Birmingham City Council

Archives Searchroom: About Us

IMPORTANT NOTICE: NOVEMBER 2012

CLOSURE OF THE ARCHIVES SEARCHROOM IN PREPARATION FOR THE TRANSFER OF STOCK TO THE NEW LIBRARY OF BIRMINGHAM.

From the week commencing Monday 26th November 2012, the archives search room of Birmingham Archives and Heritage Service will be closed to enable the preparation, packaging and removal of stock to the new Library of Birmingham.

The last day the archives search room will be open will be Friday 23rd November 2012. We will re-open on 3rd September 2013.

We regret the inconvenience this is likely to cause to our users. A new Library of Birmingham website will be launched soon and this will include contact details for the new Library.

Searchroom

What we do

We collect and preserve both original and printed records of historical significance, relating to the city of Birmingham, its people, businesses, institutions and societies.

Archival collections are sorted, catalogued and indexed to make them available for public research. We care for over 6,000 collections dating from the 12th century. They are stored on more than 14 miles of shelving and we acquire around 200 new accessions each year.


About us


The types of archives we collect include:

Records of the city council and urban district councils. These include Birmingham council minutes, poor law union records for Aston, Kings Norton and Birmingham unions (please note, no workhouse inmate registers survive), rate books, education and school records for over 200 schools in Birmingham, council run children’s homes records, building plan applications from 1876 for Birmingham and its environs, urban and rural district council records for districts in Birmingham and records of Sutton Coldfield borough council.

Official records

These include court records for Birmingham Quarter Sessions from 1838 and magistrates courts/petty sessions records (please note, we have no Assize court registers), hospital records, including area health authority records as well as records of individual hospitals, coroner’s court records from the Birmingham coroner dating from 1875, probate records including copies of wills proved in Birmingham 1858-1941.

Religious records

These include Anglican parish records for over 130 parishes in Birmingham, and also records from Methodist, Congregational, Society of Friends, Unitarian, Jewish and other congregations as well as diocesan records from the Birmingham Diocese. For Roman Catholic Church records please contact St Chad’s Cathedral, Cathedral House, St Chad’s Queensway, Birmingham B4 6EU, Tel: 0121 230 6252

Business Records

These records notably include the Archives of Soho documenting the 18th century business and private concerns of Matthew Boulton and James Watt, the records of Metro-Cammell Ltd, railway rolling stock manufacturers supplying stock world wide in the 19th and 20th centuries, the business correspondence of John Hardman & Co, stained glass and metal manufacturers 19th century onwards, records of Cadbury, chocolate manufacturers of Bournville, particularly rich in personal family correspondence. There are many other local firms and businesses represented in our holdings.

Private and family records

These records include the whole spectrum of Birmingham life from family papers, letters, diaries, records of clubs, societies and charities, collections from solicitors, deeds, manorial and estate papers, wills, maps, plans, prints, photographs, drawings, watercolors, oral recordings.