Craftsman's Club Collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises two minute books covering the periods 1902-1930 and 1930-1939. The minute books record the discussions at the monthly meetings and subscriptions collected as well as press-cuttings and leaflets for the exhibitions.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Craftsman's Club was a movement founded in 1902 with the object of establishing a high standard of craftsmanship in Birmingham. It was founded by Robert Catterson-Smith, Principal of the Birmingham School of Art. The Craftsman's Club was inspired by the ideals of Ruskin and William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. Catterson Smith believed that in the age of the machine, craftsmanship had become devoid of human feeling and stated "The business of craftsmanship is to express emotion."

Only men could be members. Members had to be established practicing artists or craftsman and included:

  • painters
  • jewellers
  • goldsmiths
  • silversmiths
  • sculptors
  • architects
  • draughtsmen

The Club was relatively small, with 21 subscriptions in the first year, growing to 50 members in its later years. Several members of staff from the Birmingham School of Art were active members of the Club. At the monthly meetings, the minutes of previous meetings would be read and then one of the members would present a paper illustrated with photographs or lantern slides. The Club held annual exhibitions and also arranged summer trips.

Conditions Governing Access

Advanced booking is required to view the collection. If you wish to make an appointment, please phone 0121 331 6981 or email

Other Finding Aids

A collection description and index to the members are available.

Archivist's Note

This description was compiled by Sian Everitt, Keeper of Archives.

Custodial History

The collection was donated by the son of the last Secretary of the Club.


None expected.