Birmingham industrial exhibition (1886)

Birmingham photographer John Collier was commissioned to take photographs of the stands for the 'Exhibition of Local Manufactures and Natural History' held in Bingley Hall between 26 August and 2 October 1886.

The exhibition was a celebration of Birmingham's industry and creativity and contained stalls for over 200 local manufacturers. The selection of exhibits was limited 'to the leading manufacturers in their respective branches, or to any firm producing a speciality, with the view of showing the great variety of trades, and the excellence of work produced'. These were then organised into classes such as:

  • Engineering
  • Hardward
  • Heating and Lighting
  • Arms and Ammunition
  • Jewellery
  • Glass and Pottery
  • Stationery
  • Leather
  • Furniture and Decoration
  • Animal and Vegetable Substances
  • Chemicals and Miscellaneous (Scientific and Musical Instruments).

Collier's photographs were used to make commemorative albums. The library holds two of these albums. One was presented to Edward Parker member of the British and Midland Institute and Chairman of the organising committee for the 1886 'Exhibition of Local Manufactures and Natural History'. The other album was presented to Charles Hart co-opted member of Birmingham Council's Museum and School of Art Committee and Honorary Secretary to the organising committee.

The collections have the references MS 2743 and MS 2744. You can book an appointment to view the original prints in the Wolfson Centre, subject to handling requirements. Access may be limited due to the extremely fragile nature of some items in this collection.

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