In my first post, I talked about the basics of the Jewellery Quarter Pavement Trails and shared photos of all (but one! Noooo) of the Findings Trail. That made for a long old article, so I decided to pop this one into another post. So, here we have the Charm Bracelet Trail. My best friend Emma and I decided to walk both Jewellery Quarter trails, clutching a camera (Emma) and a damp leaflet (me) in the drizzle – a perfect British Day Out as I’m sure you’ll agree. It was great fun being tourists in my city, and doing something you wouldn’t necessarily do (I have been to the Pen Museum, and that’s very good, too).
We actually did half of the Findings Trail, then up and down the Charm Bracelet trail in the wrong order, then the rest of the Findings Trail. I’ve posted these in the order in which they appear in the leaflet, starting at the bottom of Newhall Hill, intersecting with the other trail at the junction with Graham Street, but then continuing up Frederick Street into the heart of the Jewellery Quarter.
The Charm Bracelet Trail
This trail was designed by artists Mick Thacker and Mark Renn. Where the Findings Trail has squares let into the square-paved pavement, this one has a rather charming (aha) brick shape which fits in with these pavements. The designs are flatter and they all feature some chain links at the top that would form a chain joining all of the charms.
You start this one at the bottom of Newhall Hill and it takes you all the way to the top of Frederick Street on the right-hand side as you walk up. The pieces aren’t numbered or lettered but they are quite easy to spot.
The key, is, of course, the start of the trail, and this one also includes the thanks to the funders.
Then we have the Silent Boot, which refers to an 1890s design of police boot designed to help catch wrongdoers. In the photo at the start of this article, you’ll witness our delight at my Doc Marten’s shoe fitting into the design: here’s the unadorned version:
Did you know that Washington Irving, who wrote Rip Van Winkle, stayed in the Jewellery Quarter and wrote his book there in 1818? I will admit that I didn’t know this.
Hooray for the reforming Chartists – a huge crowd gathered here working towards reform in 1832 and this one celebrates them:
I also didn’t know that the FA Cup was made here but it was, and here it is, looking a little damp.
The whistles for the Titanic were made by J. Hudson Limited – they still make the same whistles and they’re called Acme Whistles, which is pleasing (they also make the Acme Thunderer, which is a football thing). We loved the little whistles on the chain.
Matthew Boulton, our famous industrialist, is commemorated next. That’s a file profile, isn’t it.
As well as a pen nib manufacturer, there was a Turkish Steam Bath near to the Argent Centre.
This anchor commemorates the Assay Office, the anchor being the hallmark symbol for Birmingham. This is commemorated in the beer bottle plaque in the Findings Trail, too.
I love these nib displays – they have ones like this in the Pen Museum, which is fab and well worth a visit. You can make a nib from scratch and play around with quill and dip pens. This commemorates Joseph Gillot, another overlap with the Findings Trail, but it’s lovely to have these names mentioned and remembered.
The Hockley Flyer is the quarter’s trade magazine and is still going strong and making interesting reading:
We get into World War Two and the Jewellery Quarter now, with this piece commemorating a badge-making firm targeted by bombers during the war …
… and this absolutely lovely Bits For Spitfires piece, celebrating the fact that both commemorative medals and parts for the planes were made here. Emma and I liked the way it looks like an Airfix model.
The famous School of Jewellery is celebrated on Frederick Street:
We also really liked this piece commemorating the Vittoria Restaurant, which apparently featured “peas like emeralds” – as we’d just had our lunch when Emma photographed this one, we decided to feature our toes (and Emma’s skirt) in the photo.
The last piece in this trail is the Chamberlain Clock, the famous landmark celebrating Joseph Chamberlain which was erected in 1903. Not sure why we added ourselves into this one, too, but it was a lovely ending, within sight of the clock itself.
We managed not to photograph the clock or the rest of the JQ, marching back down Frederick Street with a plan to get round the rest of it before tea time. A quick mention should be made of The Button Factory, which is a great pub on Frederick Street, in an old button factory and keeping a lot of its detailing. We had a lovely lunch there, and they do all their frying in rapeseed oil, which is brilliant for any of us on low-cholesterol diets. I do like chips. It was really quiet on a December Monday but friendly and warm.
Do pop and read all about the rest of our exploits that day taking in the Findings Trail as well!
All photos taken by Emma Volante, all food and drink paid for ourselves. More info about the Pavement Trails and a link to the leaflet can be found here.