Birmingham City University Arts, Design and Media Archive
- Advice on accessing these materials
- +44 (0)121 331 6981
- The Parkside Building 5 Cardigan Street, Birmingham, B4 7BD, United Kingdom
- The Parkside building is located approximately ten minutes’ walk from Birmingham Moor Street station, next to Thinktank at Millennium Point.
- Opening Hours
- Mon-Wed, 10.00-17.00
- Refreshment Area
- Coffee and light refreshments are available on the ground and 3rd floors of the Parkside Building.
- Archival and Other Holdings
BIAD School of Art Archive
This collection covers the Birmingham School of Art from before its formation as a Government School of Design in 1843 until it joined Birmingham
Polytechnic in 1971. It includes minute books, student records, programmes and photographs that document the history of the School. There are also a large number of works of art by past teachers and students. As well as fine art
these include designs for fashion, ceramics, textiles, jewellery and metalwork, stained glass, furniture, interior design and work produced by the Birmingham School of Printing. It includes work not only by students attending the Central School in Margaret Street, but also by those from its branch schools at Vittoria Street and Moseley Road as well as fashion and other design students who studied on the Gosta Green campus in the 1960s.
The collection is particularly strong for the period c.1880-
1920. At this time the Birmingham School of Art was one of the largest and most successful Art and Design Schools in
the UK. The teaching staff included well-known artists such
as William Bloye, Benjamin Creswick, Arthur Gaskin,Charles March Gere, Sidney Meteyard, Mary Newill, Henry Payne and Bernard Sleigh. Among those who trained at the School during this period were Gerald Brockhurst, Kate and Myra Bunce, Florence Camm, Bernard Fleetwood-Walker (who later taught there from 1929 to 1956), Georgie Gaskin
and Joseph Greenup. It differs from a museum collection in that it largely consists of student works, providing evidence of both pedagogical changes and artists’ early careers.
Among these is a significant collection of student work carried out under the direction of Leonard Jay, who taught at the School from 1925 until his retirement in 1953. Jay was a teacher par excellence who influenced and transformed the outlook of a whole generation of printers, making a significant contribution to British printing education in the first half of the twentieth century. He made the Birmingham School without equal in Britain, and exercised a world-wide influence
on printing education policy.
There is also a collection of London Underground and travel posters from 1915 up to the 1950s that were collected as exemplars of good design. Among the designers are Frederick Charles Herrick (1887-1970), Edward Kauffer McKnight
(1890-1954), Charles Paine (1895-1967), Walter Spradbery (1189-1969) and Harold Sandys Williamson (1892-1978).
Marion Richardson Archive
Marion Richardson (1892-1946) was an influential art teacher and pioneer of the child art movement. Talented at art,
she was encouraged to sit for a teacher-training scholarship at Birmingham Municipal School of Arts and Crafts. She studied here from 1908 to 1912, obtaining an Art Class Teacher’s Certificate.
The collection covers the whole span of Marion Richardson’s career and work from her first teaching job at Dudley Girls High School to her teacher training and inspection work in London. It includes letters; her personal diaries for 1930-1940; unpublished papers and lectures; examples of her writing cards; glass slides and photographs of classes, 20
exhibitions and children’s artworks; reproductions of artworks; part of her personal library (which includes books,
magazines and pamphlets on art history, art education, psychology and religion); press clippings about her career,including reviews of exhibitions of her pupils’ work; recent research on her methods by teachers in the 1980s and 1990s, and several thousand examples of children’s artworks and samples of handwriting.
Marion Richardson’s correspondence spans roughly from 1917 to her death. It includes letters that make reference to Dudley Girls’ High School, private tuition, visits in England and abroad, exhibitions, lectures, inquiries from teachers
and teaching organisations, her position as a schools inspector with London County Council, Christian Science, and
personal friends. Among her correspondents were Margery and Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Gwen John,
W.R. Lethaby, Herbert Read and William Rothenstein. The collection includes letters from organisations such as the Art Teachers Guild; the Burlington Magazine; the Council for Art and Industry; the Courtauld; the National Gallery; the
National Union of Women Teachers; the Omega Workshops and the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester.
Public Art Commissions Agency (PACA)
This collection contains the financial and administrative records of the Public Art Commissions Agency, which operated from Birmingham between 1987 and 1999. It also contains project documentation for both realised and unrealised public art projects. This includes
correspondence, research notes, contracts, briefs to artists, minutes of meetings and artists’ curriculum vitae. There are a number of drawings, sketches and proposals by artists, architectural drawings and plans as well as an extensive slide and photographic record of the public art projects managed by PACA. The collection also includes the Agency’s library. This is a large collection of books, exhibition catalogues and
journals on the subjects of public art, urban planning and architecture. In addition, it contains some material that predates the formation of the Agency and relates to Vivien Lovell’s previous employment as Public Art Co-ordinator at West Midlands. This earlier material includes documentation on the sculpture programme for the National Garden
Festival at Stoke on Trent in 1986.
BIAD Margaret Street Centenary Folio
The collection is made up of twelve unframed prints, some printed at the print studios at Margaret Street and others at Jean Vaudeau`s studio in London. This portfolio is number 24 of an edition of 25. It contains original art prints by members of staff of the School of Fine Art, namely Mel Gordon, Trevor Halliday, Jess Hand, Nick Jones, Kim Kempshall, Alan Miller, David Prentice, Ted Rose, Alison Saint, Harry Snook, Keir Smith, and Jean Vaudeau. The
collection also includes typed lists of both the staff contributing to the portfolio and the 24 organisations that accepted copies of it.
