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ID number:  BIRRC-A0263
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Campus Collection of Fine and Decorative Art
Artist / Maker:  Buck, S. & N.
Title / Object name:  East Prospect of Birmingham
Object type:  Print
Date made:  1753
Materials:  Engraving
Measurements:  27.94 x 55.88 cm

In 1726 the brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Buck embarked on a visual record of local views and buildings across England and Wales. Buck’s Views were printed and sold individually or collected into volumes. Before the advent of photography, topographical prints such as these were the only way in which visual representations of places were made readily accessible. Today they serve as an important resource for local historians and those interested in the changing landscape. Significant structures and geographical features are marked on the prints with key numbers. In The East Prospect of Birmingham Cooper’s Windmill is marked, as are three local churches, St. Martins, Deritend Chapel, and the New Chapel. Plumes of smoke billow out over the skyline from the factories, workhouses and steel-works. At this time Birmingham was known as ‘the workshop the world’ and ‘city of a thousand trades.’ In Southwest Prospect of Birmingham, the areas of Ladywood and Digbeth are marked, as are St Martin’s church now in the centre of the Bullring redevelopment. In the lower margin is a description of the main industries in Birmingham in the early eighteenth century, leather and threads. Also mentioned is the farmer’s market on a Thursday and several annual fairs. Birmingham then was the size of an average town, hardly resembling the sprawling city it is now. The canal system or the railways had not yet been constructed and the population boom of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had not yet taken place.


Conservation treatment administered 2007

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