Birmingham Heritage Week will surprise many with its breadth and scope. But not us. We know how great this city is. Here’s our top 20 free events which is still just the tip of the iceberg so get exploring, keep an eye on Twitter for updates and have a look at our main preview here

Shakespeare re-fashioned at Selfridges
To celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, Selfridges invite you to visit the Shakespeare installation as part of the Shakespeare re-fashioned campaign. The installation will feature artefacts from the Birmingham Museum and the Library of Birmingham and costumes from the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Thu 8 Sep to Sun 2 Oct at Level 4, Selfridges, Upper Mall East, The Bullring, B5 4BP

Many People: One Birmingham – An Illustrated Talk by Professor Carl Chinn
Come along to an illustrated talk by English historian and BBC broadcaster, Prof. Carl Chinn about the diverse heritage of Birmingham’s people.
Fri 16 Sep 5.30pm at KPMG – One Snowhill, Birmingham, B4 6GH

Routes2Roots: Back To The Beginning
With Moroccan tents, curry, tea and a huge red phonebox (do you remember when phoneboxes were a thing?) we will take you on the journey of Routes2Roots over the last 18 months. Celebrating Birmingham Heritage Week and the Routes2Roots campaign, Beatfreeks and Heritage Lottery Fund invite you to come and eat, share stories and learn more about projects in the city.
Thu 15 Sep and ongoing at Friction Arts, The Edge, B12 OQH

Mitchell & Kenyon in Birmingham. Amazing scenes of Birmingham life in the early 1900s, filmed by Blackburn company Mitchell and Kenyon to help drum up an audience for local film shows. Includes workers leaving Tangye’s factory in Smethwick, a boisterous crowd at the athletics in Edgbaston, and Joseph Chamberlain at Highbury Hall. Half-hour compilation screening repeated throughout the day.
Thu Sep 8 – Sun 18 Sep at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH

Birmingham’s Film Knight. Sir Michael Balcon was the most prominent and influential British filmmaker of the 20th century. He produced over 250 films, gave Alfred Hitchcock his first film role, and in 1948 he was knighted for his contribution to British cinema. He was also a born and bred Brummie. Birmingham’s Film Knight, curated by Roger Shannon (Edge Hill University), examines Balcon’s life and career through a Birmingham lens – from his early filmmaking adventures with Birmingham cinema pioneers, Oscar Deutsch and Victor Saville, to his work at the iconic Ealing Studios.
Mon 12 Sep – Fri 21 Oct at BCU Parkside, 5 Cardigan Street, Birmingham B4 7BD

Tales from the Cut. Roundhouse Birmingham is at the heart of the city’s canal network and was originally designed as stabling for horses as part of a competition won by the famed architect WH Ward, its distinctive horseshoe shape becoming integral to the ‘city of 1,000 trades’. The Grade II* listed building, which is owned by the Canal & River Trust, will be restored over the coming years, in partnership with the National Trust and with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund. This one-off event is a rare opportunity to take a peek inside.
Sat 17 Sep – Sun 18 Sep at Roundhouse, Sheepcote Stret, Ladywood, Birmingham B16 8AE


Moseley Hall, Dovecote and Icehouse & park
See behind some of Moseley’s most magical (usually locked) little doors and explore some very interesting nooks and crannies. Open day with lots of family fun.
Sun 11 Sep, 2pm – 5pm. See here for details

The Zero Carbon House, Balsall Heath
The UK’s first and only retrofit house to ‘zero carbon’ standard. It generates all its own renewable energy, has won a ton of awards, is funky fun and functional – and it’s it Balsall Heath. Visitors can view the house and garden with talks throughout the day. Family friendly, but this is a private family home.
Sat 10 Sep. See here for details

Guided Tour of Birmingham Oratory Church
Known as ‘Little Rome in Birmingham’, the Oratory Church was built between 1907-1910 in the Baroque style. It replaced the original structure – a simple barn-like church with a roof transferred from an abandoned factory. The Birmingham Oratory was designed by the architect Edward Doran Webb and was to play a major role in the life of J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, who was a parishioner there for about nine years during his childhood.
Thu 8 Sep to Sun 11 Sep at Birmingham Oratory Church, 141 Hagley Road, B16 8UE

Open Church Days at St Alban the Martyr
Clearly visible from the Belgrave Middleway, the red brick and stone Victorian Gothic church of St Alban the Martyr on the corner of Conybere Street and Stanhope Street once towered over the nearby back-to-back housing. Today it looks over a small park and the campus of Ark St Alban’s Academy. Come and view the magnificent stone vaulted interior of this grade II* listed architectural masterpiece designed by John Loughborough Pearson.
Thu 8 Sep to Sun 11 Sep at Church of St Alban the Martyr, Conybere Street, Highgate B12 0YH