BIAD Fine Art Graduate Records
This collection contains 99 individual student records for BA Fine Art graduates who graduated in 1978, 1979 and 1981.
These include class lists, assignments, references, reports, assessments and results. It also includes 266 colour photographs of 73 of these students seated or standing alongside their work. Unless stated otherwise, each student will have completed the full course.
The student records (but not the photographs of their work) are closed to
researchers to comply with data protection legislation.
Margaret Street Restoration Collection
The collection contains three spiral-bound volumes of reports by the City Architects' Department on the state of the School of Art's Margaret Street building in 1984-5. Designed by John Henry Chamberlain in the Venetian Gothic style and completed in 1885, many of the building's original features were either damaged or covered by surface boarding by the 1980s. There is also a sequential series of colour photographs taken by the builders Kyle Stewart Ltd that document the progress of the restoration of the School of Art in 1994-95.
Craftsman's Club Collection
The Craftsman’s Club was a group founded in 1902 by Robert Catterson-Smith, Headmaster of the Birmingham School of Art from 1903 to 1920. Catterson-Smith had become associated with William Morris early on in his career and the two
had become friends. Morris invited him to assist in the production of books for the Kelmscott Press, and, among other things, he had prepared the illustrations for the Kelmscott Chaucer from designs by Edward Burne-Jones. Catteron-Smith
believed that craftsmanship had become devoid of human feeling and romance in the age of the machine.Inspired by the ideals of John Ruskin and William Morris, the Club was set up with the aim of ensuring a high standard
of craftsmanship in Birmingham. Its members (all male) had to be established, practising artists and/or craftsmen. They
included painters, jewellers, gold and silversmiths, sculptors, architects and draftsmen.
The collection contains the Club’s two minute books as well as press clippings, correspondence and exhibition leaflets.
These document the interests of many of Birmingham’s leading artists and craftsmen in the first forty years of the twentieth century.
BIAD Hodgson Art History Collection
This collection mostly contains files and papers produced by
Frank Hodgson in his capacity as a teacher at the Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts from the 1930s up until his retirement in the early 1970s. These include lecture notes,
bibliographies, illustration lists, references and chronological charts covering all aspects of art and design history from Roman and Greek times up to the modern 20th century movements of
the Bauhaus and Art Nouveau that are of potential use to
researchers investigating the teaching of art history in the 1960s and early 1970s. However, the majority of his research focused on the mid to late 19th century and, most specifically, on the Arts and Crafts Movement and the stained glass work of William
Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. The collection also includes three sets of prints of historical costume, decorative arts and patterns that Hodgson produced as teaching aids.
Birmingham Billboard Project Collection
This collection documents an art project organised by Graham Fagen, who was a member of staff in the School of Art at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design from 1991 to 1995. He worked in collaboration with
twelve other artists and Vision, a Birmingham-based independent outdoor contractor. Each artist was invited to design a billboard poster that would be displayed for one month. Between May 1992 and May 1993,twelve billboards
created by artists were exhibited on a chosen location in Snowhill Queensway, Birmingham. The collection comprises 12 framed prints of the posters and multiple copies of the publication accompanying the project.
Larry Cartoon Collection
This collection contains original cartoons by former student Terence Parkes (aka Larry) on the subject of art, art galleries and the Margaret Street School of
Art building. Many of the cartoons are parodies of famous paintings such as Joseph William Mallard Turner’s The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16th October 1834 (1834-35); Rene Magritte’s The Great War (1964); Jean Francois Millais’s The Gleaners (1857); Roy Lichtenstein’s Wham (1963); Claude Monet’s The Beach at Trouville
(1870) and Vincent Van Gough’s Gaugin’s Chair (1888). Several others, while not based on a particular work, parody the work of Auguste Rodin, George Stubbs and Canaletto.
Bowater Family Collection
This collection focuses on the history of the Bowater family (most especially in West Bromwich in the late nineteenth century) and the artistic development of their daughter Gertrude Ann from the age of six in 1886 until the early 1940s. It
is divided into two series: one detailing with Gertrude Ann Bowater’s family history, and the second with her artistic
development. The latter includes Gertrude's artworks, examination
certificates and notebooks on art; postcards from national museums that she copied paintings from; and ephemera including gallery passes and an application form to be used when submitting paintings for exhibition at the Royal Academy.
Foundation Course Collection
The Foundation Course was set up in 1963 to prepare students to go on to degree level courses in art and design. It gave them an opportunity to gain an insight into a wide variety of art and design disciplines with a view to deciding what they should specialise in at degree level. Its introduction co-incided with the first intake of Birmingham College of Art and Crafts students on to the Diploma in Art and Design. Prior to that, they had been able to take courses in Basic Studies. The collection contains the administrative records of the Basic Studies and Foundation courses run by the School of Foundation Studies at Birmingham Polytechnic (previously known as Birmingham College of Art and Crafts and Birmingham College of Art and Design) between 1960 and 1989. It also includes student artworks in a broad range of genres and media, although none of these date from before 1967.
- BIAD Fine Art Graduate Records Collection
- BIAD Hodgson Art History Collection
- BIAD Margaret Street Restoration Collection
- BIAD Plaster Cast Collection
- Birmingham Billboard Project Collection
- Birmingham School of Art Archive
- Bowater Collection
- Craftsman's Club Collection
- Foundation Course
- Larry Cartoon Collection
- Margaret Street Centenary Folio Collection
- Marion Richardson Archive
- Public Art Commissions Agency (PACA) Archive