quote straight from their website. The Pen Room is really well worth a visit. The building it is housed in is industrial, but stunning.

Go Take A Look


The Birmingham Pen Trade Heritage Association



The Association was first formed in September 1996 as an informal meeting of people interested in theBirmingham pen trade. It was registered as a charity in 1997. Membership was drawn from former employees of the trade, collectors and people interested in history. The interest has broadened over the years to include writing implements and accessories and forms of writing including, Braille and moon, calligraphy and shorthand. The membership has increased to over 80 and now includes calligraphers, cartoonists and local people.
Members now receive a regular newsletter, Pen Talk. The Pen Room, our museum in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham, was opened in April 2001, and the learning centre was established in an adjoining unit in June 2002. Our mission is to promote and further the interest in handwriting, writing equipment and writing accessories with particular reference to the Birmingham trades.
 

Sakura

master brummie
It is amazing what there is in Birmingham, how things have changed in the past 30 years since we moved. Without this forum it is doubtful we would ever here of many of the things. Thanks Rod. :great:
 

watton

master brummie
The Pen Room

An ancestor of mine on the 1901 census was called a 'pen splitter' ?
I would like to find out exactly what she had to do. Some day soon, I shall return to Birmingham, and hopefully go to find out for myself.
 

GER22VAN

master brummie
Pen Factory

My mother ( when she was alive) said that she worked at a pen factory somewhere near Aston University. This was dueing the second World War and they were making cartridge clips for machine guns of aircraft.
 
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Wendy

Guest
Watton I believe it was the process in knib making where the end of the knib was split. If you are able to visit the pen room you can actually make a knib in the old way experiencemand see for yourself the process.
 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
Hi Gerrvan22: Your mother would have worked at the Moland Street factory of firstly Mitchell's and then bought out by The Esterbrook Pen Company, an American company founded by a British born man who emigrated to the States.

I can remember going by the company for many years located very close to the Midland Counties Dairies. If you looked hard just before approaching the Dairy on the 39 bus you could see the building very easily. I also remember being quite amazed three or so years ago when I saw that the building (five storeys) in very poor shape,was still standing. It has now been purchased by Aston University to turn into small studio apartments thus keeping the shell of the building intact. That's great because it's a good looking building imo. Bit more info about The Esterbrook Pen Company history.https://jquarter.members.beeb.net/morepentrade.htm
 

GER22VAN

master brummie
Hi Jennyann. Thank you so much for your comments, I have printed it out as a referance for my Family History research. I do hope that you dont mind.
 
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Rod

Guest
I supported a group today to visit the Pen Room, firstly I must say we were made very welcome, the guys and a very nice lady!! staffing the place were very patient, and oh so helpful. We watched a video (YOU REALLY MUST GO AND SEE IT) used Quills and old fashioned pens to write with, then perused the many cabinets with some surprising artifacts in? A while later we were able to make our own pen knibs, and also look at other means of communication, a Braille machine etc, one of the ladies I supported found it amusing to "FEEL" her name Brilliant!!!!
 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
Sounds like you had a really great time Rod. Sounds like the people who are there every day like their jobs. I have put the Pen Room on my list for next time I visit Brum. Thanks.
 
R

Rod

Guest
Jennyann the Pen Room isnt a big venue, but its packed with some really imprtant history of Birmingham.
I learned some amazing social history yesterday.
 
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Wendy

Guest
Jennynne, the people at the pen room remind me of the people on here. They are all volunteers the Pen Room is self funding and rely's totally on charity and donations from visitors. They had some lottery funding about 4 years ago for disabled access and toilet. It was re opened by Carl Chinn I was lucky enough to have an invite.The people in the pen room are totally dedicated to the preservation of the history of industrial Birmingham. They visit Key Hill cemetery regularly as most of the pen manufacturers are buried there. One man in particular Colin knows more about the cemetery than anyone, a few years ago he totally cleared the area of ivy where the vaults are on his own! They have a fantastic collection of information about Key Hill cemetery. The pen room was originally the brain child of Brian Jones who has a great interest in the pen trade. He has written a book about Josiah Mason and I believe he is now writing another book. Some of you may have seen him do his talks as well. There is something for everyone at the Pen Room as Rod mentioned the children love to write with a quill we like the old school desks and there is a case with a lot of millitary history as this is what was produced in the pen factories during the two wars. I once had a go at making a pen knib and it made me realise how hard these women worked to produce pen knibs. If you visit please drop a donation in the box by the door to keep this wonderful place going.
 
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Wendy

Guest
For those who may be interested there is an exhibition by the Assay Office at the Pen Room, May through July.
Here are some photo's I took on my last visit.
 
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Wendy

Guest
For anyone who is interested in the assay office or seeing some wonderful examples of Birmingham silver workmanship. Take a trip to the Pen Room they have a display on at the moment and the workmanship is truly amazing! The most beautiful shoe buckles I have ever seen.
 

Shera

true brummie
also the museum of the jewellery quarter is absolutely brilliant. they have guided tours so need to check when to go but well worth a visit. my ancestors were all jewellers so really interesting to see a workshop kept exactly as it was in the past and to see all the machines working and all the stories. if you have any jewellers in your ancestory please go!

chris
 
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Wendy

Guest
On behalf of the Birmingham History Network I would like to congratulate Brian Jones founder of the Birmingham Pen Room Museum on his forthcoming M.B.E. Well deserved Brian!
 

Charlie

knows nowt
Congratulations Brian, it also reflects well on all the volunteers there who are so friendly, helpful and informative (and make a crackin' cup of tea!)
 

Pomgolian

Kiwi Brummie Admin' Team
I go along with the other posters and agree about the ...
(and make a crackin' cup of tea!)
Wendy please give them my best wishes next time you see them... Everyone here loves the PENSTEMS & NIBS I brought back from there.

Pom
 

Bernard67Arnold

master brummie
Hello there, went to see my GP yesterday, he said to you are from Birmingham arnt you? I said yes a long time ago! he said I took my two
daughters to the Pen Room last weekend, they really enjoyed it and want to go again! They are teenagers at the Derby High School for Girls.
Now what did you want to see me about? Nice fella
quote;Having money is rather like being a blonde,Its more fun but not vital Mary Quant;
Bernard67Arnold:cool::cool::cool:
 
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Wendy

Guest
How lovely Bernard. They are such nice people at the Pen Room. If I have time on Saturday I will tell them your story I know they will love it!:) Thanks for sharing it with us!:)
 
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