Birmingham Museums Trust Soho House


Artists Poolman and Rowe have worked withSoho House, the home of industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton from 1766 to 1809. Boulton was a key member of the Lunar Society, a group of local men prominent in the arts, sciences, and theology who met at Soho House. Members included James Watt, Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood and Joseph Priestley. Members of the Society have been given credit for developing concepts and techniques in science, agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and transport that laid the groundwork for the Industrial Revolution. Boulton founded the Soho Mint (coin production, not Polos) which he soon turned into the world’s first steam powered mint, thus revolutionising the quality of Britain’s coinage. Today, Boulton’s image appears alongside James Watt on the Bank of England’s new £50 note.

Handsworth is now a densely populated inner city area of Birmingham. Historically though, it was located in the county of Staffordshire and remained a small village fromthe 13th century to the 18th century when Matthew Boulton who lived at the nearby Soho House set up the Soho Manufactory in 1764 on Handsworth Heath. At its peak, the Soho Manufactory was the largest factory in the world been regularly referred to as ‘the 8th wonder of the world’. It became part of Birmingham in 1911 and over the 20th century, like many inner city areas, underwent a series of transformations as it evolved into an area of ‘superdiversity’. Over the last two decades in the UK, the arrival of migrants from many different countries, combined with longer established minority populations, has resulted in an unprecedented variety of cultures, identities, faiths, languages, and immigration statuses. This is referred to as ‘superdiversity’.

Birmingham Museums Trust manages the civic museum collective on behalf of the city. It consists of around 750,000 objects, displayed and stored in nine venues and attracting over 1 million visits a year.

Birmingham Museums Trust is part of Arts Council England’s network of Major Museum Partners.

Artist Profile

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Poolman and Rowe

Chris Poolman (b.Oxford, 1980) and Elizabeth Rowe (b. Leicester, 1974) devise daring and humourous propositions that inv...view here