Established in 1881, J. W. Evans is one of the most complete surviving historic factories in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. English Heritage stepped in to rescue it in 2008, and opened it to the public in summer 2011. The factory represents a lost industrial world; behind the frontage of four terraced houses, the workshops retain their original drop stamps and fly presses, and are packed with thousands of dies for the manufacture of silverware, as well as the whole of the working equipment, stock and records of the business. Entry is by pre-booked tour only.
- Facilities: Four very steep and narrow staircases, steps and slopes, some courtyard areas open to the elements and may become slippery when wet
- Opening Times: Entrance to Silver Factory only available on a limited number of days (see website for dates). Max 10 people per tour and must be booked in advance by calling 0370 333 1181
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About the area
Discover West Midlands
After Greater London, the West Midlands is the UK’s biggest county by population, and after London, Birmingham is the UK’s largest city. There’s a lot to seek out here – it has a vibrant culture, with exceptionally good nightlife. Coventry used to be more important than Birmingham, until the 18th century when the Industrial Revolution started and Brum forged ahead.
Apart from Lady Godiva, Coventry is best known for its cathedrals. The medieval parish church became a cathedral in 1918, but the Blitz on Coventry in 1940 left only the spire and part of the walls. After the war, it was decided to build a new cathedral alongside linked to the ruins.
Dudley was one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution, and this history is reflected in its architecture and the Black Country Living Museum, a recreation of an industrial village, with shops and a pub, cottages and a chapel. Stourbridge is also worth a visit, mainly due to its involvement in glassmaking, which has been going on since the 17th century, and is still a part of the town’s culture; there’s a glass museum and a bi-annual glass festival.
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