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ID number:  BIRRC-H0020
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  University Heritage Collection
Artist / Maker:  Pearsall, W. M.
Title / Object name:  Decorative Steel Key
Object type:  Metalwork
Place made:  Birmingham
Date made:  c. 1926
Materials:  Steel key in leather, velvet and satin commemorative box

A silver key in a leather box. The key has an ornate handle, with the initials 'UH' worked into it. The stem is inscribed with 'To Alice Beale 1926'. The box has a black velvet and cream satin lining. It also has a hinged lid and a metal clasp.

Inscriptions / Translations:  'Mrs A. Beale, 10th July 1926 by the donors of the iron gates on to Edgbaston Park Road, given to commemorate Mrs. Beale's 80th Birthday'

Notes:  This commemorative key to University House was given to Alice Beale to mark her 80th birthday. Alice Beale was a pioneer of social service and the first president of the Birmingham Settlement. As wife of the first Vice-Chancellor of the University, Charles Gabriel Beale, she was instrumental in creating University House. She also chaired the Executive committee along with Charlotte Chamberlain. University House was the first purpose-built hall of residence for women in Britain maintained its progressivity by subsequently becoming the first mixed sex Hall of Residence in 1964.

The Beale family have a long history with the University and the City of Birmingham. Portraits of various members of the Beale family are held in the Campus Art Collection.

The maker, W. M. Pearsall, also manufactured the iron gates that open from University House on to Edgbaston Park Road.

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