Published on June 19th, 2015 | by Bill Dargue0
Coffin Works Resurrected
A decent funeral was a ‘must’ in Victorian society. Members of the North Arden History Society were treated to a lively talk by Birmingham Conservation Trust’s Director, Simon Buteux, describing the recently restored coffin factory in Birmingham’s Fleet Street.
From 1894 until 1999, Newman Brothers coffin factory produced high quality coffin fittings for the mass market, but also for the rich and famous. The fine metal handles on the coffins of Joseph Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, the Queen Mother and the Princess of Wales were all made in Birmingham by Newmans.
But by the end of the 20th century, with most funerals being cremations, the need for metal fittings was all but obsolete and on a day in 1999 the factory closed as if at the end of an ordinary working day with all the machinery, stock and furniture still in situ.
Restored by the Birmingham Conservation Trust, the factory has been turned into a unique heritage centre which is open every day (except Monday) and staffed entirely by volunteers.
We welcome to the society’s meetings, the next of which features Chris Rice of who will talk about the restoration being carried out on Capability Brown’s gardens at Compton Verney on Thursday 9 July at 8 pm in the Windsor Room at Arden Hall B36 9PB.