A nice cup of tea through history

A new exhibition at Compton Verney explores the cultural significance of our nation’s favourite drink. Visitors to A Tea Journey will follow the tea leaf from plant to pot, beginning with its roots in Chinese culture through to its adoption and appropriation into British society. The exhibition raises questions about what the humble cup of … Read more

The history of penmaking around Britain

Colin Waters explores Britain’s penmaking industry, particularly associate with Birmingham. Vast fortunes were once made from manufacturing the humble pen nib. For example, Josiah Mason and Joseph Gilliot, from Sheffield, came from poor uneducated backgrounds but went on to make their fortunes in the trade. Mason used his fortune for philanthropic purposes, including founding Birmingham … Read more

Worcester’s medical museums

Tucked away in the corner of a Worcestershire hospital is an informative, occasionally ghoulish, museum devoted to medical history, writes Nell Darby. The City of Worcester is home to not one, but two, medical museums, both of which are free to visit. One, The Infirmary, is located in the city centre, as part of the … Read more

Trace your Birmingham roots

There’s a wealth of material to help you to discover how your ancestors lived, worked and worshipped in England’s second city, as Doreen Hopwood explains. Today, Birmingham is home to over a million people and is renowned for its multicultural diversity. It’s come a long way since 1086, when the Domesday Book described it as … Read more

A career in crime

Edwin Ansell received several mentions in the local press, but not for anything of renown, as Jackie Hendry discovered. Finding a criminal in the family was not really what I had in mind. I had toyed with discovering a tenuous link to a title; perhaps a loose association with Ansell’s Brewery; or, who knows, even … Read more