The Quadrant is surrounded by the best of industrial and cultural history in Birmingham.
The famous Birmingham Canal Network was designed and constructed by James Brindley in the mid-1700’s. The Birmingham Canal Network stretches over 100 miles and the city is alleged to have more canals than Venice!
During the height of the Industrial Revolution, the canals carried all manner of raw materials, coal, food and rubbish etc. It continued to be the most popular mode of transportation for goods until the railway revolution in the 1830’s, although large companies continued to use the canal network until the mid-20th century; Cadbury’s continued transporting their products by canal until the mid-1960’s.
Originally, the area around The Quadrant was known for its large sandpits where sand was extracted from the ground to then be used in making moulds for jewellery products in the near-by Jewellery Quarter.
The Jewellery Quarter is Europe’s largest concentration of businesses involved in the jewellery trade and produces 40% of all the jewellery made in the UK. It is also home to the world’s largest Assay Office, which hallmarks around 12 million items a year.
Historically, the Jewellery Quarter has been the birthplace of many pioneering advancements in industrial technology. George Elkington is credited for the development of electroplating in 1840 in his silver works on Newhall Street and also invented in the Jewellery Quarter, was the first man-made plastic, Parkesine, by Alexander Parkes in 1862.