The eighteenth-century Birmingham brass trade: origins, growth, and politics

Frankis, Duncan (2021). The eighteenth-century Birmingham brass trade: origins, growth, and politics. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

Text - Accepted Version
Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (3MB) | Preview


Birmingham was known as the ‘city of a thousand trades’ because of its diverse industrial base, but one of these trades, brass manufacturing, has barely been explored by historians. This thesis examines the origins of the industry, explores its expansion throughout the eighteenth century, outlines the development of a national political presence through a network of brass founders, and places the trade within an international context. Using personal correspondence, Parliamentary records, trade cards, travel diaries and printed primary sources, this research provides the fullest picture of the development of the Birmingham brass industry to date. It reveals that the success of the industry was dependent on increasingly sophisticated organisational methods and political strategies, developed by a group of local industrialists. The collective political activities of Birmingham brass manufacturers enabled local businessmen to assert their interests over and against copper and brass businesses elsewhere in Britain, as well as continental Europe. This was achieved by using manipulative propaganda, lobbying politicians, and the dismantling of opponents’ arguments. By 1801 the brass founders of Birmingham had established their trade as a significant local industry. Crucially, they had also successfully asserted Birmingham’s economic interests on the national stage.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of History
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JC Political theory
T Technology > TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year