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I took my cousins from Australia a couple of weeks ago. Chris had his 10 year old daughter with him and they all plan to visit again when they return from their tour of Europe. They thought it was "awesome" - and I had to agree!
just like to say thank you to wendy for pointing out the pen room last saturday....as usual i was busy clicking away so me and my brother will be going again next week for a more in depth look around....must say the staff were brilliant.....
A bit about The Pen Room Museum was shown on Monday's (18th January) Inside Out programme during a feature by Carl Chinn on the pen trade in Birmingham. I only watched it last night as I had recorded it. If you missed it you can see it on-line on the BBC iplayer. Go to BBC website and search for INSIDE OUT WEST MIDLANDS.
I read with interest about the Pen Room. The original building was built floor by floor, they wouldnt build on top of the first floor until all the space had been taken, and so on. At the very top they had turkish baths built, this came from the owner who had been overseas and had used turkish baths while he was there. J R Tolkein lived close by the building at one stage of his life.
Just in case any 'pen buffs' are reading these posts: My father had a German Uncle, of whom he had fond memories. His name was Weis, or Weiss, and worked in the Birmingham pen industry as some sort of designer... he had something to do with the development of the fountain-pen. However, come the Great War, he left his wife to return to Germany to fight for the Kaiser :shh: and was, reputedly 'killed in action'. However, there was a vague rumour that he had survived the war and, rather than to return to the country he had fought against, he went to America and continued his work, now within the American pen-trade.
As a child, I was told quite alot about this German relative. However, in my young mind, he was a 'turn-coat' and I sort of refused to take much notice; almost purposely 'forgetting' most of what I was told...which I now regret. I can't even remember his first name! I can certainly recall my father being torn in his emotions; his once favourite Uncle mentioned only in whispers.
Thanks Wendy, I'll make a note of that. it's a bit early I think, but there might be some connection, somewhere. I know Dad's Uncle had been in Britain for about twenty-two years before he returned to Germany; he was far too old to go to war, in his early 40's I think?
Im off to the penroom some time over the next month or so, it turns out my family were, birmingham penmakers, the Heeleys.. Edmund Heeley in particular, my 3xgrans brother.. He was a silversmith in Birmingham (Edmund Heeley & Co) and soon after I found out about the Penn room... I also discovered that Edmund owned premises in Frederick Street!!... Ironic? lol but as well as his silverwork, he also sold many other things, including manufacturing a range of pens, alas, I cant find anything that he has made, but Id love to find some!... another relative (not sure of the exact family tie, but there is one)... is James Heeley and sons, who manufactured many simmilar items to Edmund... and both made pens with the same names too, so maybe it was a family thing?
If anyone has any info on Edmund Heeley and or his work, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee let me know!!
or of his house lol, he apparently lived at a lime grove lodge, edgbaston, but again, this is a place I cant find any images (Edmund lived 1799 - 1801)
I am sure there will be plenty of information on Edmund Heeley at the Pen Room. They are very helpful and have a lot or resources. You will enjoy your visit I am sure they are great friends of ours! Good Luck Wendy.
Alas, on edmund himself... they dont... someone phoned me and talked to me about it when i made a general email enquiry to them, i think his name was Larry.... but they do have things for James Heeley... I did find it ironic that i then found out Edmund owned property in frederick street lol... wouldnt it be even more ironic if it turned out that the pen museum is... that building lol?
That's some good news. Larry is very knowledgeable one of the founders and a long standing volunteer. He appears on the Industrial Revaluations DVD featuring Mark Williams (Fast Show) when they did a piece on the museum. The building they are in was the Wylie Pen Works opposite was Gillott Pen Works. I hope you find some items at the Pen Room.
I visited the Pen Room today - I had never been before and I really enjoyed it. The displays are really interesting with lots to look at. I made a pen nib (I don't know how the women used to be able to make so many in a day) had a go at caligraphy (got very inky hands) and printed my name in Braille.
The people there are all very friendly and helpful and it was lovely to see Colin who does a lot of work in Key Hill Cemetery - there is also lots of information on the cemetery there.
If you haven't been and are in the area I would definitely reccommend a visit - I will certainly return.
I have heard about the Pen Room before. It seems the sort of place in where I would be enchanted: I have always been someone with a collection of many pens.
An earlier post refers to an uncle from Germany. I am sure that in the later part of the 19th. century and early part of the 20th. many emigres from German speaking (not necessarily Germany) parts of Europe may well have set us small businesses, in Birmingham, including that of penmaking. Was not the City once that of a 1000 trades?
I visited The Pen Room this week. There is so much to see, so many displays. I never imagined there were so many different types of nib. There are inkwells, letter openers, all kinds of pens, propelling pencils etc. It was my second visiit...so much to take in!!
I made a pen nib too, so fiddly, you can't imagine how many they had to make in a day! The Volunteers are all so friendly and helpful too.
It's good to see so much Birmingham History preserved there.
Really really must visit the Pen room, I love pens of any kind, Paperchase is my downfall and when I was astudent nurse my treat every month was a pretty pen - when I qualified I lost a few of them to the Drs who "borrowed" them, never to be seen again.
Is it easy to get to and can I park near it?