Christopher Wray building and the Woodman
Historic building developer Simon Linford of Czero will lead a tour of the works at the former Christopher Wray lighting factory, followed by a talk at the Grade II listed Woodman pub, which he restored in 2013.
Thu 8 Sep 11am at 7-12 Bartholomew Row, B5 5JU

In:Site – A Festival of Graduate Creativity
In:Site is an annual festival of graduate contemporary craft featuring emerging makers/artists. Taking place in Cathedral Square, Birmingham, the festival is distinctive in commissioning new graduates to make bespoke and participatory artwork in response to a public space.
Thu 8 Sep to Sun 11 Sep

Underneath Snow Hill
Discover what lies beneath Snow Hill Station in an incredible tour lead by Ally Standing and courtesy of Birmingham’s Hidden Spaces. Thu 8 Sep 1pm at Birmingham Snow Hill station, Colmore Row, B3 2BJ

The Barber – A Potted History
Delve into the Barber’s past in in this 90 minute walk and talk and find out how the Barber came to be. Learn about our founders, Sir Henry and Lady Barber, explore our wonderful art deco architecture and take a look at some of the very first purchases that started our collection back in the 1930s.
Fri 9 Sep & Thu 15 Sep at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston B15 2TS

Heritage Open Day at Birmingham Cathedral
Birmingham Cathedral Heritage Open Day at Birmingham Cathedral. Focusing on the remarkable stained-glass windows this open day explores the unique heritage of Birmingham Cathedral.
Fri 9 Sep 11am at Birmingham Cathedral, Colmore Row, B3 2QB

Lost Arts and Crafts in the city: a walking tour by Ben Waddington
Starting at the cathedral and highlighting particular design elements of it, Ben Waddington leads a fascinating tour of the city, uncovering hidden arts and crafts in some surprising places. There is lots of walking, comfortable footwear suggested.
Fri 9 Sep 11am at Birmingham Cathedral, Colmore Row, B3 2QB

Digbeth Walking Tour
As part of Birmingham Heritage Week, Andrew Fuller, Principal Conservation Officer, will be conducting a fascinating walking tour of Digbeth. During the tour, you will explore Digbeth’s hidden gems, learn about its industrial heritage, take in monolithic archways, canals, graffitied and historic buildings.
Fri 9 Sep 2pm at Curzon Street Station, New Canal Street, B2 4ND

Talk and Guided Tour: ‘History of the Institute
The Birmingham & Midland Institute has been at the heart of Birmingham’s cultural life for over 150 years, originally founded by Act of Parliament in 1854 for the ‘Diffusion and Advancement of Science, Literature and Art amongst all Classes of Persons resident in Birmingham and Midland Counties’. Charles Dickens was one of its early Presidents.
Sat 10 Sep 10am & 1pm at The Birmingham and Midland Institute, 9 Margaret Street, B3 3BS

Birmingham Back to Backs
Take a tour around the ground floor of Birmingham Back to Backs to experience life here and meet characters from the 1840s to the 1970s. From the 1840s to the 1970s, see how people lived and worked in our courtyard. Come and see the meal time ready kitchen of Mrs Oldfield and take a peek at George Saunders tailor shop and see what he’s been making.
Sat 10 Sep at National Trust Birmingham Back to Backs, 55 – 63 Hurst Street, Birmingham B5 4TE

The Battle of the Somme film screening
Shot and screened in 1916, it was the first feature length documentary about war and changed the way both cinema and film was perceived by the public. In the year of its release around 20 million people, almost half the population of Britain at the time, watched the Battle of the Somme. One hundred years later, this unique film from IWM’s collection, is being shown at Blakesley Hall to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
Sun 11 Sep 12pm at Blakesley Hall Museum, Blakesley Rd, Birmingham B25 8RN

Discover: Birmingham’s Waterway Wonders

Visitors to the canal side will be offered guided walking tours from the Round House. Expert volunteers will help people to enjoy the historic fabric and features spanning the two hundred year history of Birmingham’s Canal Network.
Tue 13 Sep 11am at Outside the Round House, canal side, by the Fiddle and Bone public house (B16 8EB)

Coffee Talk: Birmingham’s Past and Future at Impact Hub
Join barista and coffee enthusiast Rory McGhie and guest speakers in an open discussion around the theme of social reform in Birmingham and it’s starting point; coffee shops. Birmingham has a rich history of bringing like-minded individuals together to create a better Birmingham one cup of coffee at a time. Rory and guests will be talking about coffee for change from its origins all the way through to it’s future. The Coffee Talk will be hosted in a listed building in the heart of Digbeth.
Thu 15 Sep 3.30pm at Impact Hub Birmingham, Walker Building, 58 Oxford Street, B5 5NR


Thu 8 Sep - Sun 18 Sep
Giles Logan
Published on:
Thu 15 Sep 2016