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Birmingham City Council

Boulton, Watt and Murdoch

Boulton, Watt and Murdoch - copyright Birmingham Picture Library

Outside the House of Sport (formerly the Register Office) on Broad Street stands the statue of Boulton, Watt and Murdoch, nicknamed 'The Golden Boys' or 'The Carpet Salesmen'. It is the work of William Bloye, formerly head of sculpture at Birmingham School of Art and was unveiled in 1956, although preliminary designs were drawn up in 1938.

The larger than life size figures are in bronze, with a gold finish, on a pedestal of Portland stone and are depicted discussing engine plans. The piece is in a "temporary" position and was originally intended to stand outside a Planetarium, which was never built, but which would have stood outside what is now the Repertory Theatre.

The three men pioneered the industrial revolution in late 18th century England. James Watt's improvements to the steam engine and William Murdoch's invention of gas lighting have made them famous throughout the world. Matthew Boulton, entrepreneur and industrialist, harnessed their talents in a company that made everything from tableware and copper coinage to steam engines. His home, Soho House, is now a museum. All three men are buried in St Mary's Church Handsworth, known as 'the Westminster Abbey of the Industrial Revolution'.