Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham
This attraction can be found within the centre of the Birmingham. Its a small area full of jewellers, where you can find practically any kind of jewellery you could think of. It can (at times) be cheaper to buy your jewellery from here than at retail jewellery shops. This is a great day out if your one of those that love the sparkle of jewels and gems. It is free to enter the area, and its just a few roads with shops selling nothing but jewellry. There is also a cafe in the area. While your here it would be silly to not pop into the Museum of the Jewellry Quarter, which is open from April to October, as areawell as December to March
Buses from the city centre :
Birmingham Inner Circle Route
calling at the Jewellery Quarter at Icknield St.
101 / 101a
(Gt. Charles St., Snowhill Queensway, Colmore Circus, Priory Queensway, Moor St. Queensway, Small brook Queensway, Ladywell Walk, Edgbaston St., the Bull Ring, St. Martins Circus, New St., Hill St., Gt. Charles St., Science Museum, Graham St., calling at the Jewellery Quarter at Frederick St., Warstone Lane.)
The Findings Trail is a series of 26 markers set into the pavement each indictaing a bit of information about the history of the Jewellery Quarter.
The markers are square stones about 12-15inches square each with a letter of the alphabet inside a footprint shape and a small cast model relevant to the point being denoted.
The trail runs all the way down Newhall Street, along Graham Street and then back down the opposite pavement back down Graham St and Newhall St.
You really need to pick up a copy of The Essential Guide to the Jewellery Quarter from the Tourist Office as it gives the background information to each marker.
I started at St Phillips Cathedral and did this trail, the Charm Bracelet Trail, the pen museum and the museum of the Jewellery Quarter (all free) in one day. I think I started at around 10.30am and was back by the cathedral at around 3.30 (see my other Jewellery Quarter tips on the above). This was taking my time, reading the leaflets and taking pictures on the way round and included guided tours of each museum.
The charm bracelet trail consists of 16 markers set into the pavement like the one pictured, each telling a small piece of history about the Jewellery Quarter.
The trail runs up Newhall Hill and along Frederick Street. As you stand at the bottom of Newhall hill looking up towards Frederick Street the markers start on the pavement on your left. When you get up to the crossroads and the beginning of Frederick Street you need to cross over to the pavement on your right.
Ideally you shoule pick up a booklet called The Jewellery Quarter - The Essential Guide from the Tourist office as it gives detail on the meanings behind each marker both on this trail and the Findings Trail plus lots of other things around the Jewellery Quarter.
I started at St Phillips Cathedral and did this trail, the Findings Trail, the pen museum and the museum of the Jewellery Quarter (all free) in one day. I think I started at around 10.30am and was back by the cathedral at around 3.30 (see my other Jewellery Quarter tips on the above). This was taking my time, reading the leaflets and taking pictures on the way round and included guided tours of each museum.
The marker I have pictured indicates that the whistles on the Titanic were made in the Jewellery Quarter by J Hudson Limited (Acme Whistles) and they still manufacture these whistles on the original equipment in the same premises.
The Jewellery quarter used to employ up to 60,000 craftsmen at its height.
It's now only a few thousand, but tucked away in this area of the city you can still find individuals who will build just about anything you want in the Jewellery line.
The shops are centred around the Chamberlain clocktower on Warstone road and spread out over about half a mile or so. Most of the shop only date from the 1970's and are therefore not exactly architectural gems themselves.
The gems themselves are of course the draw - the standard of diamonds that you can purchase here, after a bit of shopping around, often equate to about half the purchase price in a high-street Jeweller.
They also tend to have good after-sales service with regular cleaning and insurance certificates thrown in with the deal.
If you are not looking to actually purchase any Jewellery then there is little to see apart from a very historic pub (see other tip) and a museum about the Jewellery quarter, which may take your interest.
In the midst of the citys world famous Jewellery Quarter stands this green painted, cast-iron clock tower