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Matthew Boulton strived for innovation through his various business partnerships and friendships with the influential thinkers of his day. His most well known partnership with James Watt (1736 to 1819) developed the steam engine for use with industrial machinery. His intentional focus on quality improved Birmingham’s reputation for silverworks, led to the establishment of the city’s Assay Office in 1773 and the coining of money for the Royal mint in 1797.

The records also tell the stories of those who worked in the manufactory at Soho and as servants in their households.

This is brief introduction to the Archives of Soho, now held by Birmingham Archives and Heritage. The Archives of Soho holds documents from all elements of Boulton and Watt’s business as well as their individual endeavours and personal papers, such as diaries, letters and notebooks.

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