Birmingham City Of Culture

Saturday 2nd November 2019

This interesting day will include a guided visit to the Birmingham And Midland Institute and an afternoon tour of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Birmingham And Midland Institute was founded in 1854 as a pioneer of adult scientific and technical education (General Industrial, Commercial and Music) incorporates the much older Birmingham Library founded in 1773. Joseph Priestley (of the eponymous Riots) scientist (one of the discoverers of oxygen) and Unitarian minister had much to do with the library during its early life creating its unique cataloguing system.

The BMI also had an illustrious patron in its early days – Charles Dickens who helped raise funds for it by giving readings of a Christmas Carol. And, music played (and still plays an important part) in the Institute’s life. Ketelbey (best known for In a Monastery Garden) attended the School of Music (now Birmingham Conservatoire) when it was part of the BMI.

Samina Ansari will tell us more about the history of the two organisations and show us items of interest.

A snack lunch (not provided as part of the visit) can be purchased in the BMI café before we walk a couple of hundred yards to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (Chamberlain Square, B3 3DH). There, we will visit rooms devoted to two major artists born in Birmingham: David Cox (1783-1859) – watercolour landscapes and Edward Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898) – pre-Raphaelite best known for designing stained glass. Further examples of his stained-glass designs can be seen in Birmingham Cathedral – a short walk away conveniently close to both railway stations.

This visit will show how successful Birmingham industrialists ploughed the profits of their businesses back into the cultural life of the city and provided free access to it for all levels of society.


These buildings are within a ten-minute walk of two Main Line rail stations – New Street and Snow Hill.


The BMI building is on various levels. The only part to which there is no disabled access is the café. The BMAG has good access.

Meet Up

Meet 10.30am for 11am at the Birmingham And Midland Institute 9 Margaret St, Birmingham. B3 3BS.


Free to members.

Please email Ruth if you would like to go.